Skip to content
Sharpening knives

The Essential Guide to Sharpening Your Kitchen Knives

If you are passionate about cooking, you know how important it is to maintain the quality and sharpness of your kitchen knives. A dull knife is not only difficult to work with, but it is also dangerous since it can slip and cause an injury.  

Sharpening kitchen knives may seem like a daunting task, especially if you are new to it. However, with the right tools and technique, you can easily sharpen your knives at home. In this guide, we will take you through the steps to sharpen your kitchen knives and ensure that they are always razor-sharp. 

Why Sharpening Your Kitchen Knives is Important

Before we dive into the steps to sharpen your knives, let's first understand why it is essential to keep them sharp.

  • A sharp knife is safer to work with - A dull knife requires more pressure, which increases the risk of slippage. A sharp knife effortlessly cuts through vegetables, meat and ensures more accuracy and control.
  • Better Quality of Food - Cutting food with a dull knife generates a lot of pressure, causing the cells of the food to break down, resulting in poor quality food. A sharp knife produces clean cuts, preserving the flavor and quality of the dish.
  • Durability of Your Knives - Sharp knives are less prone to damages, as they encounter less resistance while cutting.

Tools You Need to Sharpen Your Kitchen Knives

Before we begin sharpening, you will need a few tools. The good news is that you do not need to break the bank to get the equipment you need.

  • Sharpening Stones - Sharpening stones are the most traditional way to sharpen knives. These stones are typically made from natural or synthetic materials and come in various shapes and sizes. A combination of coarse, medium and fine grit will work best for most kitchen knives.
  • Manual or Electric Sharpeners - Manual sharpeners use carbide or ceramic rods fixed in a V-shaped slot to sharpen knives. Electric sharpeners have a similar layout, but the process is automated.
  • Honing Steel - A honing steel is made of metal or ceramic, and it's used to straighten the knife's edge between sharpening sessions.

Steps To Sharpen Your Kitchen Knives

Step 1: Choose Your Sharpening Tool

The first step is to choose the best method for sharpening your knife, depending on the tools you have. Sharpening stones are the most traditional method of sharpening, while electric sharpeners are relatively easy to use.

Step 2: Determine the Angle of Your Knife

Most kitchen knives have a beveled edge, where one side is at a different angle than the other. You must determine the angle of your knife's bevel before sharpening. The average angle of a kitchen knife is around 20 degrees, but some are as low as 15 degrees or as high as 30 degrees.

Step 3: Proper Grip

Keep the knife handle steady while using the other hand to grip the sharpening tool. This ensures that the blade is placed at the correct angle during the sharpening process.

Step 4: Start Sharpening

Whether you are using a sharpening stone or an electric sharpener, the process is similar. Starting with the coarse grit and working your way up to the finer grit, sharpen the knife's blade by applying light pressure and stroking it along the sharpening surface. Repeat this process until the blade is sharp enough to cut through a sheet of paper smoothly.

Step 5: Hone the Knife

After sharpening the knife, it is essential to hone it using a honing steel. Hold the honing steel vertically and slide the blade down the steel at the same angle, starting at the base of the blade and pulling it toward yourself. Repeat this process on the other side of the blade.

Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Knives Sharp

Sharpening your kitchen knives is not a job for every day. Therefore, there are a few things you can do to maintain their sharpness between sharpening sessions.

  • Never put your knives in the dishwasher, as this can cause chips and dullness.
  • Clean your knives after each use and store them in a knife block or magnetic holder.
  • Use a honing steel regularly to align the knife's edge.
  • Invest in a quality knife sharpener to make sharpening your knives easier and less effortful.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining the sharpness of your kitchen knives is vital for both efficiency and safety in the kitchen. By using the correct tools, following the right techniques, and regularly maintaining your knives, you can extend their longevity and performance. Now that you have learned the basics of knife sharpening, you are ready to tackle it like a pro! Happy cooking!

Previous article Sharpening vs. Honing: What's the Difference and Why It Matters