Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a newbie in the kitchen, one tool that can instantly enhance your dishes is a high-quality cheese grater.
Cheese, with its rich flavors and versatile nature, has the magical ability to transform any dish from ordinary to extraordinary. But to unlock its full potential, you need the right tool – a cheese grater that delivers perfectly shredded or grated cheese every time.
In this post, we will explore the top 5 cheese graters of 2024 that promise not only efficiency and durability but also a delightful cooking experience.
Also read: Best Cheese Slicers: Slice Like a Pro
What is a Cheese Grater?
The cheese grater, while a common kitchen tool today, has a rich history dating back to the 1540s in France. The first patent for a cheese grater was issued to François Boullier, who designed a rudimentary tool to grate hard cheeses. Over the centuries, the design evolved and diversified, leading to the various models we have today.
There are several types of cheese graters available in the market, each with its unique features and benefits:
- Box Graters: This is the most common type of grater. They have a box-like design with four different grating surfaces, allowing for coarse and fine grating, as well as slicing. Box graters are versatile and can handle a wide variety of foods, not just cheese.
- Handheld Graters: These are smaller and more compact than box graters. They usually have one grating surface, making them perfect for quick and light grating tasks.
- Rotary Graters: A rotary grater is a type of cheese grater that uses a drum blade inside a handheld device, which when the handle is turned, grates the cheese or other food without any risk to your fingers.
For example, the Microplane Classic Zester/Grater is a popular handheld grater known for its sharpness and durability. It’s excellent for zesting citrus fruits or finely grating hard cheeses like Parmesan.
Cheese graters are indispensable in the kitchen, and used for more than just cheese. They’re essential for grating vegetables, zesting citrus fruits, or even grating chocolate or spices. When it comes to cheese, they’re perfect for grating cheese for pizza, sprinkling over salads, or melting into sandwiches.
Maintaining a cheese grater is fairly simple. After each use, it should be cleaned immediately to prevent food particles from drying and sticking to the surface. Most graters are dishwasher-safe, but they can also be cleaned by hand using a brush to remove any stuck food particles.
The type of cheese you use depends on the grater and the dish you’re preparing. Hard cheeses like Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or aged Gouda are best grated using a box grater or a handheld grater with smaller holes. Softer cheeses like mozzarella or fontina are better suited for larger grating surfaces that produce larger shreds, ideal for melting.
The 3 Different Types of Cheese Grater
|Type||Design||Size and Portability||Functionality||Ease of Cleaning||Best For|
|Box Grater||Large and box-shaped with a handle on top. Typically has four different grating surfaces.||Larger, takes up more storage space but can handle larger quantities of food.||Highly versatile with multiple grating options including coarse, medium, fine grating, and slicing.||Can be more difficult to clean due to multiple surfaces and corners. Most models are dishwasher-safe.||Hard cheeses like Parmesan, as well as vegetables and other foods.|
|Handheld Grater||Flat and rectangular, with a handle at one end. Usually has one grating surface.||Smaller and more compact, easy to store, and portable.||Best for light grating tasks, such as zesting citrus fruits or grating small amounts of hard cheese.||Easier to clean due to its simple design. Can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher.||Quick grating tasks and smaller quantities of food.|
|Rotary Grater||Consists of a drum blade inside a handheld device. Operated by turning a handle that rotates the drum.||Compact and easy to store. Some models are collapsible for even more convenient storage.||Ideal for hard cheeses, but can also grate nuts, chocolate, and some vegetables.||Requires disassembly to clean thoroughly, but most models are dishwasher-safe.||Hard cheeses and when you want to keep hands away from the blades.|
What to Look Out For When Buying a Cheese Grater
- Type: There are 3 types of cheese graters: box, handheld, and rotary. Each has its own unique features, pros, and cons. For example, box graters are versatile and can handle a variety of foods, while handheld graters are compact and ideal for quick tasks.
- Material: Most graters are made from stainless steel for its durability and sharpness. Some have plastic components for comfort and ease of use.
