A cheese knife is a knife specifically designed to cut, slice, or spread cheese. Their unique shape and design are perfect to maintain a cheese’s structural integrity, making it easy to portion it without damaging it.
There are various types of cheese knives to be used for different types of cheeses: hard, soft, spreadable, and anything in between.
1. What Is A Cheese Knife?
One thing you learn pretty quickly as you start your journey as a serious home cook is that, however specific a task might seem, there’s a knife out there designed to make that task easier. It’s a bit like leveling up from that old mindset that all you need is a chef’s knife.
So you have useful specialty knives such as boning knives, carving knives, paring knives, etc; each suited for specific purposes to improve your kitchen experience, as well as the dining experience of anyone you’re cooking for. Because they’re designed for these specific tasks, the quality of your food is sure to improve, and preparing it will be a lot more enjoyable.
You might scoff at the thought of a cheese knife – “why would I need one of those? I can just use a regular kitchen knife,” I already hear you saying. But let’s think about this for a moment.
Cheese is one of those foods where the texture is just as important as the taste. When you think about a good cheese, you think of how it feels almost as much as how it tastes. Whether it’s smooth, firm, moist, runny, crumbly, creamy, or spreadable… the texture is very much a part of the experience of trying a good piece of cheese.
And so it follows that this texture should be protected and preserved as best as possible. That’s where cheese knives come in. Because cheese varies wildly between different kinds, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for making sure your cheese is presented at its optimal quality, which is why there are also various types of cheese knives.
If you try to cut a hard cheese with a soft cheese knife, there’s a likelihood that it might chip away and fall apart. Why allow for that possibility? The best thing is to be prepared with the right tool for the job, and that’s why having a good set of cheese knives is a no-brainer for the discerning cheese enthusiast.
And hey, maybe you’re reading this and shaking your head because you don’t really care for cheese that much – but think about the people in your life who do. A cheese knife set would be a marvelous gift for the cheese lover in your family or social circle.
2. Different Types Of Cheese Knives
As we’ve mentioned, there are many types of cheeses out there, and each cheese is its own little universe. With each one, you’re dealing with different flavor profiles, different stiffness, different texture, and different intended uses. For this reason, it makes sense to have different types of cheese knives too.
Since the point of cheese knives is to make the cutting or spreading of cheese easier while also keeping the cheese intact without destroying it (as a regular table top utensil might do), each type of cheese knife also has its own unique shape and build, and it’s used for different types of cheeses. Some of them are soft cheese knives while some are hard cheese knives.
Because cheese is such a large part of our lives and we interact with them in so many ways, there is a large amount of cheese-related tools you can find. You’ll find cheese graters, cheese wires, cheese planes, cheese rind cutters, and much more.
But for now, let’s focus on the different types of cheese knives there are, and which types of cheese they are best suited for.
Soft cheese knife
Also sometimes known as “open work blade knife.” Soft cheese knives are among the most common types of cheese knives. They’re also visually distinctive due to the holes on their surface, designed to keep the soft cheeses from sticking to the surface of the blade.
Best used for: Soft to semi-soft cheeses, such as brie and fresh mozzarella.
This adorable little guy is basically a tiny version of the classic meat cleaver. It’s usually under 4 inches in length and is also sometimes known as a “cheddar cheese knife,” since it’s one of the cheeses it’s most commonly used with, or simply “mini cleaver.” Since it has a wide blade and a cleaver shape, the cheese cleaver is typically used on hard cheeses, allowing you to exert a little force when slicing them up.
Best for: Semi-hard to hard cheeses, such as cheddar, gruyere, and fontina.
Slim blade cheese knife
As its name implies, the slim blade cheese knife has a very thin blade and features a raised handle. It’s also meant for soft and semi-soft cheeses.
Best for: Soft to semi-hard cheeses, such as boursault and camembert.
Flat cheese knife
The flat cheese knife is used to cut slices off aged cheeses, as its blade can be held vertically over the cheese and pushed downward with ease. There is also a smaller version of it known as the “narrow plane knife.”
Best for: Semi soft cheese to hard cheeses, such as provolone, swiss, and gouda.
Can you guess what type of cheese this knife is best suited for? Yup, the Paremsan knife’s pointed edge allows the user to break off chunks of hard and dry cheeses, as well as cut rinds open. There’s another version of it that features an arrow-head type blade as well as a smaller one that resembles a shark’s tooth.
Best for: Harder cheeses, such as parmesan and castelmagno.
Forked cheese knife
Also known as a cheese fork. Think of the cheese fork as a multi-purpose tool. As the name implies, it’s a cross between a fork and a cheese knife, which makes cutting a piece of cheese and then picking it up with its forked tip very easy and convenient.
Best for: Soft to semi-hard cheeses, such as brie and parmesan.
Also sometimes known as a spatula knife. The cheese spreader can be used for spreadable cheeses, which makes it perfect for spreading cheese onto crackers or pieces of artisanal bread vonto the pieces of artisanal bread.
Best for: Soft, spreadable cheeses, such as robiola, stracchino, and cream cheese.
Quite similar to the cheese spreader, except it features a rounded blade with a sharp edge designed to cut through cheese rinds.
Best for: Soft and semi firm cheese, such as bleu cheese and gorgonzola.
Hard cheese knife
This is a larger tool than the other ones represented in this list. It’s used to cut through a whole wheel of hard cheese to portion it for serving. Some of them come with handles on both ends allowing the user to apply even pressure from both sides.
