Can a kitchen knife cut through bone?

Is it possible to cut through bones with a kitchen knife or better should you even try to do it? How dangerous is it? In this article, we will go through all the types of knives you may be able to cut through bones with.

Check out here the best kitchen knives you can buy.

Depending on the knife you have you might be able to cut through chicken bones with a kitchen knife. But when it comes to more massive and thicker bones like beef, you better use a cleaver to get the job done.

Like many of us, you probably were at least once in a situation where you had a piece of meat with bones in front of you but had no cleaver. You might have tried to cut through it with your kitchen knife only to find out that it’s dangerous but also that it’s actually a tough thing to do.

Back in the days, my grandmother had no cleaver either, so she did everything with the one knife she had at her disposal, and she could manage with it, but it had, of course, obvious limits.

However, she did keep one heavy knife she rarely used in the kitchen drawer. She would use that one to cut through harder objects like bones and such. And it did get the job done, not the same as cleaver would but still, much better than using the kitchen knife she had.

What happens if you use your kitchen knife to cut through bone?

Crazy hipster chef cutting his finger

Well, as mentioned in quite a few of my articles, the harder the object you are trying to cut, the faster it will destroy the edge of your knife. And if you are trying to cut a bone with a kitchen knife, you can be sure you’ll end up with a very dull knife at the end. In that same process, you might also end up cutting yourself if you are forcing it too much.

This can especially happen if you are using the wrong knife. Picture this, you’re holding the piece of meat and want to separate the bone from it, you think this will be an easy task, but that’s never the case (again, this is the scenario when using the wrong knife).

You’ll most likely end up forcing the cut, and because of this, the chance for it to slip will be incredibly high. So please make sure to follow the proper knife safety guidelines before doing anything.

What kind of knife can cut through bone?

Not al bones are the same, as not all knives are the same. This means that with some kitchen knives, you might be able to cut through some types of bones. There are many knives out there, and I cannot go through all of them, but let’s see which of the 5 most essential knives in your kitchen can cut through which type of bone. 

Chef knives:

Not all chef knives are the same, but in this example, we’ll take the Wusthof trident 10-inch knife. You will not have a hard time cutting through chicken bones with this knife. But beef bones with this knife will not be possible. When it comes te bigger and thicker bones, you will need a cleaver or ask a butcher to do it for you cause it’s not that easy if you’re not used to doing it. 

Parin knife:

If, by any chance, you only have a paring knife at your disposal and need to cut through a piece of bone. You might want to refrain from doing that. This knife is much more fragile compared to other knives, and thus, it is most definitely not made for any hard cuts, especially not made for cutting bones. 

Serrated knife (bread knife):

Even though this knife has a much different kind of edge, it is not made to cut hard objects and is most definitely not made to cut through bone, this is the case even for smaller thinner bones, like chicken bones, for example.

Carving knife:

The carving knife is the longest knife in this list and one that is used for finesse work. This also means that this knife is not suitable to cut through bones. The fact that it’s long and fragile, you will not only full your knife but also break it if you bent it too much. 

Boning knife:

For those who are not familiar with this knife, a boning knife is not to cut bones but to separate the meat from the bones without cutting the bone itself. If in case you try to cut a big piece of bone with it, it’s flexibility might be your enemy in this case as you would put a lot of pressure to get the cut and will most definitely like with the other kitchen knife cut yourself. 

Use a meat cleaver.

Although this might not be a knife that most households would have, it is the one and the only knife that is ideal for cutting through bone. With its broad and long blade, the cleaver is one of the largest knives out there.

Despite their size, cleavers can be used for much more than cutting through bones, such as crushing garlic, chopping vegetables (depending on the type of cleaver you use), and slicing meat.

You might have seen many Asian chefs using the cleaver to do everything with it. But do not confuse it with the meat cleaver, they are not the same. An inexpensive Chinese cleaver works wonders, so this means you do not have to spend a lot of money on it.

How do you cut bones?

One of the most critical parts of using a cleaver is to make sure you do not cut your finger. Also, please do not ever cut it as you see on those movies where a butcher is swaying the cleaver from mils away to get the bone cut.

This is extremely dangerous, especially if you are new at this. As shown in the video below, you put your cleaver on the meat of the piece where the bone is and use your other hand to stamp it really hard to get the cut done. And that’s basically how you use it.

See the video with the perfect example:

Can Electric Knife Cut Bone?

You might use the electric knife when you want to slice that turkey you just prepared for thanksgiving. This knife is known for being ideal for clean cuts through soft meats. They are considerably versatile and a great addition to any kitchen.

However, I have seen a question that pops up a lot: can electric knife cut bone? I am sorry to disappoint you in case you were expecting me to say yes. Electric knives are in the same category as the chef knife when it comes to cutting bones.

You can cut poultry quite easily with one, but if you go for beef and other heavy and thick bones, you’ll end up destroying the blades. There might be some cases where you can use an electric knife to cut through even harder and denser bones, but this is with special blades.

But also those blades are not made to cut hard objects like bones, so this means they will also be damaged in the process.

What knives do professional butchers use?

Well, one of the most used cleavers out there is the Zelite Infinity cleaver knife. Its name has a special meaning: “Elite” which represents quality, and “Infinity” which means that it will last you for a lifetime, and finally, the Z which stands for the legendary swordsman Zorro (not really sure about the last one though).

This cleaver is made by a family business that focuses on several knife lines, including the German and Japanese series. But this is just one example, of course, you go to your butcher and ask for his professional input in case you wish to buy one. 


You could quickly and cheaply buy a Chinese cleaver. In the long run, this will be far cheaper for you. Each time you use your kitchen knife, you might end up destroying, bent, or chip it drastically. And if you sharpen it often enough, you might shorten its lifespan. It is cheaper but above all, safer to use a cleaver instead.

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