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We’ve said before that a knife for every occasion isn’t necessary for most cooks. A chef’s knife, small paring or utility knife, and a serrated knife will cover pretty much all kitchen duties.
However, if you like to serve large cuts of meat at dinner parties, then a slicing knife will make an excellent addition to your collection.
Though it won’t be used every day, these knives do a beautiful job of carving big roasts – like a Christmas turkey, Easter ham, barbecued brisket, or even whole salmon.
These long, thin, and flexible blades are designed for portioning big pieces of protein, and they do so in elegant fashion. If you’re laying out the money and putting in the time and energy to prepare special meats, having the right tool to carve and serve your roasts is a worthwhile investment.
And most of them will perform double duty as well. With the right steel and blade profile, slicing knives can be used to cut large melons, starchy oversized tubers, and winter squash. They can also portion baguettes, bread, or layer cakes.
Join us now as we review eleven of the best slicing knives for the home market, along with our recommendations based on their performance in our test kitchen.
Let’s jump right in.
The Best Slicing and Carving Knives
- Bottom Line Up Front: Our Top Two Recommendations
- Slicing vs. Carving Knives
- Reviews of Our Favorite Slicing Blades
- Reviews of Our Favorite Carving Blades
- Blade Construction: Which Is Best – Forged or Stamped?
- What Length Will You Need?
- Edge Design for the Smoothest Cut
- Handles Are Important, Too
- Some Carving Tips to Impress Your Guests
- The Final Slice
Bottom Line Up Front: Our Top 2 Recommendations
We spent $1500 gathering up and testing those models which we felt we could recommend to our readers, and here they are:
Best Slicing Knife for Roasts, Briskets, Hams and Other Large Cuts: Dalstrong Shogun
This incredible slicer is has a core of Japanese VG1 steel, which means this blade will remain extremely sharp through many slices of protein before needing a touch-up. Sixty-two layers of Damascus-style cladding provides an impeccable fit and finish, along with tough but attractive G10 handles. The included scabbard protects the knife, making it just as useful at camp, and away-from-home cookouts. Moreover, this beautiful blade is priced very competitively for the quality it provides.
Best Carving Knife Set for Turkey, Chicken, and the Holidays: Wusthof Classic
There’s a reason why Wusthof Classics are beloved by both professional chefs and home cooking aficionados: quality German steel that keeps its edge while still being easy to sharpen. This forged 8-inch carving knife features a solid bolster and full tang construction. The durable synthetic handles are triple riveted, ensuring years of use. And the 6-inch fork allows you to trim off thin slices of turkey or roasts with no slippage.
Slicing Vs. Carving Knives
Are slicing and carving knives the same?
Almost, but there are a couple of differences…
Both have long, flexible blades with a thin cross-section, which is designed for the primary purpose of cutting large pieces of meat – such as roasts, brisket, ham, whole poultry, and whole salmon.
The blade length and shallow height are designed to portion foods cleanly and evenly with a single horizontal stroke. The profile minimizes cutting resistance and friction, which helps to keep juices inside the meat, and prevents tearing or shredding of foods.
A carver is actually a type of slicing knife, but this version is usually more stiff.
Design variations between the two are mostly to address working with bone-in versus boneless cuts of meat.
A carver has a pointed tip, which is used for bone-in cuts such as turkey or ham, where the tip is used to pierce joints and maneuver close to the bone. This usually requires a blade with a little flex, to bend around the bone and carve as closely as possible.
Slicers have a rounded tip to prevent accidental piercing of the meat (and the resulting release of precious juices), and are used primarily on boneless cuts. These blades are often slightly taller than carvers, up to 2 inches in height, and provide a larger cutting surface. They are often semi-flexible like bread knives and fillet blades, rather than being semi-stiff like carving models.
The profile of slicers also makes them a good choice for portioning baguettes, bread, and layer cakes, or cutting through large fruits and veggies – a nice feature that gives them a dual purpose.
A Note on the Japanese Sujihiki
The Japanese version of a slicer is called a sujihiki. There are much harder (and more easily chipped), much stiffer, and retain their edges longer than their Western counterparts.
Sujihikis are more versatile and can often double as a chef’s knives, a great alternative to the Western-style carver.
