The Very Best Knives and Cutlery Tools You Can Buy for 2021

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The single best tool you can have in the kitchen is a good chef’s knife. That’s what any chef or cooking pro (including the home cooks behind this very site) will tell you. It’s essential for mincing garlic, chopping herbs, breaking down a whole chicken, or slicing an onion into half-moons. Which chef’s knife should you get? We’ll tell you. And we’ll also tell you our picks for a bread knife, a paring knife, and, well, all the cutlery and cutlery-related tools.

These super-sharp superstars come from our recently launched guide to the very best kitchen tools and cookware for 2021: It’s called Kitchn Essentials, and you can browse the whole thing here. If you’re stocking up, here are our top picks when it comes to knives and knife-related gear.

Note: We’ve indicated which ones are “repeat winners,” meaning they were also chosen as our top picks in last year‘s Kitchn Essentials!

1 / 11
Chef's Knife
was $46.00

This budget-friendly knife is the favorite of professional chefs and home cooks alike. It's also the top pick of several of our editors. It's super-sharp and durable and has a comfortable, textured grip. This knife easily handles both big and small jobs; it cuts meat, slices veggies, minces shallots, and chops herbs with precision. Plus, it can usually be picked up for less than $50.

2 / 11
Bread Knife

Our Tools Editor, Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, lobbied for this bread knife so fervently, she convinced all of us. "It's one of my go-to gifts," she says. "It slices like a dream and is so reasonably priced." And she's right: This knife cuts through even the crustiest of loaves with little pressure and has a grippy, comfortable handle. It's great for slicing tomatoes and other soft-skinned fruits, too.

3 / 11
Paring Knife
Bed Bath & Beyond

Alex Guarnaschelli has gone on the record saying that cooks should never spend more than $10 on a paring knife because they’re so small, they can easily be accidentally tossed in the garbage. We couldn’t agree with her more. Bonus: This one comes with a sheath that has a built-in sharpener so the blade is always ready to go.

4 / 11
Wooden Cutting Board

A great wooden cutting board has to have a groove for juices, rubber feet for stability, and the ability to go in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. Does that sound like something that doesn’t exist? Well, this composite board checks all those boxes. If you want something prettier that can sit out, go with this durable teak option that won’t crack over time (just know that it can't go in the dishwasher).

5 / 11
Plastic Cutting Board

This is the plastic cutting board we recommend for pretty much any task. Not only is it gorgeous (it comes in six on-trend colors!), but it’s also made from recycled materials, resists scratches, and holds up incredibly well in the dishwasher. Warning: It’s so popular, it often sells out (so buy one or two when you see them in stock!).

6 / 11
Small Plastic Cutting Board

For small tasks, we like this board. It's the perfect size for mincing a clove or two of garlic, finely chopping a shallot, prepping a sandwich, or slicing a handful of cherry tomatoes. It has non-slip edges that keep the board in place as you chop and is dishwasher-safe.

7 / 11

You can usually find these shears for around $15. They're made by the beloved German kitchenware company J.A. Henckels, which also owns top brands like Zwilling and Staub. (So you know these shears are great quality!) They can tackle tough and delicate jobs alike, like spatchcocking chicken, cutting pizza into slices, and breaking up canned, whole tomatoes. They also come apart for cleaning and are dishwasher-safe.

8 / 11

Ask nearly any professional chef to name their favorite peeler and they'll pick this one. It's sturdy, lightweight, and affordable. The blade is super sharp yet delicate enough to peel away only a thin layer. "After using this peeler, I regret spending so much money on more expensive peelers that simply don't work as well," says Studio Food Editor Jesse Szewczyk.

9 / 11
Box Grater

Given its price, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better box grater. For less than $15, this grater has sides for grating, shredding, and slicing. It can easily tackle cheese, potatoes, beets, and zucchini. It has a non-slip base and a grippy handle, too, which makes it easy to use.

10 / 11

There's a reason Microplane has become synonymous with zesters (like Kleenex and tissues!): Because it has the sharpest teeth and the smartest design that evenly works through a lemon peel or wedge of cheese. "It can turn a wedge of cheese into perfect Parmesan snow," says Grace Elkus, Deputy Food Director.

11 / 11

A Japanese Benriner mandoline is all you need to slice, julienne, and shred even the hardest vegetables with ease. We prefer it to bulky (and expensive) French mandolines for its ability to fit in any kitchen drawer and still slice big batches of vegetables faster than a food processor. "The Benriner is the sharpest mandoline I've ever found and it stays sharp," says Amelia Rampe, Studio Food Editor. On that note: Use the guard (included) or invest in a protective glove.

Credit: Kitchn