Okay, so you’re a big fan of sushi sashimi, but going out to the local Japanese restaurant isn’t always on the cards. That’s why you want to get a great Japanese chef knife, such as a santoku knife or a gyuto knife that will help you make sushi at home.
These knives aren’t like any other kitchen knife you have in your drawer. They’re going to make things a whole lot easier for you when it comes to creating the best sushi possible, for a long time to come.
How to Choose the Best Sushi Knife: A Buying Guide
Chances are you haven’t given a whole lot of thought to making sushi at home before now. You’re just starting to look at the tools, after all, but you’re definitely going to want to look at some of the important features to this type of knife before you head out to the store and pick one up for yourself.
A sushi knife is going to be different from other knives you own because it’s going to have a specific purpose and be made especially for that purpose. If you take care of it, you’re going to have a sushi knife for a long time. But you need to know where to start, right?
If you don’t really know what you’re looking for you’re not going to be able to find it. That’s why we’ve put together a buying guide that’s going to help you choose the best possible sushi knife for your preferences and your needs. Sure, we’re going to recommend some of the top options that we’ve found, but in case you want to check out more options yourself, you’ll know what to look at.
We’ll take a look at several different features of a good quality sushi knife, including: the types of knives, materials in the knife, versatility, blade material, comfort, crafting and more.
You’ll find several great options below as well, which are going to help you narrow down your list or even stop looking entirely. If you’re not sure about choosing your own knife you may want to take a look at these ones and see how they could at least get you started, until you’re ready to choose your own knife.
Different Types of Knives
There are actually several different types of sushi knives out there, which, if you’ve never made sushi before, you probably didn’t know. These different knives are each designed to do something different in the process of creating sushi, but for the average beginner, you likely won’t need all of them.
In fact, it’s recommended that beginners or even amateur sushi makers use the yanagiba and call it a day. This knife is actually able to take care of most of the needs you’ll have in making sushi, and it keeps your total purchase price down while you’re at it. Of course, you can choose to go with some additional options if you really start getting into it.
Yanagiba: This is the standard when it comes to making sashimi and sushi. Its name means ‘willow shaped’ and it’s actually very versatile and comfortable to use. The blade itself is on the smaller side but has a slightly concave back face that keeps it from sticking to whatever you’re cutting and a front bevel that makes it easy to keep pieces from sticking to it.
Deba: This knife looks a bit like the meat cleaver you might already have in your drawer, but it’s a little bit different and designed for cutting straight through any kind of fish, including the bones and cartilage. They can also be used for other types of meat and actually are quite thick, available in different sizes and have an obtuse angle at the back of the heel to make it easier to cut the head off of a fish without other damage.
Usuba: This is what you want to use for cutting vegetables, but not the way that you probably cut them already. Instead, this type of knife is used for making very fine cuts and thin, almost shaved pieces. This is because Japanese cuisine emphasizes beauty in their food and the Usuba is a thin blade that helps to create beautiful looks for the vegetables. It’s very sharp and has a chisel ground, a bevel on the front side and a hollow ground on the back side with a flat edge and very little curve.
Santoku: If you’ve ever heard of any type of Japanese knife then it’s probably this one. Though not a truly traditional Japanese knife it is a popular one and can be used for just about anything including fish, meat, and vegetables. It’s also great for cutting California rolls with cooked rice. It’s actually more of a western-style of the knife but if you’re looking for the versatility it’s a good option. It has different sizes and offers an angled blade that lets it slice, dice, and mince.
Materials in Your Knife
When it comes to actually picking out a specific knife you want to make sure that it’s high quality and that it’s going to work for the long term. Buying a sushi knife is definitely not about just getting something that works today, after all. You want it to last a long time.
Blade Material: The first thing to look at is the blade material because this is what’s going to make the knife itself last the longest. Blades should be made of some type of high-quality steel, such as carbon or iron. These are made to last, are more durable and are more traditional for the knife itself. They’re going to give you a better, cleaner cut each time and will be worth the little bit extra you’ll pay for them.
Crafting: There are two different styles of crafting when it comes to a sushi knife. These are Honyaki and Kasumi. When it comes to high quality you can actually get something good with either option, you just have to understand what you’re getting for the cost. A Honyaki knife (the slightly better option) is made with a single piece of high-grade steel and means ‘true forged’ while a Kasumi knife is made with two different types of high-grade metals and means ‘mist.’ A Kasumi knife may have an iron center and a softer carbon steel exterior.
Blade Tang: When the blade of a knife is attached to the handle there’s a piece of the metal that the blade is made from that goes into the handle (at least a little bit) to provide a secure hold. This makes sure that the blade stays in the handle and is called the ‘tang.’ Some knives will come with a full tang, which means that the blade is part of a long piece of metal that goes through the entire handle. Others have a smaller tang or ‘rat tail,’ which means the metal tapers down from the blade to a thing point at the end, which is surrounded by the handle itself. These are more traditional when it comes to Japanese knives and are generally plenty strong enough.
