The Best Serrated Knife, According to Chefs
We talked to some chefs to get a feel for what they seek out when when choosing serrated knives—as well as to find out which knives they use themselves.
Serrated knives and their jagged edges are probably most prized for their ability to cut through thick, crusty bread—but they may also be considered for their versatility and ability to work with different types of foods. To get a handle on characteristics to look for when in the market for a new serrated knife, we talked to some chefs to get a feel for what they seek out when when choosing serrated knives—as well as to find out which knives they use themselves.
When shopping for a serrated knife, Executive Chef Christian Ragano of Cindy’s in Chicago explains, "I look for something with smaller serrations; something that is less abrasive to whatever you might be cutting and less damaging or jarring to the product. It needs to be less like a saw and more like a knife for me. The motion of the knife needs to be smooth. Fluid. I think smaller serrations lend to that. I also look for something, like any knife really, that feels great in my hand. I’m not a big guy and I have smaller hands, so I have a tendency to look for knives with smaller (thinner) handles. I also like rounded, smooth handles.”
His pick? “The best serrated [knife] for me is a Global. I'm a lefty, and they were one of the only companies to make lefty serrated knives.”
At Farm in Bluffton, South Carolina, Chef Brandon Carter prefers the 10-inch Victorinox Pastry Knife with Rosewood handle. “It's lightweight and has a thin blade with small, rounded serrations, so it's more delicate than some with larger teeth.” He considers this type of knife a must since he works with delicate local vegetables and products that are available in limited quantities.
Another fan of Victorinox is Chef David Park of the forthcoming Jeong, considered one of the most-anticipated restaurants in Chicago this year. Chef David prefers the 9-inch Victorinox Offset Sandwich Knife, saying, “It has so much knuckle clearance and the leverage to cut through tough crust on a rustic loaf of bread. Also, it's so affordable and it lasts a long time.”
Executive Chef Kyle St. John of The Ranch at Laguna Beach has another affordable option to consider. “My favorite serrated knife is a 4-inch serrated paring knife by Victorinox, which costs about $8,” he says. “This knife is great for cleaning and cutting citrus, slicing tomatoes and fresh fruit, and many more kitchen tasks. Plus, it stays sharp for a long time. At such a low price, it’s a must-have.”
A gift from a mentor, the Wüsthof 8-inch Classic Offset Deli Knife is the go-to serrated knife for Executive Chef Fabio Capparelli from Saltine and Varia in Norfolk, Virginia. “It’s German forged steel and hand crafted, and has the right balance between durability and sharpness. It also has a reverse serrated blade, which doesn’t shred the product,” Chef Fabio explains.
Whatever direction you choose, keep this tip in mind from Executive Chef Christian Ragano when shopping for your next serrated knife: “Any knife needs to feel great in your hand.”