What Knife should we use to cut bones?

Whether you are a professional chef or a home cook, having the right knife to cut bones is essential for precise and effortless cutting. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various knife options suited for cutting bones and provide valuable tips on how to use them effectively. Let’s dive in and discover the perfect knives to tackle the task!


What Knife should we use to cut bones?

Cutting bones requires a specific type of knife that is durable, sharp, and suitable for the task at hand. The knives we’ll explore in this guide are designed to handle bones and ensure optimal performance. Let’s take a closer look at each of them:


The Cleaver is a true powerhouse in the kitchen. Its heavy and wide blade, typically made of high-quality stainless steel, gives it the strength to handle even the toughest bones. This knife is commonly used for tasks like breaking down large cuts of meat and chopping through poultry bones. It’s also great for smashing garlic cloves and ginger. Due to its weight and balance, the cleaver allows you to exert less force while cutting, making it a safer option for bones.

Tips for Using a Cleaver:

  • Keep the Blade Sharp: A sharp blade ensures clean cuts and reduces the risk of slippage.
  • Use Proper Technique: Hold the handle firmly and use a rocking motion to chop through bones.
  • Cut Away from Your Body: Always cut away from yourself to prevent accidents.
  • Use a Sturdy Cutting Board: To avoid damaging your countertop, use a thick and sturdy cutting board.

Boning Knife

A Boning Knife is an essential tool for anyone dealing with meat and bones. Its narrow and flexible blade allows for intricate cuts, making it perfect for deboning fish, poultry, and other meats. The flexibility of the blade allows you to follow the contours of bones closely, minimizing waste. This knife is available in different sizes, with shorter blades being ideal for smaller cuts of meat.

Tips for Using a Boning Knife:

  • Angle the Blade: Tilt the knife slightly to keep the edge against the bone while cutting.
  • Start from the Joint: When deboning meat, start from the joints to make the process smoother.
  • Keep the Knife Clean: Wipe the blade frequently to prevent meat and bone debris from interfering with your cuts.

Japanese Deba Knife

The Japanese Deba Knife is a traditional Japanese knife designed primarily for filleting fish. Its thick, single-beveled blade ensures precision cuts and makes it suitable for cutting through small bones and cartilage. This knife comes in various sizes, allowing you to choose the one that best fits your needs.

Tips for Using a Japanese Deba Knife:

  • Sharpen One Side Only: Japanese deba knives are sharpened on one side to achieve extremely sharp edges.
  • Practice Proper Filleting Techniques: Mastering filleting techniques is essential for precise cuts.
  • Avoid Cutting Hard Bones: The deba knife is not designed for cutting large, hard bones.

Scimitar Knife

The Scimitar Knife features a curved blade, resembling the shape of a scimitar sword. This unique design allows for efficient slicing of large cuts of meat and separating bones from the meat with ease. It is a popular choice for butchers and is also used in commercial settings.

Tips for Using a Scimitar Knife:

  • Take Advantage of the Curve: The curved blade provides leverage and control during slicing.
  • Slice Against the Grain: Cutting against the grain ensures tender meat.
  • Store Properly: As this knife is quite large, proper storage is essential to avoid accidents.

Butcher Knife

The Butcher Knife is a heavyweight in the kitchen and is designed to handle a wide range of tasks, including cutting through bones and tough cartilage. Its broad, sturdy blade allows for precise cuts and is commonly used in butcher shops and professional kitchens.

Tips for Using a Butcher Knife:

  • Master Knife Techniques: Proper knife techniques are crucial for efficient and safe cutting.
  • Use a Butcher Block: To prevent injuries and ensure stability, use a sturdy butcher block.
  • Regular Maintenance: Keep the knife sharp and well-maintained to optimize its performance.


Can we use a regular Chef’s Knife to cut bones?

While a regular chef’s knife can handle some soft bones, it is not designed for heavy bone cutting. Using a chef’s knife for cutting bones may lead to damage to the blade and pose a safety risk. It is best to use the appropriate knife type for bone-cutting tasks, such as a cleaver or a boning knife.

What Knife should we use to cut large bones?

For cutting large bones, a sturdy and heavy-duty knife like a cleaver or a scimitar knife is ideal. These knives are designed to tackle tough bones and provide the necessary strength for such tasks.

How do we keep our bone-cutting knives sharp?

To keep your bone-cutting knives sharp, regularly hone them using honing steel or sharpen them using a whetstone. It’s essential to maintain a sharp edge for precise and safe cuts.

Can we use an Electric Knife for cutting bones?

Electric knives are not suitable for cutting bones as they lack the necessary strength and precision required for bone-cutting tasks. Stick to using manual knives designed explicitly for cutting bones.

How do we safely handle bone-cutting knives?

To handle bone-cutting knives safely, always keep your fingers away from the blade while cutting, use a sturdy cutting board, and work in a well-lit and spacious area to avoid accidents.

Can we use a bone saw instead of a knife?

Yes, a bone saw can be used to cut bones effectively. Bone saws are designed for this purpose and can make the task easier, especially for larger cuts of meat.


Having the right knife for cutting bones is crucial for every cook and chef. Each knife type mentioned in this guide offers unique features that cater to different bone-cutting needs. Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, investing in the appropriate knives and mastering the proper cutting techniques will enhance your culinary experience. Remember to handle these knives with care, keep them sharp, and enjoy the art of cutting bones with precision and ease!


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