In-Depth Reviews of Our Favorite Slicing Blades
1. Dalstrong 12-Inch Granton Edge Shogun: Japanese Steel Without Breaking the Bank
Dalstrong is quickly taking a top spot in the kitchen knife niche, and the well-constructed efficiency of this 12-inch Shogun slicer clearly demonstrates why.
Precision forged from a single billet of high-carbon Japanese steel, the core is overlaid with 66 layers of Damascus cladding for outstanding stain resistance, durability, and patterned beauty.
Cryogenic tempering to 62 HRC increases the steel’s crystalline structure for enduring strength, hardness, and long-wearing sharpness. The very hard steel is ground to a tight 8-12 degrees per side for scalpel-like keenness and a smooth, clean cut that leaves flavorful juices in the food, rather than on the cutting board.
Dalstrong 12″ Granton Edge Shogun Series Slicing Carving Knife available on Amazon
The tapered blade reduces surface resistance, and the fluted Granton dimples, along with the Damascus cladding, reduce resistance so food releases without sticking. And with a thin cross section, the blade gives enough flex to easily follow contours – but isn’t so flimsy as to buckle.
A diagonal bolster adds to the lovely balance and encourages the use of a natural, safe pinch grip.
The tough, long-lasting handle is constructed of G-10 Garolite – a fiberglass epoxy material with superb strength and resistance to moisture. Ergonomically designed, the hand-polished handle is designed to provide superior control, agility, and comfort, and is securely triple riveted to the full tang.
Another feature we love about the Shogun is the included full sheath. Made of BPA-free polymer, it provides safe storage and helps retain the sharp cutting edge.
The Shogun specs are as follows:
- Overall length is 17.5 inches
- Blade length is 12 inches, height 1.5 inches
- Handle plus bolster length is 5.5 inches
- Weight is 9.9 ounces
Made in China. Dalstrong offers a 120-day money back guarantee, and a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. Hand wash only to keep this beauty looking its best.
The Shogun is an expertly crafted tool that provides a wonderfully sharp edge and lightly flexible blade for carving mastery.
Agile, comfortable, and gracefully balanced, we found the Shogun cuts on a horizontal plane with a single stroke, making it ideal for large cuts of meat such as brisket, roasts, ham, poultry, and whole salmon. Beautiful and efficient, you’ll feel like a pro with this handsome knife in your drawer.
2. Wusthof Gourmet 14-Inch Brisket Slicing Knife: Best for Large Roasts
From renowned German cutlery maker Wusthof, we have their Gourmet slicer with an extra-long 14-inch blade that makes it our favorite for carving large pieces of meat, such as brisket.
Precision stamped from a single piece of high-carbon stainless steel, the blade is constructed for superior stain and corrosion resistance, and easy edge maintenance.
The Gourmet is hardened to 56 HRC, with a blade that’s laser ground to 18 degrees per side for a keen cutting edge. And along with the hollow edge design, it makes clean portions with a single horizontal pull – and none of the torn or shredded meat typically produced with a sawing action.
A polyoxymethylene (POM) handle provides excellent strength and resilience, and is highly resistant to heat and impact. Designed for ergonomic comfort, it has a deep finger guard to prevent accidental slippage.
Wusthof Gourmet 14” Hollow Edge Brisket Slicing Knife available on Amazon
The handle is triple-riveted to the full stainless steel tang, which also adds to its efficient balance and maneuverability.
The Wusthof Gourmet has the following measurements:
- Overall length is 19 inches
- Blade length is 14 inches, height 1.5 inches
- Handle length is 5 inches
- Weighs 7 ounces
Made in Germany. Wusthof provides a limited lifetime warranty to be free of defects in materials or craftsmanship. Dishwasher safe, but hand washing is recommended.
With its extra-long blade, our test kitchen found the Gourmet slicer to be the ideal length for portioning large foods like brisket, turkey, or whole salmon.
Expertly constructed from top-quality materials, this sleek knife is agile and sharp, has moderate flex, and makes thin, even portions with just a single draw. Great Wusthof quality for the brisket masters!
