What Is a Serrated Knife and What Is it Used For?

Serrated knives are a fundamental part of the kitchen. But many folks even seasoned chefs who have attended cooking school are under the mistaken belief that a serrated knife can't be sharpened. With a little knowledge and a reliable serrated knife sharpener, maintaining the edge on these unique knives becomes a less intimidating task.

1. What Is a Serrated Knife and What Is it Used For?

Ah, the noble bread knife. So satisfying; lowering it onto a piece of bread, feeling its serrations "bite" into the thick crust, and hearing the delightful crunch as it saws down into the loaf.

What Is A Serrated Knife

Serrated knives are a specialty kitchen tool that you'll often find included in knife sets. Very frequently, they are bread knives. And their defining characteristic is a long blade adorned with a distinctive scalloped or tooth-like edge. Unlike straight-edged blades found on knives such as chef's or paring knives, these serrated edges add a unique functionality to the knife.

One of the key strengths of a serrated knife is its ability to cut through hard or tough surfaces while minimizing damage to the softer interior. A crusty loaf of bread, a staple item in many households, is the perfect example of this. A straight-edged blade might struggle to pierce the hard crust, and even if it does, it could potentially squash the soft interior as it moves through the loaf. 

This is where a serrated knife shines. The pointed serrations can easily grip and penetrate the crust, allowing for a sawing motion that cuts through the bread with minimal pressure, preserving the soft, fluffy interior. 

Serrated Knives Are About More Than Just Bread

These knives excel at cutting through anything that has a soft interior and a durable exterior. Think about a ripe tomato the skin is relatively hard, but the interior is soft and juicy. A straight-edged knife might slip on the skin or squash the tomato, but a serrated knife will cut through cleanly and easily.

It's also common to see serrated steak knives. The serrated edge is excellent at cutting through the seared exterior of a steak without tearing or disrupting the juicy interior. So, whether you're a professional chef, a home cook, or just someone enjoying a meal, a serrated knife is an invaluable tool in any culinary situation.

2. Can Serrated Knives Be Sharpened?

A photo of the Serrated Sandwich, Deli & Utility Knife 6" Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong with a wrapped sandwich beside on top of a wooden tableSerrated Sandwich, Deli & Utility Knife 6" Gladiator Series NSF Certified Dalstrong

You've probably heard that serrated knives can't be sharpened. That, unlike their straight-edged counterparts, their usefulness ends the moment they've dulled. That's a misconception. It comes from the fact that the unique design of serrated blades – their characteristic scalloped or toothed edge – renders them immune to the restorative powers of a sharpener, and thus, once dull, they must be replaced. However, this belief couldn't be further from the truth.

Contrary to this widespread myth, serrated knives can indeed be sharpened and restored to their initial sharpness. The secret lies in using the right tools, such as a serrated knife sharpener or serrated sharpeners. These sharpeners are designed to accommodate the unique shape of serrated blades, making them ideal for rejuvenating these knives.

The task of maintaining the sharpness of your serrated knives may seem daunting at first glance. But it's far from an insurmountable challenge. Whether you're a professional chef responsible for a bustling kitchen or a home cook preparing meals for family and friends, learning how to sharpen your serrated knives is an essential culinary skill. And thankfully, it's a lot easier to do than most people would have you believe.

3. How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife

A photo of the Serrated Utility Knife 5.5" Crusader Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong with four tomatoes on top of a marble board.Serrated Utility Knife 5.5" Crusader Series NSF Certified Dalstrong

Sharpening a serrated knife is a task that demands careful attention to detail. A popular tool for this precision task is the DMT Diafold Serrated Knife Sharpener. This diamond-coated serrated sharpener is specially designed to cater to the unique shape and needs of serrated blades. 

So let's get into it. These are the steps you have to follow to sharpen your serrated knife.

  1. Identify the beveled edge. Start by identifying the beveled edge of your knife. A good sign to look out for is that it's the end that has the serrations or teeth cut into it. It's the side that will receive the bulk of the sharpening attention. You're going to feel really silly if you sharpen the wrong side of your knife.
  2. Choose a tapered sharpening rod. For the actual sharpening, you'll need a tool that fits into the serrations on your knife. A tapered sharpening rod is an excellent choice for this purpose. The DMT Diafold series offers tapered rod options that should accommodate most serrated knives, whether they're bread knives, steak knives, or others. However, if you don't have a tapered sharpening rod, a round ceramic rod or a diamond-coated file can serve as alternatives.
  3. Sharpen each serration. Insert the tapered rod into the first serration, applying moderate pressure. Stroke the rod along the serration, making sure to follow its contour. It might take some practice to get the motion and pressure just right. The goal is to sharpen each serration without changing its shape. Repeat this process for each serration along the blade. And once you get the hang of it, you feel like an absolute pro.
  4. Check for a burr. After you've sharpened each serration, feel the flat side of the knife for a burr, a tiny lip of metal that indicates the metal has been worn down. If you feel a burr, it means the sharpening process is working. Be careful during this step; the burr will be sharp!
  5. Removing the burr. Once a burr has formed, it needs to be removed to restore the blade's sharpness. The process of removing the burr is achieved by gently rubbing the flat side of the knife on a regular sharpening stone or honing steel. If these tools are unavailable, the flat edge of a ceramic mug or the underside of a porcelain plate can serve as alternatives. Be sure to run the blade's flat side gently across the surface until the burr is no longer detectable.
  6. Repeat the process for each serration.This manual process is therapeutic for some but can be labor-intensive. If you prefer a faster method, there are electric sharpeners designed specifically for serrated knives. An example of this is the Chef’sChoice 15 Trizor XV EdgeSelect Electric Knife Sharpener.

