How to Sharpen Kitchen Knives Like Professional

Updated On: June 30, 2021

Do you want your kitchen knives to cut through everything like butter? You better know how to sharpen kitchen knives beforehand.

Well, it might look fascinating how the professional chefs use their knives and make cooking look ten times easier.

Not necessarily you need expensive knives or buy new ones every time it gets dull. Few maintenance techniques will help to restore the sharpness effectively.

Here when you have a regular kitchen knife that is resisting back while cutting through a certain object or seeking more pressure than usual, it’s only evident that the knife is dull.

I won’t sugarcoat saying all of the techniques are “quick” and “easy,” but arguably, with proper guidance and optimization, you can get it done. Let’s wade through the various techniques.

When to Sharpen My Kitchen Knives?

First thing first, you have to ensure whether you need to sharpen your kitchen knives or not. And in order to find out, you have to do a test-run. Follow these steps:

  • Take an old newspaper
  • Grab your kitchen knife
  • Now fold the paper and hold it by one end
  • Make sure the paper isn’t crinkled or creased
  • Now run the knife across the paper

There can be two possible scenarios

  1. The knife smoothly cuts through the paper
  2. The knife creates friction and fails to cut through the paper

Given both scenarios, you have to take the decision. if your case is somewhat similar to the second scenario then you should definitely consider sharpening your knife.

Sharpening Techniques and their Diversities

Before you start, certain things need your comprehension. So basically, there are tons of kitchen knives available in different materials and types.

In fact, when it comes to their application and maintenance, the process varies on different dynamics. Hence while sharpening your kitchen knives, you have to determine the type of knife you are using.

The commonly used knives are either made of stainless steel or charcoal. God forbid if you use a stainless knife sharpener for a charcoal knife it will be a disaster.

Vice versa.

Similarly, there are plenty of tricks and hacks for restoring the sharpness. But one technique that works for the mass people might not work for you.

Because maybe your problem is more intense or you aren’t using the right tool. Also, the fact that there are sharpening tools like manual sharpeners, electric sharpeners, whetstone, knife sharpening steel, etc. You have to rely on one distinct process to get the work done.

So, focusing on the different techniques and diversities, I have tried to compile the 3 most popular ways to sharpen kitchen knives.

And not to mention these techniques are performed in definite cases depending on the condition of your kitchen knives.

How to Sharpen Kitchen Knives — Explained!

Here are the top 3 techniques by which you can restore the sharpness of your kitchen knives.

Technique 1: Manual Knife Sharpener

Well, manual knife sharpener is also known as the pull-through sharpener because of its application genre.

This is possibly the cheapest way to rejuvenate the dull knives. Also, using a manual knife sharpener is quite easy, although you have to invest more time and labor than electric ones.

Now, these sharpeners have two slots as a course slot and a decent grit. The course slot actively takes part in sharpening the knife and the grit helps to refine the edges or polishing. Let’s see how you are gonna use it.

  1. Make sure you are wearing gloves if you are new.
  2. Ensure having a solid work surface so that it doesn’t wobble during operation.
  3. Now take the knife and keep dragging the knife through the slot. Don’t be too harsh or too gentle. Maintain a fine balance in your exertion.
  4. Continue pulling it in your direction from the heel to the tip. Do this step 5 to 7 times.
  5. Once you are done, it’s time to run the knife through the grit side. Keep dragging it 2 or 3 times, and it will do just fine.

Technique 2: Electric Sharpener

There’s no notable difference between an electric sharpener and a manual one. It’s rather subtle. Meaning, the electric sharpener has similar slots as the coarse and the grit. But the only difference confides in the presence of abrasives.

Here the abrasives are embedded on the motorized wheels.

And the reason why you don’t have to invest much labor and time resolves in the wheels that swirl against the blades.

Undoubtedly this sharpener outshines manual ones in terms of competency, accuracy, and durability.


