Kitchen Hack: The Easiest Way To Sharpen a Knife

July 2, 2015

How do you tell an amateur from a serious cook?

The serious cook will have a perfectly sharp knife.

Keeping your knives sharp is one of the most important rules in the kitchen. Not only will it make chopping and dicing easier, but a sharp knife will also keep you safe. More accidents actually happen with dull knives, as people struggle to cut with an inefficient tool.

So now you’re convinced that you need to sharp knives. But before you get started, here’s one quick disclaimer: Sharpening a knife can be—obviously—pretty dangerous, so be careful out there.

The Best Ways To Sharpen a Knife

First of all, there’s a big difference between sharpening and honing a knife. Sharpening a knife actually removes a bit of material from the blade, while honing is meant to touch up already sharp, straight knives.

To sharpen a knife on a sharpening stone, first put a small amount of oil on the stone. Gently sweep the blade across the stone at a small angle. Specifically, you want to be somewhere between 10 to 30 degrees.

To hone a knife, you’ll need honing steel.  First, place the tip of the steel against the table or countertop, and anchor it with a dishtowel. Then, you’ll sweep your knife back and forth against the steel at a perpendicular angle. To get a better idea of what to do, we recommend you watch this video.

Don’t have a Sharpener? Here’s a Helpful Hack

Flip a ceramic mug upside down, and move the blade (again at a 10- to 30-degree angle) across the bottom of the cup. Flip the knife over and sharpen the other side, too. The ceramic grit is strong enough to polish the blade in a pinch.

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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Annalise Mantz

Annalise is a foodie, Brussels sprouts lover, grammar nerd, and political pet aficionado.

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