Long before the invention of the food processor, the mezzaluna was already making mincing a cinch for Italian cooks. Named after its half-moon shape, this rocking knife is an old school way to create great gremolata and perfect pestos. Curious to know more? Well, you’re in the right place.
I got to know mezzaluna knives while I was working at a fine dining Italian restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina. Now, I’m combining that experience with hours of research to bring you this guide. In it, you’ll find my recommendations for the best mezzaluna knife for home kitchens, as well as plenty of suggestions for how and when to use one.
Best Overall: Wusthof 2 Piece Mezzaluna and Board Set
Wusthof’s mezzaluna knife is a masterclass in combining traditional design and modern innovations. After first stripping the mezzaluna down to its essential elements, Wusthof then rebuilds the knife style with unparalleled sharpness and ease of use. That it’s then paired with a custom cutting board, at a great price, is really the final bit of frosting on this cake.
The biggest innovation Wusthof’s mezzaluna offers is its grip style. By allowing a pinch grip rather than a wrap-around hold, it puts less stress on your hands and wrists while cutting. That design is paired with a non-slip handle that’s riveted for extra durability. Combined with a shallow bowl cutting board, this streamlined design makes it remarkably easy to mince and chop ingredients.
The blade for this mezzaluna knife is made with Wusthof’s signature high carbon stainless steel. That gives it better sharpness, edge retention, and longevity than comparable stainless steel knives. It’s made with a full tang construction, too, ensuring that your mezzaluna chopper will last for decades to come.
Overall, I see almost no reason not to get one of Wusthof’s mezzalunas. It’s a feat of design and engineering that looks great, feels great, and works great, and it gets my highest recommendation.
What we like
- Innovative design is easy on the hands and wrists
- Extra sharp high carbon steel blade
- Comes with a chopping board for maximum efficiency
What We don’t
- Chopping board may take up too much space in small kitchens
Best Value: Amco Stainless Steel Mezzaluna
If you’re curious about the mezzaluna, but not totally committed, Amco’s crazy affordable knife is the right choice for you. It’s surprisingly well made given its low price, with a stainless steel blade and non-slip handle for ease of use. That makes it safe, comfortable, and easy to use in any kitchen.
This knife’s stainless steel blade will not be the sharpest you’ve ever used. But it will be the sharpest you’ve ever used at this price! It’s more than capable of chopping, dicing, and mincing nuts, herbs, and garlic. If you use it often, though, it will need to be sharpened more frequently than higher-quality steel.
The rubberized non-slip handle gives this mezzaluna knife a safe and comfortable grip. It’s easy enough to use that cooks without knife skills will still be able to finely mince their ingredients. And it’s made of certified hygienic material, too, so you don’t have to worry about cross-contamination.
Overall, Amco’s mezzaluna is ideal for the casual home cook looking to try a new knife style. Get one if you’re keen on trying out this piece of Italian heritage without spending a lot of money.
What we like
- Great quality for the price
- Comfortable non-slip handle
What We don’t
- It will need to be sharpened more frequently than other mezzalunas
Best Pizza Cutter: Triangle Germany 14 inch Mezzaluna Knife
If all this talk of Italian food has you thinking of one thing — pizza — then Triangle’s extra-large mezzaluna knife is the one for you. It’s big, bold, and imposing, and perfect for cutting precision slices of pizza pie. As long as you have the storage space for it, this knife will make your prep for chopped salads, sauces, and pizza fast and easy.
First: The blade. It’s a big 14-inch stainless steel number, made from top-quality German steel and honed to razor sharpness. That gives it excellent edge retention and durability, too, making for a knife that will last for years or decades. Having those extra inches makes it possible to slice through full size pizzas in one cut. But, they also make it harder to chop small amounts of delicate ingredients.
That blade is complemented by handles on both ends — a necessary feature for full control of this big knife. They’re made of a comfortable non-slip material, making the knife easier to use than its size would seem to indicate.
Is Triangle’s mezzaluna the right choice for every home cook? No. If you’re looking for a mezzaluna to simplify your prep, a smaller one is probably better. But if you have the storage space for this oversized knife, and really enjoy fresh-baked pizzas, it’s the only tool for the job.
What we like
- for slicing pizza
- German steel is sharp and durable
- Comfortable non-slip handles for ease of use
What We don’t
- Hard to find a storage space for
Runners Up: Special Cases to Consider
I’m confident that the three knives listed above really are the best of the best mezzaluna knives. But that comes with a caveat: They’re the best mezzalunas for most people. Here are four other knives that might be more useful in special cases.
