How to Sharpen Kitchen Knives

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Learn how to sharpen kitchen knives in three easy steps.  I’ll show you how quick and easy it is to keep your knives sharp.

How to sharpen a kitchen knife

This post was sponsored by DMT Knife Sharpening Tools.  All opinions expressed in my post are my own.

How to Sharpen Kitchen Knives

Let me ask you a question.  When was the last time you sharpened your kitchen knives?

If it’s been a while (or never), you don’t know what you’re missing.  A sharp kitchen knife is a cook’s best tool.

Using sharp knives makes cooking and food prep so much easier.  You use less force when your knives are sharp making it easier to quickly cut and chop.  Using a sharp kitchen knife is one of the simplest ways to improve your cooking experience.

All knives dull over time.  The more you use them, the more dull they become.

I will show you how to sharpen all of your kitchen knives like a pro in 3 easy steps.

How to sharpen knives

How to Sharpen a Kitchen Knife

STEP 1:  Use a sharpening tool.

We like this DMT Diafold® Singled Sided Sharpener.  It’s a great all-around knife sharpening tool that’s perfect for beginners.

Sharpen knife stone

This sharpener uses a diamond grit to sharpen and hone all types of knives.  This compact model folds up for easy storage and is small enough to take with you where you need it.

We love that DMT products are all made in the USA.  The have the most diamond per square inch and are engineered to be the flattest sharpeners on the market.

STEP 2:  Hold the sharpener away from you and glide the knife over the tool.

Use a light pressure and hold the knife at a 15 degree angle with the sharpener.  Slide the blade of the knife across and down the tool in a sweeping motion.

How to sharpen kitchen knives

STEP 3:  Repeat the process on the other side.

Using the same pressure and angle, flip the knife over and pull it toward you in the same sweeping motion.

You can see exactly how it’s done here.

How to Sharpen a Serrated Kitchen Knife

Sharpening serrated knives is a little bit different than standard (non-serrated) kitchen knives.  You have to use a different tool so that the tips and valleys of the serrated blade sharpen.

STEP 1: Use a sharpening tool designed specifically for serrated knives.

We like this DMT Diafold® Serrated Sharpener. Like the Single Sided Sharpener, this is a great all-around knife sharpening tool that’s perfect for beginners.

The sharpener goes up and down all of the serrations ensuring that you get a sharp edge all around.

STEP 2: Match the diameter of the sharper to the diameter of the serration.

Align the tool so that the diameter of the sharpening tool fits the diameter of the gulley of the serration.


STEP 3:  Use short, back and forth strokes while twisting to sharpen the blade.

Keep your strokes to about ½ inch, going back and forth while twisting the sharpening tool.

how to sharpen serrated knives

STEP 4:  Repeat process in each serration.

You can see exactly how it’s done here.

How to Know if Your Smooth Blade Knife is Sharp Enough

Now that you’ve sharpened your knives, you can check to ensure that it’s sufficiently sharp.  Take a piece of newspaper or copy paper and fold it but don’t crease it.

Lay the blade of the knife against to the top of the paper, holding it at an angle.  Slide the blade outward and if the blade slices the paper cleanly, it’s sharp enough.

Sharpening Knives

How to Keep Your Knives Sharp

Proper storage is the key to keeping knives sharp between uses.  We recommend storing your knives in a secure holder or cover.

We don’t recommend storing them unsecured in a drawer.  Not only can this be a safety hazard, especially with children, but as knives move around in the drawer, they’ll bump into each other which can cause nicks in the blades.

How Often to Sharpen Knives

How often you sharpen your knives depends on how often they are used and how hard they are used.  I like to sharpen my go-to kitchen knife one to two times per week because it gets quite a bit of use.

Serrated knives don’t need to be sharpened as often as smooth blades because the serrations keep most of the dulling friction away from the edges.

You can always use the newspaper test above to determine if your knives need sharpening.  And, don’t forget to check your paring knives and steak knives. They, too, will dull over time as they are used.

More Kitchen Tips You Might Like

Looking for more?  Check out all of the cooking tips on It Is a Keeper.

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