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Have you ever had the pleasure of using a vintage mezzaluna?
One with the large wooden handles and a carbon blade that, at first glance, makes it look as though it would be more at home on a woodworker’s bench than in your kitchen?
A simple tool created for a single purpose, the mezzaluna (modern or vintage) is strikingly efficient at quickly reducing piles of ingredients with a rhythmic rocking motion.
A bit of a throwback to earlier times, its quaint appearance can be somewhat deceptive. But don’t let its retro, pre-food processor aesthetics fool you.
It will make short work of whatever goes under its blade – and it takes very little practice to develop your technique for outstanding results.
To assist you in your search for the best mincing knife, we’ll cover the following:
Table of Contents
- The Classic Blade
- Blade Length
- Twin Blades
- Single Blade, Single Handle
- Concave Cutting Boards
- Handle Materials
Rockin’ in the Kitchen: Why You Need a Mezzaluna
Need to mince a big pile of herbs? This curvy tool will take care of it in seconds.
How about reducing a mound of walnuts and a block of chocolate for a batch of brownies? Same thing.
Don’t have the time to carefully shred lettuce for a salad? The mezzaluna will boogie through all of the ingredients so you can put together a fresh chopped salad in minutes.
And it will do all of this without having to haul out the food processor, then wash out a canister, chute, lid, and a variety of blades.
It’s easy to achieve different textures when chopping herbs, veggies, or nuts with this curved mincing knife – you just repeat the action, rocking back and forth until you get the desired texture.
The arched cutting edge and dual handles create a seesaw motion, and momentum keeps it going with very little effort from the user.
And naturally, the larger the blade, the greater the amount of ingredients it can handle.
In comparison, a chef’s knife, which does not have a similar big belly, does not rock as easily and has a tendency to gently nudge ingredients out of reach as they’re chopped.
The big cutting surface catches all of the ingredients on your cutting board, ensuring all pieces are uniformly cut.
Italian for half-moon, the mezzaluna has been in use since the early eighteenth century, both for mincing and chopping tasks, and as a pizza cutter as well.
Originally designed to handle the task of mincing herbs, garlic, nuts, and other ingredients for many delicious sauces, like pesto and salsa verde, the mezzaluna has enjoyed a bit of a revival recently thanks to the chopped salad trend.
So, if you enjoy creating sauces with finely minced ingredients, regularly make a mirepoix, bake with nuts or dried fruit, or appreciate the convenience of a chopped salad, you’ll definitely want to add this special knife to your kitchen knife collection.
Its large, sharp blade is equally adept at dicing vegetables, meats, and hard cheeses, too.
And it does all of this without needing to get your fingertips close to the cutting edge.
Our Top Pick up Front: Wusthof Double-Handle
The Wusthof Double-Handle Mezzaluna is the best traditional, full-sized mezzaluna. The professional-grade mincing knife offers a smooth gliding action and effortless chopping for both large and small tasks.
From the well-known German cutlery makers Wusthof, we have this robust, 9-inch tool for large chopping duties.
It measures approximately 9 x 5 x 1 inches, and weighs 4.3 ounces. Made in Germany, it comes with Wusthof’s limited lifetime guarantee to be free of manufacturing defects.
The blade is crafted of high carbon stainless steel, then laser sharpened for a precision cutting edge that ensures superb keenness and long-lasting edge retention. This gives you extended service with only infrequence honing required.
The cutting edge runs along the entire length of the blade for optimal cutting performance, and chops all ingredients to a uniform size.
The large knob handles are made of strong, durable synthetic POM (polyoxymethylene) and designed to provide a secure and comfortable grip for safe, non-slip handling. This hardened plastic is food safe and BPA free, and resists discoloration and fading from temperature changes and kitchen oils.
With a height of 4 inches, the handles are compression riveted to a full tang at both ends of the blade, which results in an even weight distribution and beautiful balance.
The dual handle design is what provides the rocking action for mincing herbs, spices, and nuts, and requires very little pressure or effort to cut smoothly and cleanly without bruising, thanks to momentum and a very sharp blade.
Verified customers with joint maladies report that using two hands provides a painless way to mince and chop without placing any undue stress on tender joints.
This mezzaluna can go in the dishwasher, but Wusthof recommends prompt washing with warm, soapy water, a clear-water rinse, then drying with a soft cloth.
