Discover the Benefits of Serrated Steak Knives for Effortless Cutting

Serrated knives were originally for bread, not steak. Steak knives are smooth, while serrated knives are used for tough meats. It’s crucial to choose the right knife for the task, like using serrated knives for tough cuts and considering features like blade quality and handle comfort.

Most Tender Steak Cuts

Serrated knives were originally invented to cut bread easily and without destroying the loaf.

So why are steak knives serrated? Well, they really aren’t. Steak knives are smooth bladed while utility bread knives are often serrated and used to cut through tough steaks.

Since so many people eat steaks from tough cuts, many people use serrated knives as steak knives.

So were serrated knives invented specifically to cut through the sinewy tissue of the tough meat? Geocuse, a website devoted to cultural culinary history, states that they were not.

Any good chef will attest to the fact that it is of the utmost importance to use the correct knife to perform the tasks they were designed to perform. When purchasing a new kitchen knife, one should take into consideration the reasons for buying it.

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What qualities should one look for in a serrated steak knife

The America’s Test Kitchen video site features a segment that talks about what qualities to look for when considering a serrated knife. 

The researchers there tested a large number of knives using participants with multiple skill levels who tried their hand at cutting various sizes and textures of bread loaves, whole sandwiches, cake, and even tomatoes.

Their conclusions were that the best-serrated knives had specific features. For example, they should have well-made, high-quality steel blades and feel good in the hand.

A bad knife can ruin the best steak.

Bill Wusthof

A knife with a poorly-constructed handle will cause fatigue in the hands, especially when engaging in repetitive slicing.

The serrated knives that had short blades did not fare well in the evaluation, and it was concluded that one should select a knife that can go across the entire width of a loaf of bread.

This will help prevent the bread’s tearing as it is being sliced.

There are two different types of serrated edges on knives.

Scalloped blades

One type of serrated knife comes with dull or smooth scalloped edges rather than sharp points. The reasoning behind the invention of this type of blade was the idea that the blade with smooth serrations, more a more direct contact with the food.

This, however, turned out not to be an advantage and is less often chosen than the serrated knives with sharp points. The scalloped edges of the blade often tore the bread that was being sliced and did not produce uniform slices.

It also destroyed tomato slices, so the researchers noted that the preferred blade style was that that had points rather than scallops.

Pointed blades

Serrated knives with pointed edges feature small gullies or dimples behind each point. The points help the knife sink easily into the food, and the gullies help lower friction.

Less friction means the knife will glide smoothly through the food without tearing it.

Should steak be cut with a serrated knife?

Farberware 4-Piece Full-Tang Triple Rivet 'Never Needs Sharpening' Stainless Steel Steak Knife Set, Black

 The toothed edge of the serrated knife enables the knife to slide through even the toughest steak like blade, coulotte, or ball tip, with little effort by using a sawing motion, so naturally, one would consider this the best choice for cutting meat. However, there are different thoughts about this.

For instance, a representative from the Tharwa Bladesmithing School in Australia points out that meat is at its best when it has been allowed to rest after cooking it.

The purpose of doing this is so that the juice will be retained in the meat, resulting in a better-tasting, more tender cut of meat. Unlike a smooth-edged knife, a serrated edge will tear the fibers of the meat rather than seal them as a straight micro-edged blade would.

Thus, logically, if a serrated blade were used to cut the meat, it is more likely the liquid would escape and the steak would not be as juicy. The person who enjoys a dryer cut of meat might select a serrated knife, but a juicy steak is a more popular option.

Conversely, there are blades that are smooth toward the tip and serrated lower on the blade, creating a knife that can be angled to cut only the toughest sections of the meat with the serrated section.

Is a serrated knife better for meat?

Wusthof knives are rated highly as one of the top ten knife manufacturers in the world. They specialize in excellently-honed steel blades and carry a wide variety of steak knives.

WÜSTHOF Gourmet 6-Piece Steak Knife Set, Black
  • WÜSTHOF GOURMET SERIES – 6 Piece Steak Knife Set with triple riveted synthetic polypropylene handles that resist fading, discoloration, heat and impact. Precisely laser-cut stamped knives offer superb quality and value
  • RAZOR SHARP – High Carbon Stainless Steel Blades, precisely cut with the latest state of the art technology for incredible sharpness and easy maintenance. WÜSTHOF kitchen knives are Hand Wash Only
  • WÜSTHOF STEAK KNIFE SET – Includes six 4 1/2" Steak Knives. Ergonomic handle design made from a long-lasting synthetic material to resist fading and discoloration
  • DURABLE – WÜSTHOF Cutlery is crafted to resist corrosion and dulling. This German made Kitchen Knife set measures approximately 10” x 5” x 15” and comes with a limited lifetime warranty
  • CENTURIES OF TRADITION – Family owned for seven generations, WÜSTHOF was founded in Solingen, Germany over 200 years ago. WÜSTHOF’s cutlery carries the Solingen name, a designation reserved for products that meet the strictest quality standards

