The Best Cheese Graters for a Fresh Upgrade from Packaged Cheeses

The OXO Etched Box Grater With Removable Zester is our top choice

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best cheese graters simply recipes horizontal header image

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

Whether you’re ready to make the switch from grocery store grated cheese to something fresher and more delicious, or you just need to upgrade your current tool, there are countless options on the market that are “brie-lliant” in their own ways. Another advantage to taking an extra few minutes to grate your own cheese? Many packaged grated and shredded cheeses are coated in cellulose to prevent clumping.

As a bonus, many cheese graters can also be used beyond the world of fromage. Think potatoes for latkes or hash browns, veggies for salads or stir fry, and even citrus and spices. From coarse slices for casseroles to fine sprinkles for pasta, there are plenty of ways to get the job done, but only so many tools stand out among the rest.

So I chose some of the top cheese graters available out there based on reviews and manufacturer information—and took them home to test. I noted how each grater performed when working with hard cheeses like cheddar versus soft ones like mozzarella; how easy each tool was to use and how comfortable it was to hold; and how easy it was to clean or if any cheesy remnants remained after dishwashing.

Based on our testing, the OXO Etched Box Grater With Removable Zester is our top pick. If you’re in the market for a handheld one, we recommend the OXO Good Grips Etched Coarse Grater.

Here are the best cheese graters, along with my findings, to help you narrow down your options and make your shopping experience a little easier.

Best Overall, Box: OXO Etched Box Grater With Removable Zester

4.9
OXO Etched Box Grater With Removable Zester

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Love: Comfortable, soft grip; non-slip footing on container
What We Don't Love: Takes considerable space in your cabinet

With two different grater sizes, an angled slicer, and a detachable zester, it’s a no-brainer that this falls at the top of my list. Try the medium or coarse graters with your favorite semi-soft cheeses, the removable zester for parmesan over pasta, and the slicer for an easy charcuterie board or veggie prep. I found the blades sharp, and they worked very well on cheeses of various textures, hard in particular. I also liked using the detachable zester for the latter. Soft cheeses, meanwhile, didn't gum up the graters or stick too much to the outside of the tool.

Plus, this comes with an easy-to-attach container that stores inside the box when not in use, which was the real star of the show in my eyes. I simply had to place the container underneath the box and then I could grate away! The container even measures freshly grated strands of cheese, which can be sealed with a container lid for easy and cheesy sprinkling all week long. 

If you need to keep a bit more cheese on hand than what fits inside, just sit this down over a bowl or plate and go to town. The non-slip footing on the container and bottom of the grater keeps things feeling stable. The grip is also very secure and comfortable because the soft handle is slip-free. This grater is dishwasher-safe, but I hand washed it relatively quickly after use and had no issues.

Price at time of publish: $33

"I would recommend grating some cheese into the container to use for leftovers or just for the week, and use the detachable zester over your dish."

Material: Stainless steel, alloy steel, plastic | Dimensions (LxWxH): 3.4 x 4.5 x 12 inches | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes

Best Overall, Handheld: OXO Good Grips Etched Coarse Grater

5
OXO Good Grips Etched Coarse Grater

OXO

What We Love: Easy to store, non-slip grip on handle, comes with protective cover
What We Don't Love: Only creates one size of shreds

Whether you’re grating cheese for a casserole or prepping veggies, this pick from OXO keeps the control in your hands. The non-slip foot allows for secure grating when angled on your plate or cutting board. Plus, it comes with a protective cover so you won’t accidentally nick your fingers while rummaging through your drawers.

I found this grater to be ideal for quickly grating a large amount of cheese as long as I wasn’t too particular about the size of the shreds, as the consistency depends largely on how fast you’re moving and how firmly you’re holding the tool. Using a softer cheese? Make sure it’s coming straight out of the fridge so it doesn’t crumble over the blades. I used semi-soft and soft cheeses that were cold, so they were easy to shred.

This grater performed equally well on hard cheeses. It gives a coarse, "carving board" style look to the cheeses, which would look great on something hearty, like a pot of cheesy soup or mac and cheese. The shreds would also work great in a leafy salad, and they melt well.

Plus, the tool's lightness and super comfortable grip made it that much easier to use.

Price at time of publish: $13

"I really like the 'carving board' style coarse shreds this tool gives. Looks great on something hearty like chili or in a salad, but also would be ideal for use in a recipe."