  1. Prepare the work surface
  2. Take your knife and haul it through the coarse slot
  3. Be gentle while doing it
  4. You don’t need to exert any pressure to feed it back and forth, the machine’s abrasive will do the job
  5. Flip the side of your knife as you are supposed to sharpen both sides
  6. Continue doing it three to six times on each side
  7. Re-operate step 3 and step 5 for the grit slot
  8. Keep doing it for 2 to 4 times
  9. Until the sharpness stands up to your expectation continue redoing the steps

Technique 3: Honing Steel

If you are wondering how to sharpen stainless steel knife then rejoice! Your search has come to an end.

Honing steels are one of the most convenient enablers for sharpening stainless steel blades.

Yes! That’s what I am talking about.

They not only allow reviving the dull edges of your kitchen knives but also smoothens out the uneven edges.

Besides, improving the knife’s overall performance is one of its heroic duties. Make sure to use diamond-coated sharpening steels or ceramic ones if the material isn’t stainless steel.

Because honing steel solely works for steel.


  1. Grab your dull knife in one hand and the honing steel on another
  2. Keep the knife in your dominant hand, which you frequently use for most of your work.
  3. Now hold the honing steel on the other hand or the non-dominant hand.
  4. Ensure holding the sharpening steel at a straight 90-degree angle. Make sure the work surface is invincible to damage or collapse. Also, if you use your kitchen countertop as the work surface, then the exerted pressure will create holes on the surface. Hence restrain holding the rod directly on the countertop or any fragile base.
  5. Now grasp your knife at a 15-degree angle away from the steel, maintaining a light pressure.
  6. Start sliding the knife across the steel in a gentle sweeping- motion.
  7. Don’t fixate on the same side. Ensure sharpening all the blades up to the bottom.
  8. Keep doing it until you feel the sharp burr on the blade or knife’s teeth

So, these are the most common and effective ways to sharpen your kitchen knives. However, do you know how to sharpen kitchen knives with a whetstone?

Well, let me give you a brief trip on this topic!

Using Whetstone — Step by Step

Before anything else, you have to find out the correct kitchen knife sharpening angle.

The standard sharpening angle for kitchen knives is 20 degrees, whereas few Japanese knives are honed at a 15-degree angle.

Make sure you consult with the seller or the manufacturer to warrant the proper angle.

As whetstones are complicated to use and require a skillful hand, it’s better to figure out everything before starting.

Also, get a lubricant as the whetstone needs lubrication for the best outcomes.

Let’s see the best way to sharpen kitchen knives step by step.

Step 1

Take the whetstone and drown in the water. Wait till the whetstone is evenly saturated and no air bubbles are floating. Give it solid 12 minutes.

Step 2

Now take it out from the water. And keep the course side up while placing the whetstone on the work surface or counter.

Step 3

Hold the edge of the knife blade on top of the whetstone. Ensure keeping it at the proper sharpening angle. Also, the blade should face the opposite direction from you.

Step 4

Use your dominant hand to grip the handle. And use the other hand or the non-dominant hand to hold the flat side of the blade.

Step 5

Make sure you don’t exert too much pressure. Keep it well balanced. A slight pressure directed towards the center will do.

Step 6

Now run the heel of the knife to the bottom of the stone and continue this process while holding the knife at the proper sharpening angle. Try to maintain a circular motion.

keep an eye on the knife tip. Because when you see it running off the other edge it’s the very moment you should stop. Repeat the process several times until the dullness dissipates.

Step 7

Check the sharpness by running your thumb on the sharpened blade perpendicularly. If you feel the burr from the handle tip, it depicts that your kitchen knife is effectively sharpened. On the contrary, if you still find it dull, consider repeating the steps.

Note: Refrain yourself from running your fingers parallelly on the knife edge.

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So, these were some of the best ways to sharpen kitchen knives.

However, if you still have questions like how to sharpen a chef’s knife or how to sharpen a dull knife, especially if doesn’t hold any speck of sharpness, then the answer is “whetstone.” That thing works for extreme conditions.

Albeit an electric sharpener will do the job as well, whereas the manual one will be troublesome or time-consuming.

On the flip hand, honing steel doesn’t work well on extremely dull kitchen knives.

Thus, according to the condition of your knife you have to deduce the ideal technique of how to sharpen kitchen knives properly.


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