We just don't give cheese graters the credit they deserve. The truth is, these inexpensive gadgets can be some of our most reached-for items in the kitchen. Use them to shred thick chunks of cheddar cheese, grate parmesan into fine strands, shred zucchini for baking projects, zest citrus peels, and so much more. We use our graters for more than we realize, so why not buy the best one on the market?
The good news is, you don't have to break the bank to get a top-rated grater. Allrecipes Product Tester Rachel Johnson rounded up 10 of the best cheese graters on the market, covering a wide variety of price points. Each grater was put to the test, and the results are in. These are the best cheese graters you can buy in 2020.
There are five major types of graters to choose from. Box graters are what most of us envision when we think of cheese graters. These graters have four sides, often with different blades and shred sizes on each side. Because of this, they make for a versatile option that's great for any home cook. Thanks to their large surface area and sturdy build, box graters can shred large quantities of cheese and other foods.
On the downside, box graters tend to be more bulky and difficult to store than their hand-held counterparts. But they make up for this by eliminating the need for multiple grating tools.
Handheld graters make for simple, no-nonsense grating. Use them to grate small quantities of cheese or produce over a bowl. These are great for beginner cooks because they're budget-friendly and only come with one shredding size. But this also means they lack versatility.
If you're looking to get multiple shred sizes from one grater, handheld graters may not be the best option. However they're certainly more convenient and easier to use than box graters when you're dealing with small quantities of cheese.
Rotary graters have been made famous by Olive Garden servers (you know, just say "when"). But contrary to popular belief, they're not just for restaurants. Here's how they work: A rotating blade is enclosed along with whatever you're grating; all you have to do is turn the hand crank.
They're best for grating hard cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano, or for grating nuts and chocolate. They also make a great "knuckle-friendly" option for kids to use, because the blade is enclosed. However it can be clunky to store. But if you're looking to give your pasta dishes that perfect dusting of parmesan, you can't go wrong with a rotary grater.
Electric graters often come in the form of attachments for larger appliances like stand mixers or food processors. They're great for shredding large quantities of cheese or produce, but they're not necessary unless you already have one of these appliances.
And finally, zesters are similar to handheld graters, but with very small holes for fine grating. Like rotary graters, they're ideal for hard cheeses and chocolates, but they're also the perfect tool for zesting citrus fruits or making pastes out of ginger and garlic. Because of their flat, handheld design, they tend to be easier to use than the pinhole side of a box grater.
Zesters are truly one of those basic kitchen tools that make life so much easier. And they're very affordable, making them great gifts for beginner cooks.
When you shop for cheese graters online, you’ll probably see the words "etched" and "stamped" thrown around a fair amount. These terms refer to the type of blade the grater has. Stamped graters have large, rigid blades that stick out of the grater. These work by tearing cheese away from the block, rather than cutting it.
Etched graters on the other hand are made by a chemical process, creating razorblade-like indents on the surface. Etched graters tend to be sharper, and better at creating fine shreds than stamped graters.
Keep in mind whether you want coarse shredding holes, fine shredding holes, or both. While some types of graters only come with one shredding hole size (often handheld and zesters), others allow you to get multiple shreds from one tool (box graters and electric graters). Some box graters even come with wide blades for slicing.
Allrecipes Product Tester Rachel Johson rounded up 10 of the top-rated cheese graters on the market from brands like OXO, KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Zyliss, and more. Rachel tested each grater by grating a block of cheese, a zucchini, a carrot, and by zesting a lemon or lime, when applicable. She scored each grater on following metrics:
After testing, Rachel has narrowed it down to the top five best performing graters. Want to know what else we tested? Keep reading to hear Rachel's thoughts on those graters that didn't quite make the cut.
This functional grater from OXO received a 5/5 rating from Rachel, who also gave it the "Best Box Grater" and "Best Overall" superlatives.
Like all Good Grips products from OXO, it has a soft, rubberized handle for safe and comfortable handling. This grater comes with a measuring cup that attaches below the grater to catch shreds and measure them in the same container. It also comes with a detachable zesting plane, so you get both a grater and a zester in one.
Rachel found that the sturdiness and weight of the grater made it so that minimal pressure was required to grate cheese and vegetables against the blades. And it's dishwasher safe.
