Cheese graters are one of the most basic kitchen aids. They are used to grate soft food products like mozzarella cheese, or to zest, shred or slice items like nuts, citrus, chocolate, nutmegs or vegetables. Quite often than not, we do not pay much heed to choosing the right cheese grater that may best suit our grating needs. Before buying the best cheese grater for your kitchen, you must pay attention to some crucial factors such as durability, versatility, ease of execution, construction and design.
It is also very important to learn about the types of cheese graters and the difference between them. Classic graters use the to-and-fro motion of our hand in the downward momentum to grate the food. On the other hand, the modern electric cheese graters, though a bit costlier and hard to clean, are easy and hassle free to operate. In this article, we are going to discuss the three types of cheese grater and the best cheese graters in the market.
Types of Cheese Graters
The Box Graters
Box graters have an edge over others as they have razor sharp blades, ergonomic design, are easy in operation and are very versatile. The repeated groove pattern on each of the standard 4 sided box grater is strategically placed to lessen our mechanical effort. Box graters can be put to multi-purpose use with its versatile 4-sided construction comprising of teardrop holes for thick shredding, medium sized holes for fine grating and long slots for slicing vegetables. The star-shaped holes can be used to shred hard cheese such as parmesan, ginger and nutmeg. However, they are very pointy; hence, one needs to be extra careful while using this side.
While buying a box grater, you should always look for features such as a rubber base for easy grip, soft handles, stainless steel material, dishwasher safe and heavy duty construction. Other exclusive features to look for are: chocolate shaver grooves, six sided box graters and collector or measuring container. However, the most annoying drawback about the box cheese grater is that some foods such as soft cheese and ginger fibers tends to get stick behind the grooves which are quite difficult to scrape off and clean.
Best suited for: Both soft foods like cheese and cottage cheese and hard foods like potatoes, carrots, beetroots, nutmeg, lime shell and others.
- Soak in a soapy hot water to get rid of the sticky food particles easily.
- Use cut resistant food grade gloves for efficient handling and protecting yourself from cuts.
- Larger cutting surface.
- Firm grip.
- Long lasting.
- Heavy duty.
- Difficult to clean.
- Not efficient for smaller food items.
The Rotary Grater
The rotary grater uses a simple mechanism for grating wherein one applies mechanical rotational movement with the handle to rotate a sharp toothed drum. Some rotary graters come with dual attachments which can be used for grating as well as slicing.
The rotary grater consists of a chamber (wherein you can place your food, such as a wedge of parmesan cheese), a handle, a rotating arm and a drum which is etched to act as the sharp grating surface. The rotating handle can be turned in either direction. Rotary graters are easy to assemble and disassemble, ensuring hassle free cleaning and storage solutions. You can use the rotary graters for continuous grating with minimum mechanical effort.
I really like the design and user-friendliness of rotary graters as it allows even application of pressure while grating and is slip resistant, which are amongst the biggest drawbacks of other types of graters. They are also knuckle-friendly, lightweight and come with an ergonomic handle and a cast metal spine drum. Currently, some rotary graters also come with multiple drum attachments which can be used for varied purposes. You must also look for features such as dishwasher safe, bi-directional rotary drum, storage container with a lid, silicone grip and long handles to make leverage easier.
Best suited for: soft food products such as Parmesan cheese and hard cheese
Pro Tips: If your family has both left and right handed members, then I would recommend you to go for ergonomic bi-directional and removable drum rotary grater.
- Even pressure throughout
- Firm grip
- Effortless grating.
- Knuckle friendly.
- Rotating action may be troublesome for left handy people.
- Fineness of the blade varies.
- Pre-processing of food required.
- Nuts tend to turn into powdery form.
An excellent zesting tool, the Microplane is amongst the most popular cheese grater types that make your garnishing, salad dressing and fine shredding tasks super easy. It is a simple etched tool with razor sharp metal holes that can be used for some fast and quick grating or zesting with the help of back and forth mechanical hand movement. While Microplane’s were available from our grandmother’s time, modern Microplanes are packed with features such as interchangeable blades and are dishwasher safe.
Popular Microplane cheese graters usually cost under $15 and are made of superior stainless steel blades like the 18/8 steel type. While buying a Microplane, pick the large sized one as greater the surface area, the smoother and the faster the operation is. Unlike rotary graters, the Microplane requires some real hard work. Most Microplanes come with a single grater hole (medium or small).
Best suited for: cheese, hard cheese, chocolate, coconut, fresh ginger, lemon zest and others
Pro Tips: Working with the Microplane can be quite troublesome if you intend to grate large quantities. Always make a 30 degree angle with the counter to get a good grasp and better leverage.
- Best for zesting and hard food grating.
- Greater surface area.
- Easy storage.
