Plus, take a peek at our favorite brands and sets.

By Kelly Vaughan
September 04, 2020
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pan fried steak
Credit: Bryan Gardner

There's nothing like cutting into a porterhouse steak or a lamb chop and having no resistance from the knife or meat. Part of what allows the meat to "slice like butter"—as the saying goes—is starting with a very tender cut. A proper steak knife also plays a role, making it much easier to cut the meat. "The edge, shape, and material all play an important role in the selection of a quality steak knife. A high-quality knife will have a smooth, sharp edge, that slices cleanly through food, rather than tearing through it," says the team from F.N. Sharp. But with so many sets of steak knives on the market at drastically different price points, where does one begin? Here, we're sharing what you need to know about purchasing steak knives, as well as how to sharpen, store, and care for them.

What to Look for When Buying Steak Knives

Before putting the fanciest, most expensive-looking set of steak knives in your shopping cart or on your wedding registry, think about how often you'll use them. If you eat steak frequently and enjoy entertaining, then it may be worthwhile to buy a high-quality set. If you only eat steak and lamb on special occasions, then you may not need a pricey set of steak knives.

Once you've determined a comfortable price point, consider the quality and type of steel used to make the knives. "Low-grade stainless steels often corrodes easily, resulting in unsightly rust marks and an edge that dulls quickly," says the team at F.N. Sharp. And don't assume that serrated blades mean that the steak knives are sharper. "Depending on the size of the serrations, these knives often tear through food rather than providing a clean slice." Instead, look for a smooth, sharp peerless blade—or better yet, a blade that has a combination of both features.

How to Store and Care for Them

Just like a chef's knife or Santoku knife, steak knives should be stored with great care to preserve their lifespan. Store them in a knife block, a wooden box (many sets of steak knives come in a wooden box, but they can also be purchased separately), or with a knife sheath to prevent damage to the blades.

Similarly, wash steak knives just as you would regular knives. "If you intend to hand wash your steak knives, you can opt for wooden handles or other natural materials. If you prefer the convenience of putting your steak knives in the dishwasher, you will want to look for stainless steel handles," says the team at F.N. Sharp. Chef Kathleen Crook of Market Steer Steakhouse in Sante Fe, New Mexico, says that hand-washing your steak knives—as opposed to putting them in the dishwasher—will keep them sharper longer. "The high heat and chemicals in the dishwasher breaks down the blade and sharpness," says Crook.

To sharpen steak knives, use a honing steel after each use and a whetstone one to two times a month (depending on how often you use the knives). A basic handheld sharpener will work too.

F.N. sharp premium steak knives
Credit: Courtesy of F.N. Sharp

F.N. Sharp Premium Steak Knives

If you want a high-quality steak, this set may be the right one for you. They're made with VG-10 blade material (one of the hardest grades of stainless steel) and a G10 steel handle (one of the most popular and strongest materials used for making knife handles), both of which can both withstand the bottom of a wet sink and the dishwasher without corrosion or fading.

Shop Now: F.N. Sharp Steak Knives, $500 for four, fnsharp.com.

shun kaji 4 piece steak knife set
Credit: Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

Shun Kaji Four-Piece Steak Knife Set

Inspired by traditional Japanese samurai swords, these knives feature 64 layers of forged Damascus stainless steel. Japanese knives are known for their sharpness (Western- or German-style knives are prized for their durability); if taken care of properly, this set should last a lifetime. "The balance on these is really nice," says Crook.

Shop Now: Shun Kaji Four-Piece Steak Knife Set, $469.95, williams-sonoma.com.

Laguiole ivory steak knives
Credit: Courtesy of Crate & Barrel

Laguiole Ivory Steak Knives

If you're looked for a beautiful set of knives at a friendly price point, consider this set from classic French brand Laguiole. They're made with 18/8 stainless steel and are dishwasher safe.

Shop Now: Laguiole Ivory Steak Knives, $49.95 for six, crateandbarrel.com.

wustoff classic steak knives
Credit: Courtesy of Macy's

Wüsthof Classic Steak Knives

From the renowned German knife maker, this set is timeless, super sharp, and designed for durability. Each knife is crafted with sturdy high-carbon steel and has a tang that extends through the entire length of the handle, which offers unparalleled and ergonomic balance.

Shop Now: Wüsthof Classic Four-Piece Steak Knife Set, $229.95, williams-sonoma.com.

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