Here’s the Single Best Way to Keep Your Knives Sharp

You know how to sharpen kitchen knives—now let's keep them sharp!

three kitchen knives over bamboo cutting boardShutterstock / Viorel Sima

I have a confession to make: sometimes, I cringe inside when other people reach for my chef’s knife. I want to be the type of good person who would say, “Sure, no problem, use my knife!” but I worry. Misusing a knife is the number one way to dull its edge, and quickly. (Find out 8 ways you probably didn’t know you were abusing them.)  So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that might help convince me you’re ready to use my knife. I’m going to teach you the best way to keep your knife sharp.

Don’t Use Your Chef’s Knife

I know this might sound like silly advice—sure, if I don’t use the knife it won’t dull—but that’s not what I’m saying. The chef’s knife is one of the best kitchen knives, and there are a ton of times when you’ll want to use it (and hold it the right way, while you’re using it!). Cutting vegetables, slicing meat and chopping herbs, just to name a few. But, there are a few instances where I recommend that you don’t use your chef’s knife to prevent it from dulling quickly.

  • Never use it to slice bread. A serrated blade’s saw-like edge is designed to get through bread’s crunchy exterior without crushing the tender insides. The chef’s knife can not only slip and slide (which puts your fingers at risk), but that hard crust will actually damage your sharpened edge. Learn which knife is best to use for every prep technique.
  • Forget about slicing frozen things. Have a little patience and let it thaw. Otherwise, that super expensive (but fragile) Japanese steel could chip right off when it hits the hard, frozen block of food.

Now that you know what not to do, you are welcome to borrow my knife! Just don’t you dare put it in the dishwasher or throw it in a drawer when you’re done (both of which will dull it, too!).

Get cooking!
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Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay is a professional chef, recipe developer, writer and developmental editor. After years of working in restaurant kitchens, she turned to writing to share her skills and experience with home cooks and food enthusiasts. She's passionate about using local, organic ingredients and teaching others how to incorporate seasonal food into their diet. Lindsay still cooks professionally for pop-up events, writes for several publications and is the co-author of two books about Ayurveda.