Although the smallest knife in a cook’s arsenal, the humble paring knife is not one to be dismissed. This petite powerhouse is a versatile and indispensable tool in every kitchen. Designed for precise and controlled use, the paring knife boasts a sharp pointed tip and a slightly curved edge.


Lightweight and compact in size, paring knives are easy to manoeuvre and ideal for intricate tasks that require precision. They’re great for peeling fruits and vegetables, de-seeding and coring produce, creating garnishes and deveining prawns. They’re often referred to as vegetable knives, peeling knives or small kitchen knives owing to their versatility.

It’s rare that you’ll prep a whole dish using a paring knife alone, rather it’s the knife you reach for when your chef’s knife is just too large for the job at hand. For example, choose a paring knife for artichoke alla guidia, fennel, sausage, tomato and mozzarella hand pies, or butter-poached trout, burnt leeks, and hazelnuts.

As with any knife, proper care and maintenance is crucial. Paring knives can be sharpened to ensure their edge remains in the best condition. Regular sharpening and honing will keep your knives performing at their best.

After chef’s knives, the paring knife is the second most commonly occurring knife in knife sets, though they are also available to buy separately. Many home cooks like to have a paring knife in their set for tasks that require accuracy and finesse.

More like this

Jump to section:

Best paring knives at a glance

  • Best paring knife: Victorinox Classic paring knife, £5.50
  • Best serrated paring knife: Victorinox Classic serrated paring knife, £5.50
  • Best Japanese paring knife: Aogami Petty 120mm, £85
  • Best blowout paring knife: Victorinox Grand Maître Forged paring knife, £89
  • Best paring knife for citrus: Zwilling Pro 10cm paring knife, £66.95

Best paring knives to buy 2023

Victorinox Classic paring knife

Victorinox Paring knife

Best paring knife


  • Lightweight
  • Comfy handle
  • Textured handle
  • Available in a range of colours
  • Budget


  • Possibly a little too light

Star rating:

A star rating of 5 out of 5.

Tidy and compact, this Victorinox classic paring knife weights just 20g but is an impressive and near-perfect knife to use. Unlike some of the other Victorinox knives we’ve tested, the blade on this paring knife feels sturdy and robust.

The handle is nicely shaped and very easy to grip, thanks to the slightly textured finish. We also like that the handles are available in an array of colours, including pink, yellow, green and more.

This knife thoroughly impressed us in test. We were able to remove orange peel with deft precision and supreme it with no resistance at all. It even sliced through tomato with total ease, too.

There’s not a lot we didn’t like about this knife: attractive, budget-friendly and oh-so-nimble.

Available from:

Victorinox Classic serrated paring knife

Victorinox serrated Paring knife

Best serrated paring knife


  • Lightweight
  • Available in a range of colours
  • Budget-friendly
  • Comfy, textured handle


  • Perhaps a little too light

Star rating:

A star rating of 5 out of 5.

This Victorinox knife is simply the serrated version of the paring knife above. Like its non-serrated sibling, it too is available in a range of colours and features the same comfortable, ergonomic handle.

It took the rind off an orange quickly and easily, though – as expected – this knife doesn’t produce as clean slices as the knife above. That being said, the knife is sharp and precise, and overall a joy to use. We achieved controlled and even slices of tomato, too.

This knife is a steal at under £10, and even if you don’t find yourself reaching for a serrated paring knife on a daily basis, this Victorinox knife is one you’ll be thankful for when you do come to need it.

Available from:

Aogami Petty 120mm

Aogami Petty 120mm 001

Best Japanese paring knife


  • Very attractive
  • Super sharp
  • Comfortable


  • On the larger side
  • Not suited to very fine tasks

Star rating:

A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.

The Aogami Petty is one of the larger paring knives we tested, it is also one of the most attractive. This knife features a 120mm steel and carbon blade (Aogami), as well as a tapered walnut handle.

This knife comes well presented in a delicate cardboard box. The knife is lightweight but feels nicely balanced in the hand.

