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Use This Trick to See If Your Knife Needs Sharpened

Kitchen knives sit on a cutting board with chopped carrots and cabbage.
IriGri/Shutterstock.com

When it comes to cooking, the tools you use are just as important as your technique. Naturally, you want to take good care of all of them, but especially your knives. From chopping veggies to slicing meat, a set of good knives are a necessity, and there’s a handy trick that will tell you if one needs to be sharpened.

Making sure your kitchen knives are sharp enough to prepare your next meal is as simple as cutting a piece of paper. Now, we know this might sound a bit strange, but this quick and easy trick comes to us courtesy of American’s Test Kitchen.

All you need is a single sheet of paper and your knife. Hold up the paper, and then drag your blade through it. If it moves smoothly and cuts a straight edge with little resistance, your knife is sharp.

If, however, the blade drags, doesn’t cut cleanly, or there are jagged lines in the paper, it’s time to sharpen. You can also repeat the test after sharpening to ensure you got the job done.

KITCHELLENCE 4-in-1 Kitchen Knife Accessories

This three-stage knife sharpener comes with a cut-resistant glove for added safety.

Another way to test is with an onion. While you’re dicing, the blade should move through an onion the same as it would a sheet of paper: quickly, with no additional force required, and leaving clean edges.

If you feel as though you need to place more pressure on the knife, hear a crunch as the blade moves through the onion, or if you can’t seem to get a clean cut, your knife needs some maintenance.

So, before your next meal prepping session, grab a piece of paper or chop the onions first to make sure that knife is ready to work.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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