How to Sharpen Kitchen Knives: A Quick Guide

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Is your kitchen knife having a hard time cutting through a tomato? Is it unable to do some simple things like dicing and slicing through shallots or onions? Then it’s time for you to sharpen your kitchen knives. 

Blunt kitchen tools are pretty much the same as having no tools at all. You will waste more time using them than not.

So why not upgrade yourself by learning how to sharpen kitchen knives in the article below. It’ll be time well spent.

Use a Sharpening Steel

A sharpening steel isn’t the same thing as a honing rod, as it is covered with a diamond or ceramic coating. This gives you the ability to remove metal off of the edge of a blade, revitalizing its sharpness. Here’s how to use sharpening steel properly:

  • Hold the steel’s handle in a non-dominant hand
  • Point it downwards towards the floor
  • Use your dominant hand and hold your knife at a 20-degree angle to the steel
  • Drag the kitchen knife’s blade down the steel several times as smoothly as you can
  • Repeat on the other side

Using a sharpening steel, you can keep all your kitchen knives in their best form and quicken up your kitchen prep process.

Use an Electric Knife Sharpener

If you have the budget for it, consider purchasing an electric knife sharpener to take care of your kitchen utensils even faster. An electric knife sharpener works very simply. Here’s how to use it:

  • Put your kitchen blade into the coarsest slot and pull it through slowly
  • Do the above 2-3 times on each side
  • Then repeat with any finer slots available 

Simple enough and it ensures you can get to work with your knives sharpened and ready to cut through anything. Be careful with your fingers after you sharpen your knives!

Use a Whetstone

Most people won’t think about using a whetstone when they have electric knife sharpeners around, but a whetstone is considered by experts as the best way to sharpen a knife. This is because a whetstone won’t take off as much metal from the knife’s edge as an electric knife sharpener or sharpening steel would. 

If you have high-quality steak knives from brands like Messermeister, then consider using a whetstone instead of other methods. This way you can keep more of the metal from the knife’s edge, increasing the longevity of your precious kitchen tools. 

The only problem with using a whetstone is that it does take a bit of practice to get good at using it. So don’t fret if you aren’t comfortable using it right away. A few dozen tries at it and you will get there!

Steps to Using a Whetstone

Here’s how to use a whetstone properly: 

  • Always start with a medium stone – 1000 and 2000 grit (finer stones, 6000 grit or more, are for finishing, and coarser ones, 200 to 600 grit, are for repairing damaged blades)
  • Water-based stones need to be soaked in water overnight to ready them for sharpening
  • Place the stone on the countertop, and make sure it’s secure (use a damp kitchen towel or a shelf liner for this)
  • Hold the knife with the edge facing away from you
  • Place it on the whetstone at a 15-20 degree angle
  • Place your non-dominant hand on the spine of the knife
  • Hold the kitchen knife steady as you slide it across the whetstone several times (back and forth)
  • Turn the blade over and repeat the process on the other side
  • Check to see if the blade is sharpened enough (slice a tomato or something else)
  • If it’s not sharp enough, repeat the steps above
  • If it is sharpened enough, then use a finer stone to set the blade’s edge (for greater edge retention)

As you can see, it’s a bit more complicated to use a whetstone than sharpening steel when it comes to sharpening your kitchen knives. But it’s well worth the effort to learn this method over the others. The costlier and high-quality your knife, the more you will want to use a whetstone to sharpen it, as it will expand its lifespan greatly.

Store Kitchen Knives Properly

Are you wondering why or how kitchen knives get dull? Is it just wear and tear that causes it?

Not really. Yes, some of the dulling is due to kitchen knives running against bones or other harder bits of food. But most of it has to do with improper storage habits!

Do you leave your kitchen knives in a kitchen drawer somewhere where it bangs up against other kitchen utensils? This can dull your kitchen knives rapidly.

Consider buying proper storage, especially for high-quality knives that are more expensive. Some popular options to consider are:

  • Knife blocks
  • Magnetic racks
  • In-drawer storage systems
  • Sheaths

Each of these methods is tried and tested, so you can use any of them to store your knives properly, thus, increasing their longevity. The less you have to sharpen your knives, the less metal you take off the knife’s edge, and the longer the lifespan.

You could also take your kitchen knives to a professional sharpening service if you are feeling overwhelmed with all the options above. It’s a simple, yet effective way to keep all your kitchen tools sharp and ready for action. 

Sharpen Your Kitchen Knives Regularly

A chef is only as good as his tools and kitchen knives are a chef’s most important tool. So make sure to treat them with the respect and care that they deserve.

Don’t throw your kitchen knives into a drawer with other kitchen utensils and sharpen them regularly to keep them from getting dull and useless. 

Did you enjoy reading this article? Are you ready to buy the best knives and sharpen your kitchen knives regularly? Keep browsing our website for more articles on food and culinary.

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