Best Vegetable Knife: Nakiris, Vegetable Choppers and More!

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I've reviewed seven of the best vegetable knives, and my top choice is the Mercer Culinary Nakiri Knife.

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Cooking with fresh vegetables is essential to a healthy diet. But in order to cook vegetables properly, you need the right knife.

There are several knives for cutting vegetables, but Santoku, Nakiri, and Chef’s knives are the most popular. That’s why I’ve rounded up seven of the top vegetable knives to review.

The Mercer Nakiri Knife has exceptional value. It’s sharp, easy to use, comfortable to hold, and affordable.

But you might prefer a different blade for your kitchen. In this guide, you’ll find all the information you need to know to make the best decision.

Find each knife’s pros and cons, as well as specific features and best cases. Read about what makes a vegetable knife better and how it differs from other knives.

Which vegetable knife makes the cut? Keep reading to find out.

At a Glance

My Pick
Mercer Culinary M20907 Genesis
Best on a Budget
Imarku Chef Knife 7 Inch Kitchen Knife Ultra Sharp Santoku Knife
Premium Choice
Shun Cutlery Classic Vegetable Cleaver 7”
Mercer Culinary M20907 Genesis 7-Inch Nakiri Vegetable Knife,Black
imarku Chef Knife 7 Inch Kitchen Knife Ultra Sharp Santoku Knife - 7Cr17Mov Japanese Chefs Knife, Kitchen Gadgets 2024, Birthday Gifts for Him Her, Best Fathers Day Gifts with High-End Gift Box
Shun Cutlery Classic Vegetable Cleaver 7”, Chinese-Style Cleaver, Ideal for Processing Large Vegetables, Authentic, Handcrafted Japanese Cleaver Knife,Silver
This Nakiri knife is precision-forged with German high-carbon steel for durability and quality. The taper-ground edge allows for more precision and efficiency when cutting vegetables or fruit.
This isn't a high-end Santoku knife, but it's good quality at an affordable price point.
Buyers were wowed by the razor-like sharpness out of the box but the Shun cleaver is a significant, pricey investment.
My Pick
Mercer Culinary M20907 Genesis
Mercer Culinary M20907 Genesis 7-Inch Nakiri Vegetable Knife,Black
This Nakiri knife is precision-forged with German high-carbon steel for durability and quality. The taper-ground edge allows for more precision and efficiency when cutting vegetables or fruit.
Best on a Budget
Imarku Chef Knife 7 Inch Kitchen Knife Ultra Sharp Santoku Knife
imarku Chef Knife 7 Inch Kitchen Knife Ultra Sharp Santoku Knife - 7Cr17Mov Japanese Chefs Knife, Kitchen Gadgets 2024, Birthday Gifts for Him Her, Best Fathers Day Gifts with High-End Gift Box
This isn't a high-end Santoku knife, but it's good quality at an affordable price point.
Premium Choice
Shun Cutlery Classic Vegetable Cleaver 7”
Shun Cutlery Classic Vegetable Cleaver 7”, Chinese-Style Cleaver, Ideal for Processing Large Vegetables, Authentic, Handcrafted Japanese Cleaver Knife,Silver
Buyers were wowed by the razor-like sharpness out of the box but the Shun cleaver is a significant, pricey investment.

Best Vegetable Knife Reviews

Mercer Culinary Genesis 7-inch Nakiri Knife: Best Overall Vegetable Knife

The Mercer Culinary Genesis kitchen knife collection is popular, and for good reason. This Mercer Nakiri Knife has a blade length of 7 inches (17.8 cm), a standard size.

This Nakiri knife is precision-forged with German high-carbon steel for durability and quality. The taper-ground edge allows for more precision and efficiency when cutting vegetables or fruit.

Like other German stainless steel blades, this Mercer blade is easy to sharpen. It might require more frequent honing than Japanese steel, but it’s also less likely to chip or break.

With a full bolster, it’s easy to form the proper grip when using this knife. The bolster also provides good weight and balance for safe and secure chopping.

