Anyone can appreciate a thick slab of salmon meat. But even though we all love the fish, filleting it, especially the larger pieces, can be a hassle. You can make the process more manageable with the best salmon fillet knife on hand. It can ease and hasten the filleting process, all while keeping the cuts neat and precise.
I’ve sliced and tested over 50 salmon fillet knives on the market to highlight the five best to consider! See which one guarantees precise cuts and leaves no tears on the delicate fish.
What’s the Best Salmon Fillet Knife
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: Kershaw Clearwater 9-Inch Salmon Fillet Knife
Product Name: Kershaw Clearwater 9-Inch Salmon Fillet Knife
Product Description: My pick for the best salmon fillet knife is Kershaw's Clearwater! It's a 9-inch salmon fillet knife flexible enough to use beyond salmon fish. Aside from its impeccable edge, it also has other features ensuring protection. It's corrosion-resistant, using high carbon stainless steel as its primary material. Durability aside, this fillet knife's handle also ensures a comfortable and secure grip. It uses copolymer's soft rubber, retaining comfort even after hours of use. This salmon fillet knife's sharpness is also no joke! It uses softer steel that allows for better flexibility, helping you effortlessly slice through even the largest salmon. Moreover, this fillet knife has unique neon-orange accents for fast detection. You don't have to worry about its blade dulling as it comes with an ABS sheath equipped with a belt holster! And best of all, this allows you to bring the salmon fillet knife wherever despite its 9-inch length. My only issue is that this fillet knife's belt loop is flimsy, which can easily break off while in rough environments like on the water! And even if it has a belt hoster, its sheath has no opening for belt attachments. Still, this salmon fillet knife gets the job done right and doesn't hinder you even when on the go!
Offer price: $$$
Value for money
Kershaw’s Clearwater 9-Inch Salmon Fillet Knife is an all-around blade. Thanks to its softer steel, it can handle most tasks, including slicing small bones. With this, you don’t have to worry about the knife bending when cutting through salmon fillets. And it also comes with a comfortable and secure handle, allowing you to fillet salmon without ever getting tired!
- It has a comfortable and ergonomic grip.
- It’s safe to use in the kitchen and or on water.
- This fillet knife has a non-slip handle for easy usage.
- It’s flexible enough to use on all types of salmon fish.
- Its belt loop is flimsy.
- This salmon fillet knife’s sheath has zero opening for belt attachments.
DALSTRONG 6-Inch Salmon Fillet Knife (Shogun Series)
If flexibility is what you want, DALSTRONG has you covered! Its 6-inch salmon fillet knife is among the most flexible models available. It can help you fillet, skin, de-bone, de-scale, trim, and butterfly salmon, no matter how big — or tiny.
Its blades’ spine is incredibly thick, going around 2 millimeters! As a result, you can enjoy precise cuts even when going around small bones and joints. And impressively, this salmon fillet knife has been crafted using Japanese super steel. With this, you’ll be able to use it on more tasks without worrying about it rusting or breaking.
Moreover, dulling this salmon fillet knife is nearly impossible with its razor-sharp blade. Even with minimal maintenance, it should retain its edge for years.
Durability and sharpness aside, this knife also has a top-quality handle. It’s hand polished, boasting an ergonomic design, guaranteeing a more comfortable and secure grip.
The only downside is that this salmon fillet knife isn’t dishwasher-friendly. After each use, you’ll need to wash this salmon fillet knife’s blade manually.
Rockland Guard 8-Inch Salmon Fillet Knife
Are you looking for a salmon fillet knife you can use indoors and outdoors? Look no further than Rockland Guard’s 8-Inch Salmon Fillet Knife. It’s strong enough to withstand harsh environments, staying sharp and effective even during fishing trips!
It has an 8-inch blade, perfect for filleting salmon and other bigger fish. And being made from top-quality stainless steel, it’s no wonder it can handle the harsh conditions outdoors. With this, you can enjoy a sharp and durable fillet knife that’ll last you for years! Not to mention, it makes slicing salmon, even the larger ones, easy.
Excellent blade aside, this knife’s handle is also commendable. Its impressive ergonomic features prevent the knife from slipping off even when wet.
Best of all, this salmon fillet knife comes with a protective sheath. As a result, you can bring the blade safely during your fishing trips. And it prevents the blade from rusting too fast.
Unfortunately, as durable as it is, its blade becomes dull quickly. So, you’ll need to sharpen this salmon fillet knife often.
