The 10 Best Peelers
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in June of 2015. Removing the skin from apples, potatoes, onions and other fruits and vegetables can be a time-consuming and tedious food preparation chore, but it doesn't have to be. Nothing lightens the load like a good peeler, and our selection features tried-and-true handheld models as well as hand-powered and electric rotating ones that can tackle a large batch of produce quickly. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 14, 2021:
We removed a plastic onion peeler that proved to be more gimmicky than useful in the end. If you need to peel an onion easily, we recommend using an ultra-sharp chef's knife. In its place is the Spiralizer Heavy Duty, which is about as durable of a unit as you'll find. It's good for far more than just apples, too, as it makes short work of potato skins and is ideal for making alternative noodles from hard winter squash.
The rest of our recommendations remain the same. The Oxo Good Grips Swivel is the best high-grip option for home use, although if you've ever worked in a kitchen before, you've probably seen the Kuhn Rikon Swiss. Once you get used to it, it's almost certainly the best option for volume production, partly because of its simplicity, low price, and relative ease of sharpening.
January 22, 2020:
Three popular handheld models join our list today, each of which is priced affordably and will serve you well for many years. The Messermeister Pro Touch offers a serrated blade, which not only helps when you’re gripping wet vegetables, but also for peeling soft-skinned produce like tomatoes, grapes, eggplants, and ginger. For a reliable straight-edge model, look to the American-made Rada Cutlery W232, which comes in your choice of black stainless steel resin, which is dishwasher friendly, or solid brushed aluminum, which is to be washed by hand. Either way, it’s well suited for either righties or lefties, offering a smooth cut and durable, rust-free construction.
In addition to our number one pick, the Oxo Good Grips Swivel, another model from the same manufacturer comes on board: the Oxo Good Grips Pro Y, which makes peeling soft fruits like tomatoes, peaches, and kiwi a breeze, since it’s gentle on such foods. Its contoured shape makes it comfortable in the hand, and its long stainless steel blade makes for easy maneuvering. If you need to replace the blade, they’re readily available for purchase.
For safety’s sake, when using a peeler, put your thumb on the top side and your fingers underneath. Always supervise children closely when they are helping you in the kitchen, especially when any sharp tools are involved.
Williams Sonoma Prep Tools Straight Peeler With a Y-shape that makes for a quick, comfortable cutting motion, this straight-blade peeler can be used on everything from sturdy butternut squash to delicate asparagus. Its razor-sharp, stainless steel blade glides easily over food for clean, efficient cutting of fruits and vegetables. The custom-designed, nonslip handle provides a comfortable grip. It’s safe for the dishwasher and has been designed by and developed for Williams Sonoma. williams-sonoma.com
A Few Words On Peelers And Peeled Foods
Yet there are still often good reasons to peel these and other fruits.
The kitchen tool you likely picture when you hear the word "peeler" is likely one made in the style of the Jonas Peeler, first designed in 1953 by a Swedish craftsman. This swivel peeler features two edged surfaces set into a pivoting piece of metal that rests at one end of an ergonomic handle.
It is one of the easiest tools to use, and made the peeling of fruits and vegetables not only easier, but also safer, faster, and more efficient too. But it was far from the first peeler ever used in a kitchen. Earlier examples of peelers include the Y-peeler and the French made Economoe, which features a fixed knife like blade set at a precise angle.
Peelers come in many shapes and sizes, but all are designed with the same basic purpose in mind: their job is to remove the thin surface layer of a piece of edible flora while preserving as much of the inner material as possible. Anyone who has ever tried to peel a vegetable or piece of fruit with a knife will tell you that peelers do a remarkable job of leaving behind the majority of the foodstuff.
Peeling certain foods is an essential step prior to their consumption: you can't eat citrus rinds, for example, or the papery exterior of an onion. Other foods have skins that can be eaten, yet which taste better and can be more easily prepared and cooked when the skin has been removed -- examples in this category include starchy tubers like potatoes and yams, and vegetables such as cucumbers, zucchini, and many more.
Still other foods are perfectly suitable for consumption with their skin intact, such as an apple or peach. Yet there are still often good reasons to peel these and other fruits. First, peeled and sliced fruit is perfect for use in fruit salads or for handsome presentation on its own. Second, by removing a fruit or vegetable's skin, you can safely remove most of the potential pesticides or fertilizers lurking on the food, making it safer to consume edibles not grown using organic practices.
Choosing And Using The Perfect Peeler
If you only need a peeler for removing the skin from rigid vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, or parsnips, then you will be well served to stick with a basic handheld peeler. A fine peeler in the Jonas style can be had for remarkably little money, and it's actually tough to find a highly priced model in the same style.
While these units might not allow for the same level of control as a handheld peeler, they make the process of peeing a fruit or vegetable remarkably easy.
If you are a serious chef -- a home gourmet or a professional cook alike -- then you might want to consider stepping up to a more advanced, heavy duty peeler. There are myriad mechanical peelers on the market, most of which use the same basic approach to the process. A hand crank operated peeler usually features cups or spikes that hold a piece of food firmly, while the turning motion of the crank rotates the food while moving the blade along a horizontal access, thereby creating one long, continuous peel as the tool quickly skins the fruit or vegetable.
For those with hands or wrists weakened or suffering rotation issues caused by age, injury, arthritis, or other afflictions, there are several decent electric powered peelers available. While these units might not allow for the same level of control as a handheld peeler, they make the process of peeing a fruit or vegetable remarkably easy.
If you frequently cook with onions yet loathe the laborious (and often eye searing) process of skinning them, then consider a peeler that is purpose built to remove the outer layers of an onion. These devices can peel onions of many different types and sizes in mere seconds, and are a great choice for the chef preparing large batches of soups, sauces, and other onion rich dishes.
The Peeler As An Aesthetic Accessory
The way a food looks has a direct impact on the way it tastes. At least, our brain thinks it does. Researchers have proven over and over that food that looks great is actually perceived as tasting better. The opposite is also true, unfortunately.
No one has to know how easy the prep process was thanks to your fine peeler.
Be it as simple as a sprig of parsley placed atop a bowl of soup or a presentation as elaborate as ice cream garnished with beads of fruit formed using frozen liquid nitrogen, the aesthetics of a meal matter. Let's discuss a few examples of "fancy foods" that are easy to make using a good peeler.
A peeler that removes the rind of a citrus fruit in long strips not only leaves you with a great looking piece of fruit perfect for use in deserts, salads, or atop roasted meats, but also leaves you with citrus twists perfect for adding to a cocktail as a garnish.
French fries or scalloped potatoes always taste great, but spiral cut fries or shoestring fries will be perceived as even better. Many peelers can be used to cut many vegetables into swirling shapes, so using them can help you can serve the most elegant zucchini or cucumber your guests have ever seen (or tasted).
And when it comes to making a salad, your veggies will look even more ravishing when spun into deft little spirals than they well when julienned. No one has to know how easy the prep process was thanks to your fine peeler.