Material Weight: Weight is really going to be a personal preference when it comes to your knife, but it should feel comfortable in your hand. You should be able to hold it for an extended period if necessary and you shouldn’t feel like it’s pulling while you’re trying to cut through any of your meat, fish or vegetables.
Knife Comfort: Along the same lines with weight is the overall comfort level that you feel with your knife. You want to have a good grip on the handle and you want to make sure that you can hold it for an extended period without having to constantly move your hand or change your grip.
Sushi Knife Reviews
The following sushi knives are some of our favorites that you can buy. While you’d never cut sushi with an electric knife, all of our top picks will help you cut sushi like a warm knife through hot butter.
While there are many different options on the market today you could choose from, we are confident that you won’t be disappointed with any of our top choices.
Let’s jump in.
1. Dalstrong Chef Knife
- The Ultimate Chef's Knife: A Dalstrong...
- Unrivaled Performance: Ruthlessly sharp...
- Dalstrong Power: An ultra sharp AUS-10V...
- A Chef Knife Engineered to Perfection:...
- Dalstrong Trust: Rocksolid 100%...
This sushi knife is definitely not sacrificing anything and makes sure that you have the high quality that you’re looking for, even if it might cost a bit more. It offers an extremely sharp blade with a 12-degree angle on each side. It’s nitrogen cooled to increase the hardness, flexibility and corrosion resistance and offers a full tang plus triple-riveting to make it even more resilient and durable.
Made with AUS-10V super steel for the core it has 6 layers of high-carbon stainless steel to increase strength, durability and stain resistance even more. There’s a high level of balance to the knife and the handle is even made of military grade materials. The entire thing comes with a money back guarantee and lifetime warranty.
2. Kitchen + Home Sushi Knife
- DESIGN - Our 13" nonstick multipurpose...
- NONSTICK - The entire metal blade is...
- VERSATILE - Our razor sharp, stick-proof...
- PREMIUM QUALITY - Get the same results...
- LIFETIME WARRANTY - Stop shopping around...
We’re starting out with an inexpensive option that makes it easy for you to get started with your favorite sushi recipes. It’s a 13” knife with a thin, aerated blade that helps to reduce sticking by creating less friction and offering a Teflon, food grade coating. That’s what makes it easier for it to slide through raw fish, vegetables and more. This lightweight knife has an 8” carbon, stainless steel blade that provides excellent edge retention and it’s dishwasher safe.
You’ll be able to portion and cut even the most delicate of fish without having to worry about tearing and crushing because of the advanced rocker design for the blade. It’s designed not to rust and comes with a lifetime warranty, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee.
3. Hiroshi Knives
- 4 knife set - get a variety of the 4...
- Forged steel blades, hand sharpened and...
- Ultra-light wood handle can travel and...
- Ultra hard high carbon steel
- 100% Money Back Satisfaction Guarantee
This is actually a set of four different sushi knives from Hiroshi, including a chef’s knife, vegetable chopping knife, multipurpose knife and delicate work knife. You’ll have more versatility overall and you’re getting forged carbon steel blades that are hand sharpened as well as hand assembled to increase quality. They have an ultra-light handle that’s made with wood and is designed for continued use without causing fatigue. On top of that, they come with a money-back guarantee.
Extremely sharp, they’re able to provide extremely thin cuts of raw fish with ease as well as without destroying the rest of the fish. Even beginners shouldn’t have a problem with any of these knives for even general purposes and cooking.
4. Kai Wasabi Yanagiba Knife
- Japanes style yanagiba knife, used for...
- Made with Daido 1K6 high-carbon,...
- Unique, single-sided blade...
- Blades are bead-blasted to an attractive...
- Dishwasher safe, hand washing...
From this company, you can actually get just about any type of knife you’re looking for and in a range of different sizes, but for the Yanagiba knife, you’re getting Daido 1K6 carbon stainless steel, which is designed to hold a super sharp edge. Its bead blasted to give you a sleek finish and the handle is designed to be sturdy and durable for extended use. There’s even a limited lifetime warranty on this product that’s made in Japan.
The blade is sharpened on a single side to make sure that food is less likely to stick and the handle is made of polypropylene, bamboo, and antimicrobial agents that make it food safe and clean. This lightweight knife gives you the look and feels of a traditional knife with some modern convenience.
5. Tojiro Gyutou
- Stain resistant chef knife
- Usable to both left and right handed...
- size 8.2" inches
This knife is 8.2” or 10.5” and is edged but comfortable for both left and right-handed users, which makes it even more versatile for any chef. Made in Japan, the double bevel of this knife makes it sleek and ready to cut through just about anything, including your favorite raw fish. It’s razor sharp and offers a comfortable handle that you will easily be able to hold onto while you’re chopping, cutting, slicing or anything else that you need for your favorite sushi or anything else.
This is a larger knife than some of the others we’ve looked at here, with a taller blade as well as a longer one, but it’s still designed to be comfortable and offers a full tang blade with rivets through the handle to keep it even more stable.
When it comes down to it, you want a knife that’s going to give you quality, durability and overall versatility. With any of these knives, you’re going to have no problem getting some great sushi, made from home and without all the fuss. All it takes is a few minutes to see which one will work out best for you.