- Requires tiresome mechanical effort.
- Lesser versatility.
- Prone to cuts and bruises.
- Cheese or Chocolate may melt away in hand.
Best Cheese Grater Reviews
This unit is brought to you by Grace Manufacturing Inc., who is the original designer of the Microplane type of cheese graters. One of the best sellers in America, this cheese grater is a must have, handy, efficient, easy to use and a lifelong kitchen aid. The unit guarantees minimum bruising of food to ensure that the aroma and flavor are preserved.
The Microplane 40020 Classic Zester/ Grater is made up of superior 18/8 corrosion free stainless steel. Using the most advanced and their signature photo-etching technology, this unit is a solid performer with its fine razor sharp edges. It is a heavy duty cheese grater with 8 ½ inch long blades.
However, while I was using this cheese grater for bulky kitchen work, my knuckles got repeatedly bruised. Also, the ginger fibers tend to get stuck which requires careful cleaning with the help of a brush.
Best suitable for: hard cheeses, onion, citrus zest, fresh ginger or garlic.
- High quality food grade stainless steel.
- Razor sharp blades.
- Ergonomic handle for better grip.
- Hand wash cover.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Very sharp edges, hence, not knuckle friendly.
This classic box grater has been given a customized touch with an innovative bottom attachable container that eases up the messy grating work. The container with the seal lid can be used for both catching the grated product and storing. Adding to it, the Oxo Good Grips Box Grater is much slimmer, stylish and sturdier than other box type cheese graters available in the market. It also has a non-slip grip and a comfortable handle for easy leverage.
However, if you have some bulky kitchen work, you would be required to clear the container more often. With the measuring container, the product measures approximately 12 inch in length.
Best suitable for: All-purpose grater for fine, super fine and coarse grating.
- Ergonomic handle and grip.
- Catching or storage container.
- Versatile with 4 sided grooves.
- Difficult to store.
- 1 slicer groove.
So, if you are looking for an all-rounder cheese grater, then the Cheese Grater and Vegetable Slicer from Utopia Kitchen can be your perfect solution. With this cheese grater you can not only grate fine, super fine or coarse cheese, but, you can use it for zesting, shredding and slicing as well. This unit comes with a hexagonal 6 sided unique construction which is designed to be used for multi- purpose needs.
Probably the only difficulty I faced with this product is that since it has a broader base, it required more space for storage compared to others. Also, an 18/ 8 or an 18/ 10 steel type could have been a better alternative to the 430 stainless steel type used in this unit.
Best suitable for: hard and soft cheese grating, lemon zest, potato and vegetable slicing, chocolate shaving and more.
- Versatile with 6 sided grooves.
- 3 slicer groove.
- High volume shredding.
- Ergonomic handle & rubber grip.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Food grade stainless steel material.
- More storage space required.
The cheese grater from LOVKITCHEN is different from the regular rotary drum types of graters. This model comes with three different types of stainless steel blades that you can interchangeably use for fine grating, coarse grating or shredding. It is a great de-cluttering tool for your kitchen with its compact design that helps in easy storing or hanging. Talking about its construction, it is carved out of the best food grade type 301 stainless steel. The rotary mechanism can be detached and be used by both right and left handed people.
Best suitable for: hard and soft food in wedges, chocolates and nuts.
- Interchangeable blades.
- Corrosion free food grade stainless steel.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Safe and effortless grating.
- Bidirectional and removable drum.
- Handle design bad and fragile.
- Small chamber.
- Food tends to slip out.
A plastic variant of the rotary type cheese grater, this unit does your grating work super quick. The razor sharp acid etched type of blade ensures fine grating of even the hardest food products like nuts and nutmeg.
Unlike other products, I had to apply very less pressure and mechanical work while working with even those hard food items. It is easy to store with its compact size. However, since the drum is small, it’s unsuitable for bulky kitchen work. Not only the harder cheeses get stuck and frequently block the operation, different grating or slicing options are not available with this unit as well.
Best suitable for: soft cheese, nut, and nutmeg
- Detachable and ergonomic handle.
- Small in size, thus easy storage.
- Easy to use.
- Small chamber.
- Frequent blockage.
- Non- versatile.
Our Pick for The Best Cheese Grater
Whether you love cooking or want a smart kitchen, a quality cheese grater is a must have kitchen tool. Before you buy the best cheese grater, two of the most basic things to look out for are: sharp blades and easy handling. While working with these 5 best cheese graters, we have realized that the classic box type cheese grater like the Microplane 40020 Classic Zester/ Grater is the top performer as it is easy to use, highly efficient and a kitchen friend for life. However, if you have a family of 3-4 and are looking for a cheese grater that requires minimal mechanical effort then the Rotary Cheese Grater from LOVKITCHEN would be our favorite pick.