In the Just Cooking Tools, we always recommend three types of knives: A chef's knife for most tasks, a paring knife for small jobs, and a serrated knife for breads and other delicate items like ripe tomatoes. While cutting bread and tomatoes may seem like specialized tasks, there's no other tool that can perform them as well as a serrated knife: Believe it or not, a rugged crust can actually damage the edge of your beloved chef's knife, and, unless you keep your blades super sharp, that same chef's knife probably won't be able to slice through a ripe tomato without smashing it. Serrated knives, aka bread knives, are also excellent workhorses for delicately leveling cakes and peeling fruits and veggies with hard skins, like pineapple and butternut squash.
To determine the best serrated knives you can buy, we put a large handful to the test in our Kitchen Appliances Lab and in our own homes. We use them to cut through crusty loaves of bread like sourdough, dense bagels, ripe tomatoes, delicate strawberries, and boxed cake. We evaluated how easy they were able to get through hard and flaky outer layers and whether they tore the soft insides. We also made sure they didn't squish or tear any of our ingredients. How the knife felt in our hand was important, and we paid special attention to the length of the blade, too; was it versatile enough to use every day on small and large items or was it better suited for a specific task? After years of testing, these are the ones that continue to stand up to every day use:
- Best Overall Bread Knife: Victorinox Swiss Army 10.25" Serrated Bread Knife with Fibrox Handle
- Best Value Bread Knife: Mercer Culinary Millennia 10" Bread Knife
- Easiest Bread Knife to Use: Wusthof Classic 9" Double Serrated Bread Knife
- Best Bread Knife for Cleanest Cuts: Miyabi Kaizen II 9.5" Bread Knife
- Best Heavy Duty Bread Knife: Dexter Outdoors 10" Scalloped Bread Knife
- Sturdiest Bread Knife: Shun Cutlery Premier 9” Bread Knife
- Most Flexible Bread Knife: Tojiro 9.25" Bread Slicer
Best Overall Bread Knife
Victorinox Fibrox 10-inch Bread Knife
We love this Victorinox classic for its versatility: It can saw through hearty bread crusts and bagels just as well as it can turn out paper-thin tomato and strawberry slices. And if looks matter to you, rest assured that the edges of all the foods you'll slice up will be perfectly clean and pristine. This knife is well-balanced, which gives you excellent control over the task at hand. Its stainless steel blade is thin, sharp, and curved, and the 10-inch length is ideal. The Fibrox handle is soft to the touch and won't slip around in your hand, which makes for a noticeably comfortable experience.
Best Value Bread Knife
Mercer Culinary Millenia 10-inch Bread Knife
Amazon's Choice bread knife, the Mercer Culinary Millenia, is a basic serrated knife with a super sharp Japanese steel blade. Thanks to the textured handle, gripping without slipping is easy, which makes it a safer slicing option. The Mercer Culinary Millenia glides through bread and soft fruits like butter and doesn't require much force, but note that the wider, deeper serrations on this knife give you slightly less control and result in thicker slices that may not have perfect edges. That being said, you can't beat it for value, and if you aren't fanatical about precision when cutting up crusty bread, this knife is a great pick.
Easiest Bread Knife to Use
Wüsthof Classic 9-inch Double Serrated Bread Knife
Of all the knife testing we've done over the years, Wüsthof consistently stands out for being well-balanced and ergonomic. These German-made knives are top-tested classics, especially when it comes to design. The Classic line has a full tang and riveted handles, which are made to fit the curvature of your hand, which translates to more controlled cutting. The double serrations on this knife help saw through crusty and flaky loaves without tearing apart the insides. They also make for smooth and thin tomato slices. And we can't fail to mention that Wüsthof cutlery is drop-dead gorgeous.
Best Bread Knife for Cleanest Cuts
Miyabi Kaizen 9.5-inch Bread Knife
Perfectionists will love this Miyabi Kaizen serrated bread knife. Thanks to its beautifully thin Japanese Damascus steel blade, this champ makes super precise and clean cuts of soft and hard foods alike. It glides through bread crust, cured salami, and tomato skin with zero problem and feels perfectly balanced in your hand. And though it comes at a steeper price tag, with proper upkeep, the Miyabi should last for decades. Unlike the other knives we looked at, this one's pakkawood handle is rounded, which gives you more versatility when finding a grip that feels most comfortable for you.
Best Heavy-Duty Bread Knife
Dexter Outdoors 10-inch Bread Knife
Thanks to its rigid, lightweight blade, you can look to this Dexter bread knife for far beyond slicing deli rolls: It'll do an expert job of rough-and-tough tasks like cracking open a honeydew melon or slicing roast beef. And while it may not give you the cleanest edges or feel as balanced in your hand as some of the other bread knives we looked at, we think that's okay considering how versatile the blade is (and the knife's very nice price point). The plastic handle on the no-frills Dexter isn't exactly beautiful, but it won't slip in your hand as you cut through bread loaves and bagels, which makes it a smart option for safety.
Sturdiest Bread Knife
Shun Cutler Premier 9" Bread Knife
A great Japanese knife brand, Shun makes standout knives with thin, super-sharp blades that we reach for over and over again. This knife has the same handle as their premiere chef's knife that is thick and rests comfortably in the palm of your hand so you can get a good grip. Plus, it has a slightly thicker blade than the Classic line, which makes it the best contender for getting through the crustiest loaves of bread. In our testing, we were able to use the bread knife to cut through sourdough that was left out for days (an impressive feat!) and thin slices of ripe tomatoes. The Damascus blade is also beautiful to look at.
Best Flexible Bread Knife
Tojiro Bread Slicer
Like Shun knives, Tojiro knives are Japanese meaning they're thinner and better suited for delicate foods and use. This serrated knife with wooden handle offers a good grip and flexibility for getting around odd shaped foods, like melon. It's also good for soft, fluffy desserts and cutting through skin on tender meats without tearing. It has an almost five-star rating on Amazon with reviewers commenting that they've had theirs for years and it's still as sharp as when they bought it. It's made of high-carbon steel, so it should last a lifetime and keep its edge.
How to choose a bread knife
- Length: We think the ideal is somewhere around 10 inches — this is just long enough to make its way through a round loaf of crusty sourdough or a full melon in one smooth slice. In our kitchens, we also opt for a second shorter serrated knife for cutting small items like tomatoes.
- Serrations: We’ve found that the most effective bread knife blades have fewer, deeper serrations with extra-pointy tips. Double serrations (usually some big and some small) help for getting through crusty loaves with soft interiors, while rounded serrations are best suited for soft, delicate loaves of bread like challah.
- Shape: Most serrated knives are straight, but some have a curved blade and others are offset so the blade sits below the handle. We recommend sticking with straight or curved blades (a curve may facilitate slicing with rocking motion and may offer extra knuckle clearance).
- Handle: As with all knives, bread knives can have a wooden or plastic handles of sorts. Depending on the finish, wooden handles can sometimes feel rough in the hand. Plastic handles often offer more non-slip support, helpful for messy (in this case juicy!) jobs.
- Sharpening and replacing: It's rare you'll have to sharpen your bread knife since you won't use it nearly as often as your chef's knife, but if you think it really needs it, we recommend sending your bread knife to a professional knife sharpener. Plan to replace your bread knife every decade or so with moderate use.