3. Dalstrong Gladiator 12-Inch Slicing/Carving Knife with Sheath
Another offering from Dalstrong, the 12-inch Gladiator is the Western counterpart to their Japanese-styled Shogun model.
Forged from high-carbon German steel, the blade is hardened to 55 HRC and ground to 16 degrees per side for easy slicing performance, while the elevated chromium levels ensure excellent stain and corrosion resistance.
The Granton edge and hand-polished mirror finish minimize cutting resistance, and flexible blade technology allows the Gladiator to be used for de-boning, filleting, and butterflying meats, as well as carving.
The full tang, bolster, and end cap give a satisfying heft, full balance, and a secure grip for smooth cuts with just a horizontal stroke. The black Pakkawood handle is superbly durable, and triple riveted to the tang for comfort, stability, and maneuverability.
The Gladiator also comes with a full-length polymer sheath for safe storage, and arrives in a handsome box suitable for gifting.
Dimensions for the Gladiator are as follows:
- 17 inches overall length
- The blade measures 12 inches long, 1.5 inches high
- Handle is 5 inches long
- Weighs 8.3 ounces
Made in China. Dalstrong provides a 120-day money-back guarantee, and a lifetime warranty against defects. Hand washing is recommended.
Expertly crafted, the Gladiator has the strength and flex to carve roasts, turkey, and ham, prepare large fruits and veggies, or portion baguettes and layer cakes – and we really like the included full sheath!
4. Wusthof Pro Hollow 11-Inch Hollow Ground Roast Beef Slicer: German Made Without Breaking the Bank
Another worthy selection from Wusthof, this 11-inch slicer from their Pro series is designed to handle the rigorous demands of commercial kitchens – which makes it great for the home kitchen as well.
The precision stamped blade is constructed from high-carbon stainless steel that provides a superbly sharp cutting edge, excellent edge retention, and top-notch stain and rust resistance.
Hardened to 56 HRC and ground to 18 degrees per side, the blade is tough, durable, and easy to sharpen.
The pockets on the hollow, fluted edge reduce cutting resistance and drag for even, smooth cuts that allow food to fall away from the blade.
The polypropylene handle has been ergonomically designed for comfort, safety, and control. It has an inner core for long-lasting stability and resilience while the outer shell gives superb slip-resistant control and fatigue-free use.
The Pro series is also NSF certified to meet the stringent requirements of commercial kitchens.
The Wusthof Pro has the following dimensions:
- Overall length of 17 inches
- Blade measures 11 inches long, approx. 1.5 inches high
- Handle is 6 inches along the top edge
- Weighs 7 ounces
Made in Germany, it comes with Wusthof’s limited lifetime warranty to be free of defects in materials and craftsmanship. Dishwasher safe, although we suggest hand washing to retain its appearance and sharpness.
Created for a demanding professional environment, the Pro admirably serves home kitchens as well.
Ideal for carving roasts, poultry, and cooked meats, the blade has a keen edge and just the right amount of flex to cut thin, even slices without traveling off plane or buckling. A reliable and economical option for common carving tasks.
5. Global G-10 12.5-Inch Flexible Slicing Knife: Double Duty as a Filleting Blade
The Global G-10 is long, thin, and flexible with a unique profile.
The entire knife is constructed of Global’s high-chromium stainless steel, which gives outstanding stain and corrosion resistance, and a durable, sharp cutting edge.
Ice tempered to a hardness of 56-58 HRC, the stamped blade has a unique convex edge that’s ground to a straight point, then sharpened to an acute 15 degrees per side for superb sharpness and cutting performance.
The long and very shallow blade is highly flexible and remarkably agile – well suited to carving any bone-in meats such as ham, turkey, or rib roasts.
The hollow handle is filled with sand for a precise weight that delivers heft and balance, and adds to overall control. Welded to a seamless finish, its profile provides a clean, hygienic surface, and the ergonomic design with signature dimples gives a comfortable, secure grip.
Dimensions for the Global G-10 are:
- 17 inches overall length
- Blade is 12 inches long, 0.75 inches high at the handle
- Handle length is 5 inches
- Weighs just under 8 ounces
Made in Japan, it comes with Global’s lifetime warranty against material and manufacturing defects. Hand washing is recommended.
