Benefits of a Serrated Edge Knife
There’s a pretty common misconception that serrated knives are for one of two purposes: slicing bread or cutting a just-grilled steak. But if you’re like us, you’ve questioned why so many of the best knife sets come with a serrated edge knife if they aren’t good for many uses. That’s valuable real estate in the knife block that could be just as easily given to a knife with a wider range of uses. So why do all those knife makers throw a serrated knife in the mix? Because they’re actually a great deal more useful than you might think. A good serrated edge knife can be a valuable tool in your kitchen tool repertoire and improve your overall food prep experience more than a quality straight-edged knife can—assuming you find a good quality serrated edge knife.
Serrated Edge Knife Basics
First, a bit of clarification in terms of basic knife skills. There are two general motions you do with a knife: sliding the knife blade front and back results in a slicing motion and moving the knife up and down is a chopping motion. Now, it is possible to do both motions with either a straight edge or serrated edge knife, but you’ll definitely notice a difference in ease. A serrated edge knife is generally easier to use for slicing while a straight edge knife is better used for those chopping motions. However, the caveat here is that a quality serrated edge knife can be just as successful chopping and a well-sharpened straight edge knife can slice neatly. Of course, the other side of this is that a dull knife, either serrated or straight, will have trouble doing the opposing motion even more than the motion they were designed for.
Serrated Edge Knife Uses
The most commonly known use for a serrated knife is, as we mentioned above, bread. Because serrated knives are made to primarily be used with a slicing or gentle sawing motion, they are excellent for cutting through soft items without tearing it. For a real-world example of the difference between slicing with a serrated knife and a straight edge knife, we suggest trying to cut a slice of soft pre-sliced sandwich bread. Cutting through a piece of soft sandwich bread with a straight edge knife will either squash the bread into a dense channel where you’re cutting it, or the bread will tear into jagged edges as you try to slice through. A serrated knife strives to stop both of those effects. The sharp teeth along the edge of the knife work a bit like a saw, but narrower, so the blade should not tear or compress foods as it slices through. Generally, the most common uses of a serrated knife fall into two categories:
- Soft foods – this includes bread, soft cheeses, cake, and so on
- Foods with a thick or tough exterior – this can include larger foods like melons or squash, but it can also include foods that are soft inside with a firm skin, like tomatoes
A good quality serrated edge knife can be used on a wide variety of different foods, but there are a few places it might struggle. For example, you can slice raw carrots with a serrated edge knife, but you’ll struggle a bit more cutting them into a small dice. This is generally where a straight edge knife comes in handy. Of course, if your choice is between a dull straight edge knife and a sharp serrated edge knife, choose the sharp knife, no matter what your use.
Benefits of Serrated Edge Knives
As we mentioned before, serrated edge knives are made to be used with a slicing motion for best effect. The biggest benefit of using a serrated edge knife is that you’re more likely to get a nice straight cut, whether you’re cutting a steak or an onion. This means that, when straight cuts matter, stick with serrated. Think about preparation for a backyard barbecue. If you’re slicing tomatoes and onions to top burgers, a serrated knife will give you better cuts and require less effort to do so. Or, when it’s time to slice up the turkey at Thanksgiving, a serrated edge knife will give you better slices of meat than you’d get from a straight edged knife. If you’re looking for ways to improve your presentation, stick to serrated.
Of course, cooking is more than just a nice presentation, even if you do eat with your eyes first. If you’ve been reading our recent blogs, you know that cutting foods to the same size can also help it cook more evenly. This is important because it means you’re a great deal less likely to overcook or undercook things, which can have a pretty drastic effect on the taste and texture. If you’re looking for one simple way to improve your meals, focus on cutting things to the same size so they cook more evenly.
The other big benefit of a serrated edge knife is that it’s usually the best knife for separating soft parts of a food from a thicker, harder shell. This can include things like cutting the skin off a butternut squash or cutting a melon neatly away from the rind. A serrated edge knife will give you better control over your cuts, so you can skin thick fruits and vegetables easier and lose less of the edible innards.
The other big factor when choosing the right knife is choosing quality. No matter how well-suited a knife is for the job, if it’s dull, it won’t be as well suited as a sharp utility kitchen knife. This is why we suggest a utility serrated edge knife as part of your kitchen set. Easy Slice knifes are all made with a double-scallop serrated edge so they slice straight without tearing. And, to keep our knives from going dull, each one is made to a 57 Rockwell hardness. Learn more about our amazing serrated edge knife options and shop our online store today!