If you’ve ever wondered what are serrated knives used for? Then you’ve come to the right place! Sometimes, knowing what something is can be different from knowing its application in the real world. This article will cover everything you need to know about these popular “shark teeth” kitchen knives to get the most out of them (1).
What are serrated knives used for?
The serrated knife is often referred to as a bread knife, and rightfully so! This is because they are great at cutting bread. However, serrated knives have a far wider range of applications beyond this, as their jagged edges can also be used for fruits and vegetables too.
Various designs of serrated blades have unique applications, including serrated utility knives, serrated paring knives, and serrated chef’s knives.
Why you need a serrated knife
When it comes to multi-purpose cutting, the straight-edge chef’s knife is a reliable choice. However, a serrated blade can make specific tasks much easier.
Take, for example, the challenge of chopping a slippery tomato into small pieces. It can be difficult to hold the tomato in place while ensuring that the blade edge doesn’t slip off the surface and cause injury.
A serrated knife solves this problem by using its jagged teeth to grip onto the tomato’s outer skin. Then, as you move the blade up and down against the ingredient, the knife makes a series of small incisions.
In contrast to the plain edge of a smooth blade chef’s knife, you don’t need a lot of force for a serrated knife to penetrate the ingredient. This means you can apply less pressure when cutting, making the task safer for you and gentler on the tomato.
Slicing bread is another task that is made easier with a serrated knife. When you reach the soft inner part of the bread’s core, cutting through the layers without crushing them can be challenging. A knife edge with more grip is needed to tear away the bread’s layers gently, and this is where the serrated knife excels.
A serrated bread knife allows you to be gentle with the outer layer of a crusty loaf. It enables you to cut through without damaging the softer interior. This is especially important if you want to enjoy the full flavor and texture of the bread.
In summary, while a straight-edge chef’s knife is a versatile tool, a serrated blade can be a valuable addition to your kitchen for specific ingredients and tasks.
Advantages of serrated knives
One of the significant advantages of serrated knives is their ability to cut through tough skins and exterior surfaces without damaging the interior goods. As a result, they provide a safer way of piercing breads, citrus fruits, and vegetables without applying excessive force.
Serrated-edged knives are also great for providing a safer way of cutting tough ingredients. For example, you won’t need to put your other hand in harm’s way to hold a slippery ingredient in place.
Regarding maintenance, you don’t need to sharpen serrated edges as much as a regular straight-edge knife. This is because the small indentations of the jagged edge work together to penetrate ingredients. Essentially, this takes the pressure off each individual “tooth.” As a result, you save money, time, and energy on maintenance.
Best types of food for a serrated knife
A serrated knife effectively cuts through foods with tough shells, hard skins, or slippery exteriors. These may include certain types of baked goods, fruits, and vegetables. In addition, a serrated knife is handy for foods with soft interiors that could be damaged if more pressure is applied during the cutting process.
Examples of baked goods that can be easily sliced with a serrated knife include bread, cake, pies, and pastries. When cutting with a serrated knife, you can use a sawing motion rather than an up-and-down or rocking movement. This allows you to slice through these foods without damaging the inner ingredients and filling mixtures.
Tough fruits like pineapples and coconuts are also well-suited for serrated knives (2). The sharp serrations on the edge make it easy to cut through the shell without splattering the inner juices of the fruit. Similarly, citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, which have a hard exterior and a soft juicy interior, can be easily cut with a serrated knife.
In conclusion, a serrated knife is useful for cutting through foods with tough or slippery exteriors. It is particularly helpful for preserving the quality and texture of foods with soft interiors.
Features of serrated knives to look out for
One of the most important characteristics of a serrated knife you should look out for is the sharpness of the individual serrations, the teeth. There is a movement for rounded serrations that “last longer.” However, these edges tend to be too blunt to give the serrated knife the grip and “bite” they need.
Going for a rounded serrated knife could see you getting the same results as a straight-edge knife if the ingredient’s outer skin is too tough.