Their steak knives are all straight-edged styles.  In their article that examines the best steak knives available, the New York Times lists Wusthof as one of the best knife manufacturers, claiming that these knives rely upon “well-constructed German engineering” to create smooth-edged steak knives that rely upon the strength and quality of the knife’s steel.

The blade is described as “sharp and tough” and is reported to be a good weight with good “hand-feel” The testers characterized this smooth-edged steak knife as “perfect.”

The same article listed Messermeister Avanta Pakkawood knives as the best steak knife for the cost. These knives are touted as being, not only beautiful to behold but among the highest performing steak knives available. These knives also feature smooth, sharp edges that enable them to easily conquer any steak.

Messermeister Avanta 5” Fine Edge Steak Knife Set - German X50 Stainless Steel - Rust Resistant & Easy to Maintain - Includes 4 Steak Knives
  • STEAK KNIFE SET - Avanta knives were developed for one of the leading culinary schools in North America. This set was designed with uncompromising attention to detail, featuring rounded, triple-rivet pakkawood handles for comfort and durability.
  • BLADE WITH A PURPOSE - Smooth, fine edges are the most versatile for cutting. This edge can be used to cut, chop, slice & dice all firm and soft fruits, vegetables, meats and fish.
  • HIGH QUALITY - Our blades are crafted from German X50 stainless steel for knives that are sharp, rust resistant, and easy to maintain. Plus, the solid bolsters and full tang construction give the knives great balance & heft.
  • OUR STORY - Founded in 1981, Messermeister is a leading manufacturer of premium handcrafted kitchen cutlery. Today, we’re a family and women-owned company, continuing to bring innovation & creativity to kitchens around the world.

The Times listed the Chicago Cutlery Walnut Traditions steak knives as one of the best functioning steak knives available in the budget class. Like the two knives previously discussed, these steak knives also have smooth, rather than serrated, edges that are not serrated.

Chicago Cutlery B144 4pc Walnut Tradition Steak Knife Set
  • Each knife features an ergonomic Fibrox Pro handle
  • Material and workmanship
  • Expertly crafted in Switzerland in 1884,
  • High-carbon stainless steel blades feature our exclusive Taper Grind edge technology for optimum sharpness, edge retention and easier resharpening.
  • Full tang blade extends from tip of the knife to end of the handle for added balance and strength

The Opinel No. 125 Bon Appetit (French) steak knives are also among the most highly touted steak knives and are created with an ultra-sleek, contemporary look. They were rated as one of the best steak knives in the world with “very functional” blades, which are smooth and not serrated.

Even though many of the best knives for cutting steak are smooth-edged knives, serrated-edged knives are still a popular choice. People enjoy the fact that long periods of time can pass before this type of knife needs to be sharpened and like the ease with which they can be used.

Serrated knives cut the meat at an angle rather than straight across, and are used in many fine dining establishments and are also the preferred knife by many families.

Can you sharpen a serrated knife?

Even though Serrated knives can go longer without the need to be sharpened, they do become dull after frequent use. They are also notably more difficult to sharpen the straight-edged knives, which can be sharpened with a few quick passes over a sharpening stone.

People often take their serrated knives to a professional knife sharpener to be sharpened because it takes special skills to sharpen them, and it takes special equipment.

Not all serrated knives are alike, so different sharpening styles are utilized according to the type of knife that is being worked with, similar to carving, cleaver, or boning knives.

Are steak knives supposed to be sharp?

The Food Quality and Entrepreneur Department at the Utah State Cooperative Extension published a guide for teaching knife skills in which there is a section about knife sharpening.

The guide notes that sharp knives are safer to use than dull knives because sharp ones are able to glide evenly through the food. This enables the user to be in control of the blade at all times.

When using a dull knife, the possibility that it will hang or tug exists, making it necessary for the user to apply additional force.

During this action, the user briefly loses control of the knife’s blade, which can lead to minor skin nicks or even severe cuts. Therefore, keeping a sharp edge on a knife is the user’s assurance of a safer cutting experience.

The knife experts at Knife Aid note that there are three main styles of serrated knives.

Single serration

The single serration knife is usually used for soft fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes and bread, and typically features a single blade serrated on one side.