Material: Stainless steel, rubber, plastic | Dimensions (LxWxH): 1 x 4.5 x 13.3 inches | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes

Best Budget: Spring Chef Professional Box Grater

4.5
Spring Chef Professional Box Grater

Amazon

What We Love: Non-slip bottom
What We Don't Love: No attachable container

Looking for a grater that does it all and won’t break the bank? This four-sided box grater from Spring Chef is multi-use and affordable. It allows for slicing as well as coarse, medium, and fine grating, and it keeps you safe with a top handle and removable rubber bottom to prevent slipping or damage to your counters and cutting boards. 

Choose one of five color hues for whatever matches your kitchen best. If you only have this box option and not something handheld, you may be saving a bit of space and cash by having a four-in-one tool, but are missing out on the grace that a handheld tool can provide, particularly for directly grating over a dish. When not leaving the box grater on a solid surface and grating in the air, it’s not easy to apply as much pressure, which gets the job done smoother and faster.

Hard cheeses worked well on all of the sides—it was easy to quickly move up and down and get a solid amount of pieces in a short period of time. I did find that on the single blade side it works best to move a bit more slowly if you're looking for consistent shards. Softer cheeses, on the other hand, were easier to use on the larger holes, but they tend to get gummy when used with a smaller grater hole. Again, that felt like the case with all of the graters and it doesn't feel like a per grater issue.

Though this does not come with a detachable storage container for the bottom, I found it easiest to grate onto a foldable cutting board, using the board as a pseudo-funnel to get the cheese where it needed to go. A non-slip bottom makes it easy to stay put, but there is no coating over the metal handle, which may be uncomfortable during longer periods of use.

Price at time of publish: $25

"I'm honestly partial to my cheap box grater for most medium to large shreds of medium-firm cheese because it's an all-purpose tool. Work in batches to make sure the cheese contained inside the grater doesn't meld together as it gets full.” Pamela Vachon, Sommelier and Cheese Enthusiast

Material: Stainless steel, rubber | Dimensions (LxWxH): 6.25 x 5.25 x 9.5 inches | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes

Related: The Best Cutting Boards

Best Rotary: Zyliss Classic Rotary Cheese Grater

4
ZYLISS Classic Rotary Cheese Grater

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Love: Good for kids, lightweight
What We Don't Love: Odd shape to store, more difficult to clean, doesn't work with soft cheese

Pencil sharpener? No. Cheese grater? Yes! While these may give you flashbacks to elementary school or dining at Olive Garden, rotary graters get the job done just fine. 

Plus, whether you’re left- or right-handed, this Zyliss tool will work for you, thanks to a simple feature that switches the crank. Hard cheese is super easy to grate with this since that's what it's intended for. I definitely recommend holding it upside down, which feels a bit awkward at first, instead of on the side, so the cheese comes out more easily. Note that soft cheese won't work in this grater; they can get super gummy and stuck inside the tube. 

Furthermore, the grip is comfortable and easy to use. I am right-handed, but I think it's useful that you can switch which side the grip is on depending on if you are right- or left-handed. Pressing down on the top so the cheese consistently hits the grater makes this a much faster process.

Unfortunately, it isn’t quite as easy to clean as it is to use. Trying to stick a dish sponge in the spot where the cheese goes in and comes out without tearing it wasn’t ideal, and it took a few rinses before all of the cheese was completely gone.

Price at time of publish: $22

"I definitely recommend holding it upside downwhich feels a bit awkward at firstinstead of on the side, so the cheese comes out more easily."

Material: Plastic, steel | Dimensions (LxWxH): 6.3 x 3.1 x 4.4 inches | Dishwasher-Safe?: Yes

Best Electric: Presto Salad Shooter Electric Slicer/Shredder

5
Presto Salad Shooter Electric Slicer/Shredder

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Love: Less manual work
What We Don't Love: Bulky, needs to be plugged in

This bestseller from Presto is called a shooter for a reason: It literally shoots out cheese. Whether you need to get a bunch of cheese grated in a pinch or are prepping veggies for a shredded salad, this has you covered. 

Simply point the appliance at your dish, load in the cheese, and let it get to work. Plus, you can easily swap out two interchangeable cones with blades, which are ideal for thick slices or medium shreds. Do keep in mind that if you’re planning to slice up a good amount of cheese, you’ll have to cut it down so it fits appropriately into the center.

The grater worked really well for hard cheeses—but I don't think this is necessarily something every home cook needs for that, especially if you have something like a box grater or even a solid handheld grater (like me). Soft cheeses, on the other hand, worked better in this than I thought (using the thick and regular slice blades). I was surprised given how softer cheeses performed with some of the other graters, I would just recommend not letting cheese sit out too long before grating.

Cleaning is relatively simple: The cones are easy to pop out and hand wash, but it is also dishwasher safe. Since this needs to be plugged in, the base is not dishwasher-safe but can easily be wiped clean.

