✈ DAILY DEAL: $53 FLIGHTS ON SOUTHWEST (MUST BOOK TODAY)!.
Don't Waste Your Money is supported by our readers. When you purchase an item through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Fillet Knife

Last updated on March 8, 2024

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Fillet Knives

View All Recommendations
Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

Rapala Stainless Steel Fillet Knife, 6-Inch

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Rapala

Stainless Steel Fillet Knife, 6-Inch

The first thing you'll notice about this fillet knife is the genuine leather sheath with decorative engravings. The knife itself is constructed from a durable Swedish stainless steel blade that will make quick work of the task at hand. As an added bonus, the set comes with a single-stage sharpener.

Overall Take

Decorative OptionIf your looking for the perfect gift for the fisherman in your life, this fillet knife is your best bet.

 Runner Up

Bicico Textured Nonstick Fillet Knife, 6-Inch

Bicico

Textured Nonstick Fillet Knife, 6-Inch

There isn't anything you can't do with this fillet knife. Use it in the kitchen to effortlessly cut through beef or take it camping to prepare toppings for your burgers. The carbon stainless steel blade is nice and sharp, while the added hand-forged texture keeps the blade from sticking to foods.

Overall Take

Most VersatileThe finger hole and ergonomically curved handle on this fillet knife set it above other models on the market.

 We Also Like

Victorinox Ergonomic Swiss Fillet Knife, 6-Inch

Victorinox

Ergonomic Swiss Fillet Knife, 6-Inch

This fillet knife is a handy tool for any kitchen. It can help you debone or trim meat, thanks to its pointed tip and curved edge. It also has an ergonomic non-slip handle.

Overall Take

Delicate and StrongThis fillet knife can help you debone delicate fish or poultry in the kitchen.

 Also Great

Calamus Lightweight Razor Sharp Fillet Knife, 9-Inch

Calamus

Lightweight Razor Sharp Fillet Knife, 9-Inch

No fishing kit is complete without this fillet knife. It's made using a German stainless steel that's corrosion resistant and extremely durable. Since the knife also includes a sheath and attractive gift box, it makes for an excellent Christmas present.

Overall Take

Affordable Price TagThe longer blade on this fillet knife makes quick work of filleting and steaking your latest catch.

Buying Guide

Whether you enjoy catching your own fish, or purchasing whole fish from the fishmonger at the local market, a fillet knife is a useful tool to have. When you want to expertly clean and debone your fish, a sharp, exact fillet knife is a great way to make safe and accurate cuts. You don’t need to be a professional chef or a fish connoisseur to use a fillet knife either, as it’s a great tool for home cooks and professionals alike.

Simplemost Media

“A good fillet knife can be used for skinning, deboning and filleting fish,” says our culinary expert Julie Chernoff. “If you can find a fillet knife that does all three, then you’re in good shape.”

One of the specific characteristics of a fillet knife is that the blade is flexible, unlike other kitchen knives. This flexibility of the blade enables cooks to have greater control over their cuts, so that no edible parts of the fish are wasted. The flexible blade can maneuver around hard surfaces, such as bones or scales, to remove the pieces of desired flesh.

Simplemost Media

What makes a fillet knife blade so flexible? It’s all in the design. It is often made out of special steel that allows for that unique flexibility. Plus, the blades are long, usually between seven to nine inches. The thickness and width of the blade also affect the amount of flexibility in the blade. When searching for a good fillet knife, be sure to check how flexible the blade is.

Simplemost Media

“Look for a full-tang, riveted-handle knife for stability,” says Chernoff. “The blade should have a substantial shoulder where it connects to the handle for added protection from the slippery fish and to have something to brace your hand against to keep it from coming in contact with the blade.”

Simplemost Media

In order to expertly fillet a fish, begin by removing the scales of the fish with the backside of the blade. You can then remove the fins and take off all of the skin. Next, take out the entrails of the fish with the fillet knife. Be sure to wash out the space inside with water.

After that, slice the fish fully open lengthwise. You can use your fillet knife to mark the fillets on either side. Using the flexible blade of the fillet knife, take out the fillets very carefully so as not to tear them. This technique can be used on most types of fish. Remember to always use a sharp and flexible fillet knife to make exact cuts.

Our Expert Consultant

Julie Chernoff
Culinary Expert

Julie Chernoff is a long-time member of Les Dames d’Escoffier (past president of the Chicago Chapter, and current co-chair of the LDEI Legacy Awards Committee), the Association of Food Journalists (AFJ) and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Chernoff is the dining editor of Better, a lifestyle website and print magazine. Her journalism started in the test kitchens of Weight Watchers Magazine. She holds a BA in English from Yale University and is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy. She has spent the last few decades styling, photographing, teaching, developing recipes, editing, thinking and writing about food.

What to Look For

  • One of the most important elements to look for when selecting a good fillet knife is the material the knife is made out of. You want to ensure that the blade will be strong, yet forgiving. A fillet knife blade needs to be flexible but firm at the same time, allowing you to make expert cuts and remove the flesh of the fish. Some knives are made out of an incredibly razor-sharp imported high-carbon German steel and feature a hand polished edge at 14-16 degrees per side. This makes the knife highly flexible and  maneuverable. Other knives are forged from a single block of high carbon stainless steel. They are then tempered to 58-degree HRC. Their blades are long and narrow, so that they are easy to move it along the backbone of the fish and remove the scales. Some knives are comprised of premium, razor-sharp G4116 German stainless steel. Their blades are curved and have the right flexibility to cut around the natural shape of fish.
  • Just as important as the blade is the handle. After all, it doesn’t matter how flexible or sharp the blade is if the handle of the knife is difficult to hold. You want to ensure the handle provides the perfect grip for your hand, so that the blade is easy to control and maneuver. Look for a knife that has a luxury imported black pakkawood handle. These handles are triple-riveted, so that they provide a strong grip with comfort. You also want the knife to have an ergonomic handle. Some models have a comfortable and slip-resistant handle, with polymer grips. They are designed to ensure you always have a solid grip on the knife.
  • When you have such a sharp tool in the kitchen, it’s important to keep safety in mind, especially for storage. Opt for a knife that has a protective sheath. This not only keeps the blade safe while it’s not in use, it also ensures that you don’t accidentally cut your fingers while the knife is not in use. Some knives come with a durable and lightweight sheath, designed to lock the handle for safety. The sheath has open slots that enable any water on the knife to drain, ensuring the knife stays dry and sharp.

More to Explore

While a fillet knife is designed specifically for use on fish, it’s unique design and flexible blade also make it good for other uses in the kitchen. It can be used on other types of delicate meat, where exact knife-work is important. For example, a fillet knife can be used to trim fat and skin from small game like rabbit or quail. It can also be used to cut pieces of chicken, especially the more delicate breasts. A fillet knife can also be used to slice red meat into very thin slices, instead of using a meat slicer.

In addition to meat, a fillet knife is great for cutting decorative vegetables. The sharp and flexible blade is perfect for cutting elaborate designs into carrots, tomatoes and radishes. Cutting vegetables into a rosette shape is much easier with a good fillet knife.

Citrus fruit, such as oranges, lemons and grapefruit, can also be cut using a fillet knife. With the flexible blade, it’s easy to segment the fruit, and remove the pith and the rind. Peeling fruits that have a very thin skin, such as mangoes and tomatoes, is also much more efficient with a sharp fillet knife.

From our partners