There’s just nothing like the buttery flavor of roasted chestnuts—whether used in gravy, a rich stuffing or enjoyed solo. But don’t let the tender end results fool you: These nuts are quite literally tough to crack. Covered in a spiky capsule that’s sharp to the touch, chestnuts are surrounded by a tough husk which traps steam as they cook. That steam can cause them to burst—that is, unless you have a chestnut knife.
Featuring a simple handle, chestnut knives are typified by a short, curved blade that effortlessly scores an “X” across the exterior of a shell to let moisture escape. The same implement makes cracking open the cooked treats just as easy. And that’s no small task, as the seasonal treats are usually only enjoyed for a short time of year in the fall and winter.
We’ve combed Amazon to find the best chestnut knives the online superstore has offer. Here are our top four picks.
1. Lamson Chestnut Knife
Lamson’s chestnut knife is a classic. It isn’t fancy, but it is well-built with a sturdy, riveted wood handle to make quick movements secure while the hardened and tempered high-carbon stainless steel blade easily opens up tough shells. Plus, the classic, vintage-inspired design will never go out of culinary style.
Pros: As simple and functional as they come.
Cons: The wooden handle might require a bit more care when cleaning.
2. Protable Nutcracker and Chestnut Clip
Designed like a clamp, Protable’s nutcracker and chestnut clip is made from stainless steel. Its special hopper cradles the nut on one end while the other scores it perfectly. Its thick handles offer superior grip for when shells prove especially tough, not to mention more leverage than a blade would.
Pros: The design eliminates the need to handle a blade.
Cons: The handles might not be comfortable for every user.
3. Shitailu Nutcracker and Chestnut Clip
Ergonomic and sturdy, Shitailu’s nutcracker and chestnut clip is forged from stainless steel. Seven inches long and two inches wide, it creates more leverage than most models, meaning it does more work than the user’s hands. Sharp cross-blades rapidly score a chestnut or crack other nuts completely. Two added thumb knives are great for tackling small kitchen tasks that require additional finesse, like peeling back pistachio shells or citrus rind.
Pros: A multifunctional unit that can be used on just about any nut.
Cons: Not every user may need or want to the additional pieces.
4. Iceoreal Nutcracker and Chestnut Clip
Made from food-grade stainless steel, Iceoreal’s nutcracker is as multifunctional as they come. Serrated cross-blades get a secure grip on any nut and neatly score precious chestnuts so they cook in ideal conditions. Though made with wide handles, it’s a bit narrower and shorter than some of the other models, meaning it might not be suited for every user.
Pros: Its stainless steel construction is resistant to corrosion.
Cons: Some users might prefer a more specialized tool.