What Is A Fillet Knife Used For?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 03/16/21 •  5 min read

The Fillet knife, as the term implies, is used to fillet and skin meat, poultry, and fish. These have long and thin blades that curve up as it tapers to a sharp point. Barring Japanese-style knives, these have some of the sharpest edge angles with 12 degrees on each side. But the feature that sets this apart from others is its flexibility so that it can be bent or curled according to the shape of the food getting sliced.

Filleting is one of the most integral and challenging tasks in meat processing as this ensures maximizing the number of edible portions and, more importantly, provide better cuts for cooking.

There are nearly a dozen different types of butcher knives but only one can fillet.

Every single part of this tool – from the curved, pointy tip to the shape and material of the handle – has been designed for that particular task.

Read on to know more…

What Is A Fillet Knife?

It is the type of kitchen knife perfect for – yes, from the name itself – filleting.

The typical blade size for this knife is anywhere from 6 to 11 inches long (about 15 to 28 centimeters).

Its most prominent look is the edge of the blade that curves upward gently from the handle to the tip, and it is slightly parallel to the chopping board.

There are some models with a thinner surface and commonly called the flexible filleting knife.

It has a more curved blade, with a pointed tip.

It also comes in different sizes but thinner than the usual fillet knife, for added bend when used around bones.

Stainless steel is still the most preferred material to be used for manufacturing, just like most kitchen knives.

It has a high resistance to corrosion, which makes it safe for use in food and lasts longer.

Since fillet knives are mostly used with wet items such as fish, manufacturers would usually add chromium to improve resistance.

The blade is usually thin, even thinner than a boning knife.

The thinness helps the knife to be more flexible, which helps in having better slices.

If used with a fish, the thinness helps in separating the meat and skin.

As mentioned, since this is mostly used in wet conditions, the grip or handle should be slip-resistant.

Rubber and plastic materials are used in modern models, while some stick to the original wooden grip.

The shape of the handle is should be able to relax the index finger while in use.

Some knifemakers create a specific type of handle to make users feel more comfortable when using the knife.

Believe it or not, there are electric fillet knives available in some markets.

It uses the same shape as an ordinary fillet knife, but with an adaptor at the end of the handle for the power supply.

Some models have a protector at the spine near the handle, to avoid the user’s thumb scratching on the blade.

When turned on, it has an up and down motion that feels like a tiny electric saw.

It assists in creating fillets faster but may take time before they can be used perfectly.

What Is It Used For?

Based on the usual naming of most kitchen knives, a fillet knife is used to make precise cuts or helps in doing a fillet.

It is usually used with delicate meats like those of a fish.

It will help in removing the meat along the backbone and under the skin.

The thin blade allows for slicing and skinning.

If you want to make a homemade version of the popular Singaporean snack, creating fish chips using fish skins will be easier with the fillet knife.

Aside from this, it can also be used in cleaning the fish.

Its characteristics make it possible to remove internal organs easily.

This will ensure food safety in cleaning your own fish, as the gills are used in checking if the fish is fresh or not.

Speaking of food safety, having it at home will ensure that you are using fresh fish in your home-cooked meals.

The rising popularity of frozen fish fillets may contain chemicals or antibiotics to keep the fish meat fresh for a longer period of time.

Aside from fish, it is also perfect for removing chicken fat.

If you remove a raw chicken’s skin, you will see a portion of fat beneath it – which may not be delightful on some dishes or for picky eaters.

Some also use it to make thinner fruit and vegetable peels.

This reduces waste by having thinner peels like those of a standard peeler.

Since it is capable of making thinner slices, some may also use this to create decorative salads or assist with other garnishing knives.

Most often used are tomatoes and carrots.

Where To Buy

Most knifemakers and kitchen supply sellers include a fillet knife in their basic kitchen knife block set.

They would usually sell it in one set, along with other basic knives such as a butcher’s knife and a paring knife.

Since it is available in most kitchen item suppliers and supermarkets, it should not be hard to find in physical stores.

As mentioned, you may need it to buy along with other knives as they include it as a part of a complete set.

It should not be hard to find it online too! There could be nice kitchen knife brands that are not available in your country, with a cheaper price and higher in quality.

Before buying, consider checking the shipping rates and if your country has restrictions when buying sharp objects from another country.


A fillet knife is a very helpful tool for people who like bone-free meals.

It will help in removing the skin easily and precisely slice the meat.

This is an essential knife in a kitchen set, as it makes filleting and fish cleaning easier than ever.

Make sure that when you buy one, always check on the quality and the material used.

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.