With a sharp, durable cutting edge and a long, narrow profile, the Global G-10 has incredible flex to conform to almost any food shape.
Lightweight and well-balanced, carving thin, uniform portions with a single stroke is the norm, making it an excellent option for slicing roasted meats, poultry, and salmon.
6. Icel 12-Inch Practica Granton Edge: Great Performance for the Price
From Portuguese knife-makers Icel, this 12-inch slicer features a long, straight edge to maximize the cutting surface, and cullens that quickly release food from the blade.
The low-flex blade is stamped from cold-rolled, high-carbon German stainless steel for excellent stain, rust, and corrosion resistance. Tempered to 58 HRC, the blade is durable, tough, and easy to sharpen.
Honed with a conical grind to 18 degrees per side for a wide break point, the Icel makes smooth, clean horizontal cuts with a single stroke. The wider cutting edge and tall profile also make it a good choice for cutting through large fruit and veggies, and portioning cakes.
The polymer handle is lightweight yet sturdy, and provides a comfortable, slip-resistant grip with a deep finger guard for extra safety.
NSF certified, the Icel meets the strident sanitary standards required for use in commercial kitchens.
The Practica’s dimensions are as follows:
- 17 inches overall length
- The blade is 12 inches long, 1.75 inches high
- 5-inch handle
- Weighs 8 ounces
Made in Portugal. Icel provides a lifetime guarantee against faulty workmanship or defects in materials. Hand washing is recommended.
Comfortable and well-balanced for extended use, the Icel is an understated blade with dependable European quality, materials, and design – but without the big price tag.
The large cutting surface glides through large roasted meats, and it’s also very adept at portioning oversized fruit, starchy vegetables, and layer cakes.
7. Victorinox Fibrox 12 Inch Pro Slicing: Great for the Money
From the makers of the original Swiss Army Knife, the Victorinox Pro is a commercial-grade slicing knife that delivers optimal cutting performance on large cuts of meat, fruit, vegetables, cakes, and bread.
A high-carbon, stamped stainless steel blade has increased flexibility for thin, uniform portions, and is highly stain and corrosion resistant. The mirror polish, plus fluted dimples, reduce friction and sticking for an easy gliding action that makes cutting food effortless.
Hardened to 56 HRC and with an 18-degree cutting angle, the tough steel has been laser tested for a superbly sharp edge that produces clean, smooth cuts without any tearing or shredding. And it’s also easy to re-sharpen.
The Fibrox handle provides a clean, sanitary surface that’s both durable and lightweight. Contoured and textured for a comfortable nonslip grip, the handle also features a deep finger guard for extra security.
Beautifully balanced and weighted, the Pro can be used for extended periods without hand or wrist fatigue.
NSF certified to meet the stringent hygiene standards required for commercial kitchens.
The Fibrox Pro measurements are:
- An overall length of 17 inches
- The blade is 11.75 inches long, 1.75 inches high at the handle
- Handle length is 5.25 inches
- Weighs 7.2 ounces
Made in Switzerland. Victorinox guarantees all their blades to be made of first-class stainless steel and provides a lifetime guarantee against any defects in materials and workmanship. Dishwasher safe, but hand washing is recommended.
One of the most comfortable models we tested, the Fibrox Pro provides optimal weight and balance, and an ergonomic handle that is well suited for extended use.
Lightweight and efficient, the Victorinox Fibrox Pro is a deft tool for carving meats and portioning breads, cakes, fruit, or vegetables.
8. Mercer Culinary Millennia Granton 11-inch Slicer: A Quality Budget Pick for Commercial Kitchens
The Mercer Millennia is made for commercial kitchens, and this 11-inch slicer is our favorite budget model.
Produced of high-carbon Japanese steel, the stamped blade has excellent stain and corrosion resistance. And with a hardness of 56 HRC and a grind of 15 degrees per side, the edge is wonderfully sharp, durable, and easy to maintain.
Granton divots reduce cutting drag and give a degree of flexibility without being flimsy. Positioned above the cutting edge, the divots also make it easy to sharpen the entire length.
NSF certified to meet the rigorous safety standards of professional kitchens.
