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Why You, Too, Will Fall in Love with a Y-Peeler

Discover why our cooks love this lightweight little vegetable peeler and how to make the most of it.
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Published Dec. 14, 2023.

On my 21st birthday my Aunt Jennifer mailed me a box of small, colorful Y-shaped Kuhn Rikon vegetable peelers and a note that said, “Call me when you get this.” 

Surprised by the unusual gift, I rang her immediately. She declared that this style of peeler was the best on the planet and that after I tried it, I’d agree. She insisted that I’d want multiple copies, because I’d reuse it so often that washing the same one over and over would become annoying. 

I mostly laughed off this exchange, but eight years later, I still love my Kuhn Rikon Y peelers and have never bought any other style. 

And when I started working at Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen, I discovered that my (and my aunt’s) passion for this peeler is shared by many at the company.

In fact, the Kuhn Rikon has long been the test kitchen’s winning vegetable peeler. Some cooks find it so handy, they keep one stashed in the pocket of their apron or chef’s coat at all times. 

Here’s why. 

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Unlike a traditional straight peeler, with a blade that extends upward from its handle, a Y peeler’s blade extends horizontally between the two tips of the “Y,” much like a razor. That open Y offers an unobstructed view of the food, so you can keep an eye on the action and better control what you’re doing.

On the Kuhn Rikon, there’s nearly an inch of space between the blade and the bottom of the Y, so peels also slip through easily and won’t jam the blade. 

This Y peeler is very lightweight and its slim design makes it easy to manuever around the curves of produce. So does its swivel blade, which rocks back and forth, allowing you to navigate over nooks and crannies without ever having to adjust your angle.

So, the next time youre in the market for a vegetable peeler, consider the Y-shaped variety—you might never go back. 

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How to Use a Y Peeler 

Senior Editor Lan Lam is one of the many fans of the Kuhn Rikon Y peeler. Here are her tips for making the most of this beloved peeler: 

1. To peel carrots: For thin-skinned produce, grip the handle between your thumb and forefinger as you’d hold a paintbrush, and flick over produce.

2. To peel butternut squash: For thick-skinned produce, grab the peeler as you would the handle of a knife, pressing your thumb and forefinger firmly into the grooves at the top of the handle, applying extra pressure when necessary. 

3. To peel potatoes, apples, and pears: For curved produce, wrap three or four fingers around the handle of the peeler, while keeping your thumb on the food.

4. To shave chocolate: Similar to peeling butternut squash, press your thumb and forefinger firmly into the grooves at the top of the handle.

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How to Care for a Y Peeler

Our top-rated peelers have a carbon-steel blade. Though incredibly sharp, carbon steel easily rusts. To maintain your Y peeler, after you wash your blade (even in a dishwasher), dry it immediately. To prolong its life, occasionally wipe down your peeler with some food grade mineral oil.

But if despite your best efforts rust develops, don’t worry. Just scrub the blade, dry it, and give it some mineral oil. Ta-da!

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