Space Saver: Joseph Joseph Mezzaluna Folding Herb Chopper
Is your kitchen space at a premium? Apartment dwellers know the pains of a lack of storage space all too well. If that’s the case for you, Joseph Joseph’s mezzaluna would be a good alternative. Its design isn’t as comfortable to use as a one-piece mezzaluna, but its fold-down style sure does save a lot of drawer space.
Super Lightweight: Kuhn Rikon Mezzaluna Knife
Made with bright colors and a minimalist design, Kuhn Rikon’s mezzaluna is the lightest I’ve seen. The nonstick coated Japanese steel blade is quite nice, if a bit difficult to sharpen. If it had a more comfortable handle, this mezzaluna would have easily made my top three picks. As it stands, I’d only recommend it for someone who needs to bring their knife traveling with them.
Safety First: Checkered Chef Mezzaluna Chopper
The Checkered Chef offers another mezzaluna knife option that’s good for traveling cooks. It’s equipped with a sheath that ensures you won’t be cutting through your knife bag. The stainless steel blade is too thin for my tastes, but it still gets the job done.
The Alaskan “Mezzaluna”: The ULU Factory Alaskan Ulu
Wait a minute, this isn’t a mezzaluna! Still, you’ll often find the Alaskan Ulu advertised interchangeably with its Italian counterpart. You can use the two knives for the same purposes, too. So if you like the looks of this ulu, it’s a fine alternative to a mezzaluna.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Mezzaluna Knife
Even experienced chefs are often unfamiliar with the mezzaluna knife. It rarely makes its way out of Italian kitchens, and hasn’t ever received much press in North America. So to give you a head start on picking the best mezzaluna knife for your kitchen, I’d like to share the qualities I look for when I’m choosing one of these knives for my own kitchen.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” mezzaluna knife. That means you’ll need to decide between a shorter knife, around 6-8 inches, and a longer one, 12 inches or more.
Shorter mezzaluna knives are my preference. They have the advantage of being easier to handle and use for mincing and making chunky sauces. Longer mezzalunas are better for cutting pizzas, but require more effort for basic mincing tasks.
I’d recommend choosing a blade length based on two things: Your stature, and your preferred uses. Even at over 6 feet tall, I find using a 14-inch mezzaluna to be awkward. But if I’m looking to use one mainly as a pizza slicer, I would get the longer blade anyway. In reality, I use my mezzaluna mainly for preparing pestos and salsas — so I always go for a shorter blade.
Take another peek at my top three picks. Did you notice that all of them feature a single blade, rather than the popular double blade style? There’s a good reason for that, and I’d like to take a moment to explain.
The thinking for double-blade mezzalunas goes like this: Two blades can cut twice as fast. Seems reasonable on the surface, right? But in practice, the time you save cutting will be used on cleaning out the space between the blades.
I don’t like anything that throws off my chopping groove, so I can’t wholeheartedly recommend a double-bladed mezzaluna.
Any knife will only be as good as the materials used in its construction. For a mezzaluna knife, that means taking a close look at the types of blade steel and handle material.
The better the steel used for a mezzaluna, the sharper it will be. Better steel also carries the benefits of longer edge retention and improved durability. As with all of my knife choices, I recommend going for Japanese or German steel, preferably stainless. These heavy-duty steels can be sharpened to a finer edge, and will ensure that you have your knife for years to come.
A comfortable, non-slip grip on your mezzaluna will transform it from an occasional use knife to a kitchen standby. Look for molded silicon on hard synthetic handles with ergonomic shapes. And be sure to avoid synthetic handles that are made from thin, brittle plastic. Shorter knives are more comfortable with a single handle, while longer knives benefit from the double handle style.
To my knowledge, the mezzaluna is the only knife style that pairs with its own specialized cutting board. Pretty neat, right? Of course, you don’t have to use the “cutting bowl” for a mezzaluna. But if you go for a knife like my top pick, the included cutting board will make chopping faster, cleaner, and more efficient. This is because the concave bowl shape of the board holds your ingredients in place while you rock back and forth, preventing them from scattering all over your countertop.
Old-style mezzaluna knives were quite a beast to care for. Their unvarnished wooden handles and carbon steel blades required constant oiling and upkeep, or else they would crack and rust.
Modern versions, in contrast, couldn’t be easier to care for. Their synthetic handles and stainless steel blades require little more than being kept dry when not in use. And after 6 months to a year of weekly use, take them to a professional knife sharpener for a touch-up.
