Skip to content

Main Navigation

How To Sharpen A Serrated Knife

Brian Lejeune
How To Sharpen A Serrated Knife

Have you ever gone to cut up some fruit, cheese, or bread and found your knives duller than dull? It’s a pain! Especially if you have no idea how to sharpen a knife. And if you don’t have the proper special tools to sharpen a knife. Today, we are going to focus on serrated blades knife. Sharpening a serrated edge is different than sharpening other kitchen knives. You will want to use the proper techniques. Failure to do that will result in you needing to purchase new knives. And you know you don’t want to lose your favorite serrated knife!

What is a Serrated Knife?

steak knives with serrated blades

Serrated knife is a type of knife that has a scalloped blade. This is different than a professional chef’s knife, which has a flat blade. The scalloped blades on serrated knives are what allows you to slice through foods easily.

There are a couple different types of serrated knives. Most people are familiar with the large, serrated knife they use to cut bread. But many people forget that steak knives are serrated knives too.

How Do They Get Dull?

Before we go into detail of how to sharpen serrated knives, you may be interested in learning how these knives go dull. Many people think it is using these knives all the time. As well as the foods these knives are cutting.

However, that isn’t the case.

Dull Knives can be from hitting the cutting board constantly during use. The cutting edge can get worn down or whacked out of shape.

Of course, knives can also get dull from being tossed into drawers or washed in the dishwasher.

If you are guilty of keeping your sharp knives in a pile in a drawer or washing them in the dishwasher, you may want to stop. You aren’t doing your knives any favors. Plus, it is more work for you since you will need to sharpen them more often.

Related: See our collection of super sharp knives here

Do Serrated Knives Get Dull Quickly?

Thankfully, it is very difficult to get a dull serrated knife. The sharp edges on these knives are recessed. Therefore, they don’t really touch the cutting board too often when you are slicing foods.

This means your serrated knives should stay sharp and quality knife for many years.

How to Sharpen 

There will eventually be a time when your serrated knives start to feel dull. When that happens, you will want to know how to sharpen them.

You can’t just do a few long strokes on a sharpening stone to sharpen serrated knives. That would quickly ruin the entire curve serrations on the knife. That type of sharpening tool will also ruin the beveled side, as well as the flat side of the blade.

The way to sharpen a serrated knife is to leave the flat side of the blade edge alone until the very end. Your main focus will be on each individual curved serration to result in the perfect blade.

You will need a tapered sharpening rod to sharpen a serrated knife.

How to Use a Sharpening Rod

A sharpening rod is narrow and tapers to a point. It actually has various thicknesses along the entire shaft. You will want to pay close attention to those thicknesses. It is best to choose the thickness that matches the width of the serrations on your knife.

Once you find the thickness that matches the serration, all you need to do is drag the rod across the serration. It is important to keep the rod flush with the serration. If you don’t, you won’t have the correct angle and the knife won’t sharpen properly.

There are no specific guidelines as to which way you should drag the sharpening rod. However, we recommend dragging it away from the blade. This will ensure you won’t slip and cut yourself.

To get your serrated knife have sharp blades, it is best to drag the sharpening rod four or five times over each individual serration. Also, go in one direction and never drag it in a back-and-forth motion. Yes, it will take a while since most serrated knives have at least 30 serrations. However, it is not a difficult task, do knife maintenance and the result will be a sharp knife.

sharpening a serrated knife over a rod

Remember that there are several types of sharpening rods. Some of them are listed below:

  • Ceramic Sharpening Rods
  • Diamond Rod
  • Ceramic Honing Rod
  • Tapered Sharpening Rod
  • Ceramic Knife Sharpening Rod
  • Diameter Sharpening Rods

As soon as you are finished sharpening all the serrations, it will be time to flip the knife over. Sharpening the serrations will have created a burr. That burr will need to be smoothed out before you can use the knife again.

To remove the burr, simply stroke the flat side on a regular sharpening stone a few times. If you do not have a sharpening stone, you can use a piece of fine-grit sandpaper.

It is important to wash and dry the knife before using it, to remove any dust or debris that was created by the sharpening process.

You can use an electric sharpener to sharpen your serrated knives. Simply turn the electric sharpener on and swipe the blade. You will want to swipe the blade towards you. Most of these electric sharpeners focus on the flat side and not the scalloped side of the knives. Therefore, if the serrated portion of your knife is dull, these sharpeners will not be as effective.

Tips for Sharpening Serrated Knives

There are a couple tips you must be aware of when sharpening serrated knives.

sliced bread

Use the Bread Test

If you are unsure of whether your serrated knife needs sharpening, use the bread test. If you get a lot of crumbs when you slice a loaf of bread, your knife will need to be sharpened. Now, if you get a clean slice without crumbs, your serrated knife doesn’t need sharpening.

Only Sharpen Serrated Knives when Necessary

You should only sharpen your serrated knives when necessary. Sharpening it more often could actually cause more damage to your knife. So, only grab the sharpening rod when you notice your serrated knife is not cutting as it should.

Understanding how to sharpen serrated knives will ensure you can cut through almost anything you want to while in the kitchen. Having a sharp knife is the best kitchen tool that you cannot imagine. 

Properly sharpened serrated knives will slice cakes without crumbling them. They will also slice a tomato with ease and go through even the hardest crusts on bread.

So, practice sharpening your serrated knives. This will take a little patience, and time, even if you have the proper excellent tools. In the end, you will have a serrated knife you can continue using in your kitchen for many years.

See Virginia Boys Kitchens On Amazon

We are on Amazon, see our storefront here. Use coupon code VBKBLOG10 for 10% off your entire purchase of any Virginia Boys Kitchens on Amazon. Apply the code at checkout.