We’ve all been there. Standing in the kitchen, preparing to thinly slice a delicious heirloom tomato. It’s perfectly plump and just a touch delicate with thin skin and soft flesh. It seems like it should be the easiest thing in the world to cut.
And yet, without fail, it is somehow impossible to slice without completely smashing it into the cutting board.
Every time I find myself in this situation I think, “There has to be a better way!”
Turns out, there is. The tomato knife was invented for moments just like these. And they are absolutely worth every penny, especially if you enjoy tomato and mayo sandwiches as much as I do.
Here are our favorite knives for cutting tomatoes and a few tips on how to use them.
What is a Tomato Knife?
A tomato knife is specially designed to tackle the thin skins and fragile insides of tomatoes.
They are typically serrated, which allows the knife to move through the skin quickly and with minimal pressure.
These knives tend to be relatively short but can vary in size from paring knife length to about six inches. They also tend to be low profile, which helps keep tomato slices from sticking to the blade.
Can’t I Just Use a Serrated Knife?
While serrated knives do tend to cut tomatoes better than a plain edge knife (unless it is very, very sharp), not all serrated knives will do the trick.
Steak knives and other general use knives tend to be too thick to execute a paper-thin tomato slice. Slices also tend to stick to tall, standard kitchen knives.
If your goal is to find a tomato-friendly knife you can use on a wider variety of produce, look for one that is razor-thin and has a lower profile but is longer than a traditional tomato knife. (Don’t worry, we have some great suggestions for these types of knives below, as well.)
The 5 Best Knives for Cutting Tomatoes
1. Top Pick: Rada Cutlery W226 Tomato Slicing Knife
It’s just good luck for tomato lovers everywhere that one of the best tomato knives is also one of the most affordable.
Rada Cutlery’s W226 tomato knife is made of surgical grade, high carbon, stainless steel to resist dulling. The exaggerated teeth on the serrated edge are sharp enough to penetrate tomato skin with just the slightest movement. And because the blade is thin, short, and only about 5 inches long, it is super easy to maneuver for paper-thin slices or perfect cubes.
The sleek and comfortable handle is made of black or silver stainless steel resin and completely dishwasher safe. This American made knife also comes with a lifetime guarantee.
2. Wusthof 4109-7 CLASSIC Tomato Knife
If your goal is to find a truly professional-grade tomato knife, you’ll get just that in the Wusthof 4109-7 Classic.
Like our first choice, this is a high carbon, stainless steel blade with an ultra-sharp serrated edge. The cutting edge on this knife, however, is much less exaggerated, making it easier to handle when performing dynamic cuts. This 5-inch blade also features a double-prong end so you can quickly pick up and move slices out of your workspace.
This German-made knife is professionally forged and features a full tang handle that is triple riveted and made to last. While it could probably handle a few wash cycles without issue, this is a more expensive knife and one you probably want to take the time to hand wash.
3. ZYLISS Serrated Paring Knife
This flashy little knife is perfect for the home cook that wants a useful tomato knife but doesn’t have a lot of space or money to spare.
The Zyliss Serrated Paring Knife has a 3 ¼ inch lightly serrated blade with included blade cover for easy storage. It is also made from high carbon, stainless steel that is razor-sharp and ready for action. But at this low of a price point, you can expect to have to sharpen the blade every once and a while.
The red handle features a soft, non-slip grip for ease of use. With a matching blade cover, this knife is portable and fashionable and perfect for picnics and camping.
4. Prodyne CK-300 Multi-Use Cheese Fruit and Veggie Knife
If you are looking for more of an all-use knife that also makes cutting tomatoes a breeze, the Prodyne CK-300 is a fantastic option.
This knife features the same long, thin blade and double-pronged end of your typical tomato knife, but the shallow serration makes it easier to use on foods that don’t require a sawing motion to cut, like cheeses and carrots. The 5 ½ inch blade is designed with open windows along the surface to reduce friction and prevent food from sticking.
Because the edge of the blade is designed to stay sharp for life, it will continue to slice the perfect tomato even without the protruding teeth of the typical tomato knife. Not bad for one of the lower-priced items on our list.
5. Wusthof Classic 4110 Serrated Utility Knife
Another Wusthof knife making our list is the Classic 4110 Utility Knife. Like our second choice, this knife comes with a higher price tag to go along with its professional-grade status. If you are serious about your knives but need yours to create more than perfect tomato slices, this slicer knife is the way to go.
Like all Wusthof’s, this knife features a German-made, high carbon, stainless steel blade and reinforced handle. And, much like our number four choice, the shallower serrations and ultra-sharp edge mean this knife can handle a variety of fruits, veggies, and cheeses with ease.
Wusthof knives also boast some of the sharpest edges in the industry, meaning that this blade will still deliver the perfect, razor-thin tomato slice even after you’ve just used it to dice up a pound of carrots.
How to Use Your New Tomato Knife
While finding the right tool is half the battle, having a little technique up your sleeve will help you put your new tomato knife to use with ease. Here are some tips for cutting the perfect slice, every time.
- Use the pronged or pointed end of your knife to remove the core on the top of the tomato.
- Hold the knife at a 45-degree angle as you cut.
- Without putting pressure on the tomato, pull the knife back to penetrate the skin.
- Slide the knife smoothly through the remaining flesh using a gentle sawing motion.
Now enjoy the perfect tomato slice with a little salt and pepper!
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Feature photo: ©HannaKuprevich/Bigstock