The ergonomic handle is constructed with a combination of Santoprene and polypropylene for a comfortable, fatigue-free grip, as well as strength and durability. Textured finger points provide a safe, slip-resistant grip while the deep, protective finger guard offers an added layer of safety.
The Millennia has the following dimensions:
- Overall length is 16.5 inches
- Blade length is 11 inches, height 1.25 inches at handle tapering to 1 inch at the tip
- Handle length is 5.5 inches
- Weighs 5.6 ounces
Made in Taiwan. Includes Mercer’s lifetime warranty to be free of defects in materials or workmanship. Hand wash in warm, soapy water.
The Mercer Millenia slicer brings professional construction, comfort, and control to the table.
Strong and flexible, the Japanese steel holds a very keen edge that makes it a super slicer for bone-in or boneless cuts of meat, poultry, and salmon. Grand value at a budget price!
In-Depth Reviews of Our Favorite Carving Blades
1. Wusthof Classic 2-Piece Hollow-Ground Carving Set
Do you need a high quality set to carve that Thanksgiving turkey, or a Christmas ham? This Wusthof Classic set will have you cutting though protein like butter. Need thin slices? No problem.
Made of high-carbon stainless steel, this 2-piece carving set includes an 8-inch knife and a 6-inch fork for slicing ham, turkey, or roasts, and is a perfect addition to your holiday dinners.
Like all Wusthof Classics, the triple-riveted handled is made of a very tough synthetic polyoxymethylene that mimics real wood in both appearance and texture.
This made-in-Germany set features a full tang as well as a weighted bolster, which lends strength and maintains a great balance for ease of use.
The Granton edge helps keep protein and other foodstuffs from sticking to blade, allowing you to produce thin slices with ease.
Hand washing is recommended with this set.
2. Messermeister Avanta Pakkawood 2-Piece Kullenschliff Carving Set: A Great Budget Choice
This knife and fork combo from Messermeister is part of their low-cost Avanta Series.
Made of X50CrMoV15 steel – a martensitic stainless steel comprised of a combination of stainless steel (referred to here as X), 0.5% carbon, 15% chromium (Cr), and small quantities of molybdenum (Mo) and vanadium (V) that is commonly used among German knife manufacturers – it’s easy for novices to sharpen. But it won’t hold an edge nearly as long as the better German steel blades, and definitely not as long as those of Japanese origin.
But for the price, the fit and finish are excellent. And for a tool that you might pull out a couple of times a year to carve up a turkey, it’s “good enough.”
The Pakkawood handle is very attractive, and complements the forged bolster, end cap, and the exposed full tang running along the top.
This knife and fork set DOES NOT come with a presentation/storage box, but at its low price point, that shouldn’t be expected.
The Messermeister Avanta set has the following dimensions:
For the knife:
- Blade length is 8 inches, height 1.25 inches at handle tapering to 1 inch at the tip
- Handle length is 5.5 inches
For the fork:
- 12 inches total length
- Fork length is 6.5 inches
Made in Taiwan. Includes Mercer’s lifetime warranty to be free of defects in materials or workmanship. Hand wash in warm, soapy water.
3. Zwilling J.A. Henckels 8-Inch Twin Four Star Carver
Another German-made knife, this offering from Henckels is a versatile slicing and carving knife that can easily double as a petty/utility for everyday use.
The Twin Four Star line is made using witchcraft that Henckels has termed “Sintermetal Component Technology (SCT).” This allows three types of stainless steel to be forged together to produce a single-piece blade, bolster, and full tang. (Look up “sintering in metallurgy” if you want to learn more – it’s actually an interesting process).
Henckels further refines their Twin Four Star through a “Friodur” ice hardening process that increases the hardness (57 HRC) and ability to stay sharper for longer without being too hard or brittle.
The polypropylene handle is free of gaps and fits in the hand quite securely. It may not win any beauty awards, but it is completely functional.
The stainless steel is guaranteed not to blemish or stain, another element that the ice hardening process contributes to.
The 8-Inch Twin Four Star Carver has the following dimensions:
- Blade length is 7.5 inches
- Height 1.125 inches at handle tapering to the tip
- Weighs 1.6 ounces
This is an exceptional tool that you can use as a day-to-day implement in your kitchen, or a special occasion slicer or carver.
