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How to Sharpen Serrated Knives – Know The Proper Way


Last Updated on August 22, 2021

Since serrated knives don’t look as usual as straight-edge knives, we get worried about how to sharpen serrated knives? Well, sharpening serrated knives are easy in reality but complex in our minds. Though some people believe that serrated knife doesn’t need sharpening or rarely need sharpening. But the fact is every type of knife gets dull with time. 

So, it is necessary to sharpen the knives whenever you feel they require. If you don’t know or are confused about how can you do that, carefully follow our instructions given below. We have discussed how you can sharpen a serrated knife with a honing rod, electric sharpener, and most importantly without any special tools.

So before starting the main part let’s some of the important facts. 

When a Serrated Knife Becomes Dull?

In most cases, knives get dull because of the cutting board, not for the food you are using the knife on. Yes, this possibly sounds awkward but you heard right. The knife cuts through the food and meets the surface of the board and when this keeps happening for long the knife becomes dull.

But serrated knives are different. They are being constructed in different manners and styles. Due to the recessed style, the sharp edge of a serrated knife doesn’t meet the surface of the cutting board. Serrated knives are commonly known as bread knives, and since bread is soft, it is very unlikely that the edge of the blade will become dull while cutting it.

However, this is not to say that edge will never get dull. The edge of a serrated knife lasts longer than a normal edge knife. And even if the cutting board does not directly damage the edges, the serrated pointed teeth are gradually blunted. So at that time, it has to be sharpened by sharpening stone and made as sharp and effective as before.

Can Serrated Knives Be Sharpened?

Certainly, it can be sharpened. It is possible that prolonged use can make your knife a bit dull and may not give the same smooth performance as before. However, sharpening a serrated edge is not that difficult to be scared of. 

There are several ways to sharpen a serrated knife. The easiest and effective method is using a steel/ceramic honing rod. Also, you may use household methods also called DIY methods to sharpen serrated blade knives. Electric sharpeners can be used as well to sharpen your knife. We will know the details about this in the next part.

Some Precautions to Follow 

Before starting to sharpen your knife you should follow some precautions to avoid unwanted accidents and get a better result. Here they are-

  • Do work with dry hands
  • Make sure to clean your blade
  • Inspect for any sign of physical damage
  • Don’t use excessive pressure
  • Check sharpness by cutting food or paper, not by hand

How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife Using a Sharpening Steel Rod

Sharpening a serrated edge knife is a bit harder than a straight edge but not so difficult that you can’t. You will have to take a bit more time and patience along with a sharpening rod to get the sharpness back. A sharpening steel rod can do it for you. The honing rod is small and tapering off to a point. Let’s see how to do with it.

  • First, take the sharpening steel rod and hold it tight.
  • Hold the knife in the opposite hand.
  • Set the sharpener at the same angle as the grind in the serration.
  • Gently slide and pass it through all the serrations.
  • To avoid damage, make sure to sharpen all serration to its given width.
  • A couple of swipes with the rod on the dull side will be enough.
  • Follow this process on each serration and do it until the sharp cutting edge gets back.

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Can You Use an Electric Knife Sharpener for Sharpening Serrated Blades?

It is obviously possible to make your serrated blade sharp with an electric knife sharpener. You need to have an electric sharpener that has a slot to sharpen the serrated blade. The electric sharpener has various stages and programs for the dull stage, finer blades, and for polishing the knife. Now you are the one who has to decide what condition your knife is in. Now that you have decided, let’s see how you can use an electric sharpener on serrated blades.

  • First, select a stable flat surface and place the sharpener.
  • Now put the plug on and switch it on.
  • Leave the machine on for several minutes.
  • Then take the knife and clean it thoroughly and carefully.
  • If there is any dirt, clean it with warm water.
  • Take a soft cloth or towel and dry the knife. 
  • Make it run through the sharpening stage.
  • Move it at the bottom of the knife and gradually end at the tip.
  • Grip the blade down and ensure the wheels are in contact with the blade.
  • Perform a total of 4 runs of the serrations (each side will have 2 runs)
  • Remove the knife and check whether it reached your preferred sharpness or not. 
  • If it looks good then turn off the sharpener. If not, repeat the same until the result.

How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife Without Any Special Tool?

Well, we have two ways to sharpen a serrated knife without special tools. One of them is a sharpening rod and the other is a coffee mug. Wondering? Sounds weird? It is actually possible that you can sharpen your knife very well with a coffee mug. Let’s see how it can be done. 

  • Find a flat surface and put a damp cloth on the surface put.
  • Search for a coffee mug with enough rough space. 
  • Turn the mug upside down and place it on the surface.
  • Now hold on tight the bottom of the cup.
  • Take the knife and place the serrated edges on the rough bottom with the other hand.
  • Like you would do with a sharpening rod, do the same (pass it through each serration). 
  • Use the edges of the mug to avoid the expansion of knife serrations.
  • Repeat the process 4 times with the same amount of pressure.
  • Use fine-grit sandpaper (to remove) if any burrs appear.

How to Keep Serrated Knives Sharper for a Long Time?

There is no alternative but to do proper maintenance to hold the sharpness of the serrated knife for a long time. You have to take care of your knives properly and regularly. For that, you have to follow some basic things. Follow the steps below to keep your knives sharper for longer.

  • Don’t put or throw the knife anywhere randomly.
  • Use a specific or specialized knife storage/block rather than using a drawer.
  • Don’t use a serrated knife on hard food.
  • Avoid the dishwasher but wash and dry the knife by hand immediately after use.
  • Sometimes apply mineral oil to the blade. 

Well Brand or Cheap – Which Serrated Knives Hold Their Edge Longer? 

Well branded serrated knives might hold the edge longer than a cheap brand but it does not mean the edge will never be dull. The main key is not the brand, it is the steel which the knife is made of. Knives from good brands are pricey and made of high-quality carbon steel. 

High carbon steel is extremely tough and hard that’s why it can hold an edge really well and for longer. So, again it is not the brand to be considered when it comes to holding the edge. You need to check what blade material they use. The higher the quality of the steel, the better the edge retention.


No matter how good brand you get your knife from, the edge will dull with time. Although, serrated knives can hold an edge for a long time after that period you need to sharpen them. Before sharpening knives you should know how to do that. We wrote every possible method you can use to sharpen your serrated knife. And hope these methods will help you bring more effectiveness in using serrated knives for longer.

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