The Santoprene handle offers a comfortable, non-slip grip, even when wet. And since it’s ergonomic, you can use this knife for cutting vegetables without getting wrist fatigue.

Mercer Culinary M20907 Genesis 7-Inch Nakiri Vegetable Knife,Black

User reviews were glowing for the Mercer Nakiri knife. They loved the sharpness, the non-slip grip, and the balance. Many buyers were impressed with the quality, comparing them to more expensive knives.

This kitchen knife does not come with a sheath, so you’ll have to purchase one separately. But if you want maximum performance and value, I’d go with the Mercer Nakiri knife.

Pros

  • High-carbon stainless steel blade
  • Synthetic ergonomic handle
  • Forged construction
  • Good balance, full bolster
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • No protective sheath included

Babish 6.5-inch Santoku Knife: Best Value Santoku Knife

Babish is an up-and-coming food channel with millions of followers. Host Chef Andrew Rea has created a line of kitchen wares, including kitchen knives.

The Babish 6.5-inch Santoku Knife packs a lot of value into one highly affordable kitchen tool. This blade is forged from a single piece of high-carbon German 4116 stainless steel.

With a blade length of 6.5 inches (16.5 cm), it’s slightly shorter than other similar knives, but it’s still long enough to cut most small to medium veggies and fruits without trouble.

Babish High-Carbon 1.4116 German Steel Cutlery, 6.5" Santoku Knife

The knife blade is tempered, ground, and polished for maximum sharpness. The scalloped edge reduces drag and is supposed to prevent food from sticking to the blade.

However, several buyers had problems with food sticking to the blade, in spite of the hollow-edge design.

This knife is suited for slicing, dicing, mincing, and chopping vegetables, fruits, and even some boneless meats.

The full-tang handle is smooth and provides a balanced, comfortable grip. The Babish logo is etched on the stainless steel end cap for a unique design.

A full bolster allows you to properly grip the Santoku knife as you slice through veggies.

Buyers gave rave reviews to the Babish Santoku knife. They loved the ultra-sharp edge and the comfortable grip. They were pleased with the cutting performance and found the blade easy to sharpen.

You will have to sharpen this knife regularly. This German stainless steel doesn’t have the same edge retention as other types of steel, but it is easier to sharpen.

There is also no protective sheath included. Make sure you have proper storage to keep your knife sharp and free of chips.

If you want an excellent-value knife that’s great for chopping vegetables, fruit, and meat, this Babish Santoku knife is the perfect knife for you.

Babish High-Carbon 1.4116 German Steel Cutlery, 6.5" Santoku Kitchen Knife

Pros

  • Razor sharp
  • Good weight and balance
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to clean
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Requires frequent sharpening
  • Food sticks to the blade
  • No protective sheath included

Imarku 7-inch Santoku Knife: Best Budget Santoku Knife

Imarku makes a variety of quality kitchen knives for the home chef. This Imarku Santoku Knife has a length of 7 inches (17.8 cm), the perfect size for most fruits and vegetables.

The blade is made of German high-carbon stainless steel that resists rust, corrosion, and discoloration. It has an ultra-sharp blade that’s hand-polished to 15-18 degrees per side, perfect for a variety of cutting tasks.

This Santoku knife is suited for chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing all kinds of meat, vegetables, fruit, and bread.

The blade features a hollow-edge design to add a gap between the blade and the food, preventing food from sticking.

When it comes to the handle, this Santoku knife features an ergonomic Pakka handle and a stainless steel end cap. This handle minimizes tension and provides a safe, secure grip. The Pakkawood composite is sanitary and non-slip.

imarku Chef Knife 7 Inch Kitchen Knife Ultra Sharp Santoku Knife - 7Cr17Mov Japanese Chefs Knife, Kitchen Gadgets 2023, Christmas Gifts for Women and Mom, Mens Gifts for Dad with High-End Gift Box

Buyers were pleased with this versatile knife. They were impressed with the sharpness and the value. This isn’t a high-end Santoku knife, but it’s good quality at an affordable price point.

The stainless steel blade needs frequent sharpening. I recommend passing the blade over honing steel after each use to maintain the edge.

