What is a Paring Knife

All about Paring Knives

What is a Paring Knife or Touring Knife? Do I need a Paring Knife? Different types of Paring Knives? We answer these questions and every other you might have about Paring Knives or Touring Knives in this post.

Do you enjoy bringing “botanicals” to your table? Carefully and sparsely peeled, precisely trimmed, or even elegantly carved to perfection? In that case, a paring knife with one of the three blade shapes available will be useful:
This little pointed blade is an excellent complement to your large chef’s knife for cutting through tougher ingredients. Find out what factors are vital in making the proper decision in this section.

What exactly is a Paring Knife?

We are talking about a compact, portable all-rounder that may be used for a variety of fine tasks on produce from the fruit or vegetable basket…. The paring knife is also known by a variety of other names, including little kitchen knife, Touring Knife, Pitter Knife, Office Knife, and Vegetable Knife, among others. The names become a little jumbled when it comes to distinguishing between versions and not.

A paring knife has the following characteristics:

  • A small blade ranging in length from 2 inches (ca. 5 cm) to 4 inches (ca. 10 cm), but most commonly 3.1 inches (ca. 8 cm)
  • 0.6 inches (ca. 1.5 cm) to 0.8 inches (ca. 2 cm) high cutting blade
  • Blade with a tip for cutting and larding
  • Traditionally, the handle is always longer than the blade and is composed of riveted wooden shells.
  • For finely chopping on the cutting board
  • for freehand peeling and touring, bringing into the right shape

The little pointed vegetable knife is a useful hand extension for cleaning, peeling, and cutting out damaged bits of fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, and potatoes, as well as carving complex trimmings. Professionals also use it to transform potato tubers into homogeneous castle potatoes, which are used as a noble garnish.

The three Blade Shapes

Some view paring knives, touring knives, and so on to be interchangeable, while others consider the touring knife to be a subset of the paring knife. In reality, three different blade forms exist for slightly different applications. In any case, all three can be used to peel.

The straight-cutting Edge

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Kudamono Paring Knife
ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Kudamono Paring Knife

This is a traditional vegetable knife with a completely straight bevel and a strongly curved back at the front, resulting in a 45-degree tip. Its biggest strength is pressure cut (push-cut) chopping on the cutting board.

The beak-shaped curved Blade

Bird Beak Paring Knife
Bird Beak Paring Knife

In the narrower meaning, the Tournier knife has a very typical concave curve with a downward-pointing, very narrow-angled tip. This style of Tournier knife blade is often only 2 inches (ca. 5 cm) to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long. Their short beak blade is ideal for thin and quick peeling of spherical shapes, as well as carving.

The medium-pointed Blade

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Paring Knife
ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Paring Knife

The bevel and spine of the second type of paring knife blade are curved in a mirror image to each other and meet in the middle of a smaller tip. It is also known as a larding knife or an office knife. It is the most versatile of the three, resembling a little chef’s knife.

Typical Blade Material of a Paring Knife

Paring knives that are both: incredibly sharp and robust would be ideal for a tiny, swift generalist in delicate cutting operations, peeling, and routine snipping. Unfortunately, meeting this material need is rather challenging.

Extremely hard and break-sensitive knife steels are the only ones that can provide long-lasting super-sharpness. Sharpness is reduced in soft and flexible-robust mono steels. As a result, traditional producers make tradeoffs in both directions and rely mostly on two materials for paring knives.

Carbon Steel Paring Knives – not rustproof, but super sharp

The finest unalloyed knife steels made entirely of iron plus a “shot” of carbon ensure maximum hardness and consequently sharpness. Carbon steel is always fragile and glass-like. This means that the blade will break more easily and the cutting edge will chip faster. When professionally tempered at lower temperatures, they become slightly more flexible and resilient, eventually reaching hardnesses of 60 to 63 HRC.

Advantages: unrivaled in terms of sharpness and edge retention, easy to resharpen by hand, extremely durable, and at the same time reasonably priced.

Disadvantages: Carbon steel is prone to rusting, imparts an iron smell to food, and develops a patchy gray patina when exposed to air. It is not tolerant to water, acid, hard cuttings, or carelessness, and it needs rust-preventative maintenance to be healthy.

If maintaining a long-lasting, razor-sharp blade is vital to you, and you are not afraid to take a little extra care and attention when working, this is the blade for you.

Ideal for almost professionals and full-time professionals: the finest, fastest, and most precise cuts over a long period of time.

Stainless Steel – easy to clean and insensitive

The steel, which has a coarser structure due to the presence of chromium yet is stainless, can withstand higher levels of chemical and mechanical stress. The material has good elastic flexibility, but it is also softer (50 to 56 HRC), and it can never be ground as thin and sharp as high-carbon steel. For example, X50CrMoV15 stainless steel is a typicall stainless steel for solid flash knives with good cutting capabilities. Other CMV steels (for chromium, molybdenum, and vanadium), Swedish steel (X46Cr13), and unique materials such as Cronidur 30 and Cromova are also excellent European and American choices.

