What Is a Serrated Knife Used For?
What is a serrated knife used for? As you continue to grow in your culinary journey, you may stumble across this common tool in your kitchen drawer or knife block. While its big size and sharp teeth might look intimidating at first, a serrated knife can become your new best friend when working with meats, breads and other common dishes.
If you’ve ever found yourself asking, “What is a serrated utility knife used for?”, “What is a serrated paring knife used for?” or “What is a serrated knife used for in cooking?”, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our guide to serrated knives to find answers to these good questions and more.
Jump to Section
What Is a Serrated Knife?
A serrated knife has a long, narrow blade with a row of jagged points along the edge, called serrations, notches or teeth. Serrated knives can vary in size, usually related to their purpose. Alongside a paring knife and chef’s knife, a serrated knife is one of the three most essential types of kitchen knives. It would be hard to get along in a busy kitchen or bakery without having at least one serrated knife in your collection.
Sometimes you may also hear a knife guide refer to this tool as a bread knife or steak knife, depending on its size and shape. Steak knives and bread knives can sometimes be used interchangeably, but they are both distinct forms of serrated knives. A bread knife is typically longer, about 7 to 10 inches, with a blunt or rounded tip. A steak knife, on the other hand, is usually shorter, about 4 to 6 inches long, with a sharp, pointed tip and more exaggerated serrations.
What is a serrated edge knife used for? A serrated knife works like a saw. When pulled back and forth across an object, the individual teeth catch on the surface and gradually cut into it. This reduces the amount of effort you have to put in while cutting dense, fibrous materials like bread and meat. A sharp serrated knife will also prevent you from squishing and damaging delicate foods.
Serrated knives are excellent for making long, straight knife cuts through larger items, but they aren’t ideal for slicing small foods, peeling fruits or mincing ingredients. For finer tasks like these, it’s best to reach for a chef’s knife or paring knife with a smooth, straight blade. These straight-edge knives rely on pressure and force to cut through foods, while a serrated knife requires a saw-like motion.
Uses for a Serrated Knife
1. Slicing Bread
One of the most obvious answers to the question, “What is a kitchen serrated utility knife used for?” is slicing bread. Serrated knives, also often called bread knives, are perfect for slicing through glutenous and fibrous baked goods without smashing them. The serrated teeth make quick work of thick bread crusts and allow the user to use light pressure and maintain the loaf’s integrity. Similarly, a serrated knife can also be useful for cutting whole sandwiches, wraps and paninis.
2. Cutting Meats
The other main answer to, “What is a serrated knife used for?” is cutting meats, particularly meats like roasts, steaks, pork chops, raw chicken breast and more. A serrated knife is ideal for meat because it allows you to cut against the grain of the dense tissue and create manageable bite-sized portions with ease. For this reason, you’ll often be given serrated steak knives at restaurants, and they’re one tool you don’t want to forget at the family barbecue.
3. Slicing Delicate Fruits and Vegetables
While less common, a serrated knife can also be used for handling delicate, squishy and slippery foods and ingredients. Some examples might include tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, lemons, eggplant, melons and more. These foods have a way of slipping around on the cutting board, but a serrated knife is one of the best kitchen knives to hold them in place and slice without crushing. If you’ve ever wondered, “What is a serrated paring knife used for?”, this is its ideal purpose.
4. Cutting Cakes and Pies
While they might seem aggressive at first, serrated knives are the best tool to have when the occasion calls for celebratory desserts. Because they’re adept at cutting without crushing, a serrated knife will help you create picture-perfect slices of cakes and pies. Fruit pies and pecan pies, especially, need a serrated knife to cut straight lines through thick crusts, tough nuts and delicate fruits. To cut a pie with a serrated knife, gently saw all the way through until you reach the bottom crust, then use a paring knife or chef’s knife to slice straight through the bottom crust.
5. Cutting Frozen Foods
Finally, an unexpected but equally valid solution for “What is a serrated knife used for?” is frozen foods! A fresh batch of homemade ice cream sandwiches, key lime pie or cranberry torte is no match for a good serrated knife. Serrated knives will cut through ice and frozen crusts without crumbling them, so you can serve up perfect slices every time.
6. Opening a Bottle of Wine
If you've ever wondered how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew, you're in luck. It's a non-traditional purpose for the tool, but one thing a serrated knife can be used for is opening a wine bottle. It's not a very safe way to uncork wine, but it works in a pinch if you're careful. Drive the knife down through the cork until you reach the handle. Then twist and pull. Again, be careful, and wear cutting gloves if you have them!
Our Favorite Serrated Knives
Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite serrated knives loved and recommended by chefs:
- Zwilling Professional S 5-Inch Serrated Utility Knife
- Zwilling Pro Le Blanc 5-Inch Serrated Utility Knife
- Zwilling Pro 5-Inch Serrated Utility Knife
- Zwilling 8-Pc Stainless Steel Serrated Steak Knife Set With Wood Presentation Case
- Zwilling Four Star 5-Inch Serrated Utility Knife
Whether you’re cooking with friends in the kitchen or you’re being quizzed at your local trivia night, now you’ll know the answer to “What is a serrated knife used for?”! One of the most useful tools to own, a good serrated knife is a worthwhile investment that can make even the trickiest cuts look clean and professional.
For even more ways to elevate your kitchen, check out chef-recommended cutlery in the Cozymeal Shop.