The Imarku Santoku knife comes in a lined box with a magnetic lid for easy storage. It doesn’t come with a sheath, however.

Pros

  • Super sharp edge
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Hollow edge releases food
  • Great balance
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Doesn’t hold an edge

Mosfiata 7-inch Nakiri Knife: Best Budget Nakiri Knife

The Mosfiata Nakiri Knife has a blade length of 7 inches (17.8 cm), the perfect length for cutting vegetables.

The flat blade is made out of German stainless steel that is rust and corrosion-resistant. It has a beautiful Damascus steel patterned finish, but it’s not actual Damascus steel.

This Nakiri knife is ideal for chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing fruits, veggies, herbs, and bread. This knife is not designed for cutting meat.

The high-carbon steel blade is sharpened to 14-16 degrees on each side and is hand-polished by craftsmen. It has a Rockwell hardness scale of 56 ± 2, which is within the typical range for kitchen knives.

This knife is forged, so it’s sturdy and more durable. The wood-look handle is ergonomic and has triple rivets for reinforcement.

The handle provides a safe, comfortable grip to prevent fatigue. Plus, the finger guard helps protect your fingers when cutting vegetables. This knife comes in a protective sheath for safe, easy storage.

The Mosfiata Nakiri knife has excellent user reviews. They loved the razor sharpness and the weight and balance. They used it for cutting vegetables and mincing herbs. Several also mentioned how convenient the finger guard was.

Some users did have problems with food sticking to the blade, and others questioned the long-term durability of the knife. But for the value, they were pleased.

Pros

  • Forged blade
  • Razor-sharp
  • Beautiful patterned finish (not actual Damascus steel)
  • Comfortable handle
  • Includes protective sheath

Cons

  • Food sticks to the blade

TUO 7-inch Vegetable Cleaver Knife: Best Chinese Cleaver

TUO is another popular brand that makes some of the best knives around. This TUO Vegetable Cleaver is unique in its shape and design from almost all the other knives on the list.

This knife is actually a Chinese cleaver, which is large like butcher knives but with a thinner blade that’s designed for cutting vegetables and mincing meat. You can learn more about these knives in my complete review of the best Chinese cleavers.

This blade has a curved profile with a sharp point that can cut up vegetables. The wide middle can smash garlic, while the bottom can mince meat. That makes this knife even more versatile than Chef’s knives.

TUO Vegetable Cleaver knife - Chinese Chef’s Knife - Stainless Steel Vegetable Meat Cleaver - Pakkawood Handle - Gift Box Included - 7 inch - Fiery Phoenix Series

The 7-inch blade has a forged construction with premium German 4116 high-carbon stainless steel. It’s precisely tempered with high-tech vacuum heat treatment and is sharpened to 18 degrees on each side for a precise, razor-sharp blade.

The distinctive sloped bolster shape encourages proper pinch grip when cutting vegetables, while the full tang ensures stability and durability.

The Pakkawood handle is polished and offers exceptional comfort and maneuverability. It has a beautiful wood-grain finish while being smooth and largely waterproof. You don’t have to worry about warping or splitting like with real wood.

On top of everything else, the TUO vegetable cleaver is very affordable. For long-lasting sharpness, pass the blade over honing steel after each use.

Buyers were thrilled with the performance of this knife. They were happy with the versatility and the size. A few wished for a sharper blade out of the box, but they were able to sharpen the blade easily.

In spite of that, the TUO vegetable cleaver brings loads of value and functionality to the table. This is one of the best vegetable knives, especially at the price.

TUO Cleaver Knife, Chinese Chef Knife Stainless Steel 7 inch Vegetable Meat Cleaver with Pakkawood Handle, Heavy Duty Blade for Home Kitchen

Pros

  • Full-tang, full bolster
  • Forged construction
  • Razor-sharp blade
  • Versatile
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Some wished it was sharper upon arrival

Shun Cutlery Classic 7-inch Vegetable Cleaver: Best Splurge Pick

Shun Japanese knives are popular among professional chefs and cooking enthusiasts for their unbeatable quality and long-lasting sharpness.

