Top 5 Best Knives for Cutting Sushi (2020 Review)

Looking for the best Knife for Sushi?

Whether you’re looking to make simple veggie rolls or to prepare beautifully sliced sashimi and intricate rainbow rolls, you need a high-quality knife to complement the bright flavors and delicate preparation of your meal.

Plus, seaweed wraps, nori, are full of important vitamins and nutrients, not to mention the healthy fats and vitamins from the other minerals and fresh fish.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • About traditional Japanese sushi knives, yanagiba.
  • Which qualities are most important in a high-performance sushi knife.
  • And much more!

Below is a quick list of my favorite sushi knives. Keep scrolling to learn more of my top tips to choose and use the best knives for sushi.

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DALSTRONG - Yanagiba Knife - 9.5"
  • Traditional Japanese Design
  • Nitrogen cooled for added hardness
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Traditional Japanese Design
  • Nitrogen cooled for added hardness
  • Lifetime Warranty
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DALSTRONG - Yanagiba Sushi Knife - Shogun Series S
  • Sharpened with the Honbazuke method
  • Beautiful blade and handle design
  • 15° degree blade bevel
  • Sharpened with the Honbazuke method
  • Beautiful blade and handle design
  • 15° degree blade bevel
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Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Yanagi Sashimi Knife
  • High-Carbon German steel
  • Traditional wooden handle
  • Fine stone-ground finish
  • High-Carbon German steel
  • Traditional wooden handle
  • Fine stone-ground finish
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Kai Wasabi Black Yanagiba Knife
  • High-Carbon Stainless Steel
  • Sturdy polypropylene blend handle
  • Elegantly simple design
  • High-Carbon Stainless Steel
  • Sturdy polypropylene blend handle
  • Elegantly simple design
View on Amazon
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Lucky Cook Sashimi Sushi Knife 10 Inch
  • Stainless Steel
  • Versatile design
  • Oval shaped comfortable handle
  • Stainless Steel
  • Versatile design
  • Oval shaped comfortable handle
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My Overall Top #1 PickDALSTRONG – Yanagiba Knife – 9.5″

Of all the sushi knives I’ve looked at, the DALSTRONG – Yanagiba Knife – 9.5″ proved the best for sushi.

It’s easy to use design and incredible sharpness makes it a perfect choice for a wide variety of sushi rolls, as well as the many different kinds of fish used in sashimi.

Though Dalstrong isn’t a traditional Japanese company, they’ve really embraced the spirit and principles behind the yanagiba design.

This knife is made with some of the highest quality steel, and forged with a combination of traditional Japanese techniques and modern scientific principles.

Of course, I’m not the only one who has noticed the incredible quality and performance of this knife, that’s why there are so many rave reviews about its performance!

Top 5 Best Knives for Cutting Sushi

In a hurry? Check out our top 5 picks below! Keep reading to learn more about these high-quality sushi knives.

  1. DALSTRONG – Yanagiba Knife – 9.5″ (My Top Pick)
  2. DALSTRONG – Yanagiba Sushi Knife – Shogun Series S (Best High-End)
  3. Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Yanagi Sashimi Knife (Best Budget)
  4. Kai Wasabi Black Yanagiba Knife
  5. Lucky Cook Sashimi Sushi Knife 10 Inch

What are the Advantages of a High Quality Knife for Sushi? 

While it is possible to cut sushi with a chef knife or another less specialized knife, only high quality yanagiba (traditional Japanese sushi knives) provide a clean, professional quality cut.

There are a few reasons yanagiba stand out, but most important is the flat single-direction style of the blade.

Having a single direction cutting surface works to help preserve the shape of your sushi or sashimi. One of the joys of making sushi is achieving perfectly even cuts in your fish and vegetables, as well as evenly slicing through a completed roll.

Knives with a dual cutting surface, like a chef’s knife, tend to grip the rice and vegetables in your sushi, which results in a squished and uneven look. They also tend to produce a wavy or jagged cut in raw fish, which is particularly noticeable on sashimi.

Yanagibas are also the best choice for certain types of fish that are difficult to cut with another knife due to their texture, like tako (octopus).

When you buy a high quality yanagiba, you’re also buying high quality steel, typically with a fine stone-sharpened edge. The quality of the steel and sharpening make cutting a breeze, and also mean that your yanagiba will last longer before it needs to be sharpened. 

Of course, yanagiba aren’t the only traditional Japanese knives, each style has different strengths and ideal uses.

How to Pick the Best Knife for Sushi? 

Material: What Kind of Steel Is Best For a Sushi Knife?

