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How to Sharpen a Knife with a Coffee Cup

If you find yourself with an extremely dull knife, yet there are numerous ingredients to cut but no sharpener at hand, you might give up on cooking for the time being. Besides, it is not safe to use a dull knife to cut through items. Also, it can take a lot of time and effort to cut through various ingredients with a dull knife.

Fortunately, a simple solution is probably in your kitchen as we speak. A simple ceramic coffee cup is all you need to sharpen your knife in emergencies. It can sharpen your knife sharp enough to cut through onions, tomatoes, watermelons, butternut squash, and other food items. Now, you might be wondering how a cup can sharpen a knife. In this article, we will show you how to sharpen a knife with a coffee cup.

sharpen knife coffee cup

Choosing Your Cup

Not all coffee mugs or cups are ideal for sharpening a knife. Most knives are made of stainless steel, which is a very tough metal. Thus, you need to choose a sturdy mug to sharpen it. The cup should have a handle that sits flush against it. Also, consider a simple mug that does not have a decorative, delicate, or ornate handle. The reason is that you will have to maintain a firm grip on the handle while sharpening. If the handle is not sturdy enough, it might break while sharpening the knife.


How to Sharpen a Knife with a Coffee Mug or Cup

Step 1– Hold the cup in one hand, upside-down. Hold the knife in your other hand. Place the base of the blade against the ceramic rim exposed at the bottom. Maintain an angle of 45 degrees between the knife blade and the rim.

Step 2– Keep a firm grip on the knife handle and the cup’s handle. Drag the blade against the rim while maintaining an angle of 45 degrees. Apply even pressure while dragging the knife against the rim as you do with a traditional sharpening file. Do this three times on one side of the blade.

Step 3– Repeat “Step 2” on the other side of the blade. Remember to drag the knife against the rim three times.

Step 4– Repeat sharpening the first side of the blade, but drag the knife twice this time round.

Step 5– Repeat “Step 4” on the second side of the blade.

Step 6– Now repeat Step 4 and Step 5 but do it only once on each side.

Step 7– By now, you should notice residue around the area you have placed the cup. The residue is carbon dust resulting from the blade when sharpening it. It is an indication that you are indeed sharpening your knife. Now clean the knife and get started with cooking.

With this method, you are sharpening both sides of the blade. That way, the blade comes out sharp evenly, and centered. If you only sharpen one side, the blade will skew one way, an issue known as a rolled edge. In that case, you will be pushing whatever you are cutting away rather than cutting through it, which may be dangerous as you may risk injuring yourself.



By now, you know how to sharpen a knife with a coffee cup. Although this method will not make your knife razor-sharp, it will save the day. Thus, we recommend it as a temporary solution before you get a knife sharpener. Also, remember to use a coffee cup with a sturdy handle as you wouldn’t want to end up with a broken cup while trying to save the day.