Can You Sharpen a Bread Knife with A Knife Sharpener?

In the core of every kitchen, lies some culinary tools, each with its own special purpose. Among them, the bread knife stands to be a special one to cut and slice through tender baguettes crusty loaves, and everything in between.

Even the strongest knife can lose its sharpness over time, leaving one question in mind, “Can you sharpen a bread knife with a knife sharpener?”

We’ll walk you to find the answer in this article. Aside from the main section, we’ll also explain a few things you need to know about the bread knife, including how to extend its sharpness. Before we go further, let us answer this question first.

Can you sharpen a bread knife with a knife sharpener?

The answer is a solid yes. A good cook is a part of a craftsman and an artist. And as you probably know, every craftsman needs their tools to finish the job. Of so many tools they use in the kitchen, a knife is the most important.

Many would say that a knife is a chef’s extension arm. It can cut and dice things, and when it loses sharpness, the chef can sharpen it again using the sharpener. And yes, aside from regular knives, it’s also possible to sharpen bread knives, although the methods are more complicated. But still, it’s doable.

However, in order to sharpen the bread knives, you’ll need the proper tools for it, like an electric sharpener, sharpening rod, or even a coffee mug. Let us explain each method.

Sharpening Rod

The first tool you can use to sharpen the serrated knife is the sharpening rod. It’s considered a common sharpening tool that exists in most kitchens. If you have it around to sharpen your other knives, you can also use it for the bread knife as well.

The sharpening rod is usually made of ceramic, which makes it easier for you to do the sharpening. As you may know, the bread knife has some serrations on it. So, what you need to do here is sharpen each serration on the knife. As you need to do it individually, you’ll need more time.

To properly use the sharpening rod to the serrated knife, all you need to do is insert the rod into the serration and slide it away. Do it really gently until the rod’s width matches the serration’s.

You’ll need to do this very carefully as well because sliding too far means that you could potentially break the serration. For each serration, do the steps a few times. Yes, it might take a long time, so bear with it.

After sharpening the final serration, check the result. If you notice any burrs or small metal pieces on the knife, clean them by gently rubbing the rod against the knife again. Another option you can use is some stone, which has the same function.

Electric Sharpener

If you want to have more efficient knife sharpening, you can depend on the electric sharpener instead. An electric sharpener can be the best option to sharpen the general knives, but for bread knives, it might be harder to do the same thing, but it’s still doable.

By using the sharpener on a bread knife, you’ll have to be steadier as this method has less control. Less control doesn’t seem really good in this case, because as you need to sharpen each serration, better control is well-suited.

Due to this problem, we highly recommend using the sharpening rod instead, except when you need to sharpen your bread knife really quickly.

A Mug

The last resort here is using a mug. Yes, a simple coffee mug. This can be a great alternative when you don’t have any sharpeners around. It’s actually a simple working trick that can be applied in every kitchen.

Remember that any mug won’t do for this purpose. You’ll need a thick mug, if it’s older, then it’s better. Now, how to use the mug to sharpen a bread knife? It’s pretty simple, actually.

What you need to do here is to place the mug on a surface in an upside-down position. Make sure that the surface is stable enough to resist your sharpening movements. And then, simply move it up and down, in the usual way you use a sharpener.

What is the best angle to sharpen a bread knife?

From the explanation above, we may gain an understanding that a bread knife can indeed be sharpened, as long as the tools are around. Even if you don’t have them, you can always rely on an alternative, which is a thick coffee mug.

Despite using the same tools, the way to sharpen the bread knife can be different as it has more complexity due to its unique design. Rather than simply sharpen all the surfaces, you’ll need to sharpen each serration individually.

If we’re talking about the sharpening angle, you should focus at 15 to 20 degrees between the serrations and the sharpening rod. But, make sure that the position is comfortable for you, and be careful when sliding the knife as it could potentially hurt you too.

Should I hone a bread knife with steel?

While it’s still possible to sharpen a bread knife using a sharpening rod, we can say that it could be less effective compared to sharpening flat knives. Again, the reason is because of the bread knife’s design, which is clearly different from the conventional ones.

As honing is great for maintaining the knives’ sharpness, the effectiveness could be limited when you do the same thing on serrated knives.

How can I extend the sharpness of a sharpened bread knife?

By doing the methods we just explained above, now you can sharpen your bread knife. By extending the bread knife’s sharpness, you can potentially improve its lifetime and may use it for longer.

If you want to maintain or extend the sharpness, you can either use a cutting board for bread-cutting or try to avoid cutting anything with harder materials with a bread knife, unless it’s truly necessary.

How often should bread knives be sharpened?

There are no strict rules about how often you should sharpen your bread knife. It’s highly dependent on the usage, actually. The more you use the knife, the more frequent sharpening is needed.

Also, when you use the bread knife to deal with heavy-duty cutting, you’ll need to do more sharpening as well.

Although it sure feels great to have the knives all sharpened, it’s better for you to not do it so often as it’ll potentially make the edges duller. So, avoid over-sharpening, and only do it when it’s necessary.

Over time, you can feel like the knife slowly loses its sharpness. Cutting anything would be harder, and the tool simply becomes unusable, although temporarily. In this state, the knife should be sharpened using the proper tools.


As we close our article about how to sharpen a bread knife using a knife sharpener, we hope that you may gain an understanding of the proper way to maintain and enhance the sharpness of the serrated knife.

The knife does provide some challenges due to its design. But with the methods we’ve explained above, you can now sharpen the knife properly using even the simplest form of a sharpening tool.

Scroll to Top