Blade Construction: Which Is Best – Forged or Stamped?
For smooth, clean cuts that leave the juices inside the meat without tearing, a certain amount of flexibility is needed.
Blades that have too much flex bend easily and often buckle mid-cut, making shaggy, ragged incisions. But blades that are too stiff can be difficult to control, and tend to travel away from the intended cutting plane.
Stamped blades are known to be lighter, and have more flexibility than forged ones. They also require less labor and fewer materials to construct, which often means they’re less expensive than forged knives.
But thanks to remarkable advances in steel formulations, it no longer holds true that a stamped blade is a cheap blade.
A good-quality stamped version will have the same stain, rust, and corrosion resistance of a forged type, but may not have the same tensile strength or edge retention. This is because the heat of forging rearranges the molecules that enhance strength and sharpness.
However, for the purposes of carving and slicing, well-made stamped knives will have the necessary strength and sharpness of the cutting edge to handle normal use.
We like using both, but please note the key phrases “good quality” and “well made.” Cheapo stamped knives are notorious for their dull edges and snapped blades, so choose ones from reputable brands – they’ll cost a few dollars more than the bargain options, but the price evens out in terms of durability.
In general, choose knives with a bit more flexibility for carving bone-in selections, while those intended for use on boneless cuts can be a little more rigid.
What Length Will You Need?
Blade length is another consideration, and these typically range between 8 and 14 inches.
Blades that are too short won’t handle large cuts of meat without sawing, and the blade will often need to be inserted right to the hilt. But ones with too much length can be awkward and unwieldy.
A good rule of thumb in choosing the right length is to use a blade that’s at least as long as your biggest roast. So, if you like to barbecue extra-large briskets, a long, 14-inch blade is recommended, while a 10-inch blade would be more appropriate for a 4-pound roast.
Edge Design for the Smoothest Cut
Along with the long, thin, and shallow profile, a secondary feature for reducing drag should be considered as well:
Those famous divots.
With slicers, these are referred to in a variety of ways, including Granton divots, dimples, fluting, a hollow edge, cullens, or a tsuchine (hammered) finish on Japanese blades.
These dimples create hollows, or air pockets, that help to release food and reduce friction, which makes it easier to cut uniform portions.
Cutting edge bevels range from 14-20 degrees per side, and usually, the more acute the angle, the sharper a knife will be.
Handles Are Important, Too
Handle materials often reflect the type of construction used in production.
Stamped blades generally have handles made of lightweight thermoplastic polymers that keep the knife airy and agile. These polymers are also easy to contour and texture, for ergonomic comfort and a nonslip grip.
Handles for forged blades can be made of polymers as well, though these usually of a greater density to accommodate a full tang. Other common handle materials for forged knives include steel, wood, and composites made of epoxy and resins.
Look for handles that have some texture to prevent slippage, and a deep finger guard to protect against contact with the sharp cutting edge.
Some Carving Tips to Impress Your Guests
It’s a bit contrary to what inexperienced cooks might naturally assume, but the best way to slice meat is across the grain, not with it – this prevents the fibers from pulling apart, as so often happens when cutting with the grain.
Slicing across the grain cuts right through those muscle fibers, resulting in delicious, tender portions.
For uniform, even cuts, hold the knife at the same angle for each stroke. A long-pronged carving fork is also helpful, to provide stability and prevent roasts from moving or rolling.
You might want to consider a wooden cutting board with a juice trough around the perimeter. These grooves catch any juices released while carving, which can then be used for gravy or sauces.
Medium and medium-rare roasts are easier to slice than those cooked to well-done, and thinner pieces of 1/4-1/2 inches are the most tender and flavorful.
Roasted meats should always be allowed to rest for up to 15 minutes after removal from the oven, to allow juices to settle and redistribute before carving.
The Final Slice
Now that you know what to look for in a slicing knife, which one will you choose for your next dinner party? Stamped, forged, or perhaps one that can double for portioning out layer cakes?
Remember to choose one with a blade at least as long as your biggest roast for horizontal strokes without sawing, and you’ll marvel at how beautiful your sliced meats look!
Photos by Mike Quinn, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.