- Grating Surface: This is determined by the type of grater you choose. Box graters usually offer multiple grating surfaces, while handheld and rotary graters typically have one. The grating surface determines the texture of the grated product.
- Dishwasher Safe: This is an important factor for easy cleaning. Most graters are dishwasher safe, but always check the product details to be sure.
- Price Range: Cheese graters range from affordable to high-end, depending on their features and brand. Always consider your budget and needs when purchasing.
- Brand Reputation: Brands like OXO and Microplane are well-regarded for their quality kitchen tools.
5 Best Cheese Graters in 2024 (According to Different Needs)
|OXO Good Grips Etched Medium Grater (Best Overall)||The OXO Good Grips Etched Medium Grater is considered the best overall due to its sharp, etched stainless steel grating surface which allows for fast, easy zesting and grating, combined with its comfortable, non-slip grip.|
|KitchenAid Gourmet Box Grater (Best Box Grater)||The KitchenAid Gourmet Box Grater is the best box grater due to its high-quality, rust-resistant stainless steel grating surface, a comfortable top handle for superior grip, and a large surface area that performed well in tests, along with the bonus of a convenient storage container that attaches to the bottom of the grater.|
|Microplane 40020 Classic Zester Grater (Best Handheld Grater)||The Microplane 40020 Classic Zester Grater is considered the best handheld grater due to its surgical-grade stainless steel blades that provide extreme sharpness, allowing it to easily zest and grate a wide range of ingredients, along with its ergonomic handle for comfortable use.|
|Ourokhome Rotary Cheese Grater Shredder (Best Standing Rotary)||The Ourokhome Rotary Cheese Grater Shredder is the best standing rotary due to its three interchangeable blades for different grating needs, a sturdy suction base for secure operation, and its easy-to-use handle that makes it perfect for grating large amounts of cheese or other ingredients.|
|Vivaant Professional-Grade Rotary Grater (Best Handheld Rotary)||The Vivaant Professional-Grade Rotary Grater is considered the best handheld rotary because of its superior durability with a stainless steel drum, user-friendly design with a non-slip handle and stabilizing rubber pad, and its ability to grate a variety of foods smoothly and efficiently.|
1. OXO Good Grips Etched Medium Grater (Best Overall)
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Why This Is The Best Overall Grater:
- Etched Stainless Steel Grating Surface: Features an extra-sharp, etched stainless steel grating surface that effortlessly cuts through dense and fibrous foods, making it versatile for grating a variety of ingredients from hard cheeses to zucchini and chocolate.
- Comfortable Soft-Grip Handle and Non-Slip Foot: Designed with a comfortable soft-grip handle and non-slip foot, providing secure handling and added control during use, reducing the risk of slips or accidents in the kitchen.
- Practical Size and Design: Offers plenty of grating area without adding too much bulk, making it a practical tool that’s easy to store in any kitchen.
- User Comfort and Efficiency: With non-slip feet and a soft-grip handle, this grater makes even the most repetitive grating task nearly effortless, indicating that it’s designed with the user’s comfort and efficiency in mind.
- Snap-On Cover: Includes a convenient snap-on cover, which keeps the grating surface protected when not in use, prolonging the life of the grater.
2. KitchenAid Gourmet Box Grater (Best Box Grater)
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Why This Is The Best Box Grater
- Stainless Steel Grating Surface: Features a high-quality, rust-resistant stainless steel grating surface that ensures durability and longevity.
- Superior Comfort and Grip: Stainless steel top handle designed to provide superior comfort and grip, making it easier to grate ingredients without strain or discomfort.
- Mess-Free Grating: Designed for easy, mess-free grating of a variety of foods and cheeses, enhancing the efficiency of your kitchen tasks.
- Versatile Design: Features three grating sizes and one slicing blade, making it a versatile addition to any kitchen.
- Detachable Storage Container: Conveniently attaches to the bottom of the grater to catch and store grated items, reducing mess and making cleanup easier.
- Extra-Sharp Blade: Equipped with an extra-sharp stainless steel blade for higher output, allowing you to grate more efficiently.
