What Is A Cheese Knife?

Cheese is one of life’s simple pleasures. Whether you prefer a nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano, a crumbly blue cheese, or the classic cheddar, there’s a cheese out there for everyone.

What Is A Cheese Knife

However, to truly enjoy cheese at its best, having the right knives and tools makes all the difference.

Why Cheese Knives Matter

First things first, why do you even need special knives for cutting cheese? Can’t you just use any old butter knife in your silverware drawer? Well, you could, but using the proper knives helps preserve the taste, texture, and overall integrity of the cheese. Here’s why they matter:

  • Prevent Sticking - Ever struggle to get a soft cheese like brie off a knife once you’ve cut into it? The holes, thin blades, and special coatings on cheese knives prevent sticking. This means the cheese holds its shape better instead of getting mashed or smeared as you try to remove it.
  • Retain Shape and Texture - Using the right knife provides clean, precise cuts so the cheese doesn’t crumble or smoosh. Cheese knives match the blade thickness and strength to the hardness level. This way a hard cheese doesn’t shatter, while a delicate fresh mozzarella keeps its fluffy texture.
  • Enhance Presentation - Using cheese knives results in picture-perfect slices, wedges, or shavings for a professional, artisanal look. The ergonomic handles also give you optimal control for attractive plating.
  • Minimize Contamination - Dedicated cheese knives help avoid cross-contamination from strong flavors. For instance, you don’t want remnants of pungent blue cheese altering the taste of a following mild cheddar.

Cheese knives give the best possible eating experience by upholding form, taste, texture, and appearance. Now let’s look at the main types of cheese knives that exist.

Types of Cheese Knives

There is quite an assortment of specialized cheese knives out there, so it can get confusing for beginners on where to start. To simplify things, here is an overview of the most common varieties and what they do best:

Soft Cheese Knife

  • Key Features: Thin blade, holes
  • Best Uses: Brie, Camembert, Burrata, Fresh Mozzarella

The soft cheese knife contains holes in the blade that prevent sticking to creamy, gooey cheeses. The minimal contact area keeps these delicate cheeses from clinging as you cut them. Soft cheese knives sometimes also have a sharpened ridge to further discourage adhesion.

Offset Cheese Knife

  • Key Features: Angled blade and handle
  • Best Uses: Brie, Goat Cheese, Blue Cheese, Cheddar

With the blade set at an angle from the handle, offset knives provide knuckle clearance to easily leverage cuts. The offset blade is slim yet sturdy enough for various semi-soft and firm cheeses. It excels as an all-purpose cheese knife.

Cheese Cleaver

  • Key Features: Wide rectangular blade
  • Best Uses: Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyere

Resembling a miniature meat cleaver, the compact but mighty cheese cleaver chops cleanly through bigger portions of hard cheese. The sturdy construction stands up to applying force if needed.

Cheese Fork

  • Key Features: Pronged spear tip
  • Best Uses: Soft cheeses, Chevre, Brie, Blue cheese

The forked tip on this popular knife picks up cut cheese for seamless eating or serving. The sharp edge also cuts cheese while the prongs hold it in place. Forks glide beautifully across soft cheese rinds.

Spatula Cheese Knife

  • Key Features: Rounded, flexible blade
  • Best Uses: Goat cheese, Ricotta, Cream cheese

Also called a cheese spreader, this knife excels at spreading soft, creamy cheeses onto bread, crackers, fruit, or cheese boards. Gentle flex in the rounded blade conforms to create even coverage.

Parmesan Knife

  • Key Features: Pointed tip, dual sharp edges
  • Best Uses: Parmesan, Romano, Asiago

With Parmigiano-Reggiano in mind, the Parmesan knife easily breaks hard, brittle Italian cheeses into shards. The tip pierces tough rinds while sides chip crumbly pieces.

Cheese Plane

  • Key Features: Razor inside slit
  • Best Uses: Slicing firm cheeses

For paper-thin cheese slices, a countertop cheese plane can’t be beat. Draw firm cheeses across the classic carpenter plane form to achieve translucent slices and uniform shreds.

There are a few more obscure varieties, but these cheese knives make up standard set that can handle most cheese needs. Now let’s look at supplementary cheese tools.

Key Takeaway: Soft cheeses call for holey, thin blades while hard cheeses need sturdy, reinforced knives. Spatula blades spread soft cheese beautifully.

Other Cheese Tools

Beyond knives designed to cut cheese, specialized tools assist with other cheese preparation and serving tasks:

  • Cheese Board - A quality wooden or marble cheese board provides a neutral backdrop to display cheeses attractively for guests. Built-in slicers and drawers add cutting convenience.
  • Cheese Dome - To keep cheese fresher longer once cut, a cloche dome safeguards from contaminants. Cheese stays moist and flavorful instead of drying into rubbery oblivion.
  • Cheese Markers - Place these chalkboard flags into different cheese wedges to identify each variety. No more staring puzzled at leftovers after guests ravage the board.
  • Cheese Paper - Breathable yet moisture-resistant sheets of cheese paper wrap around stored cheese to regulate humidity and prevent drying out.
  • Cheese Slicer - Mounted with tight wires or adjustable blades, a handheld countertop slicer carves flawless thin slices. Quickly create cheese plates or charcuterie boards.
  • Labeling Pen - Use this food-safe wax pen to directly label cheese if you plan to save any post-party. The pen writes directly onto rinds then wipes off easily later with a damp cloth.
  • Marble Slab - Elegant marble makes an impression at wine tastings and dinner parties while keeping cheese perfectly chilled. The neutral stone showcases colors and textures.
  • Slate Board - Another fresh alternative to wood, slate cools cheeses like a stone countertop. The plain gray canvas avoids competing with vibrant cheese hues.
  • Spoon Rest - Keep mess contained with a spoon rest for drippier cheeses like burrata. The liquid catches safely below without spreading across your board.