This Shun Classic 7-inch Vegetable Cleaver is the only other Chinese cleaver aside from the TUO. But whereas the TUO is a good knife for home cooks, this Shun sits firmly in the premium category. Shun is geared toward the professional chef or experienced home cook.

The Shun Classic vegetable cleaver is multi-purpose and highly versatile. From chopping veggies and slicing fruit to mincing meat and herbs, this knife can do almost anything outside of butchery and intricate peeling.

This larger knife is solid but thin, nimble yet sturdy. This durable knife remains lightweight and easy to handle.

The blade is constructed with Shun’s VG-MAX cutting core and is clad in 68 layers of Damascus steel. It’s corrosion- and stain-resistant with a strong, razor-sharp edge. This knife stays sharp, too.

The D-shaped ergonomic handle features ebony-finished Pakkawood. It’s beautiful, durable, non-porous, and comfortable to use for both right- and left-handers.

Shun Cutlery Classic Vegetable Cleaver 7”, Chinese-Style Cleaver, Ideal for Processing Large Vegetables, Authentic, Handcrafted Japanese Cleaver Knife,Silver

Each of Shun’s knives is handcrafted in Seki, Japan by highly skilled artisans. This level of quality and craftsmanship is exceptional, but expect to pay a premium price for it.

As you might expect, the user reviews are highly positive. Buyers said these were some of the best knives for cutting vegetables, fruit, meat, and more.

They were wowed by the razor-like sharpness out of the box, and they were pleased with the durability and comfortable grip.

But the Shun cleaver is a significant, pricey investment. If you want a lifetime blade that you’re willing to care for properly, you can’t be the Shun.

Pros

  • Exceptionally sharp
  • Handcrafted in Seki, Japan
  • Beautiful Damascus steel cladding
  • Pakkawood handle
  • Excellent edge retention
  • Flexible but durable
  • Versatile, multi-purpose

Cons

  • Very expensive

Kyocera Revolution 6-inch Nakiri Knife: Best Ceramic Knife

The Kyocera Revolution Nakiri Knife is one of the best knives for cutting vegetables. It has a blade length of 6 inches (15.2 cm), which is one of the shorter blades on my list.

But what distinguishes this knife from others is the blade material. This knife has a ceramic blade made from Kyocera’s proprietary zirconia material produced in Japan.

The result? An exceptionally beautiful blade that has superb edge retention. Ceramic blades will maintain their edge up to 10 times longer than stainless steel blades. This knife is lightweight, easy to clean, rust-resistant, and corrosion-resistant.

But there is a downside. Ceramic is brittle and more likely to chip than stainless steel. Use extra caution when chopping veggies. Never use the Kyocera Nakiri on frozen foods or bone-in meat.

Kyocera Revolution Kitchen Knife, 6-inch Nakiri Vegetable Cleaver, Black

This knife has excellent balance and is comfortable to hold and use. The alloy steel handle is ergonomic and non-porous.

Another distinct feature of this knife is that it’s dishwasher-safe, for the top rack only. In spite of that feature, however, I would still wash the blade by hand.

This Kyocera knife is more affordable than premium brands, but it’s still pricier than your average stainless steel blade. But if you want a knife with extra long-lasting sharpness, it might be worth it. It boils down to personal preference.

Pros

  • Beautiful ceramic finish
  • Superb edge retention
  • Lightweight
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Dishwasher-safe (top rack only)

Cons

  • Shorter blade
  • Brittle, susceptible to chipping
Best vegetable knife reviews

Vegetable Knife Buying Guide

Person using knife slicing red tomato

What Is the Best Knife for Cutting Fruits and Vegetables?

Many vegetable knives have a straight edge designed for slicing, dicing, and mincing. Nakiri and Santoku knives are the most common examples. These knives feature a rectangular, flat blade, which helps you make thin slices. They’re especially useful for julienning herbs and vegetables.

