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 has been writing for digital publications for seven years and has 10 years of experience working as a professional chef. She became a full-time food writer at Taste of Home in 2023, although she’s been a regular contributor since 2017. Throughout her career, Lindsay has been a freelance writer and recipe developer for multiple publications, including Wide Open Media, Tasting Table, Mashed and SkinnyMs. Lindsay is an accomplished product tester and spent six years as a freelance product tester at Reviewed (part of the USA Today network). She has tested everything from cooking gadgets to knives, cookware sets, meat thermometers, pizza ovens and more than 60 grills (including charcoal, gas, kamado, smoker and pellet grills). Lindsay still cooks professionally for pop-up events, especially when she can highlight local, seasonal ingredients. As a writer, Lindsay loves sharing her skills and experience with home cooks. She aspires to motivate others to gain confidence in the kitchen. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking with fresh produce from the farmers market or planning a trip to discover the best new restaurants.