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You may have a set of knives at home that work well for chopping veggies or meat—but they likely aren’t designed to cut your gourmet cheeses. Whether you consider yourself an expert or are just getting started on your at-home cheese journey, adding a few of these specialized knives into your kitchen drawer can make all the difference.
What makes a good cheese knife? First, it should work with the cheese, not against it, and it shouldn’t make your precious cheeses crack or crumble. It should also be comfortable, easy to use, and, ideally, stylish in design. With these factors in mind, we took a look at the many cheese knives available out there and consulted Sid Cook, a certified Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker with Carr Valley Cheese, on what he thinks is worth your money.
We then had some of our editors take most of our top picks to test in our Lab. We purchased a variety of soft, semi-soft, and hard cheeses, from Camembert to Manchego, to see if the soft and hard cheese knives were able to slice smoothly—or if the cheese crumbled or got crushed instead. We also assessed whether they were comfortable to use and easy to clean. Lastly, we rated the cheese knives on their design, size, performance, ease of cleaning, and overall value.
Here are the best cheese knives in a variety of categories, lab-tested, to help you find the perfect one for all of your cheesy needs.
Best for Soft Cheeses: Boska Soft Cheese Knife Copenhagen No.1
What We Love: Glides through soft cheeses, sleek design
What We Don’t Love: Thin blade may not work for transferring thick wedges of soft cheeses
"Soft cheeses naturally stick to your utensils, so these knives are built to minimize the surface area that cheese can stick to," says Sid Cook, Certified Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker at Carr Valley Cheese. These knives' very thin blades, sometimes paired with holes on the blades, help make cutting soft cheeses a smooth, "stick-free" process, he adds.
One stellar example is this narrow Boska knife. The stainless steel blade, which has a nonstick coating, allows for minimal contact with your cheese to prevent sticking. Plus, it’s entirely stainless steel, so everything is entirely food-safe. And its sleek design lends itself well to entertaining.
Ideal for cutting up your classic Brie, mozzarella for caprese salads and sandwiches, and delicate chevre, it can also be used in a pinch for hard cheeses, but we recommend sticking to soft options. A few customers who are frequent soft-cheese consumers say the knife feels good to use and doesn’t squash the cheese—and indeed, we were pleased to observe that it didn't crush our Brie, Camembert, or vegan feta cheeses.
The only thing about the thin, small blade is that it didn't work as well moving and transferring thick cheese wedges in our lab tests.
Blade Material: Stainless steel | Handle Material: Stainless steel | Blade Length: 3.6 inches | Total Length: 9.1 inches | Weight: 0.1 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes
Best Set: BOSKA Copenhagen Mini Knife Set
What We Love: Lightweight, rounded handles are comfortable for short periods,
What We Don’t Love: Small size is not ideal for cutting large pieces
In need of a solid starter kit or maybe a hostess gift? Or perhaps you only eat fine cheese occasionally and don't want full-size cheese knives taking up space in your drawer. If that's the case, this set of four minis from Boska is a solid choice—it has a match for nearly any cheese, from soft to spreadable to hard.
For their size, our staff was surprised at how well they did the job. The cheese spreader knife, for instance, did exactly what its name claims, allowing us to smoothly spread both the camembert and vegan cashew cheese on a few sourdough bread slices. The soft cheese knife, too, while not the best we tested, performed well slicing through both the Brie and vegan feta cheeses—though we noticed that after a few minutes of using, the cheese did start getting stuck to the blade.
The stainless steel handles are rounded yet hollow, which allows for a lightweight knife that’s easy to hold, and the design will look sleek during cocktail hour.
Blade Material: Stainless steel | Handle Material: Stainless steel | Spreading Blade Length: 2 inches | Semi-Soft Blade Length: 2.5 inches | Semi-Hard Blade Length: 2.5 inches | Hard Cheese Blade Length: 1.8 inches | Weight: 3.5 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes
Best for Slicing: Boska Cheese Slicer Copenhagen
What We Love: Comfortable rounded handle, lightweight, sizable slices
What We Don’t Love: Not ideal for crumbly cheeses
It’s not very common to have a gourmet cheese shop or even your local grocery store slice cheese for you, so you’ll want a high-quality tool to get the job done—and this option from Boska does just that. We especially liked the streamlined, one-piece design; Fran, our associate editor, liked that she didn't have to worry about the head potentially snapping off during use.
