equipment
The Best Way to Sharpen a Serrated Knife
What works and what doesn’t.
05-05-2021
Mari Levine

Most knife-sharpening instructions only cover smooth-edged knives like chef’s and paring. Serrated knives don’t require as much maintenance as those other knives, but they do dull after a while. How do you sharpen them?

Since serrated blades have points and valleys, the key to sharpening them is reaching the valleys, since they make up the majority of the blade’s edge. That two-level design also explains why serrated knives don’t have to be sharpened as often as smooth blades: Because their pointed teeth do most of the work and the finer scallop-shaped serrations follow the points through the food, the edges endure less friction and degrade more slowly.

The Best Serrated Knife

Mercer Culinary Millennia 10" Wide Bread Knife

A stellar blade coupled with a grippy, comfortable handle earned this knife the top spot in our testing.

There are serrated-specific sharpeners on the market, but when the experts on our ATK Reviews team put them to the test, they found them disappointing. Honing rods (which don’t sharpen knives but rather straighten out their edges) don’t work that well either, for a similar reason: The serrated edge essentially skips across the steel rod, leaving the valleys untouched.

Many electric sharpeners share the same problem as other methods: they can’t reach the valleys of the serrated edge. But our winning model, the Chef’sChoice Trizor XV Knife Sharpener, can sharpen serrated blades, using what the company calls its "stropping" disk, in the third, final stage of that sharpener. The rotating disks in this slot are made from a material that is flexible enough to get into the valleys on the blade’s edge.

That electric sharpener is a good option, as is a manual knife sharpener. Its design allows the blade to ride up and down the serrations, sharpening not only the edges and tips, but the deep valleys too. Our favorite manual sharpener is the Chef’sChoice Pronto Diamond Hone for Santoku/15° Knives Model 463.


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