The Chef’s knife is another popular choice, although this knife has a curved blade that’s meant for a rocking motion. When using a Chef’s knife, you don’t need to lift the knife fully off the cutting board. Simply rock the blade back and forth. A Chef’s knife is an all-purpose knife and can be used to cut boneless meats, as well.

A good vegetable knife has a fine edge, with a wide blade all the way to the tip. The rectangular shape allows you to make precise cuts. It’s also helpful for scooping up the chopped veggies and transferring them from the chopping board to the pan.

What Is a Vegetable Knife?

A vegetable knife is a broad term that encompasses any kitchen knife designed to cut vegetables. Common examples include Nakiri knives and vegetable cleavers.

A Nakiri is a Japanese knife specifically designed to chop vegetables. It has a straight, rectangular blade, typically 6 to 7 inches in length (15.2 to 17.8 cm).

A good vegetable knife has a thin blade with a sharp cutting edge that allows you to make precise cuts. Vegetable knives have straight edges, as opposed to curved or serrated edges.

The best knives for cutting vegetables use a high-carbon steel blade. Stainless steel knives in general are rust-resistant and corrosion-resistant, although it does vary according to the composition of each steel type.

You might also see Santoku knives, which are not technically vegetable knives but are multi-purpose knives. A Santoku is essentially a Japanese Chef’s knife. It doesn’t have the curved blade of a Western Chef’s knife, but it’s similar in size and purpose. Santoku knives can be used to cut vegetables, fish, or meat.

Is a Vegetable Knife Different than a Chef’s Knife?

A Western Chef’s knife has a pointed tip and a curved edge that allows you to rock the knife back and forth on the cutting board. A Japanese Chef’s knife is referred to as a Gyuto knife.

Chef’s knives are multi-purpose and are great for cutting and mincing vegetables and herbs and slicing boneless meat.

On the other hand, a vegetable knife has a straight edge and a rounded tip. Vegetable knives are not meant for cutting fish or meat.

Is a Vegetable Knife Different than a Paring Knife?

A vegetable knife is significantly different than a paring knife, although they can both mince herbs or cut fruit.

A paring knife has a short, curved blade with a sharp tip. Its simple, sharp blade is ideal for intricate work such as peeling vegetables or fruit, deveining shrimp, or removing seeds.

How to Use a Vegetable Cleaver

If you’re new to vegetable cleavers, it might be intimidating to use them. But don’t worry; it’s not difficult. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Grip the knife using a pinch grip. Place your thumb on one side of the blade and your curled index finger on the other side, “pinching” the blade between them. Wrap your other fingers around the handle.
  2. Hold the food with your fingers curled under, like a claw. This allows the blade to brush up against your knuckles without cutting your fingers!
  3. Slice the vegetable in a smooth, downward motion, lifting it clear off the cutting board each time.
  4. Once you’re done chopping, turn the blade on its side and scoop up the ingredients to transfer them to the pan.

Watch the video below to see Iron Chef Michael Symon in action using a vegetable knife:

Cleaning and Caring For Your Vegetable Knife

To get the most out of your kitchen knife, it’s important to properly care for it. It’s best to use your knives on soft plastic or wooden cutting boards. These materials can absorb the cuts without dulling the blade.

Some knives will claim to be dishwasher-safe, but I recommend hand washing them in any case. The high heat and harsh detergents in a dishwasher cycle are notorious for dulling or damaging knife blades.

Dry your knives immediately after washing them. Leaving wet blades out can cause rust.

You’ll want to periodically sharpen your knife with a whetstone. You can also use honing steel after each use for everyday honing. Store your knife in a wooden knife block or in a protective sheath in a cool, dry location.

Should I Get Japanese or German Knives?

Japanese knives feature stronger steel which makes them sharper. The downside is that they chip or break more easily. In contrast, German knives use lighter steel that doesn’t break as easily. But they do require more frequent sharpening.

The choice is up to you.

Best Knife for Vegetables: The Last Word

You don’t have to be a professional chef to have the best vegetable knife. I recommend the Mercer Nakiri Knife for anyone who wants maximum value and cutting performance.

Looking for more Nakiri knives? Check out my complete review of the best Nakiri knife.