We were also a fan of the rounded ergonomic handle. It’s easy to hold as we sliced away on some of our favorite firm cheeses, creating mostly unbroken thick slices of the Manchego and Gruyère. The shape of the slices ended up being ideal for the grilled cheese sandwiches we made later. We can see these being ideal for pre-slicing hard cheeses for cheese and crackers at a party, for instance.
Our only caveat is that it didn't work as well with the crumbly cheeses, such as the Bayley Blue or the Bucheron. However, those aren't the kind of cheeses one would typically slice, so this shouldn't be a big deal.
"This small slicer performed better than I expected, letting me slice pretty substantial slices of the hard cheeses quite effortlessly." — Fran Sales, Associate Commerce Editor
Blade Material: Stainless steel | Handle Material: Stainless steel | Blade Length: 2.9 inches | Total Length: 8.7 inches | Weight: 1.9 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes
Best as Part of a Cheese Board: Frux Natural Bamboo Cheese Board and Knife Set
What We Love: Easy to store, lightweight, nicely designed, complements serving tools well
What We Don't Love: Not ideal to use for long periods of time
We were a fan of the Frux cheese board when we tested charcuterie boards at our testing lab, and the fact that it includes its own set of mini wood-handled cheese knives was just icing on the cake. Firstly, while the board is heavy (at almost 7 pounds, and more with all the charcuterie, cheese, and dried fruit we could fit on it), the knives were very light, so we didn't have trouble transporting the full board from the lab kitchen's counter onto the serving table.
The cheese tools were easy to store in the board's slide-out drawer if you're not using them. We tested the knives on various cheeses and liked that there were four different styles to choose from: a chisel knife, a narrow plane knife, an "almond" knife, and a cheese fork (not to be confused with mini serving forks that were also included).
We found the wooden handles comfortable to hold, but due to how small the cheese tools were (the handles were about 2.5 inches each), they became tiring to grip and use for any long period of time, Fran, our associate editor, says. But for serving, these worked just fine, especially the narrow plane knife, which surprisingly performed a little bit more smoothly than the mini Boska soft cheese knife when it came to slicing our soft Brie and Camembert.
Blade Material: Stainless steel | Handle Material: Natural bamboo | Blade Length: All approx. 2.5 inches | Total Length: All approx. 5 inches | Weight: All approx. 1 ounce | Dishwasher-Safe? No
Related: The Best Charcuterie Boards
Best for Spreading: Robert Welch Kingham Spreader
What We Love: Multipurpose, stylish design
What We Don’t Love: Not available to purchase in sets
From spreadable gorgonzola to pâté, this well-priced spreader by Robert Welch does it all. Made from 18/10 stainless steel, the design is stylish yet simple, and the mirror-polished finish will stay shiny through use and wear with proper care.
This wide knife pairs well with any of the other pieces in Williams Sonoma’s Robert Welch collection, which includes an appetizer fork, a soup spoon, a serving spoon, and more. It also comes with a 25-year warranty.
Blade Material: Stainless steel | Handle Material: Stainless steel | Blade Length: 2.75 inches | Total Length: 5.75 inches | Weight: 1.9 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes
Related: The Best Flatware Sets
Best Budget: Hammer Stahl 5-Inch Cheese Knife
What We Love: Works well for a variety of cheese types, includes a pretty gift box
What We Don’t Love: Serrated edge may not give a fully smooth cut on cheese
If you’re spending money on high-quality cheeses, you might want to invest in high-quality tools to match. But if you’re not ready to spend a lot just yet for a full collection, go for this versatile Hammer Stahl option, which does well with both soft and hard cheeses, as well as with fruits and vegetables.
The purpose of the holes on this knife’s blade (and on other similar cheese knives) is so that there’s a smaller surface area for the cheese to stick to, according to Jessica Affatato, founder of Harbor Cheese and Provisions. “Cheese is inherently sticky and will grab anything that it touches. Holes on the blade allow the knife to cut through cleanly.”
You can use this knife to slice and serve as well, thanks to the added fork tip. Plus, the wood on the handle is infused with resin to keep it looking beautiful and durable for years to come. As a bonus, it comes with an equally gorgeous gift box and a lifetime manufacturer warranty.
Blade Material: High-carbon stainless steel | Handle Material: Stainless steel, Pakkawood | Blade Length: 5 inches | Total Length: 9.25 inches | Weight: 8.5 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe? No
Related: The Best Knife Sets
Need something for soft cheeses? Go with the Boska Copenhagen Soft Cheese Knife. The thin blade allows for minimal sticking, even with the creamiest cheeses. If you're a hard cheese fanatic and love snacking on substantial cheese slices, you can't go wrong with the Boska Cheese Slicer.