Kershaw 7-Inch Stainless Steel Salmon Fillet Knife
Another contender from Kershaw is its 7-Inch Stainless Steel Salmon Fillet Knife. Its s-curved blade makes it very flexible, allowing you to cut salmon like butter!
This salmon fillet knife does a fantastic job of extracting salmon meat from its bones. Its blade’s pointed tip allows you to de-bone salmon fillets without damaging them. And thanks to its straight edge, you can pierce through the salmon effortlessly. With this, you’ll be able to cut salmon fillets with excellent precision and neatness.
Aside from the blade, this salmon fillet knife’s handle is also worth noting. It boasts an ergonomic design, guaranteeing a tight and comfortable grip. But most notably, it comes with a slip-free grip that lets you use the knife even in sticky scenarios.
But I absolutely love this salmon fillet knife because of its incredible durability. It uses high-quality stainless steel, preventing early rust or corrosion. However, this comes with its downsides as it can become dull fast. Anyway, with proper maintenance, this knife should be able to last you for years.
Wüsthof 11-Inch Salmon Slicer Fillet Knife
My last pick for the best salmon fillet knife is Wüsthof’s 11-Inch Salmon Slicer Fillet Knife. It lets you cut salmon precisely and neatly, thanks to its impeccable sharpness!
Its stainless steel blade has hollow edges. So, not only does this salmon fillet knife ensures durability, but it can also reduce friction. As a result, you get a reliable fillet knife that lets you cut salmon fillets quicker and easier.
Moreover, this salmon fillet knife has a full tang and three rivets. That means you’ll be able to feel comfortable throughout using it when filleting salmon. And surprisingly, this knife has an incredibly balanced design despite sporting an 11-inch blade! It’s easy to use and lets you efficiently work around the backbone.
You don’t have to second-guess the quality as Wüsthof is famous for using top-quality materials. Still, it’s disappointing that this blade requires more maintenance than the others. You have to sharpen this salmon knife more often than others I’ve mentioned. Anyway, it’s a menial task that helps you extend the blade’s lifespan, so it shouldn’t be too much of a downside.
What to Look for When Buying the Best Salmon Fillet Knife?
Due to the many variations available, finding the best salmon fillet knife can be challenging. And settling for any ol’ fillet knife isn’t the best idea if you’re planning on preparing salmon. After all, this freshwater fish has one of the most delicate and expensive meats around!
Below are some factors to look for when shopping for the best knife for filleting salmon:
🔪 Type of Salmon Fillet Knife (German vs. Japanese)
You’ll encounter two kinds of salmon fillet knives when shopping. And these include the German or Scandinavian style and the Japanese style. Although they have similarities, they’re still different kinds of fillet knives.
Here’s an overview of the differences between a Japanese and a German salmon fillet knife:
German Salmon Fillet Knife
- This knife usually has a double-beveled blade.
- It’s heavier as it has a generally thicker build and design.
- A German salmon fillet knife has a more extensive angle, ideal for rocking chopping.
- Its bolster, the one responsible for connecting the blade to the handle, is thick.
- Its blade’s steel is softer.
Japanese Salmon Fillet Knife
- This knife has a single-beveled edge.
- A Japanese salmon fillet knife has a narrower angle, perfect for precise cuts.
- It’s lightweight due to its thinner blade.
- It has more rigid steel.
Since we’re working on delicate salmon meat, it only makes sense to go for the Japanese knife. After all, it’s sharper and can make cleaner and more precise cuts. But since its blade is stiff, it’s prone to chipping and breaking. So, if you often fillet in rougher conditions, go for the thicker German knife.
🔪 Flexibility (Design)
Any high-quality salmon fillet knife is flexible and should be able to do the following tasks:
- Fillet. The knife should be able to remove generous amounts of salmon meat from its bone and cartilage.
- Skin. It should prevent you from wasting too much meat when skinning the fish and removing its scales.
- De-bone. Removing small bones from the cut salmon fillets should be doable with a knife. It doesn’t need to be every bone, only the smaller pin, and rib cage bones. Although, high-quality salmon fillet knives can cut through more prominent bones like the spine.
🔪 Salmon Fillet Knife Length
The best blade length for salmon fillet knives depends on the fish you’re filleting. For instance, you’ll need a smaller blade size for tinier fish as it offers more versatility. But as versatile as this might be, it’s not ideal for filleting large 9- to 10-inches salmon. Generally, however, salmon fillet knives can range from 4 to 10 inches.
