How to Sharpen Serrated Knives

Like all knives, serrated knives benefit greatly from being sharpened regularly. Keeping your knives sharp ensures that they will perform well and last a long time. While serrated knives cannot be sharpened using the same tools you use to sharpen straight-edged knives, you still need to sharpen serrated knives because they grow dull.


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    Purchase a serrated knife sharpening tool. Serrated knives need different sharpeners than straight-edged blades. A serrated knife sharpener is a rod-shaped tool, usually with a taper to accommodate different sized serrations. The most effective material for a sharpening tool's construction is ceramic.
  2. Image titled Sharpen Serrated Knives Step 2
    Locate the side of your knife with a beveled edge. Serrated knives generally do not look the same from both sides. On 1 side, the face of the blade will continue at the same angle until the blade's edge. On the other, the face of the blade will angle down slightly just before the serrated edge; this is called the bevel. Only apply a sharpening tool to the beveled edge.
  3. Image titled Sharpen Serrated Knives Step 3
    Place the sharpening rod in one of the serrated grooves (also called a "gullet"), keeping the rod at a very shallow angle in relation to the beveled edge. If your sharpening rod is tapered, locate the rod in the gullet so that they are the same diameter.
  4. Image titled Sharpen Serrated Knives Step 4
    Sharpen each gullet. Using short strokes, and always stroking away from the blade (for safety's sake), run the sharpening rod along each groove. A few strokes should suffice. After sharpening each groove, run your fingers along the backside of the groove to check for a "burr," or metal shavings. If you can feel a burr, you have sharpened the groove sufficiently.
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    Continue sharpening each groove on the blade. If the knife's serrations are different sizes, make sure to adjust the position of the tapered sharpening rod so that the rod just fills the groove.
  6. Image titled Sharpen Serrated Knives Step 6
    File away all the burrs. The burrs are the metal shavings that you filed off when sharpening the blade. To remove them, rub the back of the knife against a sheet of fine-grit sandpaper. As an alternative, you could lightly run the sharpening rod against the backside of each groove, being careful not to apply more pressure than necessary to remove the shavings.
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    Sharpen any straight-edged portion of the blade. If your knife is only serrated along a part of the blade's length, sharpen the remaining length with a whetstone or other sharpening tool. Don't attempt to use the serrated knife sharpener on the straight portion of the blade.


  • Caring properly for your knives will reduce the need to sharpen them. Knives should never be cleaned in a dishwasher or used against a glass cutting board.

Things You'll Need

  • Serrated knife
  • Serrated knife sharpener
  • Fine-grit sandpaper

Article Info

Categories: Cooking Knives and Blades