The upper side of the knife for a right-handed person features relatively small, scallop shapes along the edge that feature either the rounded or pointed tips that were previously discussed.

The opposite side of the knife is flat and is the side that is sharpened. This is the easiest of the three categories to sharpen.

To sharpen a single serration knife, the knife should be passed through a ceramic or steel round hone. It only takes a couple of passes on the flat side of the blade to leave the knife sharp and ready to use.

Micro serration

The micro serration knife can be used as a paring knife or steak knife. They are generally created from low-grade steel and are not designed to be sharpened. Once they become dull, they should be discarded.

Double serration

A knife that has double serration is similar to a micro-serration knife in that it was not designed to be sharpened. The serrations appear on both sides of the blade and usually follow a regular interval of smaller, then larger, serrations.

What is the point of a serrated blade?

The point of using a serrated blade over a smooth-edged knife is that these knives are low maintenance and they are easy to use without too much effort. In some ways, they resemble saws, and they have specific purposes.

If a food has a resistant surface, for instance, a serrated knife can cut straight through it. Even after the points on the serrations become dull, a serrated knife can continue to cut.

A smooth-edged knife moves in one direction only. A serrated knife enables the user to saw the food back and forth, which in some cases is the best approach. A perfect example is their excellence in cutting bread.

Because of the serrations, these knives can maneuver their way through the tough outer layer of the bread without tearing it or causing it to collapse. Once it has made its way through the crusty layer, it does not compress the softer inner area of the bread.

The serrated blade incises the food and moves transversely over its surface and through the center, beginning as a parallel cut rather than the perpendicular cuts made by a smooth-edged knife. Serrated knives are excellent to use with fruits, such as pineapple, to remove the tough outer skin.

While a smooth-edged knife will help keep the juices in a tender steak, a serrated knife does work well with tougher cuts of meat.

When using a serrated knife, very little pressure is needed to cut through such meats as round tip steak, top round steak, the eye of round roast, bottom round roast, round tip steak, and chuck tender steak.

There is simply not one answer to every kitchen knife issue. Therefore, it is recommended to purchase both kinds and use each for its intended purpose.

As with any kitchen knife, one should choose a high-quality serrated knife. Even if the initial cost is somewhat higher, paying the quality can pay off in the end.

Higher quality knives last longer and do not need to be replaced as often, and as previously noted, they are safer, because they enable the user to maintain control over the knife at all times.

While both smooth-edged knives and serrated knives are both considered to be essential kitchen tools, think of a good serrated knife as a specialty item that has specific uses, but that is not required for all cutting.

More FAQs

Should you use a serrated knife for steak?

You should use a serrated knife for steak because the serrations facilitate easier meat cutting for some individuals. However, others may prefer non-serrated steak knives as they offer a more precise and cleaner cut. Ultimately, the choice of knife type depends on personal preference.

What type of knife is best for cutting raw steak?

The best knife for cutting raw steak is a chef’s knife, which is also the most versatile knife in the kitchen overall, as it is capable of handling a wide range of different tasks.

Do serrated blades cut better?

Serrated blades are more effective for cutting harder materials that need a strong grip to slice through. However, when it comes to softer materials, the serrations can easily catch and cause the material to unravel instead of cleanly cutting through it.

Are steak knives supposed to be sharp?

Steak knives are supposed to be sharp in order to effortlessly cut through the steak without exerting much force or pressure. When handling a tender piece of meat like a filet, a sharp straight-edged knife ensures a smooth slice that maintains the integrity of the meat fibers, providing the desired elegance one would expect from a filet on our menu.

What is the difference between a dinner knife and a steak knife?

The difference between a dinner knife and a steak knife is that the dinner knife is designed for cutting all types of food except for meat, while the steak knife is specifically used for cutting meat dishes and is therefore sharper than the dinner knife. Additionally, the dinner knife is typically the longest knife on the table and can also be used as a salad knife in the absence of a dedicated salad knife or when cutting larger salad leaves.

Should you carve meat with a serrated knife?

You should carve meat with a serrated knife if you prefer not to sharpen it frequently. It is important to use a long, sharp knife and utilize the entire length of the blade while cutting against the grain to slice the meat fibers. If you choose to hold the meat in place with a fork, apply gentle pressure.

Can serrated steak knives be sharpened?

Serrated steak knives can indeed be sharpened, as we sharpen them regularly. However, there may be certain exceptions to consider. Serrated knives are characterized by small ‘teeth’ on their blades, which aid in cutting through foods that have a tougher exterior and a softer interior.