What Are the Other Options?
Wusthof Classic 4.75-Inch Hard Cheese Knife: We're not saying we had unreasonably high expectations about the performance of this knife, but because of the brand name, its hefty size, industrial look, and more importantly, cost (it retails at around $150), we expected it to perform better than it did. While it did a fine-enough job slicing our hard cheeses initially, after a few slices, the cheeses started getting stuck to the blade. Its mediocre and underwhelming performance would only lead us to recommend it to friends or family members, if it were on a deep discount.
How We Tested
To test the soft cheese knives, we purchased a variety of soft cheeses, including Brie, Camembert, and vegan cashew cheese. We observed whether those knives were able to slice through the cheeses smoothly or if the cheeses ended up crushed; we also tested whether we were able to use them to spread cheese on crackers. We also bought a variety of semi-hard and hard cheeses, including blue cheese, Bucheron, Gruyère, and Manchego. If the knives come in a set that has a cheese fork, we examined whether it worked well for picking up cheese or breaking down blocks of aged cheese.
We then rated each cheese knife on the following qualities: Design, Size, Performance, Cleaning, and Value. Learn more about how we test products.
What to Look for When Buying a Cheese Knife
Types of Knives
Just like you have specific knives for specific kitchen needs, there are knives that work better with some cheeses more than others:
- For soft cheeses, go for a knife with a prolonged thin blade or one with holes. Either way, the minimal surface area is ideal for soft and sticky options.
- Mini spatula knives are perfect for easy-to-spread blue cheeses and goat cheeses onto crackers or bread.
- Whether you call it a spade, a heart, or something else, this small but mighty knife can easily break even the firmest cheeses around. Pierce the cheese, press in, twist, and enjoy.
- While a cheese cleaver might look a bit intimidating on your charcuterie board, it can be a great way to quickly cut your favorite cheddar into cubes.
- Chisel knives operate similarly to slicers for semi-soft and hard cheeses, but can allow for more flexibility with the thickness of your cuts.
As with most varieties of knives, stainless steel blades are the most common for a good reason. Stainless steel knives, regardless of their handle type, are durable and can withstand the test of time and use with basic maintenance. As for the handles, you might want to leave the wood for the boards and not on the knives.
“I tend to prefer a stainless steel knife where the handle is a continuous part of the metal itself. While it looks nice, wood handles can get lots of gunk caught between the handle and the blade," explains Jessica Affatato.
Ease of Use
Let the cheese do a bit of work for you! It’s far easier to make clean cuts on firmer cheeses when they’re on the colder side and won’t crumble with excess heat. Same goes for soft cheese, which can lose its shape and stick to your tool if it's not cut while it's cold (or on the cold side).
Maintenance and Cleaning
You can’t go wrong with hot water and soap for washing your knives, but if you’re finding that things are getting a bit sticky in between each cut, keep a damp cloth handy to wipe off the sides. Though many knives claim to be dishwasher-safe, it can be too rough on your tools and dull them over time, so stick to hand-washing whenever possible.
Do I really need a cheese knife?
Cook makes the case for why serious fromage lovers should consider buying dedicated cheese knives—just like chefs have different knives for prepping different meats and veggies.
"Other knives used in the kitchen aren’t going to cut it. The steak knives don’t give you enough oomph to cut hard cheeses, and the table knives will crush soft cheeses like a brie," he says.
Why do some cheese knives have holes?
This might come as a shock, but it has nothing to do with Swiss cheese! Even the sharpest knives can get cheeses stuck onto the sides, and the holes help prevent that.
What does “nosing the cheese” mean?
Don’t cut off the nose! Most cheeses are cut in wedges, like you’d cut a cake, so each piece gets a bit of the “nose,” aka the center of the wheel—which is often the ripest and most flavorful.
What temperature should I serve cheese?
When serving a cheese or charcuterie board, your cheese should be room temperature. Try taking it out of the fridge about an hour before it’s time to serve for optimal texture and flavor.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Jacqueline Weiss was quite literally raised in a cheese shop, first opened in Philadelphia by her grandfather in 1963 and later owned and operated by her father until 2019. She grew up working with the tools of the trade—which she now uses in her Los Angeles kitchen on vegan and non-vegan cheeses. To choose the best options for this article, she consulted third-party and consumer reviews, spoke with experts, and considered functionality, design, and price.
Fran Sales updated this piece. She happily tested the cheese knives on various cheeses—from soft to crumbly to hard, from vegan to non-vegan.
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