If you are a kitchen expert, you know how important it is to have a deep knowledge of your kitchen collection. Familiarity with your blades allows you to pick the best tool for the job and give it the necessary care. 

For instance, an amateur may be unable to distinguish between a fillet knife and a boning knife. But a wider knowledge of these two knives can give you a better experience in meat preparations. 

This article will examine the differences between a fillet knife and a boning knife. We will also look at the best application for each knife. 

Fillet knife 

Fillet Knife Uses

As the name suggests, a fillet knife separates the meat from bones and skin. The fillet knife is ideal for preparing fish fillets. Thus, a fillet knife would be a great addition to your kitchen if you love preparing fish dishes. You can also use a fillet knife to remove fish scales, segment fruits, and mince onions. 

wusthof fillet knife
fillet knife (source wusthof)

Blade shape and design

Most fillet knives feature a blade of between 5-8 inches. The shorter blades are ideal for smaller fish, and the longer ones work best with large fish. 

Fillet knives have trailing point blades. The spine curves from the handle to the sharp point. This design is perfect for long and steady cuts you need in fish filleting. Also, the sharp tip penetrates the meat from the skin with ease. 

Fillet blades are very thin, with a width of 2.5 to 3mm at the spine. Thus, the blades bend with ease while maintaining an edge. Flexibility is especially desirable when flexing the meat contours in the deboning process. 

Blade material

Typically fillet blades are made from stainless steel. But most manufacturers prefer alloys with a higher percentage of chromium. Fillet knives are used in wet conditions. Thus, a high percentage of chromium is essential to prevent corrosion. 

Some manufacturers also use high carbon steel material in making blades. These blades offer you the extra sharpness needed in fillet knives. Fillet knives have a medium level of hardness. The blade should be flexible enough to bend and maintain a certain hardness level so as not to break. 

Also, high carbon steel is hard, and the edges do not chip easily. But the material is not corrosion resistant. So you may have to take extra care of the knife after use. Applying oil on the blade before storing the knife keeps away rust.


Fillet knives are longer than regular kitchen knives. The bevels angle to 12 to 17 degrees, making the edges sharp and pointed. Because of the extra sharpness, the edges easily chip and are not very durable. But these sharp points make it easy for the knife to navigate through the meat with precision. 


Most manufacturers prefer making fillet knife handles from plastic and rubber. The main reason behind this choice is that the fillet knives are constantly exposed to water. Thus, materials such as wood would deteriorate and break quickly. 

Also, the handles must have a good grip to hold the knife in place while in use. The shapes of different fillet knives differ, but most have a place to rest the index finger. These features help in the prevention of injuries while at work. 

Boning knife 

Boning Knife Uses 

Boning knives are specifically used in separating meat and bones. These blades work well in all types of meat. You can use them for tough food such as beef, chicken, and pork. 

If you are looking for a butchering knife for fine meat cuts, a boning knife is the best. A boning knife easily cuts the connective tissues, ligaments, and fat. 

wusthof boning knife
Boning knife (source wusthof)

Blade shape and design 

Most boning knives have a blade of between 5 to 7 inches. The blade is also wide, making it ideal for hard food preparation. Most boning knives are thinner than regular kitchen knives. The width of the blade varies with the purpose of the knife. 

The thinner boning knives are ideal for preparing delicate foods such as fish. But if you want to prepare tough meats, you may need a wider blade. In essence, the blade of a boning knife is thicker and less flexible than that of a fillet knife.

The blade has a straight spine that leads to a sharp tip. The belly curve is also less pronounced than that of a fillet knife. The sharp point is ideal for separating the bones from the meat. The overall design is ideal for the knife’s purpose of cutting through ligaments and meat. 


You can choose between the stainless steel and carbon steel blade like the fillet knife. The stainless steel blade offers you a long-lasting knife with less maintenance. But, carbon steel gives you a razor-sharp blade that needs keen care as it is prone to rust.


The handle of the boning knife comes in many shapes. You can choose between wood, plastic, and synthetic handles. But you need to consider the ergonomic qualities of the handle.

Materials such as wood offer a good grip but do not last long when water exposes. Most boning knives have a finger index position to increase your grip on the knife.