Still, I recommend going mid-way for salmon fillet knives, around 7 to 8 inches, for the best results. It can accommodate the fillet process for salmon, regardless of its size.
🔪 Handle or Grip Quality (Material)
A quality handle can offer a secure and comfortable grip when in use. And for your safety, it should also stay in place when wet or find the best leverage on the knife. I recommend avoiding any salmon fillet knives with finger pre-molds. After all, no grip is the same, and these often provide an uncomfortable hold.
Like its blades, salmon fillet knife handles also come in various materials. From wood, and plastic, to rubber, these are popular handle materials for fillet knives. But I suggest going for handles with a soft grip rubber as they provide a secure hold. So, as cool as wooden fillet knife handles look, it’s prone to slipping! And not to mention, it soaks up the nasty fish smell over time.
🔪 Flexibility and Hardness of the Blade
A salmon fillet knife’s blade quality revolves around its flexibility and hardness. Many overlook the former, which isn’t the best idea. After all, this feature indicates if the blade will cut precisely or efficiently. The more flexible the blade is, the better maneuverability it’ll have along the bones. As a result, you get better salmon cuts and less waste!
Meanwhile, the hardness ensures that the fillet knife’s blade can hold its edge well. You can determine how hard a salmon fillet knife is by checking it with the Rockwell scale. It defines how hard the metal used for the blade is. Usually, premium salmon fillet knives have an RS rating between 55 and 61.
On the other hand, lower-end salmon fillet knives sport softer metals such as carbon steel. Even if these blades are more flexible, they’re more challenging to maintain. And they don’t hold their sharpness as long as those with a higher RS rating. As a result, you must replace these blades every couple of years.
Finally, higher-end salmon fillet blades use stainless steel and other mixed non-corrosive metals. These make them more flexible and hold their edge for a while.
How to Fillet Salmon?
Once you get the best salmon fillet knife, it only makes sense to learn how to fillet a salmon. This way, you’ll be able to get cleaner and more professional cuts.
But before I delve into how to fillet a salmon, it pays to know what you’re making. Simply put, a filleted salmon is an entire deboned and gutted salmon. And this often results in two extended strips of salmon meat coming from both sides of the fish. You can use these in delicious recipes, from baked to fried dishes!
What You Need for Filleting Salmon
Now that you know what you’ll be doing with the salmon, here are the tools you must prepare for filleting salmon:
- A salmon fillet knife. You’ll need an extended, sharp, durable, and slightly curved salmon fillet knife. These guarantee cleaner cuts and stop you from damaging the salmon’s delicate flesh.
- A cutting board. Since you’ll be handling salmon fish, you’ll need a giant cutting board for this once. I recommend placing a non-slip and waterproof mat underneath to keep your salmon in place.
- Serrated or Chef’s knife. Since you can’t use the fillet knife when cutting tough spots like the bone, it only makes sense to get an extra blade.
- Needle-nose pliers or tweezers. You’ll need this to extract the smaller bones at an angle where you won’t damage the salmon meat.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Filleting Salmon
Once you’ve got everything you need, here’s how you can fillet salmon step-by-step:
1️⃣ Rinse the Salmon and Check for Any Scales Remaining
Most fishmongers sell salmon fish de-scaled. But it’s still an excellent measure to double-check for any remaining scales. You can hold the salmon fish in a deep sink and use your regular knife to scrape the scales away from it.
2️⃣ Make Incisions on Both Sides of the Salmon (from the Top of its Head to its Stomach)
Place your salmon on the cutting board and hold its tail while inserting the blade’s tip into its tail end’s vent. Once punctured, run the fillet knife along the belly toward the head. And starting from its head, make an incision running from its backbone, its pectoral fin, and meet up with the previous cut.
Remember to be gentle when making these incisions to your salmon, and don’t cut too deep! Once you’ve finished with one side, flip the salmon over and make a matching slice.
3️⃣ Remove the Salmon’s Head and Fins
Grab your regular knife to slice through the salmon’s backbone and remove its head and fins. Also, be sure to include the intestines and kidneys. You can throw away the entrails, but I recommend saving the fish’s head to make a hearty stock.
4️⃣ Carve the Salmon Fillets
Slowly insert the blade’s tip along the salmon’s spine, starting in the place where its head once was. You can use its backbone as a guide and run the knife along its rib cage. And separate the salmon fillet from its tail by making a vertical cut.