How much should you pay for a kitchen knife? In my experience, it’s best to spend the largest part of your kitchen budget on the knives you’ll use the most. This means allocating plenty of money towards a top-quality chef knife, and complementing it with a paring knife.
Where does this leave the seldom-used mezzaluna? If I had to place the mezzaluna in a category then I’d think of it as one of many “knives I love but don’t want to pay a lot for.” That’s why I’ve kept all my choices in this review under $60. Just enough to get a great knife, but not so much to put a serious dent in your kitchen budget.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mezzaluna Knives
We’re nearly wrapped up here, so I’d like to take a moment to address some of the most common questions about mezzalunas. If you’ve never used one before, this section will give you the background you need to get the best out of your new purchase. And if you’re already a mezzaluna pro, well — congratulations! There aren’t many people who can lay claim to that, and I hope you’ll still get something useful out of these topics.
What Is A Mezzaluna Knife?
The mezzaluna knife is a direct result of the needs of Italian cuisine. It’s a food style that puts a big emphasis on herbs, garlic, and coarsely minced sauces. As a result, the specialized mezzaluna was created to make these common Italian kitchen tasks faster, safer, and easier.
Mezzaluna translates literally to “half moon”, referencing its curved shape. It’s also known as an herb chopper, hachoir, or hokmesser, depending on which country it’s used in. No matter where it comes from, this style of knife is used to mince garlic and herbs for sauces like pesto, sofrito, and chimichurri. More on that in the next section.
What Can I Make With My Mezzaluna?
Maybe you were taken in by the cool design and unique style of the mezzaluna. I know I was! But once the novelty of a half-moon knife fades, you’ll be left wondering: What can you make with it? Here are a few of my favorite uses for a mezzaluna knife:
- Pesto is usually a laborious process with a lot of clean-up. But with a mezzaluna, making this vegan pesto is fast and easy. And at the end, all you’ll have to do is clean your knife and cutting board.
- A late summer succotash is a staple of the American south. And even though it’s not traditionally prepared with a mezzaluna, this knife works perfectly for making it.
- Chimichurri looks an awful lot like pesto, but it’s much more concentrated. It’s also fortified by a healthy dose of red wine vinegar, giving it a tart and pungent quality that’s perfect for marinating with.
What Advantages Does A Mezzaluna Offer Over Other Knives?
Every knife has its own place in a kitchen. Chef’s knives are your all-purpose workhorse. Paring knives handle small, delicate tasks with ease. Carving knives are perfect for holiday roasts. Each of these knives does its own job perfectly well, and other jobs quite poorly.
Where does the mezzaluna knife fit in?
Compared to a chef’s knife, the mezzaluna offers faster and easier mincing of small ingredients like garlic and herbs. For many people, curved handles are easier on the hands and wrists than straight knife handles.
Of course, this type of knife can’t handle all cutting tasks — but it’s not supposed to. Use it to make your chopping and mincing prep faster and easier, and leave the big jobs to your chef’s knife.
How Do You Sharpen A Mezzaluna Knife?
Curved blades like the mezzaluna offer a unique challenge to people who want to sharpen their own knives. Getting a consistent edge angle is hard enough on a straight blade, much less a half-moon-shaped one.
My advice? Unless you’re already a pro at sharpening chef’s knives, sharpening a mezzaluna is better left to the pros. Professional knife sharpening is rather affordable, with most shops charging around 2 dollars per inch of knife length. That’s a small price to pay for saving a real headache of a home sharpening job.
What Other Knives Should I Have In My Kitchen?
Though it might be entertaining to do all of your kitchen prep with a mezzaluna knife, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it. Start with a chef’s knife, add a nice paring knife, and then check out my guide to the types of knives you might want to add next.
Now that you’re better informed, how are you feeling about mezzaluna knives? Would adding one to your kitchen speed up your prep, or open up new recipes for you to try? To recap, here are my recommendations:
I am genuinely impressed by the Wusthof 2 Piece Mezzaluna and Board Set. Its innovative design is so easy to use, and the high carbon stainless steel blade is ridiculously sharp. Combined with its included cutting board, it’s easily my first recommendation for all home chefs.
If you’re not keen on spending a lot on a knife style you’ve never used, the Amco Stainless Steel Mezzaluna is your best bet. It offers excellent performance given its extra-low price.
And if you’re really just in it for the pizza pie, Triangle Germany’s 14-inch Mezzaluna Knife is the only way to go. It’s big, sharp, and durable, with comfortable non-slip handles.
Thanks for reading, and buon appetito!