- Inclusive Catch Bins and Lids: Comes with two catch bins and lids, making food prep easier by allowing you to directly grate or slice into the included containers.
3. Microplane 40020 Classic Zester Grater (Best Handheld Grater)
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Why This Is The Best Handheld Grater
- High-Quality Stainless Steel Blades: Features high-quality, surgical-grade stainless steel blades that ensure a fine and even grate, making it perfect for zesting and grating.
- Long-Lasting Sharpness: Designed to stay sharp for longer periods, reducing the need for frequent replacements and guaranteeing consistent performance over time.
- Versatile Functionality: Perfect for grating hard cheeses, ginger, garlic, spices, and also for zesting citrus fruits, demonstrating its versatility in the kitchen.
- Comfortable Handle: Features an ergonomic handle that ensures a firm grip and reduces hand fatigue during prolonged use, making it comfortable to use.
- Non-Clogging Design: The unique design of the grater prevents it from clogging, ensuring that you can grate ingredients smoothly and efficiently without interruptions.
- Easy to Clean: Dishwasher safe, making it easy to clean after use.
- Compact and Portable: Its slim and compact design makes it easy to store in a drawer or hang on a hook, and its lightweight nature makes it portable, so it’s perfect for both home and professional kitchens.
- Protective Cover: Comes with a protective cover that keeps the blade safe when not in use, extending the tool’s lifespan and protecting users from accidental cuts.
4. Ourokhome Rotary Cheese Grater Shredder (Best Standing Rotary)
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Why This Is The Best Standing Rotary
- Multi-function Design: Comes with 3 different types of stainless steel drums for grating, shredding, and slicing, providing a highly versatile kitchen tool.
- Safe and Stable: With its suction base, this standing rotary grater ensures safety and stability during use. It securely adheres to smooth surfaces, preventing it from moving around while grating.
- Efficiency and Time-Saving: Its crank handle design makes grating fast and easy, saving you time and effort in the kitchen.
- User-Friendly: Designed to be user-friendly, with easy assembly and disassembly for cleaning. It’s also dishwasher-safe, making cleanup a breeze.
- Durability: Made from high-quality, food-grade materials, the Ourokhome Rotary Cheese Grater Shredder promises durability and long-term use.
- Ergonomic Design: The handle of this grater is ergonomically designed for comfortable use, reducing hand fatigue during prolonged grating sessions.
- Space-Saving: Its compact design ensures that it doesn’t take up too much space on your countertop or in your kitchen cabinet, making it perfect for small kitchens.
- Safe for All Ages: The rotary mechanism keeps fingers away from the blades, making it safe for people of all ages to use.
5. Vivaant Professional-Grade Rotary Grater (Best Handheld Rotary)
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Why This Is The Best Handheld Rotary
- Professional-Grade Design: Crafted with high-quality, durable materials that ensure it can withstand heavy use, making it suitable for both home cooks and professional chefs.
- Versatile Use: This handheld rotary grater comes with two stainless steel drums for fine and coarse grating, making it perfect for a wide range of ingredients including cheese, vegetables, nuts, and more.
- Safety Features: The design of this grater keeps fingers away from the sharp blades, providing a safer grating experience. It also has a locking mechanism for added safety during storage.
- Easy to Use: With its crank handle operation, the Vivaant grater is easy and comfortable to use, even for extended periods.
- Efficient Cleaning: Designed for effortless cleaning. It disassembles quickly for easy cleaning and is also dishwasher-safe.
- Compact and Portable: The compact design makes it easy to store and carry around, offering a perfect solution for small kitchen spaces or outdoor cooking.
- Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee: Vivaant offers a lifetime satisfaction guarantee on their rotary grater, giving you peace of mind about your purchase.
- Ergonomic Design: The grater’s handle is ergonomically designed to provide a comfortable grip, reducing hand fatigue during prolonged use.