There are endless cheese platter accessories to discover, but this list covers the basics to elevate your presentations. But most importantly, let’s talk proper cutting technique.

How to Cut Different Cheeses

Now that you know which cheese knives and tools to use, let’s go over some best practices for cutting various cheese types without mangling them. Follow these tips:

Wedges of Soft Cheese

  • Hold the cheese steady on a board and slice thin strips lengthwise across the wedge.
  • Never dig out or cut off the tip of soft cheese wedges - that’s the tastiest, most ripe part!

Blocks of Hard Cheese

  • First cut the whole block in half width-wise to make two manageable bricks.
  • Next cut cross-section slices across the halves as desired, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
  • You can then cut the slices into cube shapes if called for in a recipe.

Wheels of Cheese

  • Start by cutting the wheel cleanly in half through the center (or into quarters).
  • Then make radial cuts from the center outwards like wheel spokes to form triangular wedges.

By using the correctly shaped knives for cheese types along with proper cutting motions, your cheeses keep their integrity from board to bite.

Key Takeaway: Slice soft wedges lengthwise across. Halve then slice hard blocks across. Cut cheese wheels into radial wedges.

Building a Starter Cheese Knife Set

The variety of cheese knife shapes and styles available can mystify beginners. While it would be fun to collect them all, you truly only need just a few to perform cheese cutting feats.

We recommend buying the following three knives to start out. This covers hard, soft, firm, crumbly, creamy, aged, fresh...all the major cheese categories:

  • Soft Cheese Knife - Slides through silky cheeses without tearing
  • Offset Cheese Knife - Allows easy leverage onmost cheeses
  • Cheese Cleaver - Sturdy for portioning hard cheeses

Armed with these three functional styles, you can divide and conquer any cheese situation from snacking to entertaining. Down the road, you can add specialty knives like cheese forks or Parmesan knives to grow your collection.

Invest in quality stainless steel blades that feel comfortable and balanced in your hand. High-carbon steel offers durability and longevity. Look for seamless construction with sturdy tangs (part embedded in the handle).

Ergonomic handles provide control and make repeated cutting motions less taxing. Contoured wood, plastic composite, or rubberized grips give reassuring traction, even when hands get slippery from cutting greasy cheeses.

It’s fine to start cheap with lower cost stainless steel cheese knives. But if you fall hard for fancier cheeses, you will likely notice and appreciate differences in higher-end knives before too long. Premium knives honestly make cheese cutting an absolute pleasure.

Of course proper storage aids longevity of your knives...

Key Takeaway: Start with just 3 indispensable knives - soft cheese, offset, and cheese cleaver. Upgrade to premium versions once your devotion to cheese intensifies.

Storing Cheese Knives

To safeguard your investment in fancy cheese cutlery, store knives properly between uses:

  • Keep in a dedicated knife block or magnetic strip instead of tossing in a crowded drawer
  • Wash gently by hand instead of harsh dishwasher chemicals
  • Rinse and wipe blades completely dry before storing to avoid residual moisture leading to pits or rust
  • Consider blade guards to prevent nicks and dulling blade edges against other utensils
  • Store handles up to avoid resting blade weight on delicate knife tips
  • Opt for wood blocks over acrylic or glass to help absorb and wick away small amounts of moisture

Following these best practices helps fancy cheese knives retain optimum cutting performance and eye appeal for years of curating cheese boards.

If you notice any residues remaining on blades after cutting pungent cheeses, clean promptly to avoid tainting milder cheeses cut afterward. Use a gentle soap and thorough rinse method described above.


How many types of cheese knives are there?

Dozens, but the main ones are: soft cheese knife, cheese cleaver, spatula spreader, cheese fork, Parmesan knife, cheese plane, and offset cheese knife. Fancier sub-varieties exist as well.

What cheese knife is the most versatile?

The offset cheese knife tackles the widest variety of cheeses overall. Its angled narrow blade suits most hardness levels.

What knife is best for cutting parmesan?

The Parmesan knife’s pointy tip and dual sharper sides chip through extra hard cheeses with ease compared to regular knives.

Can you cut soft cheese with a regular knife?

You can use a thin-bladed regular table knife in a pinch, but the holes and slide-assisting coatings of a true soft cheese knife do a much better job.

How do you prevent cheese sticking to the knife?

Choosing a cheese knife with lower surface area minimizes adhesion - so blades with holes, thin edges, forked tips, or ridges all discourage sticking versus wide flat blades.


That covers cheese knives - from why specialized cheese knives matter to the main types and cheese cutting how-to’s.

Start off with just a trio of soft, offset, and cheddar cleaver knives. Learn proper slicing motions. Add supplemental tools like slicers, spoons, or slate cheese trays over time.

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions