Butter Knife vs Cheese Knife – What’s The Difference?

When entertaining, there are so many tiny utensils you can find yourself needing to put out. What are they all for, especially all the little knives? 

A butter knife is best used to spread soft cheeses, butter, and other smoother toppings. A cheese knife has been designed to handle both soft and hard cheeses without damaging them. There are several varieties of cheese knives available, depending on your requirements.  

In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of each knife. I’ll also help you determine whether you need two different knives or if just one can do the trick as well.

Butter Knives

As mentioned above, butter knives are meant for butter, cream cheese, and other food items that have a soft, spreadable consistency (like jam or chocolate spread). They have shorter blades than table knives to make spreading easier, and they’re usually too dull to cut through tougher foods.


  • They are great for spreading things out. 
  • You can use them in your daily life as well – they work great at the dining table for general use and are typically duller knives. 
  • They tend to be less sharp. You don’t have to worry about kids getting seriously hurt with a butter knife
  • They have a serrated edge. This means you can use them for various tasks and get better cutting by using the serrated side. 


  • They aren’t super sharp. This is a double-edged sword: though it’s good for safety, it can also be a pain if you want to cut something evenly or if you’re using it as a replacement for a table knife.  
  • Cutting extremely tough foods with butter knives is a challenge. 
  • They typically have a serrated edge. This is an excellent tool for cutting something, but it’s not good if you need to make a clean cut or stop something from crumbling.

Cheese Knives

Cheese knives are exactly what they sound like – they’re designed for use with cheeses. There are numerous types of cheese knives available, depending on whether the cheese you’ll be using it with is hard or soft. Additionally, some cheeses, like parmesan, have a specific knife meant only for that cheese.

However, in general, most cheese knives are designed to be used on both hard and soft cheeses. They’re usually curved to allow for spreading soft cheeses and are slightly sharp so that they can cut through both hard cheeses and the cheese rind.


  • They are sharp enough to cut through hard cheeses. This means you’ll get a cleaner cut overall and it can prevent crumbling. 
  • They are designed to be used with multiple different types of cheese, from spreadable to hard varieties. 
  • Cheese knives are usually sold in sets so that you can pick knives for different purposes and different types of cheese. 
  • You don’t have to only use them for cutting cheese. You can use them for other food items on the charcuterie board as well.


  • They are sharp. This can be dangerous if you have kids around or are handling the knife while being distracted.
  • They don’t have much practical use outside of cheeses and charcuterie boards. Cheese knives are typically more decorative and shouldn’t be used for other cutting purposes. 
  • You may only end up using one type of cheese knife. Cheese knives usually come in sets, but you may only ever end up using one of them, leaving the others to clutter your home. 

Cheese knives are great to use with a charcuterie board and can often add a fun, themed element to parties. There are cheese knives for all kinds of holidays and occasions, and you can really let your personality show. 

For example, this L Brand Premium Cheese Knife Set from Amazon.com is perfect for someone who wants a clean metallic aesthetic and enjoys plant life. Each of the three knives has a little leaf and plant design on the handle. 

Do You Really Need Two Different Knives?

You do not need two different knives unless you are entertaining a lot. There are specific circumstances where a cheese knife and a butter knife are great to use separately, but most people can make do with only one. 

You should always keep your specific situation in mind.

For example, having a cheese knife might not be a good idea if you have little kids around. They tend to be very sharp and have distinct points that could hurt a child who gets a hold of a knife or is around when the cheese is being cut. 

Additionally, if you don’t entertain very much and don’t enjoy a lot of cheese, you may find that using other utensils for the purpose works just as well for you. You don’t always need to spend money on a different tool if you have others that will work just as well.