Best for: Hard cheeses, such as extra mature cheddar, provolone, or asiago.
So there’s quite a bit. In fact, if we really drilled down on it, we could find different variations of the cheese knives above that perhaps have names of their own. But this is a pretty good selection of the main types of cheese knives you’re likely to find in the market.
The main takeaway here is that not all cheeses are the same, so not all cheese knives will be the same either. If you’re a person who enjoys cheese – and various kinds of cheeses – it makes sense to get several cheese knives to make sure you’re getting the most out of them. This is why a cheese knife set would be a good idea.
3. What to Look For in Cheese Knives
Knowing what to look for when you’re shopping for cheese knives is really not that different from shopping for any other kind of knife. There are a few main things to take into consideration, namely variety, materials, comfort, and design, and this holds true whether you’re buying cheese knives or you’re looking for a BBQ knife set.
However, it is true that there is one additional factor you must take into consideration when shopping for cheese knives, and it’s what type of cheese you’re going to use them for. As established above, every cheese has its own unique needs when it comes to proper slicing, so there’s no real one-size-fits-all solution.
If you’re someone who likes to try various different kinds of cheeses, or someone who likes to be prepared for such an eventuality, it might make the most sense to buy a cheese knife set that covers various different types of cheeses. You don’t necessarily have to find one that includes every single type of cheese knife outlined above, but one that includes the necessary tools to deal with the various cheese textures might be a good idea.
Cheese knives are made of different materials, but the best ones tend to feature a stainless steel blade. However, aside from stainless steel, there are other types of blades that might also be high quality, such as high-carbon stainless steel blades. Keep an eye on user reviews, if available, so you can see what they have to say about the materials.
Unlike other types of knives, you probably won’t be exerting too much pressure on your cheese knives; this means that you won’t be using them for prolonged periods of time or applying them to tough jobs that might make your hands sore. However, it’s still important for your cheese knives to feel comfortable, like an extension of your hands. This is why a good, comfortable handle is important. Keep an eye out for a good quality handle.
Some of these cheese knives are specifically designed to minimize issues like drag and stuck, and to cut cheese into the most optimal serving presentation. It’s always important for your knives to look good, but what “looks good” is a matter of personal taste. Some stainless steel cheese knives are a little more plain-looking than others.
4. The Best Cheese Knife Set
Now that we know a broad definition of the various types of cheese knives, as well as what to look for in a cheese knife, here are a few cheese knife sets that we heartily recommend.
One of my favorite things in the world is a knife set with a consistent aesthetic. And when that aesthetic is as extremely cool-looking as the knives in Dalstrong’s Shadow Black Series, even better. The knives in this awesome 4-piece cheese knife set are like little sci-fi implements from a distant future. Not only because these stylish knives look the part, but because of their out-of-this-world performance as well.
- Each of these blades is crafted from a single piece of high-carbon 7CR17MOV-X super-steel.
- Features an ergonomic, fiber-resin, military-grade G10 handle. Handles beautifully and comfortably.
- Titanium nitride non-reflective coating improves their corrosion resistance and non-stick properties.
- An extremely sharp and robust blade at 58+ HRC.
- Incredible value for the price.
- A good variety of cheese knives that should have you covered for any need that arises.
- Believe it or not, not everyone is a fan of the super-sleek all-black look. If you’re interested in more traditional-looking knives, check out the next option below.
- The titanium nitride coating might make you hesitant to sharpen these knives, but it’s something you’ll get over quickly as it’s actually very simple to do.
There’s also this gorgeous set from the Gladiator series, a gorgeous selection of four top-of-the-line powerhouse stainless steel cheese knives that will have all your cheese-slicing needs covered. Premium looks and performance, a comfortable ergonomic handle, the whole package.
This set comes with a 3.75” stainless steel mini cleaver knife, a 3.75” stainless steel forked cheese knife, a 3.75” stainless steel soft cheese knife, and a 3.75” stainless steel serrated cheese knife spreader. Everything you need for your next dinner party or cheese board.
- Meticulously handcrafted from a single piece of ultra-sharp, wear-resistant, high-carbon German stainless steel.
- Each of these knives is full tang, for increased robustness.
- Premium quality laminated G10 Garolite handle with an ergonomic design for comfort and ease of use.
- Extremely low-maintenance and easy to clean, National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified.
- Once again, unbelievable value for the price, and a fantastic gift for any cheese lover in your family.
- This lovely cheese knife set would work and look perfect on Charcuterie boards.
- Elegant but traditional-looking knives; if you’re looking for something a bit flashier and more attention-grabbing, definitely go with the Shadow Black series above.
- You’ll probably be increasing your monthly intake of cheese just so you can use these over and over again.
This is a fantastic deal; the 4-piece stainless steel cheese knife set described above bundled together with the Lionswood End-grain teak cutting board, which is just about the best cutting board you’re ever going to find. Absolute class and practicality in this ingenious pairing.
5.Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good knife to cut cheese?
There are various types of knives designed to cut cheese, from soft cheese knives to cheese cleavers to cheese spreaders. Check out our section above on all the different types of cheese knives.
What is the purpose of a cheese knife?
Cheese knives are designed to make clean cuts through cheese without harming the structural integrity or textural quality of the cheese.
Why do cheese knives have holes?
Soft cheese knives usually have holes in them to keep some of the stickier types of cheese from clinging to the blade.