What Is A Boning Knife Used For In Cooking?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 04/02/21 •  6 min read

Boning knives, with their long, thin, and flexible blades and incredibly pointy tip, are used to bone poultry and fillet fish. There are some variants made of harder and stronger steel that can handle a bigger game like pork and beef.

There are over a dozen kinds of butcher’s knives, each used for a particular step in the meat processing from the heavy meat cleaver for hacking bones to the artfully curved cimeter for making accurate slices.

Let’s zoom in on the Boning knife in this article.

As the term implies, this particular blade is designed to cut through the hard but slightly more forgiving ligaments and connective tissues to separate meat from the bone.

This is not an easy tool to wield. More often than not, professional butchers, deli workers, and chefs are the only ones who can effortlessly hold this in their hands.

But if you think you need this piece, read on to find out more about it.

What is it?

It is usually has a 5 to 7-inch blade length (approximately 12 to 18 centimeters) with a very narrow blade surface.

It has a very thin blade that can allow some boning knives to be semi-flexible.

If you are afraid to use very thin blades, there are fixed blade knives available that are also a great help in meat preparation.

This knife is created with a large heel that can be used in getting through the joints of the bones.

The large heel and tang will also help the user to get a grip for easier handling.

It will also assist in protecting the hands as it works as a stopper to avoid sliding or touching the blade.

Most people may be confused about the difference between this and a fillet knife.

First of all, they look a bit different in terms of the blade shape.

Boning knives follow the shape of a standard knife or a chef’s knife, while a fillet knife has a pointed tip that is curved to the spine.

Related: Best boning knives

What is it used for?

Most likely, it is used after using a carving knife.

It is commonly used for getting through the meat within the bone.

So after you have cut the chicken or turkey into perfect slices, you may use this to maximize the meat that you can get with your cooked poultry.

Boning knives are also commonly used in butchery, as it helps them to sell meat cuts that do not have any bones.

Some meat processing companies may use this kind of knife too.

It will give them better profits as selling pure meat is usually more expensive as it does not involve weighing the bones.

It will also help them to get all the pure meat that they can get with the animal.

Aside from the meat, this knife can also be used in making beautiful garnishings.

It can also be used for fruits and vegetables, such as removing the skin of a mango.

You may also use the flexible blade to help you loosen up freshly baked cakes from a tin mold.

Though always being compared to each other, it is better to own both it and a fillet knife.

It has a thicker blade that is dedicated to meats, while a fillet knife is better for use with soft items with soft skin such as fish.

The handles may be almost the same, but there is a different feeling when using each knife especially when talking about flexibility.

How to use it properly?

There are a lot of different ways of deboning, but using it can help you make it hassle-free.

Deboning meat helps avoid wastage.

It is usually used for raw meat because when the meat is cooked, it is easier to separate the bones by hand.

When dealing with meats, make sure it is a room temperature or thaw it first before deboning.

1.Look at the meat and see the outline of the bones.

If not sure, it would help by touching and feel where the bones are located.

2. If there is skin, use the tip to make a slit.

Run the knife’s blade through the skin in order to remove it.

For poultry items, cut through the joint by using the blade near the heel.

3. Using the tip, follow the bone outline and go deep at the same depth of the bone.

Make sure to watch your fingers!

Since this is a thin knife (especially those that have a semi-flexible blade), do not use excessive force as it can break the knife.

Once you felt that it is too hard to get through it, make a proper opening using the boning knife and switch to another one.

Remember to always keep the knife’s blade sharp especially on the tip.

Where to get one?

Your favorite supermarket or home supplies store should be carrying it as this is considered to be an essential piece in a kitchen knife set.

Speaking of a set, some retailers and knife manufacturers sell knives in bundles (sometimes together with a knife block) that include it.

As easy to find in stores, this knife is also easy to find online.

You will get a variety of models and brands to choose from! Just be cautious when buying knives with prices that are too good to be true.

Always check buyer reviews and the specifications to be sure that you are buying a quality knife.

Some professional chefs give reviews on their blog or YouTube channels, which can also help you decide on what to buy.


It will complete a regular household knife set.

It will help you create meals that are easy to eat and prepare.

You may not see the importance of deboning, but you will realize how safer it is to prepare the meat on your own.

If you don’t have it, get one now and you will see how it would be a great help in the kitchen!


Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.