Wusthof also makes a 6-inch version for smaller tasks, if you are prepping smaller ingredients in a less quantity.
Both Hands on Deck: How to Use a Mezzaluna
To use this tool, firmly hold both handles, and with a rolling motion, seesaw the blades over the food.
The key to its efficacy is that you don’t lift it from the cutting surface – unless you need to scoop ingredients back into the cutting zone.
Initially, you may want to lift the blade for a few starter cuts just to reduce the height of a pile.
Handling the Joseph Joseph Mezzaluna Folding Herb Chopper
Once the pile of food is a manageable height, simply direct the blade to cut vertically, horizontally, and diagonally until everything is chopped equally, either minced finely or roughly cut as you desire.
For single-handed versions, the same rocking motion is employed, but with a shorter blade.
Grasp the handle firmly but comfortably, then chop down a couple of times to reduce the pile.
Tip forward and back, keeping contact with the cutting board as you direct its angle of travel, until the desired consistency is reached.
Features to Consider When Buying
The Classic – Single Blade, Two Handles
The classic mezzaluna has large, comfortable handles on either end of the curved blade. These are gripped with each hand, and simply rocked back and forth over the items to be chopped.
It can easily power through large mounds of ingredients, and you can change direction on the fly without ever having to lift it from your cutting surface.
Thanks to the sharp cutting edge and blade length, it requires only the lightest downward pressure to cut through food and direct the blade –the momentum of the rocking motion creates clean, crisp cuts.
And with double handles, you get an excellent controlled purchase on any cutting surface to keep food within the cutting zone.
Successful results are easily achieved with just a touch of rhythm to rock it smoothly, and using it doesn’t require the same level of technique other cutting tools do.
This ease of use also makes it a favorite for those with dexterity issues in fingers, hands, and arms as it places very little stress on joints, and distributes pressure equally between both limbs.
Plus, if you get one with an extra-long blade, there’s nothing better (or more fun) for slicing up a large homemade pizza.
A mezzaluna’s blade is strong, thin, and sharp. Traditionally made of high carbon steel, in today’s market they’re more often made of stainless steel.
The curved blades can measure anywhere from 5 to 14 inches, and size depends on what you want to use it for.
Short blades are good for small tasks – mincing up small quantities of herbs, dicing a few ingredients for mirepoix, or cutting up bite-sized bits for the kids.
But they aren’t really effective for reducing harder ingredients like nuts, chocolate, or cheese, or larger items like a whole head of lettuce.
For these tasks, you want a long blade that gives greater clearance. Plus, the longer the blade, the more power is generated to cleanly slice through denser foods.
The mezzaluna also comes in a dual blade version, which can cut twice the amount of ingredients in the same amount of time.
However, there’s a significant drawback to the twin blade models: food can get stuck between the blades.
If you do opt for a double model, ensure the blades are far enough apart to prevent foods from jamming between them – at least one inch of space between the blades will allow most foods to easily drop back onto the cutting surface without getting stuck.
And while some part of our brain (probably the impatient part) may like to think that running a finger between two very sharp blades is a good idea to dislodge stuck bits, please resist the urge to do so.
To remove stuck food, use a spatula, a spoon, or another knife – but keep your fingers out of there!
Single Blade, Single Handle
There are also versions that come with a single handle mounted along the spine, often accompanied by a stylized cutting board that features a concave cutting area, or a wooden chopping bowl.
Small single-handle options are somewhat more difficult to maneuver, as they don’t have the same broad, seesaw motion. But, with a little practice, they can be effective for mincing up small amounts of ingredients.
However, single-handle models don’t come close to two-handers for efficiency, speed, or comfortable use.
But some folks enjoy them, and again, it depends on how you plan to use your mincing knife – the quantity of ingredients you plan to chop is often a good gauge. For small households, a single-hand version can be perfectly acceptable.
Single handle models may also come with dual blades, but foods really jam up between them due to their short length – best to steer clear of these models unless you are very patient!
Concave Cutting Boards
But there are some specialty boards that feature a scooped-out bowl shape in the center to hold the bits being chopped.
And, there are also some models that come with a wooden chopping bowl.
The scooped cutting boards are fine to use, but these do have the following limitations:
For concave cutting boards, a good rule of thumb to remember is that larger is better. If the indented area is only 8 inches wide and you have a 12-inch blade, you’re going to have problems fitting it into the bowl section.