In conclusion, while sharpening a serrated knife may seem intricate compared to a straight-edged knife, with a little patience and practice, it becomes a manageable task. Not only will it save you the cost and trouble of regularly replacing your serrated knives, but it will also ensure that your cuts are always clean and precise, enhancing your overall cooking experience.

If you want to learn how to sharpen straight edge knives, check out this useful guide.

4. Top Dalstrong Serrated Knives You Should Try

1. Serrated Bread Knife 9" Phantom Series Dalstrong

Serrated Bread Knife 9" Phantom Series | Dalstrong

When you're looking to slice through crusty loaves or juicy roasts, the 9" Dalstrong Phantom Series bread knife is an absolute powerhouse in your kitchen. Its serrated edge, crafted meticulously to handle a wide range of culinary tasks, makes it a master in making clean, straight cuts with minimal crumb dispersion. 


  • With a precision-forged blade composed of premium Japanese AUS-8 steel, this knife offers exceptional sharpness and superior edge retention, thanks to its 58 HRC rating.
  • Its hand-sharpened edge, following the Dalstrong Diamond Detailing method, boasts an impressive 13-15° degree angle per side, ensuring swift, effortless cuts with minimal friction.
  • The traditional Japanese D-shaped black pakkawood handle, coupled with a stainless steel hand-polished end cap, is designed for supreme comfort, agility, and a balanced grip.
  • It looks great! The knife's blade is hand-polished to a satin finish, detailed with beautiful engravings, including the Dalstrong name and the Japanese kanji for 'phantom'.


  • If you're looking for a multi-purpose knife beyond the specialized bread slicing capability, consider browsing through Dalstrong's diverse range of kitchen knives.
  • Some folks prefer the G10 handles rather than the feel of pakkawood. It's a personal preference thing. 

2. Serrated Bread Knife 9" Phantom Series Dalstrong

Serrated Chef's Knife 7.5" Shogun Series ELITE | Dalstrong

Unleash superior control and versatility in your kitchen with the 7.5" Dalstrong Shogun Series ELITE Serrated Chef's Knife. While chef's knives are typically known for their straight edge, a serrated chef's knife will offer a unique cutting experience. It smoothly glides through tough-skinned vegetables and artisan bread, while also precisely handling delicate items like tomatoes or soft bread. This combination of a serrated utility knife's control and a chef’s knife's versatility allows less blade maintenance and no compromise on accuracy.


  • Super sharp, at 8-12° degree angle per side, coupled with exceptional edge retention at 62+ Rockwell, promises to tackle any culinary challenge.
  • It boasts an AUS-10V Japanese super steel core, known for its high carbon levels, promising unbeatable performance and a strikingly beautiful, hand-polished 'Tsunami Rose' blade pattern.
  • The handle, constructed from military-grade G10 Garolite, offers life-long durability and is impervious to heat, cold, and moisture. An engraved end cap adds stability for agile performance.
  • This knife is an epitome of resilience and beauty, with a full tang, triple-riveted design, and an intricate copper mosaic that enhances its aesthetic appeal.


  • As a serrated chef's knife, it might not be suitable for tasks that require a smooth cut or if you prefer the traditional chef's knife approach.
  • Extra care is needed while cleaning the knife due to the detailed engravings and pattern.

3. Serrated Sandwich, Deli & Utility Knife 6" Gladiator Series NSF Certified Dalstrong

Serrated Sandwich, Deli & Utility Knife 6" Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong

Up your sandwich game with this awesome utility knife. Designed from a single piece of high-carbon German steel and presenting a serrated blade, this knife is a jack-of-all-trades, designed to excel in your kitchen. Whether you're crafting a gourmet burger with thinly sliced tomato and artisan bread or preparing delicate fruits and vegetables, this utility knife offers a professional, clean-cut with minimal effort.


