Say no to dull knives and learn how to sharpen kitchen knives so you can keep them in tip-top shape and slicing for years to come.
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How to Sharpen Your Kitchen Knives Properly in 3 Ways
1. How To Hone Kitchen Knives Using Honing Steel
What is honing? It’s the act of re-aligning your knife blades to its original position using a special steel rod.
Honing doesn’t exactly sharpen your knife, but it can make it seem sharper because it’s re-aligned to its desired position.
- Hold the honing steel point-down with your nondominant hand with its tip resting on your cutting board.
- With your dominant hand, hold your knife perpendicular to your sharpening steel. Make sure the back of the blade touches the steel.
- Tilt your knife at a 22.5° angle.
- Pull the blade towards you and glide along the entire length of the steel. Make sure to keep a consistent angle the whole time. Do this 10 times.
- Repeat with the other side.
Tip: Make sure to hone your knife at least once a week to keep it working in optimal condition.
2. How To Sharpen Kitchen Knives Using Whetstone
What is a whetstone? It’s a coarse rectangular stone block that shaves off material to sharpen the knife’s edge.
A whetstone is a cheap way to keep your knives in optimal sharpness. To prepare, place a damp towel or rubber on a flat surface. If you need your whetstone to be wet, dunk it in water until there are no more air bubbles.
To sharpen your knife with a whetstone:
- Hold your knife at around a 22° angle.
- Slide your blade back and forth the coarse side of the whetstone 10 times.
- Repeat step 2 with the other side.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 on the finer side of the whetstone.
- Hone your blade with your honing steel to finish off.
Hacks and Tips:
- If you don’t own a whetstone, use the back of a ceramic plate or the bottom of a mug and sharpen your knife the same way you would on a whetstone.
- When sharpening with a whetstone, work slowly and make sure to maintain a consistent angle.
- If you’re a first-timer, try practicing on a knife you don’t care about first before reaching for your more expensive ones.
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3. How To Sharpen Kitchen Knives Using Electric Sharpener
If you have an electric knife sharpener, the process is much simpler. Electric knife sharpeners provide a quick way to give you a sharp edge, but at the expense of control over how much material gets shaved off.
Reminder: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Place your knife blade in the “coarse” sharpening slot.
- Slide your knife through the slot at the angle your sharpener requires. This would depend on what sharpener you’re using.
- Do Step 2 twice.
- Repeat steps 1-4, but this time, use the “fine” option.
- Rinse your knife to remove any excess shavings
How to Sharpen Serrated Knives
Serrated knives (like bread knives) look different from ordinary kitchen knives, so they require a different approach.
- Drag a sharpening rod across every indentation on the knife. Depending on how many serrations the blade has, this may take a while.
- Smooth out the flat side of the blade using the fine-grit side of your whetstone.
How To Keep Kitchen Knives Sharp
- Always use a cutting board: A knife’s worst enemy is a hard surface. While it can be tempting to just slice something on your countertop, this can quickly dull your blade.
- Hand-wash your knives: Always wash your knives by hand. Putting them through the dishwasher can dull your knife because it will end up banging against objects that can dull the blade.
- Store your knives properly: Don’t store your knives along with your other kitchen utensils. Use a plastic knife guard and keep them in a knife block.
General Tip to Test Kitchen Knives for Sharpness: Do a tomato test. It’s an easy way to find out if your knife needs sharpening. If your knife glides like butter on a tomato, you’ve got a sharp knife. If you have no tomatoes on hand, try slicing your knife through some paper.
A dull knife not only doesn’t make for a good experience but can also be dangerous. Hope these tips on how to sharpen kitchen knives keep them sharp and kitchen-ready.
What’s your go-to kitchen knife? Share your experiences in the comments section below!
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