Serrated vs. Non-Serrated Steak Knives: Which Is Right for You?

Serrated vs. Non-Serrated Steak Knives: Which Is Right for You?

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Steak KnivesPhoto by Benjamin Faust

In the US and other industrialized nations, individuals eat an average of about 176 pounds of meat per year.

If you’re a carnivore but feel like your steak consumption is lackluster, there’s a chance that the problem isn’t the way that you’re cooking it. It very well could be the knife you’re using to cut it with!

Believe it or not, there’s a big difference between steak knives that are serrated vs. non-serrated. The kind you use will change the way you cut your steak and the way you maintain the knife itself.

Read on to learn more about the difference between a serrated and a non-serrated steak knife so that you can make the most informed choice and enjoy your steak to the fullest.

Recognizing a Serrated Steak Knife

Serrated steak knives are the more common of the two. They have serrated blades, which means that the edge has a ridged, tooth-like look. These ridges are sometimes referred to as scallops or gullets.

This serrated blade allows you to cut cleanly through foods that have a thick or tough exterior and a softer or juicier interior. You use a sawing motion to make your incision, rather than applying direct pressure in a single sweep.

Recognizing a Non-Serrated Steak Knife

Non-serrated steak knives or “straight-edge steak knives” have a straight or razor-sharp edge similar to the blade of a paring knife, though the steak knife blade is longer and thicker.

The non-serrated blade is designed to cut through food in one stroke, meaning that you skip the sawing motion altogether.

Serrated vs. Non-Serrated Steak Knives: The Pros and Cons

Now that you can recognize the difference between serrated vs non-serrated steak knives, let’s talk about how those differences come into play. We’ll cover both usage of these knives as well as maintenance.

Serrated Pros

Because serrated knives do not have a single sharpened edge, they have a tendency to stay sharper for longer periods of time. This is because when you cut, the pressure is applied unevenly between the outer edge and the inner bevels. Each part does its job without losing too much sharpness in the process.

Serrated knives are better for cutting straight down through your steak, as well as other foods with a hard crust. In fact, serrated steak knives are quite versatile and you can use them to cut through artisan bread and even fruits that have a thick rind.

Non-Serrated Pros

Non-serrated knives are more useful when it comes to cutting up steaks at an angle. For example, if you’re going for a shaved effect, a non-serrated knife will do the trick better than a serrated knife.

Some steak lovers also find that the non-serrated edge keeps each bite more intact. In the process of sawing away at a steak with a serrated knife, you may find that some of the juice gets squished out of the meat only to pool on your plate. A well-sharpened serrated knife will not give you this same trouble.

Serrated Cons

Although you don’t have to sharpen a serrated knife often, you will find that it’s a troubling task when the time comes. Some people end up asking a professional for assistance, although it’s certainly not impossible to do at home!

Never use an electric knife sharpener to sharper a serrated knife. These electric sharpeners rely on preset angles that won’t function well with the uneven, serrated blade. In fact, you may ruin your serrated knife by taking an electric sharpener to it!

Instead, you will want to use a ceramic sharpening rod to hone the edges of your serrated blade. You may see some improvement using a whetstone, although this will do little to sharpen the inner bevels of the blade.

Non-Serrated Cons

Non-serrated knives have to be sharpened fairly often because they go through a lot of wear and tear during each use. Both the steak itself and the plate below will cause your non-serrated blade to lose its edge.

The good news is that sharpening this blade isn’t difficult! You can use an electric knife sharpener (as long as it is the right size), but we recommend learning the art of sharpening your knives yourself. Sharpening rods or whetstones will do the trick without taking too much of the metal off and thinning out your blade.

Which One Is Best?

Truthfully, both knives are a great choice when it comes to steak and it will always come down to your personal preference.

If you enjoy a well-done steak with a charred, tough exterior, the serrated knife is probably best. You may have to fine-tune your sharpening skills or head to a professional to keep your knives in tip-top shape, but you won’t have to do this often.

If you’re a fan of a rare, juicy steak, you’ll likely have better luck with the non-serrated knife. Sharpen them a few times with an electric sharpener if you need to, but don’t forget, manual sharpening is always best.

If you truly can’t decide between the two, why not keep a set of each on hand?

Make the Most of Your Meat

If you’ve had iffy experiences with home-grilled steak, consider switching up your knives rather than just your techniques. You’d be surprised at the difference between a serrated vs. non-serrated steak knife!

For more interesting tips and tricks, make sure to bookmark our page and check back with us often.

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