We loved the blade on this knife: ultra sharp, with the finest point at the end. It cut through an orange with total precision, though we felt the blade was a little too long when we were supremeing segments of orange.

This knife excelled on our tomato test, removing the thinnest slices of tomato with precise strokes.

If you’re not after a paring knife for ultra precise tasks but are simply after one you can reach for small everyday jobs, the Aogami Petty 120mm is a great choice.

Available from:

Victorinox Grand Maître forged paring knife

Victorinox Grand Maitre Forged paring knife

Best blowout paring knife


  • Comfy handle
  • Nicely weighted


  • Not as sharp as other blades tested

Star rating:

A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.

This beautifully crafted knife features a nimble blade and sturdy, ergonomic handle. It’s nicely weighted in the hand and feels balanced, too.

Although the blade looks ultra sharp, it was met with a little resistance when slicing through our test orange and tomato. We cut out segments of orange easily enough but we had to saw a little more than expected when removing the orange rind. Similarly, the tomato required some force to produce a slice. However we were happy with the results produced.

This is an impressively sturdy knife that’s been built to last. It’s attractive and agile, and would make a great addition to any cook’s toolkit.

Available from:

Zwilling Pro 10cm paring knife

Zwilling Pro 10cm paring knife

Best paring knife for citrus


  • Super sharp
  • Nimble
  • Comfortable in the hand
  • Great for fine slicing


  • Long handle
  • Plastic packaging

Star rating:

A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.

Nicely weighted and incredibly well balanced, this Zwilling Pro knife is a real joy to use. We found this knife comfortable to hold thanks to the well shaped handle, though felt the handle itself was a little long.

This knife sliced through tomato with total ease and supremed orange slices easily, too. We did find this knife was less smooth when it came to cutting through the orange peel, however. That being said, overall our chef testers called this knife a “delight to use”.

Nimble and comfortable to use, if you cook with a lot of citrus, this paring knife is up for the job.

Available from:

What is a paring knife used for?

A paring knife excels when completing delicate and precise cutting tasks. Its small size and nimble blade make it the perfect knife for peeling fruits and veggies, removing seeds, making intricate cuts or completing fiddly tasks like deveining prawns. Whether it’s a simple task like peeling veg or you’re precisely cutting out decorations, a paring knife is an essential tool.

How to sharpen a paring knife?

A paring knife can be sharpened like any other non-serrated knife using either a tabletop sharpener or whetstone. If using a tabletop sharpener, simply run the knife through the sharpener a few times, remembering to clean the blade afterwards. If using a whetstone, you’ll need to slide both sides of the knife over the stone at either a 15 or 20 degree angle (depending on whether you’re working with a European or Japanese knife). Sharpening a paring knife on a whetstone should be faster than sharpening a chef’s knife as the blade is smaller and sees less use.

How we tested paring knives

We tested both traditional and serrated paring knives. Each knife was tested in controlled conditions using the same ingredients. They were then handed to our chefs in the test kitchen to get some live and in-action feedback.

We supremed an orange to test how well the blade sliced through rind and how it handled fiddly, precise tasks. We also sliced through traditionally tricky tomato. We use the same criteria for design and ease of use when testing knives:

  • Comfortable: although they’re small, we still wanted to use knives that were comfortable to hold and allowed for nimble and dynamic movement.
  • Balanced: knives should be balanced in the hand and have some weight to them.
  • Sustainable: we looked for paring knives that come with long or lifetime warranties, as well as plastic-free packaging.
  • Ultra sharp: we looked for knives that held their sharp edge for a long time.

More reviews

Best stand mixers
Best baking gifts
11 best cake stands
19 best coffee subscriptions
Best coffee machines
Best bean to cup coffee machines
Best espresso coffee machines
Best ice cream makers
Best bundt tins
Best loaf tins
Best springform cake tins
Best mixing bowls
Best KitchenAid stand mixers
Best cookie cutters
Best spatulas


Recipes for paring knives

Prawn toast
Amalfi lemon drizzle cake
Courgette and chimichurri salad
Spring greens shakshuka
Pear cake


Lydia AndersonProduct Testing Lead

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post