The best sushi knives are usually made from carbon steel. Some people prefer the aesthetic of Damascus steel, but Damascus steel is generally harder to maintain, and improper care can shorten the life of your knife.

Carbon steel, on the other hand, can take and maintain a superior edge. The tools required to hand sharpen carbon steel are readily available. It’s also relatively simple to find a professional if you don’t want to sharpen your knives yourself.

Stainless steel is another option and may be a good choice for owners who don’t need the sharpest possible option. Stainless is easier to clean and maintain than either other option, but it can’t achieve quite the same level of sharpness. 

Take a look at this fantastic video to learn how to properly sharpen and care for your new yanagiba:

Angle: What Cutting Angle Works Best for Sushi and Sashimi?

The angle of your bevel matters on a yanagiba because it affects how sharp the blade is, and how much maintenance the edge requires. Ideally, you want a relatively narrow bevel, somewhere between 14-16 degrees.

Fortunately, most knives described as sushi knives, even if they aren’t a true yanagiba, will have a bevel in this range. 

Size: How Long Should a Good Yanagiba Be?

Yanagiba come in a variety of lengths, and which you choose depends a lot on personal preference. Longer knives are good for breaking down whole fish, but that isn’t a task that many home-cooks are likely to do on their own. 

Short knives offer more control and are more easily stored. The most common lengths are in the 8-12 inch range. 

Handle: Plastic or Wooden Handle?

Traditional yanagiba are made with wooden handles that provide grip and durability. There are handles made from finished and unfinished wood today, but I recommend getting a finished handle if you opt for wood. 

Sealing and finishing the handle makes it easier to clean and maintain, and also adds durability to the wood. 

There are also lots of handles made from durable hardened plastics. Plastics are easier to care for, but can make it easier for the knife to twist and turn in your hand while you’re using them. 

Look for handles with a variable width or slight texturing to improve your control. 

Design: Does it Matter Which Side The Blade is On?

Yanagiba are made with a single bevel blade. That means that there is a flat surface on one side of the knife and a cutting edge on the other. The design is why these knives are so successful as sushi and sashimi knives, but also means that they are meant to be used in a particular way. 

Essentially, Yanagibas are handed. If you are left-handed, you won’t get good results from a right-handed blade, and vice versa. 

Right-handed yanagiba are much more common than left-handed versions. But, left-handed knives are available for purchase, so you should make sure you have the right version for how you will use the knife. 

Even if a knife is only advertised as a right-handed yanagiba, it’s a good idea to contact the manufacturer to see if a left-handed version is also available.

My Reviews of Knives for Cutting Sushi

1. DALSTRONG – Yanagiba Knife – 9.5″ 

One of the first things users notice with this knife is the wonderful feeling of the grip and its lightweight design.

With these features combined, this yanagiba knife seems to disappear, becoming an extension of your arm as you thinly slice fish and vegetables. 

The narrow profile of the knife helps it avoid friction with the sticky seasoned rice in sushi rolls. 

A traditional D-shaped handle gives you superior control. That means you can make the most difficult angled shaping cuts with ease. 

This knife is suitable for both sashimi and rolled sushi, and even works well with difficult inside out rolls.

Most importantly the knife and tang are made from a single piece of hand-forged high-carbon Japanese steel. It’s designed not only to take an incredibly sharp edge, but also to hold that edge longer than other knives.

This yanagiba will also stand out among your other knives thanks to the mirror finish on the blade and gorgeous precision etching.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Hand-forged high carbon steel
+ Incredibly sharp
+ Ergonomic traditionally shaped handle
+ Lifetime warranty
– Performs best if honed just before use
– Shouldn’t be washed in the dishwasher

2. DALSTRONG – Yanagiba Sushi Knife – Shogun Series S.

My high end pick for this list is another Dalstrong yanagiba. This one combines the superior function of a Dalstrong knife with the incredible beauty of a high-end knife. 

It’s slightly longer at 10.5”, making this a knife that works well with larger pieces of fish and thinly slicing long vegetables.

It takes up a little more space, and is best for more experienced sushi creators, since the longer blade can be a bit trickier to handle.

In addition to the raw beauty of the blade, this yanagiba is nitrogen-cooled, adding superior hardness and flexibility to the blade. That means it’s incredibly durable and designed to last through years of regular use.

This knife also takes advantage of another traditional Japanese handle design, and octagon. The shape gives you superior grip and control. Plus, this knife has an attractive red and black grip made from red rosewood and Garolite, which is similar to fiberglass. 