When it comes to the tang, you can choose between a full or partial tang. The full tang is ideal as it offers the extra balance you need while working with the knife. 


The bevel of the boning knives ranges between 12 to 17 degrees. The flexible boning knives have sharper edges since the blades are thinner. These edges are prone to chipping. Thus, it would help if you took extra care not to cut bones using the knife.

Similarities between a boning knife and a fillet knife

Boning and Fillet knife Uses

You can use either the boning knife or the fillet knife for some tasks, both knives remove bones from meat. For instance, you can use a flexible boning knife to slice thin layers of fish. Also, you can use a fillet knife to cut through many layers of meat while separating the bones from the meat. 

But your experience while using the knives interchangeably will be different. For instance, you may take more time while slicing layers of meat using the fillet knife. Also, the bones of the fish may puncture while using the boning knife in filleting. 

Boning and Fillet knife Edges 

Both the fillet knife and the boning knife have extra sharp edges. Both knives need to penetrate the bones and meat without damaging anything. Thus, it would help if you were extra careful while using either knife so that you do not injure yourself. 

Boning and Fillet knife Material

You can choose between carbon steel and stainless steel materials for either knife. The stainless steel blades are friendlier in maintenance but do not maintain sharp edges for long. The high carbon steel blades are sharper and keep edges for long. But they need keen maintenance to keep them from rusting and corrosion. 

Differences between a boning knife and fillet knife

Boning and Fillet knife Uses

The boning knives are made for different kinds of meat. Chefs use the fillet knife for delicate meat, more so for filleting fish. The boning knife is ideal for tougher meat such as pork, lamb, and beef.

Also, the boning knife is ideal for separating meat from bones only. You can use the fillet knife to remove skin and bones from meat. Thus, the boning knife is more task-specific than the fillet knife. 

Boning and Fillet knife Blade design 

Both the fillet and boning knives have a curved profile. But the fillet knife has a more prominent curve ideal for removing skin from the meat. The boning knife has a less curved profile making it ideal for long and straight cuts.

Also, the fillet knife has a thinner blade, making it more flexible. The boning knife is more rigid and heavier, giving it the needed weight to cut through ligaments and fat. 

Moreover, the fillet knives are longer than the boning knives. The length is a more prominent feature in the fillet knife as it maneuvers between the skin and the meat. It is also easier to prepare thin fillets with a longer, sharper knife.

The boning knife has a wider blade and resembles the regular kitchen knife. The belly of the boning is also not curved. Thus, you can use the boning knife for other kitchen tasks. 

Boning and Fillet Knife Handles

For fillet knives, most manufacturers use either rubber or plastic materials. But the boning knives come with a wider range of handle choices. You can choose between wood, plastic, and synthetic materials such as polypropylene. 

Difference between Boning and Fillet knives

Is the boning knife a carving knife?

A boning knife and a carving knife are two different tools. A boning knife separates the bone and the skin of raw meat. But a carving knife cuts cooked meat into small thin slices. The carving knife has a wider blade than the boning knife. This blade is ideal for cutting meat into smaller pieces.

The best application of a carving knife is slicing roasted meat into small pieces. Also, the boning knife has sharp edges and points that separate meat from tendons. But the carving knife has duller edges as it deals with cooked meat.

Between a flexible and a stiff boning knife, which one is better?

Your choice of a boning knife will depend on the task at hand. A stiff boning knife is ideal for preparing tough meat such as beef and pork. A thin, flexible boning knife is perfect for handling delicate meat such as fish and chicken.

Which is the best knife to pair with a fillet knife? 

The fillet knife is best paired with a Deba knife or chef’s knife. The Deba knife cuts large fish into smaller pieces without damaging the bones. You can then use the fillet knife to separate the skin and bones from the fish to make fillets. The chef’s knife comes in handy, especially when preparing chicken. 


The boning and fillet knives are essential must-have tools in a meat kitchen. Fillet knives have a curved profile that points upwards. But, the boning knives have a flatter profile that resembles a regular knife. You can use either of the knives to perform some tasks.

But having the right knife for the job will give you a better experience in food preparation. The fillet knife is ideal for removing skin and meat from delicate meat to make fillets. You can use the boning knife for tougher meats such as beef and pork.

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