So, if you buy the blade and board separately, make sure the bowl is bigger in diameter than the blade is long. A concave board should also be fairly shallow, in order to accommodate the full rocking motion.
It’s also worth noting that the scooped out cutting boards are only good for chopping relatively small quantities of ingredients – a halved head of iceberg lettuce will be spilling out of the bowl section in no time, unless it’s very large.
The mincing knives that come with an actual bowl for a cutting surface should be avoided.
The idea of chopping directly into a bowl may hold a certain appeal, but what actually happens is that the bowl will travel, due to the rocking motion – and you’ll be chasing it all over the counter. Needless to say, this decreases the speed and efficiency of using such a tool considerably.
When all is said and done, a plain old cutting board offers the best options for most uses.
A bit of consideration should be given to handle material as well.
Wood usually offers an attractive aesthetic, but it can become slippery at times. This is also true of models with metal handles, unless they have some type of added texture.
Models with rubber or a hardened, food-safe plastic handle often provide the best grip, give good stain resistance, and are easy to clean.
Some models, like the one below, can have handles that fold in on themselves for compact storage.
Whether you choose wood, a synthetic material, or stainless steel, look for an ergonomic design that provides a comfortable and secure grip.
And now it’s time for the rest of those reviews!
The Most Popular Mezzalunas
Wusthof 2-Piece Mincing Knife and Cutting Board Set
The Wusthof 2-Piece Mincing Knife and Cutting Board Set includes a 6.5-inch mincing knife with an 8-by-8-inch concave cutting board.
The blade is stamped from high-carbon German stainless steel for reliable strength and toughness, and outstanding rust, stain, and corrosion resistance.
The cutting edge runs the entire length of the blade and is precision ground using Wusthof’s proprietary laser technology. This creates a precise, finely ground cutting edge for long service with little maintenance, and also makes sharpening easier when needed.
The large synthetic POM (polyoxymethylene) handle is attached to the full tang along the spine with compression rivets, and supplies a secure grip for comfortable one-handed chopping.
This Wusthof mincing knife also comes with a companion cutting board. Made of select beech wood, it has a square shape with a concave cutting area to hold ingredients while chopping.
With a bowl area slightly larger than the blade edge, ingredients stay neatly in place while mincing, which makes for fast and efficient slicing. Plus, rubberized feet keep the board in place while in use.
This set proves to be very popular with verified customers for its convenience, compact size, and reliable performance. It’s perfect for small jobs when you don’t want to pull out the food processor. Comfortable to use, compact and easy to store, it’s attractive, functional, and always ready to use.
Hand wash the knife in warm, soapy water, rinse, and dry promptly. The board can be wiped down with a damp cloth, and will benefit from the occasional rub with butcher block oil.
The knife can be stored on the cutting block, or it can be hung from the convenient hole near the blade tip.
The mincing knife measures 4.5 inches high at the center, has a blade length of 6.5 inches, and weighs 5.6 ounces.
The board measures 8 x 8 x 1.5 inches and weighs just under 2 pounds.
it’s a good size and shape for dicing raw and cooked meats, and for making small, bite-sized bits for kids’ plates.
The knife is made in Germany and comes with Wusthof’s limited lifetime warranty to be free of manufacturing defects. The board is made in Poland, and Wusthof does not guarantee their wooden products.
Though some complaints from purchasers on Amazon.com mentioned a “Made in China” board, Wusthof confirmed that the product does in fact originate in Poland, and recommended ensuring that purchases are made through an authorized Wusthof retailer.
Paderno World Cuisine Single Blade
This company delivers a diverse selection of world-class cutlery, cookware, and bakeware for the professional and home cook, and the Paderno World Cuisine Single Blade Mezzaluna embodies both style and function.
A 10-inch single blade is forged of a high carbon stainless steel alloy for a precision cut, ensuring a long-lasting, sharp edge.
The double-beveled curved edge is sharp across its entire length, which makes it ideal for mincing and chopping. It works equally well on herbs, spices, vegetables, meats, cheeses, nuts, dried fruits – and slicing pizza.
Large handles are ergonomically designed for comfort and are made of long-lasting POM (polypropylene) for superb stain and fade resistance – and they provide a sound, non-slip grip to power a strong rocking motion.
The sturdy handles are soundly attached to the stainless steel tangs with compression rivets that allow a light touch and deft control for safe, efficient chopping.
