Updated: Jan 30, 2020
A dull knife is an accident waiting to happen. Hone your skills (and keep your fingers) with this handy sharpening guide for kitchen knives.
Most of us are guilty of using a dull knife more often than we’d like to admit. While you may not need a razor sharp blade to cut a cucumber, try to carve a whole roasted turkey and you’ll run into trouble. Contrary to what you might expect, a dull knife is far more dangerous to use than a sharp knife.
Keeping your knife sharp is the best way to ensure even slices—and prevent a trip to the ER for stitches. Learning this basic—but essential—culinary technique takes practice and perseverance, but it’s well-worth the effort. Master the art of knife sharpening, and you’ll become a faster, safer, and far more efficient cook in your kitchen. Professional chefs swear by a properly honed (or sharp) knife—and so will you.
What's so Important About a Sharp Knife, Anyway?
Whether you’re using a chef’s knife or paring knife, a sharp knife is also a safe knife. Ideally, you want your knife to slice through food cleanly and effortlessly. A dull knife requires more force to cut through food, meaning you’re more likely to lose your grip while using it. So, if you find yourself sawing through a beef tenderloin—stop, and take the time to sharpen your knife first.
A sharp knife is also much more efficient. If you’re dicing carrots for a salad, chiffonading fresh basil for a garnish, or slicing potatoes for home fries, a sharp knife makes for exact, precise cuts. When your food is cut to the same size, it cooks more evenly and at the same rate, whether you’re roasting, sauteing, or boiling it. Ultimately, this means better looking and better tasting food.