After making your first salmon fillet, remove the fish’s ribs and carve the second one. Use your fillet knife to separate its ribs from the intact flesh using your other hand to lift it and remove it.
5️⃣ Remove the Salmon’s Pin Bones
You can search for a salmon fillet’s pin bones by running a finger down its tail-end. Once you spot pin bone, get rid of it with a pair of tweezers or needle-nose pliers. Get your angle right to prevent tearing the delicate meat.
Once you’ve removed all the smaller bones, you can now cook your salmon fillets!
Additional Tips for Filleting Salmon
Whether you’ve caught a salmon or two on your latest fishing trip or have gotten one from the grocery store, here are tips to try when preparing it for filleting:
- Use the salmon’s collar to make stock. Aside from the head, you can also use a salmon’s collar for soup. After all, it’s a rich and tender piece of meat holding tons of flavor!
- Always use fresh salmon. If you’re purchasing an entire salmon fish, go to a reputable place and get the freshest one available. Examining its eyes and gills can determine how fresh a salmon is. The salmon’s eyes must be clear and free from any cloudiness. Meanwhile, the gills must be clean and have a red hue.
- Grab a sharp knife. Your salmon fillet knife’s edge is crucial for guaranteeing cleaner cuts. Aside from that, it speeds up the process, letting you make professional cuts in no time!
9 Delicious Salmon Fillet Recipes to Try
Here are easy, fun, and delicious salmon fillet recipes to try at home:
🍣 Pan Fried Salmon Fillet
This salmon fillet recipe is an easy and fast recipe you can make on the go, and here’s how to make it:
- Season your salmon fillet with your preferred seasoning. I use salt and pepper for my pan-fried salmon.
- Add oil to a skillet.
- Once hot, put the salmon fillet in the cookware with its skin at the bottom.
- Fry the fish for three minutes until golden brown and crispy.
- Turn the fillet over and cook its skin for two minutes.
You can check if the salmon fillet’s cooked by pressing it down on top of it with a fork or finger. It should be flaky and falls apart smoothly.
🍣 Sesame Salmon Fillet
Sesame salmon fillet is a healthy and easy recipe, perfect for the health-conscious. It mixes teriyaki sauce with chili, ginger, garlic, and green veggies for max tastiness! And here’s how you can make it at home:
- Dip your salmon fillet in the teriyaki sauce and coat it with some sesame seeds.
- Add oil to a skillet.
- Once hot, let your fillet cook for four minutes on both sides.
- Steam or blanch your preferred greens. I like to use broccoli on mine.
- Add one tablespoon of oil to a wok and put the chili, ginger, and garlic. Stir-fry all these for one minute.
- Place the steamed or blanched greens and squirt half a lemon or lime, and let it cook for two minutes.
- Serve your pan-fried salmon with the veggies.
You can alter your sesame salmon fillet recipe by not adding veggies to the mix. Either way, this is a healthy dish worth trying!
🍣 Baked Salmon
Get the most out of your oven and make baked salmon with your fresh fillets! But this can be time-consuming and may take over 25 minutes. Baked salmon is a delicious and healthy dish anyone can enjoy.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Fry some bacon in a skillet till its juices flow out. Add the lentils when cooked alongside 500 ml of water.
- Let the lentil-bacon mixture boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Spray oil onto a foil sheet and season the salmon fillet with whichever seasonings you want. I mostly use salt and pepper on mine.
- Fold the foil to create a parcel, place it on a baking sheet, and let it bake for 15 minutes.
- Grab your lentil-bacon mixture, drain it, and put it on a plate.
- Place your baked salmon fillet topped with olive oil and vinegar dressing.
If you don’t have time to make the lentils, you can use fresh salad greens, spinach, or broccoli as the side dish.
🍣 Roasted Salmon
Take advantage of asparagus season and make roasted salmon fillets! After all, nothing beats the delicious combo of meaty salmon and savory asparagus. You can make this salmon fillet recipe in 10 minutes:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Cut around 3 centimeters from the asparagus’s woody end and place them flat on a baking tray.
- Brush the asparagus lines with some olive oil.
- Season your salmon fillet with your preferred seasoning and put it on the asparagus.
- Drizzle a dash of olive oil on the salmon fillet alongside some lime juice. And finish the fish off with some thyme.
- Let the salmon fillet bake for 25 minutes or until it’s become tender.
- Drain the salmon fillet well and serve it with the baked asparagus.