Both handles and blade have a state of the art balance that makes chopping motions smooth and effortless, and lends the knife a professional quality.
Hand washing in warm, soapy water is recommended, followed by prompt drying with a soft cloth.
The Paderno model measures approximately 10 x 4 x 4 inches, and weighs 10.4 ounces.
Made in Italy, it comes with Paderno’s 1-year warranty to be free of manufacturing and material defects.
Kuhn Rikon: The Best One-Handed Mincing Knife
Lightweight, ultra-sharp and easy to maneuver, the Kuhn Rikon Mezzaluna Knife makes one-handed rock chopping easy and fun!
Kuhn Rikon, the Swiss cookware manufacturer, inspires cooks with innovative products designed to make cooking faster, easier, and more enjoyable.
Their 6-inch tool is a creative combination of sleek, modern design and functionality for chopping vegetables and mincing herbs.
Lightweight and comfortable to use, the curved handle and blade make it easy to mince and chop ingredients without lifting the knife from the cutting board.
The color-coated blade is crafted of high-carbon Japanese stainless steel for an ultra-sharp nonstick cutting edge that features excellent edge retention with minimal sharpening.
The narrow, curved blade is tension mounted to the handle with inward facing integral trunnions that pin the tangs securely in place for a strong, sturdy assembly.
And the ergonomic, comfort-grip handle is made of POM (polypropylene) for long-lasting resistance to fading and discoloration. With a non-slip grip and lightweight design, it makes your kitchen prep tasks quick, easy, and fatigue free.
Available in green and red, both colors come with a matching blade protector that snugly fits over the blade, making for safe and easy drawer storage.
It measures approximately 7 x 5 x 1 inches, and weighs only 2.4 ounces.
Dishwasher safe, or hand wash in warm, soapy water.
Designed in Switzerland and manufactured in China. It comes with Kuhn Rikon’s 2-year guarantee to be free of material and manufacturing defects.
Joseph Joseph Folding Herb Chopper
The British brand Joseph Joseph specializes in producing contemporary kitchenware, and is internationally recognized for producing stylish and innovative products for modern cooks.
The Joseph Joseph Mezzaluna Folding Herb Chopper is typical of the company’s designs that match form and function. The pivoting handles provide the power to mince and chop for large or small jobs, then fold over the blade for safe and convenient storage.
It is a modern, compact version of a traditional kitchen tool that’s task-effective, and provides a convenient safety element.
The broad blade is constructed of high-carbon Japanese stainless steel for a sharp cutting edge and long life, with excellent edge retention. And the deep double bevel provides all the cutting power needed for processing herbs and salad ingredients, as well as harder foods.
Flexible, two-tone dual handles are constructed of food safe, BPA-free plastic that provide a non-slip, comfortable grip that makes for safe and secure chopping of all ingredients – and delivers an easy rock chop action.
They are available to purchase in two designs: dark green/green and white/gray.
The handles are securely attached with large stainless steel rivets that provide a smooth folding motion, and allow for a bit of give so you can add more force when it’s needed.
When finished, the handles fold securely over the cutting edge for a safe and compact storage solution that takes up little space in your kitchen drawer.
Some verified customers found that the folding handles take a bit of getting used to, but also appreciate that they transform into a blade sheath – which not only keeps fingers safe, but also reduces its storage footprint.
Hand wash in warm, soapy water and dry promptly with a soft cloth.
The folding herb chopper measures approximately 7 x 5 x 0.75 inches and weighs 6.4 ounces.
It comes with the Joseph Joseph 2-year guarantee to be free of manufacturing and material defects. Made in China.
Traditional and two-handed, or modern and single-handed, there’s a mezzaluna size and design available for all of your mincing tasks.
For cutting herbs or chopping up salad and baking ingredients, they’re a convenient alternative to a chef’s knife or a food processor. And, they’re fun, easy to use, and economical as well.
Choose one that will best suit your needs, or try both versions. And when you’re mezzaluna mincing, remember to turn up the “Moonstruck” soundtrack for a fantastico kitchen experience!
And how about you readers, any mezzaluna insights you can share? Let us know in the comments below!
Also, be sure to check out all of our kitchen knife reviews and buying guides.
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Product photos via various manufacturers: Wusthof, Paderno, Kuhn Rikon, and Joseph Joseph. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.
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.