  • The full-tang blade's hand-sharpened edge, maintained at 16-18° per side, ensures a perfect balance between sharpness and resilience. The tall blade height also offers ample knuckle clearance for safe and easy food preparation.
  • This knife's scalloped serrations and wide blade with rounded tip enable efficient sandwich prep, from evenly spreading condiments to slicing through crusty bread and other ingredients.
  • The handle, made from laminated G10 Garolite imported from Spain, offers superior strength and beauty. With a full tang, triple rivets, and a second bolster, this knife showcases exceptional balance, durability, and distinct aesthetics.
  • A great gift for the sandwich lovers in your life.


  • Not everyone likes a serrated edge for their sandwich making..
  • Hand washing and careful maintenance are required to retain the blade's sharpness and prevent damage to the knife's exquisite finish.

4. Serrated Utility Knife 5.5" Crusader Series NSF Certified Dalstrong

Serrated Utility Knife 5.5" Crusader Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong

Step up your culinary game with the Dalstrong Crusader Series 5.5" Utility Knife. With a serrated edge and high-carbon German X50CrMoV15 steel blade, this knife is precision-forged for durability and sharpness. Whether you need to finely slice tomatoes for your salad or evenly spread mayonnaise for your sandwich, this utility knife can tackle a wide range of kitchen tasks.


  • The hand-sharpened edge, honed to 16-18° per side, delivers a great balance between sharpness and resilience. This makes it ideal for various tasks, from delicate slicing to more robust chopping, aided by the ample knuckle clearance provided by the tall blade height.
  • Its versatility makes it a valuable tool in the kitchen, especially for sandwich enthusiasts. The scalloped serrations and rounded tip help in effortlessly slicing through crusty bread and applying spreads evenly.
  • The handle, made from premium laminated G10 Garolite, is not only aesthetically pleasing but also designed for maximum comfort and maneuverability. The mirror-polished, finger-protective bolster ensures a perfect balance, making it suitable for both heavy-duty and delicate tasks.
  • The knife's full tang construction and triple-riveted handle guarantee robustness and durability. It's also easy to clean and maintain, making it a practical choice for busy kitchens.


  • While the 5.5" blade length is versatile for many tasks, it might not be the best for handling larger ingredients or more extensive cutting tasks. Some users might find they need a larger knife for such jobs.
  • The laminated G10 Garolite handle may not offer the same warm, natural feel some cooks prefer from wooden handles. It could feel less "traditional" to those used to classic knife designs.

5. 4-Piece Serrated Steak Knife Set | Gladiator Series NSF Certified Dalstrong

4-Piece Serrated Steak Knife Set Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong

Putting together a nice steak dinner get-together? This gorgeous set of steak knives will absolutely get your guests talking. The meticulously engineered geometric serrations ensure clean, straight cuts without tearing, enhancing the flavor and presentation of your steaks. The luxurious black G10 Garolite handle, triple-riveted for strength, offers a comfortable and natural grip for perfect maneuverability.


  • The high carbon German ThyssenKrupp Steel blades are hand sharpened to 16-18° per side, resulting in a sharp and resilient edge that glides through steak with ease.
  • The triple-riveted G10 Garolite handles are impervious to heat, cold, and moisture, making them long-lasting. The ergonomic shape ensures comfort, grip, and maneuverability during prolonged use.
  • The combination of the luxury black handle, satin-finished German steel blade, and Dalstrong center rivet gives these knives a visually stunning look. 
  • This set of four knives is perfect for family dinners or small gatherings. And at the price? They're an incredible value.


  • The knives in this set are specifically designed for cutting steak. If you're looking for something a bit more versatile, hey – Dalstrong's got you covered. Check out their wide assortment of kitchen knives.
  • Even though the high-carbon German steel is stain-resistant, it may require more care to prevent rusting compared to stainless steel knives. 

5. Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a regular sharpening stone for serrated knives?

No, regular sharpening stones aren't good for serrated knives. This is due to their shape; a serrated knife sharpener, specifically a tapered sharpening rod or a specially designed electric sharpener, will provide much better results.

Are there any other recommended serrated knife sharpeners?

There are several great serrated knife sharpeners. For instance, the DMT Diafold Serrated Knife Sharpener is a very good option. Other recommended options include the Spyderco Sharpmaker and Smith's Diamond Retractable Sharpener, both of which offer tapered rods to fit the gullets of serrated knives.

Do I need to sharpen serrated knives as often as straight-edged knives?

Serrated knives maintain their sharpness longer than straight-edged blades because the points take most of the wear and tear, protecting the scallops between them.

Can I use a straight-edged sharpener for serrated knives?

Straight-edged sharpeners will not effectively restore the sharpness of a serrated blade. In fact, if you try you might even damage your knife's serrations. A serrated knife sharpener, specifically a tapered sharpening rod or a specially designed electric sharpener, will provide better results.


Written by Jorge Farah
Born on the coast of Colombia and based in Buenos Aires, Jorge is a cooking enthusiast and kitchenware obsessive with a tremendous amount of opinions.

What Is a Serrated Knife and What Is it Used For?

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