Boning Knife Vs. Fillet Knife: An In-depth Comparison

If you notice carefully, boning knives are stiffer and slightly thicker than fillet knives. They are engineered to serve different purposes and if you just look at their appearances, you will see the main distinguishing points of boning knife vs. fillet knife.

You may be using a boning knife to fillet your fishes in the kitchen but you are missing the true beauty of fillet knife and ruining your fishes. Besides, you can’t be an angler without a fillet knife.

Boning knives have their own purposes and it’s important to know the main points of boning knives and a fish filleting knife. In this article, I will differentiate between the two mentioning their specific usages.

Boning Verses Fillet Knife: A Comparative Outlook

boning knife vs. fillet knife

Both of them have their distinctive purposes. So, why so many people get confused to distinguish the two.

Well, the main reason is that they look almost the same. When the appearance is similar, it’s easier to get confused. But if you re-look at the name, you will begin to understand they are quite different!

Let’s see their main distinguishing points!

  1. Different Purpose

You use the boning knife to remove the bones from the meat. It can be beef, pork, or whatever meat. But a fillet knife is only used to fillet a fish (separating meat from the skin). They should not be used to remove bones from meat.

I mean, if you think about the intended use of the two, you can figure out the rest of their differences yourself, right?

However, if you need to fillet larger fishes, you need an electric fillet knife to fillet your fish faster and smoother.

To summarize, people use a fillet knife to:

  • Remove fish scales.
  • Trim fat.
  • Carve fruits and veggies for decoration purposes.

So, what is a boning knife used for? Well, we use a boning knife to:

  • Remove meat from the bones.
  • Remove skin from the meat.
  • Cut fruits like mangoes.
  • Cut the core of apples and so on.

So, can you use a boning knife to fillet a fish? Sure, you can! But your final product will not look clean and perfect. On the other hand, if you use a fillet knife to remove bones from the meat, the flexibility of the knife will lead to bending it badly.

  1. Design

The most obvious difference in design between the two is the curve. Whereas boning knives are straight (much like your kitchen knives), fillet knives have an upward curve. The tip of a fillet knife is curved too.

  1. Pressure Resistance

Because of the extra hardness and thickness of the boning knives, you can apply extra force to remove bones from chunky meats. You can’t do the same with a fillet knife because they are very thin.

But you need little to no pressure to filler the delicate and tender bones and flesh of fishes. So, fillet knives are perfect for that purpose.

  1. Material: High-Carbon Vs. Stainless Steel

Both the fillet and boning knives can be made from stainless steel and high-carbon steel. People prefer high-carbon made knives because they are sharper than their stainless steel counterparts.

But knives made from high-carbon tend to rust over time and subject to corrosion. So, many people like the one made from stainless steel because there is no such issues of corrosion or rust.

It’s getting a little bit confusing to decide which one to choose, right? Well, whatever you prefer, you must determine that yours will hold the edge pretty well and it must he super-sharp!

  1. Characteristics

The tip of the boning knife is very sharp. That’s because it is engineered that way so that you can pierce the meat easily. Of course, they are more flexible than your other kitchen knives.

Boning knives can be both stiff and flexible to serve different purposes. You will need the stiffer boning knife to deal with tougher meats. If it is not stiff, it will bend.

If you need to have a chicken dinner, you need a flexible boning knife. That’s because they offer more delicate and thinner cuts. You can easily remove the bones from a turkey or chicken easily with a flexible boning knife.

  1. Blade Length

The usual length of a boning knife may range between 5 – 6 inches. However, they may be as long as 9 inches too.

On the other hand, the length of a fillet knife may range between 4 – 9 inches. But the most popular size is 7.5 inches. Shorter fillet knives are for the smaller fishes and vice versa.

Why Should You Get Them Separately?

When you buy a kitchen knife set, it comes with all the types of knives required in the kitchen. It does not come with a fillet or boning knife.

Even if you are not an angler or a professional chef, you should buy them separately for your kitchen. It’s dangerous to use the same knife to cut fish or meat and veggies subsequently.


I know you have a lot of questions when it comes to fillet vs. boning knife. Here are the most common questions people have asked so far:

How Do I Choose A Boning Knife?

Answer: That depends on your specific needs as they come in various shapes and sizes. If you need a clean cut or you need something for precise trimming, a curved boning knife will be great.

Should a boning knife be flexible?

Answer: That also depends on your needs. If you are thinking about boning thicker meats like beef or pork, a stiff boning knife will be a good choice. A flexible boning knife will bend in such cases.

Do I Need A Boning Knife?

Answer: Only if you butcher a lot of meat or poultry, you need a boning knife. Otherwise, your kitchen knives will be enough to serve other purposes.

Are Santoku Knives Good For Cutting Meat?

Answer: Yes. More so, you can use the same to chop or dice vegetables or fruits and slice cheese.

Can you use the same knife to cut meat and vegetables?

Answer: You really should not do this. Cutting vegetables with the same knife after cutting raw meat is potentially harmful to your health.


It’s may not be important for an amateur to have a clear understanding of the boning knife vs. fillet knife, but every professional chef and angler use them separately for different purposes.

None of them cost much. So, instead of getting an all-in-one knife, it’s always better to get them separately for the long-run benefits.

About Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top