I recommend reducing the salmon fillet and asparagus to a third once cooked. You can chop the remaining asparagus, shred the salmon, and mix it with your preferred pasta.
🍣 Spicy Baked Salmon
If you’re into spice, make some spicy baked salmon at home. It has a similar recipe to the baked salmon earlier, but this one has a spicy twist! It uses chili, cumin, and coriander.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Rub the chili, cumin, and coriander on top of the salmon. You may also season the fillet with salt.
- Cut the salmon fillet into six smaller pieces and put them on a roasting tin with a sheet of foil.
- Mix a spritz of lime or lemon juice with oil and place it over the salmon fillets.
- Let the salmon bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the salmon’s center becomes well done.
- Allow the salmon fillets to cool down before plating.
- Once cold, mix some mayo, spring onions, and lime juice and use this as garnish.
🍣 Stir-fry Salmon
For those looking to get the most out of their salmon fillets but don’t have much time, stir-fry salmon is the recipe for YOU. It’s a quick and delicious meal you can make as fast as 10 minutes or less.
- Mix half a cup of orange juice, a tablespoon of honey, and soy sauce in a bowl.
- Add oil to a skillet.
- Once hot, add some broccoli and cook it for two minutes.
- Place the salmon fillet and string beans and cook for two minutes.
- Once the salmon fillets become well-done, pour in the dressing and let it cook for another minute.
You can serve stir-fry salmon fillets with plain noodles or rice.
🍣 Salmon Fillet Salad
Make a salad if you want a filling yet healthy meal with your salmon fillets. After all, warm salmon often goes well with fresh veggies! So, spare around 40 to 50 minutes and make salmon fillet salad at home:
- Boil one or two potatoes and beans in boiling water for fifteen minutes.
- Drain the boiled potatoes and beans and rinse them until cool.
- Mix them with olive or artichoke oil in a bowl.
- Remove the beans from their skin and place them into a separate bowl—mix in sliced artichoke pieces, spring onions, lemons, and your preferred seasonings.
- Fry your salmon fillet on each side for two to three minutes and let it cool down for five minutes.
- After the allotted time, shred the salmon fillet and place the flakes into the bean mixture.
- Combine the bean-salmon add some mint and rocket, and toss until thoroughly mixed.
- Add the mixture on top of your potatoes and serve.
🍣 Grilled Salmon
If you want to make a hefty dish from your salmon fillets, go with grilled salmon. It’s easy, cheap, and perfect for two or more!
- Heat your grill and place your salmon fillet on a non-stick pan.
- Spread your preferred mustard sauce on the fillet and let it grill for five minutes.
- Add sliced red tomatoes to the salmon-mustard combo and let it cook for five minutes.
You can serve grilled salmon fillets with boiled beans or peas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s the best salmon fillet knife for filleting salmon?
A: Since the angle of a Japanese knife is straighter and less slanted, it’s ideal for filleting salmon. With this blade, you’ll be able to make cleaner and more precise cuts. So, Japanese salmon fillet knives are best for cutting delicate meats like salmon.
Q: What is a salmon fillet knife?
A: A salmon fillet knife has a unique design to cut thin fish slices. Although you can use it for other tasks, most use this blade for cutting smoked salmon. Regardless, all salmon fillet knives have a hollow ground edge. And that stops ingredients from clinging to the knife.
Q: How long should a salmon fillet knife be?
A: The best length for salmon fillet knives is around 6 inches. It’s the best size for freshwater fillet jobs on salmon, trout, or panfish. I recommend opting for those with thinner blades as they can work around the salmon bones well. Hence, you won’t waste any of salmon’s precious meat. Aside from that, you may also use it to skin salmon fillets.
Q: What type of steel works best for a salmon fillet knife?
A: The best steel for a salmon fillet knife is one with a corrosion-resistant blade. And generally, salmon fillet knives use 304 or 316 stainless steel. These are sturdy and can withstand continual cuts and slices.
Q: How do I select the best salmon fillet knife for me?
A: Always search for salmon fillet knives with thin yet sturdy blades. Aside from that, ensure they sport a sharper edge and are at the right length. With these features on hand, you should be able to get the most out of your salmon fillet knife.
Choosing the best salmon fillet knife depends on what YOU want. But whichever blade you go for, ensure it’s sharp, long, and durable enough to withstand the task. After all, filleting salmon can be challenging! Regardless, choosing any of the listed salmon fillet knives guarantees cleaner and more precise cuts. And all you need to do is see which caters to your unique needs most.