How to Sharpen a Ceramic Knife

Dan Ketchum

Sharp, lightweight and rust-proof, ceramic knives hold their edge longer than a typical steel knife, but they're brittle. If you take good care of a ceramic knife and use it only on items it's best for, you may go years without dulling the blade.

A well-maintained ceramic knife makes short work of fresh produce.

When you do, the ceramic knife requires special care -- not just any old manual sharpener does the trick. Some ceramic knife sellers offer lifetime sharpening.


To avoid wearing out your ceramic knife, stick with steel blades for sawing bones, slicing cheese, cutting frozen foods, prying or carving. These knives excel at cutting fresh fruit and vegetables, thawed meat and breads. Store your ceramic knife in a wooden knife block or specialized knife case to avoid accidentally putting blade-dulling chips in the blade. For large chips in the blade, bring your ceramic knife to the manufacturer or a qualified knife sharpener. These experts can sharpen the blade using a silicon or diamond carbide grinding stone. In some cases, your knife's manufacturer may offer lifetime sharpening services for free or for a nominal fee. If your knife sharpener has an adjustable angle or angle guide, consult the user manual to find out the manufacturer-recommended setting for ceramic blades.


To avoid nicks and chips, steer clear of manual sharpening rods or triangles. Likewise, avoid sharpening tools that are made of ceramic -- these products cater to steel blades.

Electric knife sharpeners generally share basic operating principles, but they vary in the details depending on the make and model. Always read and follow any instructions or warnings provided by the manufacturer before sharpening your ceramic knife.

  1. Rinse the surface of the blade with a solution of mild dish detergent and clean water, then carefully scrub it clean and dry it with a soft, lint-free cloth. This helps remove any food or residue, making the sharpening process more effective.

  2. Choose the appropriate sharpener. For ceramic blades, you need a slot-style electric knife sharpener, ideally a model specially made for ceramic. In any case, the sharpener should feature a diamond grinding disc or a diamond abrasive belt rated at about 180 grit.

  3. Place the sharpener on a solid, level surface and turn the sharpener on -- typically you'll hold down a button on the side. Insert the blade into the sharpener's left or right slot so that the heel, the part nearest handle, is covered first. Smoothly pull the handle back toward you so the entire edge of the blade -- from heel to tip -- slowly through the slot. Use a slight “up and out” motion to ensure that the tip gets sharpened -- and raise the handle as the point comes out of the slot.

  4. Repeat the process about three to five times in one slot, then about three to five times in the opposing slot to ensure that the blade gets an evenly sharpened edge on both sides. Test the knife on a piece of fresh fruit or a fresh veggie. If necessary, repeat the sharpening process -- again, sharpening an equal amount on both sides -- one more time.