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The Best Serrated (Bread) Knives
Serrated knives are great for cutting so much more than bread. Which one is best?
Published Aug. 17, 2022.
What You Need To Know
Our favorite serrated knife is the Mercer Culinary M23210 Millennia 10-Inch Wide Wavy Edge Bread Knife, and it has been for many years. It has a long, relatively tall, sharp blade with few but deep serrations that provide great power and slicing ability. And its large, grippy handle is comfortable for hands of all sizes to hold.
What You Need to Know
A good serrated knife is a kitchen essential—one of the three basic knives we think every home cook should have (along with a chef’s knife and a paring knife). It’s sometimes called a bread knife, but its uses extend far beyond slicing loaves. As we explained when we reviewed these tools previously, the point (pun intended) of using a serrated blade is to cut into foods that are too hard or squishy for straight blades (such as the one on a chef’s knife) to get a purchase on. The points sink into the food while the scooped-out gullies between them reduce the blade’s friction as it moves through the food. Less friction makes it easier for the user to saw back and forth and cut through the food cleanly.
This means that serrated knives excel at cutting not only rustic bread loaves but also thick-rinded watermelons, tough-skinned pineapples, and delicate foods such as layer cakes or squishy tomatoes. They’re also useful for cutting foods with layers of different textures, such as sandwiches or baked goods.
There are two basic kinds of serrated knives. “All-purpose” serrated knives have blades that extend straight out from the handle, whereas “offset” serrated knives have blades that drop down at a 90-degree angle from the handle before extending straight outward. We reviewed both types of knives, all with stainless-steel blades between 9 and 11 inches in length.
What to Look For
- Tall, Pointy Serrations—and Relatively Few of Them: As we learned during our previous tests, tall, pointed serrations bite into food more tenaciously than serrations that are short and/or scalloped (round), which sometimes skid over the food instead. We’ve also consistently found that blades with fewer serrations overall are also better at gripping and cutting food. As Sarah Hainsworth, knife expert and now executive dean of Aston University’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, explained, when a user pushes down on a serrated knife, the force exerted is divided among the serrations. The fewer the serrations, the more power each serration gets. Our most highly rated knives had 29 to 34 serrations, or about three and a half serrations for every inch of usable blade, helping ensure that they cut food with ease.
- Sharpness: The sharper the serrated knife is right out of the box, the more cleanly it’ll slice...
Everything We Tested
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The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.