Advantages: Corrosion-resistant, and in many cases, dishwasher-safe materials. A knife of this caliber is not easily destroyed; fractures and nicks rarely occur under extreme circumstances, and re-sharpening is not difficult.

Disadvantages: Generally thicker and less cutting, unless when using high-quality steel with excellent to very excellent sharpness, which requires more frequent re-sharpening.

If you are still learning your craft or if your little chef’s knife is doing a significant amount of heavy lifting, and you do not want to invest a lot of money, this is the knife for you.

In both hobby and commercial kitchens, this is a long-lasting option for daily use and wear.

Handle Material for Paring Knives

In the same way that other types of kitchen knives have shown themselves, both wooden and plastic handle materials have proven themselves as well in the world of Paring Knives. If you desire a dignified or natural appearance, warm, hand-flattering wood is a good choice. There are several varieties of valuable wood available that are not only enjoyable to work with, but also a visual feast. A small bit of oil maintenance occasionally preserves the material water-resistant, in shape, supple, and gorgeous.

Paring Knives: Mercer Culinary Praxis Paring Knife with Rosewood Handle
Mercer Culinary Praxis Paring Knife with Rosewood Handle

Good plastic handles, on the other hand, might undoubtedly appear to be just as valuable. They can also be welded in a fully seamless and extremely secure manner. Additionally, plastic’s structural stability, unpretentiousness, and sanitation are unmatched by anything save an all-metal knife produced from a single piece of material.

Wusthof Classic Paring Knife with plastic handle
Wusthof Classic Paring Knife with Plastic Handle

Paring Knife Care

  • Above all, cut on a wooden or plastic board rather than a solid, hard surface.
  • When it comes to blades, we do not recommend using a dishwashing machine. If you intend to use your Deba Knife for an extended period of time, it is best to clean it by hand immediately after use. If the blade is not made from stainless steel, lightly oil it. Traditionally, camellia oil is advised for this process. Also, do not forget to lubricate the wooden handles from time to time.
  • A medium to fine grit whetstone is suitable for sharpening straight and medium-pointed blade tips, as opposed to coarse or extra fine. Individually sharpening the beak-shaped knife can be time-consuming. We recommend that you get it sharpened by a professional knife sharpener every few months for a nominal charge.
  • Never bundle or stack knives of high quality on top of or close to each other. Separately, store them in a knife block or on a magnetic bar to keep them organized.

The most crucial Paring Knife Purchase Criteria

  • Do you prefer to use the paring knife for cutting, peeling, or a combination of the two? The classic straight blade shape as a “chopping worker” on the cutting board is one option; the beak-shaped touring knife, which is another, is one that loves curves and can beat any peeler and carve masterpieces; or the golden middle, which is a medium-pointed specimen that can even perform the cradle cut is another.
  • Keeping a paring knife sharp and ready to use requires a little extra effort and attention. The only thing that can give accurately clean, uncompromising cuts is finely honed, ultra-sharp carbon steel: cutting at its best while the juice stays where it should. It is necessary, however, to maintain it clean and oil it regularly in order to avoid corrosion. Large quantities of onions or garlic, tomatoes, or sour fruits, on the other hand, only serve to make stainless steel surfaces shine brighter. It is possible to leave a knife like this unwashed; but, you will have to sharpen it more frequently. There are significant variances in quality amongst steels, so pay close attention to the designations and well-established brands while shopping for steels.
  • In order to experience Paring Knives as a safe and tailored-to-you complement to your thumb, it is vital to consider your own personal handiness. Only through trial and error will it be possible to evaluate whether the shape, length, weight, and feel of the knife match this need.
  • You should check for flawless workmanship with no splits, cracks, or wobbling at the blade-to-handle transition if you intend to use your paring knife for an extended amount of time. A plastic handle might be a better option than a wooden handle, especially if you are not a fan of the upkeep that comes with wood.
  • Of course, the eye cuts in the same direction as you. Paring Knives that are both aesthetically pleasing and robustly constructed from high-quality materials are most likely to be found at well-established manufacturers with years of experience, a long history, and a good reputation.


With a Paring Knife, Touring Knife, or whatever name you want for the little pointed vegetable knife, you may do all the finer, smaller tasks in any kitchen that a bigger chef’s knife would be too coarse to complete. It is advised that you use three different blade shapes and two different steel kinds depending on your specific greens, cutting, and knife preferences. Although all of them are excellent for peeling, only the straight form is beneficial for cutting on a board; the shorter beak shape peels and tournishes rounds better, and the middle point is widely useful.

Whether you want extra-sharp carbon steel with a patina or shining CMV steel, choose high-quality items that do not break the bank and put low-cost alternatives in the trash can of history. When you are older, you will still be slicing potatoes with your first Paring Knife, just as you did when you were younger.

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