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How to Sharpen Knives

Today I wanted to share some tips for how to sharpen knives – just in time for the upcoming holidays so you can have nice, sharp (and safe!) knives to prepare all of your holiday meals with.

Don’t forget to scroll all the way through, because I’m also offering a great giveaway to win your own KitchenIQ Smart Sharp Electric Knife Sharpener!

How to Sharpen Knives - Tips and Tricks for Sharp, Safe Knives

When Food Fanatic and KitchenIQ asked me to test out their new KitchenIQ Smart Sharp Electric Knife Sharpener, I was super excited – my knives are SO DULL and haven’t really been sharpened properly in…errrrr… years? Or ever?

I have been thinking for months that I should find somewhere to take my knives to get sharpened, so this was a great opportunity to get them sharpened and learn how to do it myself.

If you spend significant time cooking, you’ve probably heard how dangerous it is to use dull knives. If you haven’t heard that, you might be wondering: “Why? Wouldn’t a sharper knife cut worse?” Not exactly.

A dull knife doesn’t cut as easily as a sharp knife. It isn’t precise, causing the knife to slip and the cook to lose control while cutting, often putting hands and fingers in harm’s way! I once spent the evening getting a finger stitched in the ER courtesy of a dull knife. It is no fun, folks.

Overall, I was thrilled with the performance of the Kitchen IQ Smart Sharp Electric Knife Sharpener.  My knives cut so much better now – I did a few before and after test cuts and WOW the difference! It was incredibly noticeable on the tomatoes, which cut like butter post-sharpening.

How to Sharpen Knives - Tips and Tricks for Sharp, Safe Knives

The user manual was a bit of a beast to read, but totally necessary and informative, so I’ve condensed some of the main points down to give you an overview of the functionality and a quick guide for how to sharpen knives.

Quick Start Guide

You should always read the user manual before operating any new kitchen appliance. Because I like having my own quick start guide to refer back to upon each repeated use, I’ve created this easy knife sharpening guide to serve as a refresher after the initial manual reading.

  1. Plug the unit in.
  2. Dial to 10.
  3. Dial to your selected knife style.
  4. Turn the unit on. TIP: don’t move the dial when the machine is on.
  5. Proceed with sharpening procedure.
  6. Turn the unit off after completing a sharpening procedure on a knife.
How to Sharpen Knives - Tips and Tricks for Sharp, Safe Knives

General Sharpening Procedure

When placing the knife into the sharpener, push the heel of the blade straight down into the slot.

Pull the blade straight out, from heel to tip, following the curve of the knife’s blade.You will need to pull the blade through 10-15 times (5-10 for serrated).

When removing the blade from the slot, do not pull it all the way out. Rather, lift it straight up once you get to the tip.

After the coarse sharpening, repeat the same process with the FINE sharpening slot, pulling the blade through this 10-15 times.

Remove the blade from the slot, lifting it straight up (rather than pulling it all the way out).

Knife Sharpening Tips

Always redial back to 10 before navigating to your sharpening angle.

This is like resetting to zero on your old school locker combination.  For example, if you’re sharpening an Asian style knife, dial back to 10 before switching to something else, serrated for instance.

Serrated knives are only sharpened in the FINE slot and should not be placed in the COARSE sharpening slot. You will perform only 5-10 pulls on serrated knives.

NEVER push and pull the knife back and forth in a sawing motion within the sharpening slot.

If your knives are damaged or very dull, start your sharpening on the COARSE slot,unless it is a serrated knife.

For regularly sharpened knives, you can skip the COARSE slot and performed maintenance sharpening on the FINE slot only. This is great if you spend a few minutes weekly, or even monthly, sharpening your knives.

You might encounter sparks. You will definitely encounter noise and vibration.

Favorite Kitchen Tips

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Nutmeg Nanny

Saturday 14th of November 2015

Oh man my knives could use a major sharpening! This knife sharpener looks perfect!

Lori @ RecipeGirl

Tuesday 10th of November 2015

Such a smart gadget! My knives always need sharpening, a good thing to add to my Christmas list!


Tuesday 10th of November 2015

For some reason, I am so intimidated to sharpen my knives - this looks like *just* what I need!!

Katie Goodman

Tuesday 10th of November 2015

I know what you mean! But once you get used to having sharp knives around you get used to how it feels to cut with them and it is way less intimidating. Plus, it saves me so much time when I can cut veggies quickly, especially fall veggies like sweet potatoes and squash that are really hard to cut.

Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious

Tuesday 10th of November 2015

Great reminder to sharpen the knives before we put them into overtime during November/December! That looks like an amazing sharpener. Love your tips.

Katie Goodman

Tuesday 10th of November 2015

Everyone should sharpen their knives before the winter holidays…and again afterwards, because like you said - they are put into overtime. No one needs to deal with potential kitchen accidents this busy time of year. Thanks for stopping by!

Aggie @ Aggie's Kitchen

Tuesday 10th of November 2015

I hate when my knives are dull, it really is dangerous!! (Learned from experience!) What a great giveaway! Thanks!

Katie Goodman

Tuesday 10th of November 2015

Me too! cutting yourself is no fun.