How often should you sharpen a serrated knife?

You should sharpen a serrated knife only when it is necessary. Sharpen your serrated knife when you observe it becoming dull. If your serrated knife is not frequently used, it may only need sharpening every few years.

What knife is serrated and is used to cut steak?

The knife that is serrated and used to cut steak is called a steak knife. It has a serrated edge and a pointed tip, which allows it to easily pierce through the crust of the meat without causing any harm to its tender interior. This type of knife is specifically designed for cutting tough meats that are too thick to be cut with a regular dinner knife.

What is the purpose of a serrated knife?

The purpose of a serrated knife is to cut and slice food that has a soft interior and a hard exterior. Its toothed edge allows it to effectively handle such food items, functioning much like a saw. As the blade cuts through the object, its teeth sink into the surface, facilitating the slicing process.

Do you really need a serrated knife?

You need a serrated knife for slice cuts, a plain edge for push cuts, and a combination of both if you anticipate a variety of slicing and pushing tasks. If you are skilled in using knives and proficient in sharpening techniques, you might prefer a plain edge as you can easily create micro serrations when necessary.

Are serrated knives better than straight edge?

Serrated knives and straight edge knives have different advantages depending on the task at hand. While serrated knives are often preferred for their ability to tear through food, straight edge knives excel in providing a smooth and precise cut. This makes straight edge knives ideal for slicing, dicing, mincing, and chopping with ease and accuracy.

What do chefs use serrated knives?

Chefs use a serrated knife by employing a back-and-forth sawing motion, rather than a chopping technique typically used with non-serrated knives. This sawing motion is similar to cutting through a crusty loaf of bread and is applied to various items when using a serrated knife.

Do serrated knives stay sharp longer?

Serrated knives tend to stay sharp for a longer period of time due to their pointed teeth that do the majority of the cutting work, resulting in less friction and a sharper blade. However, these same characteristics that contribute to their longevity also make serrated knives more challenging to sharpen when necessary.

Do serrated knives do more damage?

Serrated knives cause more damage as their edges shred and tear the side of the cut, resulting in less smooth cuts compared to straight edges. The increased shredding of flesh leads to a higher amount of dead and damaged tissue that the body needs to repair. Additionally, the partially shredded bits of flesh experience poor circulation due to damage to the capillaries supplying blood to them.

What is the difference between a straight blade knife and a serrated knife?

The difference between a straight blade knife and a serrated knife lies in their design. A straight blade knife has a smooth, straight edge similar to a razor blade, while a serrated knife has a notched or toothed blade edge.

Are serrated blades practical?

Serrated blades are not considered practical due to the limited evidence of their use in combat and the inferior performance compared to straight (non-serrated) edges. Attempting to slice something softer than wood with a saw demonstrates the inefficiency of serrated blades.

Why were serrated knives invented?

Serrated knives were invented for what purpose? Serrated knives were created with a specific purpose in mind, which is primarily to effortlessly slice through bread. Originating in Syracuse city, New York, Joseph Burns introduced the serrated knife, revolutionizing the way bread and pastries are cut.

Why are steak knives different?

Steak knives are different because they are specifically designed to effortlessly cut through steaks, rather than requiring you to struggle with the meat. They may have either a straight edge or a serrated edge, resembling other knives in appearance, but their purpose is to provide a smooth and efficient slicing experience for enjoying a delicious steak.

Is serrated better than straight edge?

Serrated blades offer advantages over straight edge blades. They excel at cutting through tougher surfaces and are often perceived as capable of cutting even when slightly less sharp. This is partly due to the thin and sharp chisel ground serrations commonly found on standard serrated blades. However, it’s important to note that plain edge blades provide better control and cleaner cuts.

What is the best knife shape for steak?

The best knife shape for steak is a butcher’s knife. A butcher’s knife is specifically designed for slicing, cutting, and separating large pieces of meat like sirloin or rump. It typically has a length of around 25-30cm and features a blade that curves upwards towards the tip. Butchers ensure that their primary tool remains extremely sharp and continuously use a steeling technique to maintain a perfectly honed edge.

What is the special feature of a steak knife?

The special feature of a steak knife is its specific design that allows for easy cutting through steak without the need for hacking or shredding the meat. This unique capability ensures that you can spend more time savoring the steak you painstakingly prepared, rather than wasting time on cutting.

What makes a steak knife a steak knife?

A steak knife is defined by its serrated edge, which is a result of a wavy line ground on the blade to create pointed “teeth”. This type of knife is specifically designed for cutting steaks and other firm meats, and typically features wooden or plastic handle scales.

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