Item: Kyocera Ceramic Chefs Knife
Overall Impression: Lightweight and easy to care for. Excels at chopping hard vegetables and herbs.
The idea of a knife that stays razor-sharp for months — even years! — has a lot of appeal to me as a home cook whose knives seem to be in constant need of honing and resharpening. But a chefs knife has to wear a lot of hats in the kitchen, and I've always wondered how a lightweight, brittle ceramic blade would hold up when put to the test.
Characteristics and Specs: 7" ceramic blade. Comfortable molded plastic handle. Use with a plastic or wooden cutting board — never glass or stone. Avoid cutting motions that involve twisting or flexing the blade. Ceramic Kyocera knives with plastic handles are dishwasher safe.
Favorite details: Lightweight and very well balanced. Zero wrist fatigue after cutting a pile of vegetables. I love it for chopping herbs and greens. Easy to clean and requires little maintenance (ie sharpening)
Potential problems: The blade can feel "sticky" while cutting through wet ingredients like onions. Instead of smoothly slicing through the onion, I had to tug the knife a bit to get it through the vegetable (especially when making horizontal cuts).
Good for small kitchens? Yes.
Ceramic knives have come a long way since they first started gaining popularity ten or so years ago. Kyocera makes their blades using a proprietary process that makes them stronger, denser, and less prone to snapping. You still need to avoid cuts that potentially twist or flex the blade, like boning meats or smashing cloves of garlic, but these ceramic knives seem much more durable than their predecessors.
I really like how this knife feels in my hand. It's lightweight and very well balanced, allowing me to make sure, even slices. I have small hands, and this felt just right as I gripped the handle. It rocks smoothly for repetitive slices but also works well with more forceful straight cuts.
I've been using this ceramic chefs knife from Kyocera, along with one of their smaller paring knives, for a few months now. I find myself delighted when using it for some tasks and frustrated with others:
- Herbs and Greens: I now reach for the ceramic knife whenever I have to chop a pile of herbs. It cleanly slices right through those greens without leaving any half-joined pieces behind. I love it. (The smaller paring knife is also great for this; see How to Chiffonade Basil)
- Hard Vegetables (like carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.): This is another place where the ceramic knife excels. It chops these hard vegetables cleanly and precisely, even giving me the ability to slice sweet potatoes wafer thin without a mandoline.
- Slicing Pizzas, Pastries, etc.: Excellent. The thin blade is perfect for making precise cuts without tearing the pastry or disturbing pizza toppings.
- Meats: I give the ceramic knife a neutral rating for dicing meats like sausage, bacon, and steak. It works just as fine as a stainless steel blade at these tasks.
- Garlic: Again, the ceramic knife is fine for mincing. It worked just as well as a stainless steel blade.
- Soft, Wet Vegetables (like onions): This is where I got frustrated. Slicing onions, I had to tug the blade through the vegetable — it seemed to get stuck mid-slice and drag as I pushed on it, especially with the horizontal cuts. Chopping straight down, I felt like the blade bruised the softer vegetable before it started slicing, resulting in less precise cuts. Since onions are a staple for most of my cooking, this was a major drawback for me.
One last note: the product information for this knife and many online reviews mention that ceramic knives won't brown foods or alter the taste or smell of foods. I've never noticed increased browning, off-flavors or off-aromas with steel knives, so this doesn't feel like a strong selling point for me.
Overall, I'm left feeling a little up in the air about this knife. It performs many chopping tasks just as well, and sometimes better, than a stainless steel knife, and it's a nice lightweight option for people who find heavier metal knives unwieldy. But on the other hand, I feel like its uses are somewhat limited. I will always want a stainless steel knife in my drawer for things like boning raw meat, carving cooked meat, and other tasks that put a little pressure on the balde (and yes, slicing onions!).
I'd really love to hear from other ceramic knife users out there. Do you love your ceramic knife? Are there times when you still use a stainless steel knife?
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Image: Emma Christensen)