It’s a lightweight knife, but, thanks to the well-honed edge, this knife slices through fish without any added pressure. All it takes is the weight of the knife itself. 

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Beautiful blade and handle
+ Precise 15-degree blade 
+ 67 layers of hand-forged high-carbon steel
+ Lifetime warranty
– Needs to be hand washed
– Different handle design takes some getting used to

3. Mercer Culinary Asian Collection Yanagi Sashimi Knife

This knife offers impressive performance in a relatively plain package.

Designed with traditional Japanese principles in mind, and made from high-quality German steel, this knife is a versatile cutting tool. 

This knife combines a stone-ground finish for a fine blade with a traditional if plain wooden handle.

It’s also resistant to rust, corrosion, and won’t pick up stains from food.

This knife is on the longer side, a full 12 inches. That makes it suitable for larger vegetables and breaking down whole fish. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty. However, this knife does need to be hand-washed to avoid accidental damage that could void the warranty.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Razor-sharp single-bevel blade
+ High quality German steel that is both high carbon and stain-resistant
+ Traditional wooden handle
– Slightly more difficult to use because of its length
– Only a limited lifetime warranty

4. Kai Wasabi Black Yanagiba Knife

This compact take on a yanagiba was manufactured in Japan, using high-carbon stainless for a combination of both advantages.

It’s also the only yanagabi on this list that is dishwasher safe, though you’ll still get the best results from hand-washing. 

The design is simple but effective. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but the clean lines and grazed finish don’t need them.

The handle is a polypropylene blend, with added bamboo fiber for structure as well as enhanced antimicrobial properties.

Those antimicrobial properties make this knife an especially good choice for family kitchens.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Dishwasher safe, handwashing preferred
+ Daido steel maintains sharpness longer
+ Antimicrobial handle with easy-grip design
+ Made in Japan
– Handle is slightly short
– Blade has very little flex

5. Lucky Kitchen Sashimi Sushi Knife 10 Inch

The Lucky Kitchen take on a yanagiba is made from high-quality stainless steel that also has high carbon content.

It’s sharpened to a fine edge, and each blade also bears a serial number that certifies it as a Lucky Kitchen product. 

Lucky Kitchen also understands that one of the primary requirements of a good yanagiba is that the blade and handle are well-balanced and ergonomically designed for superior control.

This knife is both, making it easy to cut even difficult tako with ease. 

This yanagiba is a medium-length option at 10”, giving you added versatility without the storage and control challenges that come with longer knives. 

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Versatile length
+ Stainless steel
+ Great balance between blade and handle
– Plain design
– Wide blade (for a yanagiba)

My Top Pick: DALSTRONG – Yanagiba Knife – 9.5″

From slicing delicate avocado to transitioning between the different textures of sticky rice and nori wraps, the Dalstrong yanagiba knife glides effortlessly. This knife might not have the versatility of a good chef’s knife, but it’s superbly effective in its niche.

Dalstrong might not be a Japanese company, but they understand the demands of a traditional Japanese knife.

From the principles of design that make a single-sided knife so effective for slicing to the quality of the steel and ergonomic balance, the Dalstrong 9.5 inch yanagiba is ideal for sushi.

If you’re in the market for a reasonably affordable, high-quality, specialty sushi blade, this knife has you covered.

Final Thoughts On The Best Knives for Cutting Sushi

In Japan, a sushi chef would use two different knives for sashimi, raw fish, and sushi, which means ‘with rice’. But for home use, a yanagiba can serve both purposes.

It’s important to look for a knife that uses a traditional Japanese design. These blades work so well because they have evolved through centuries of masters preparing their traditional cuisine and working with bladesmiths to create the perfect tool.

The right knife is the key to cutting through all the different textures of fish, vegetable, and seasoned rice without crushing or tearing the food. Prepare with the right knife and you’ll be serving sushi that looks and tastes restaurant fresh in no time!

Heather

Heather

My love for food brings me here. Over the last couple years, I've been building out my repertoire of the best kitchen gadgets and appliances to whip up my favorite meals. I'm on a mission to help you do the same, so you can bring out the spice of life in your kitchen and define your unique Kitchen Culture!

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Heather

Heather

My love for food brings me here. Over the last couple years, I've been building out my repertoire of the best kitchen gadgets and appliances to whip up my favorite meals. I'm on a mission to help you do the same, so you can bring out the spice of life in your kitchen and define your unique Kitchen Culture!

About My Kitchen Culture

Here at My Kitchen Culture, I review the best kitchen gadgets and appliances so that you can get everything you need to create your favorite foods in your kitchen. 

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