Is There An Easy Trick For Sharpening Serrated Knives?

Serrated knives are the hardworking, more specialized cousin to the hotshot chef's trusty knife. They aren't flashy and don't get as much attention, but they still deserve a home in every kitchen. Celebrity Chef and TV host Alton Brown considers the serrated knife to be one of his five most essential kitchen knives. Chef Thomas Keller says that serrated bread knives are his go-to knife to make light work of cutting tomatoes as well.

MasterClass states that the reason serrated knives are so effective is the way their blades are structured. The serrations are basically a series of peaks and valleys known as gullets. The peaks of the blade work like sharp teeth that tear through tough exteriors, while the gullets are edged and sharpened to slice more gently as you pull the knife across the food. Because the edged sections of the blade make less contact with the food, it also takes longer for these blades to go dull. It will happen eventually, though, and when it does, it's important to sharpen your blade correctly.

Sharpening a serrated knife

Misen notes that some folks wrongly believe serrated blades are unable to be sharpened and should instead be replaced. That's not the case, though. It just takes a little bit of specialized knowledge to get your knife back into proper slicing shape. MasterClass states that you can use a bread test to tell if your serrated blade has gone dull. If it seems your blade needs sharpening, then you'll need to get a honing rod to clean up the edges. Outdoor Life explains that a screwdriver and some sandpaper can work as well, but a honing rod is preferred.

According to MasterClass, start by finding the edge of the blade in the gullet and locating which side of the blade has been beveled. One side should appear flat while the other has an angled cut taken out of it. Then run the honing rod along each gullet on the beveled side. Once that's complete, run sandpaper or the honing rod across the other side in the opposite direction to remove any metal burrs that were created during sharpening. Work Sharp Tools also has a video guide for those who need it.

Misen points out that there are some high-end automatic sharpeners that will also hone serrated knives. However, for the most part, this is the simplest method available. It might be a bit time-consuming to work through each gullet, but it will result in a sharper blade and a finer cut.