"This box grater is extremely versatile and performed very well against other tested box graters," says Rachel. "The collection tray is a very useful feature (would only be more so if it came with its own lid for storage) and the detachable zester is genius!"
Buy It: OXO Etched Box Grater, $30; Amazon
For half the price of the OXO box grater, Cuisinart's box grater will give you years of use. Rachel put it this way: "This grater is the grater for beginners. It is no frills, has all of the essential elements and grate sizes, and is very multipurpose. This grater will stand the test of time and use and prove to a piece that gets used frequently in the kitchen."
While it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of other graters, the sturdy, rubber handle makes it feel a cut above similarly priced graters. There is lots of surface area featuring multiple shred sizes, making this great for use on large quantities. If you're looking for a standard box grater, this model from Cuisinart won't disappoint.
Buy It: Cuisinart Box Grater, $15; Amazon
Handheld graters are the most convenient option for grating small quantities. This etched coarse grater provides the classic look and feel of a handheld grater combined with the durability of an OXO product.
It comes with a detachable plastic guard for safe storage, and it's top-rack dishwasher safe. The large shred holes make for easy cleaning by hand as well. It is important to note that this grater only comes in one size, and would not be suitable for zesting.
"At a very reasonable price point, this grater is impressive in design, features sharp blades and has a classic look and feel. This grater would be an excellent choice for any level cook," says Rachel.
Buy It: OXO Etched Coarse Grater, $13; Amazon
This grater from Zyliss is essentially two graters in one. It features large shredding holes on one side for coarse grating, and fine holes on the other side for zesting and finely grating ingredients like nuts, chocolate, or ginger. "This grater is great for the beginner looking for an efficient product without taking up much room in a cabinet or shelf," says Rachel.
Zyliss's SmoothGlide grater boasts an "acid-etched" surface for fine grating results. It has a rubberized, non-slip grip for safe handling, and it's dishwasher safe. At just $13 this two-in-one grater is a great value.
Buy It: Zyliss SmoothGlide Dual Grater, $13; Amazon
Feeling fancy? This rotary grater from Microplane has a sleek, classic style and a seamless design so you can dust all your pasta dishes with a flurry of parmesan.
Rachel found that the handles turn with "seamless ease," no pressure necessary. The dishwasher-safe parts detach for easy cleanup. But if you're working with large blocks of cheese or vegetables, this might not be the best choice as the hopper would have to be reloaded several times.
"These blades are very effective, grating even slightly softer cheese and working like a charm with hard ingredients like parmesan and chocolate," says Rachel.
Buy It: Microplane Rotary Cheese Grater, $25; Amazon
Although these graters weren’t among the winners, some of them still performed well in Rachel's testing. Here's what she has to say about each one, and why they didn't quite make the cut.
Unlike the SmoothGlide grater, this rotary grater from Zyliss did not place in the top five.
"While this grater is not the cheapest in value, it appears to be cheaply made. The value is found within the sharp blades, but is not invested in the structure of the handles/casing,"
Buy It: Zyliss Restaurant Cheese Grater, $17; Amazon
While this grater earned points for its five unique shred sizes and its built-in measuring cup, it just didn’t feel made to last. "While the grates are very sharp and precise, the metal plates 'give' when pressed…" says Rachel.
Buy It: Microplane Elite Box Cheese Grater, $40; Amazon
"This KitchenAid accessory is great for those who are able to store their KitchenAid appliance on the counter and apply accessories as needed. Wouldn't necessarily be ideal for small, one-off grating jobs or zesting citrus," says Raxhel.
Buy It: KitchenAid Fresh Prep Slicer/Shredder Attachment, $50; Walmart
Surprisingly, Microplane’s hand held grater didn’t quite live up to the competition. "While the 'Microplane' brand typically boasts a superior product, this grater does not match expectations," says Rachel. "The flimsy quality of the blades attached to the unit of the grater was very disappointing."
Buy It: Microplane Artisan Extra Coarse Hand Held Grater, $10; Amazon
This grater and slicer duo from Chef'n has an eye-catching design, but it falls flat when it comes to function. "Appeal mostly lies in the novelty design, which serves a very specific purpose," says Rachel, "This grater is clumsy, silly and definitely not worth the higher comparative price point."
Buy It: Chef'n GraterZoom Grater and Slicer, $17; Amazon