A longer blade is not necessarily better, as it often depends on personal circumstances and preferences. Serrated knives come in various sizes, including chef’s, utility, and paring knives.
If you want to tackle big tasks like cutting watermelons and coconuts, go for a serrated chef’s knife. You can do smaller tasks like cutting citrus fruits and sandwiches using a serrated utility knife or paring knife.
Related: Top 10 Best Chef Knives Under $200
Never underestimate the effect of ergonomics when purchasing a new knife. It can be the difference between success and longevity or failure and destruction. For example, some knives come with beautiful high-quality stainless steel blades but are practically unusable because of their uncomfortable and slippery handles.
Keeping that in mind, I’d recommend a synthetic rubbery grip for your knife handle. This secures your hand in place while cutting, preferably with a finger lock for added safety and control.
The best thing about serrated knives is they don’t require the same level of care and maintenance as straight-edge knives. While you still need to sharpen the knife, it does not need to be done as frequently as with other kitchen knives.
Depending on the brand, you may be able to get your serrated knives sharpened for free whenever it goes dull. Misen and Shun knives are classic examples of this.
If this option is not available to you or you prefer to sharpen your knife on your own, then there are a few hurdles you’ll need to overcome. First, the easiest way to sharpen your serrated knives is to use an electric sharpener with a serrated edge mode.
Alternatively, you can use a honing ceramic rod to sharpen your serrated knives, as the shape of the rod is made to cater to the serrations of the blade’s edge.
How to store a serrated knife correctly
There are several ways to store your serrated knife in a way that is safe for both the knife and your family and loved ones. A classic wooden knife block is often the most popular way of storing your knife. I recommend this method if you have young children in the house, as it ensures the blade is hidden and concealed out of harm’s way.
You can also opt for an in-draw knife holder or a magnetic knife holder to ensure the blade is never loose and out in the open.
What are serrated knives used for FAQ
What types of food would you use a serrated knife to cut?
Some of the best foods to cut with serrated knives include bread, fruit, and vegetables. Actually, just about anything with a tough exterior and a soft interior will work. For example, a serrated paring knife can cut things like oranges and lemons, while a serrated utility knife is great for cutting sandwiches in half.
Why do serrated knives work better?
For specific tasks like cutting bread or slicing tomatoes, serrated knives can provide a clean cut that is effortless and safer than if you used a nonserrated edge. The serrated edges provide enough grip and “bite” to your cutting tasks. This allows you to pierce through exterior skins and shells without applying excessive force, gently chipping away at them.
What is a serrated knife used for survival?
Serrated knives are often used outside the kitchen as survival tools and pocket knives. Their jagged edge can pierce through tough textures like rope, wood, and even animal carcasses. Serrated knives are preferred for outdoor survival as they work well for constructing shelters and defending oneself against wildlife.
Which is better serrated or straight blade?
Serrated knives and straight blades are both great performers in their respective fields, offering exceptional cutting prowess for specific ingredients. The critical difference between these two knives is the cutting motions. Serrated knives take on a saw motion, while the straight blade is better for rocking or up-and-down motions.
Can a serrated knife be sharpened?
While it may be more difficult to sharpen a serrated blade than a regular blade, it can still be done using an electric sharpener or a honing ceramic rod. So even though it can be difficult to sharpen between the serrations of the blade, the good news is they don’t need to be as sharp as straight blade edges to do what they do best.
What is serrated edge good for?
Serrated edge knives are great for various applications, taking on many forms, from chef’s knives to paring and even steak knives. The serrated blade makes for a high-quality knife for piercing tough exteriors like crusty loaves while maintaining the structure of the bread’s soft interior.
What side of a serrated knife do you sharpen?
Serrated knives should be sharpened from the bolster all along the edge and up to the tip of the knife, ensuring consistently clean cuts on your ingredients.
How often should you sharpen a serrated knife?
Fortunately, serrated knives don’t need to be sharpened as often as straight-edge knives. Even when you do, they don’t need to be as sharp as straight edges. Typically, you don’t need to sharpen your serrated knife until you notice diminishing results. This can take anywhere from months to years to occur.