What Cheese Needs Grating?
|Parmesan||This hard Italian cheese is often grated over pasta dishes, soups, and risotto for an added burst of flavor.|
|Pecorino Romano||A salty and tangy Italian cheese, Pecorino Romano is often grated to enhance sauces, salads, and pasta dishes.|
|Cheddar||Cheddar, known for its sharp flavor, is frequently grated to top off dishes like nachos, tacos, or casseroles.|
|Gruyère||This Swiss cheese is perfect for grating and using in fondue or French onion soup due to its excellent melting properties.|
|Asiago||Asiago can be grated onto pizza, pasta, or salads for a slightly tangy and creamy flavor.|
|Manchego||This Spanish cheese is often grated to add a rich, nutty flavor to various dishes.|
|Comté||Comté, a semi-hard French cheese, is often grated and used in dishes like quiche or gratin due to its sweet and nutty flavor.|
|Monterey Jack||Monterey Jack, a semi-hard American cheese, is often grated for use in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine due to its mild flavor and good melting properties.|
|Emmental||Emmental, a medium-hard Swiss cheese, is often grated and used in dishes like fondue or sandwiches because of its mild, slightly sweet flavor.|
|Gouda||Gouda is often grated to add a rich, creamy, and slightly sweet flavor to dishes like macaroni and cheese or grilled cheese sandwiches.|
What Else Can You Use a Cheese Grater For?
- Citrus Zest: A cheese grater can be used to zest lemons, limes, or oranges, adding a fresh burst of flavor to your dishes.
- Tomato Sauce: You can use a cheese grater to turn tomatoes into a fresh and flavorful sauce
- Pie Crusts and Hash Browns: A cheese grater can be used to create better pie crusts and crispy hash browns
- Grating Garlic and Charcoal: Apart from cheese, you can grate garlic for a more intense flavor, or charcoal for easier lighting
- Cabbage and Ginger: A cheese grater can be used to grate cabbage for salads, sandwiches, or homemade sauerkraut, and ginger for a fresh and zesty flavor.
- Zucchinis and Carrots: A cheese grater can be used to grate zucchinis and carrots for cakes, breads, salads, or stir-fries.
How to Properly Clean Your Cheese Grater: 5 Simple Yet Important Tips
The truth is that cleaning a cheese grater can be a challenging task due to its sharp edges and small holes. Nevertheless, here are 5 simple (and very important) tips to help you:
- Soap and Water: The most common method is to wash it with warm soapy water. It’s best to do this immediately after use, before the cheese has a chance to dry and stick to the grater.
- Using a Brush: For stubborn cheese residue, you can use a cleaning brush or an old toothbrush to scrub the grater. It’s recommended to scrub from the opposite direction of the grating to prevent injury.
- Baking Soda and Water: If there’s still cheese residue after washing and scrubbing, you can make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the grater. Let it sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing off.
- Dishwasher: If your grater is dishwasher-safe, you can simply place it in the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning.
- Lemon: Another effective method is to cut a lemon in half and rub it over the grater. The citric acid in the lemon helps to break down the cheese and leaves your grater smelling fresh.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is a Cheese Grater really safe to use?
Yes, a cheese grater is safe to use when handled properly and maintained well. However, it’s important to ensure that the grater is not rusty, as rust can contaminate food and pose health risks, and it should also have no sharp edges that could cause injury.
3. Do I really need a Cheese Grater?
The necessity of a cheese grater in your kitchen is largely determined by your personal cooking and eating habits. If you often prepare dishes that require shredded or grated cheese, such as pasta, salads, pizzas, casseroles, or soufflés, a cheese grater can be an indispensable tool.
It allows you to grate cheese freshly, which often results in better texture and flavor compared to pre-grated cheese.
Freshly grated cheese generally melts more evenly and quickly too. Moreover, it’s typically more cost-effective to buy block cheese and grate it yourself.
However, if you don’t use much cheese in your cooking or if you’re comfortable with pre-grated cheese, a cheese grater might not be essential for you.
It’s also worth considering the added cleaning effort a cheese grater requires. Ultimately, the decision depends on your specific needs and preferences.
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