Price at time of publish: $50

"You have to press down a bit on the tool and hold the grip, so it isn't as simple as using a box or handheld option, but it is still pretty easy regardless!"

Material: Plastic, stainless steel | Dimensions (LxWxH): 7 x 3.5 x 9.5 inches | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes (except for motor base, which wipes clean)

Related: The Best Cheese Knives

Best Zester: Microplane Select Series Fine Blade Cheese Grater

5
Microplane Select Series Fine Blade Cheese Grater

Amazon

What We Love: Perfect for creating a fine dusting of cheese, comes with a protective cover
What We Don't Love: Only works well with firm cheeses

This finely etched zester will create dreamy wisps of your Parmesan, Pecorino, or Locatelli to wow your friends and family on pasta night, but also works great to finely shave citrus, chocolate, ginger, nutmeg, and more.

Even if your box grater comes with a pinhole edge, a handheld option like this Microplane works more delicately. This isn’t a tool meant for soft cheeses, but it adds beautiful pillows of grated hard cheese to your food. These types of cheeses were very easy to grate, and I love how light and pretty the results were, especially over hot pasta and soup. The cheese also melted fast because of how fine it was.

Furthermore, this zester is easy to hold because of its comfortable handle grip and light weight, and the protective cover will save you from accidental pain next time you’re rummaging through your drawer of kitchen tools.

Cleaning, however, was a mixed bag. It was very easily accomplished with hard cheese, but not so much with soft cheese. While this zester isn't recommended to use with soft cheese, I did anyway. Those pieces come out small, and the friction heats the cheese, which makes it gummy and causes the grater to get stuck. I recommend washing it by hand right after use.

Price at time of publish: $17

"Hard cheese is super easy and I love how light and pretty the result is with this tool. Especially over hot pasta or soup, the cheese will melt fast because of how light it is."

Material: Plastic, stainless steel | Dimensions (LxWxH): 11.25 x 3.25 x 0.8 inches | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes

Related: The Best Garlic Presses

Final Verdict

The best overall cheese grater is the OXO Good Grips Etched Box Grater (view at Bed Bath & Beyond), which is a box grater with multiple sizes and a detachable storage container. Looking for a handheld option? Go with the OXO Good Grips Etched Coarse Grater (view at Amazon). It may only produce one shred size, but it should get the job done in most cases.

oxo coarse etched grater

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

What to Look for in a Cheese Grater

Types of Graters

With so many different types on the market, it really comes down to what you’ll use most in the kitchen. If you live in a small space with limited storage, a handheld flat grater might be your best bet in terms of space and budget. But if you’re in need of multiple shred sizes for different occasions and space isn’t a constraint for you, go for a classic box grater that offers a variety of shred sizes. 

For those with a food processor or stand mixer, an electric attachment can be added to your collection. These are typically sold in a set with multiple shred options. Have kids? A rotary grater is ideal for getting your kids safely involved at dinner time.

Lastly, rasp-style graters give a much more delicate shred of cheese—perfect for the serious chef who would be using the tool for more than just Parmesan.

zyliss rotary grater horizontal

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

Ease of Use

Let the cheese do the work for you when grating and keep it on the cold side until it’s ready to be used. Unlike when you’re making a charcuterie board (where your cheese should be room temperature), it will hold up much better to the friction of being grated when cold.

“While cheeses do well to temper in most cases, for shredding you want to use it right out of the fridge, or better yet, after a quick turn in the freezer for the best outcome. If you're shredding cheese to melt into something, it doesn't matter as much, but for salads or garnish, keeping the cheese cold gives you the shred integrity of pre-shredded cheese without the filler.”Pamela Vachon, Sommelier and Cheese enthusiast

Sharpness

Cheese graters aren’t necessarily easy to sharpen, so a more budget-friendly option might not withstand the test of time as well as a slightly pricier option. Ultimately, taking good care of any kitchen tool will help it through use and time. 

zyliss classic rotary grater

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

Cleaning

Many cheese graters may claim to be dishwasher-safe, but you can prolong the life of yours by sticking to handwashing. No matter which grater you go with, try to clean it as soon as you can so it isn’t a pain to scrub too hard around the holes.

“Don't put it in the dishwasher. Let it soak for a bit, so the cheese comes off easily, then carefully hand wash. I use a dish brush for this and clean with upward motions (the opposite direction you'd use to grate cheese). Easy! If it comes with a cover or protective sleeve, store the tool in that when you're not using it.”Alexandra Jones, Author, “Stuff Every Cheese Lover Should Know”

spring chef professional box grater

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

FAQs

How do I choose a cheese grater? 

It really depends on what you’ll be using it for. A box grater is a tried-and-true classic because it usually has multiple sides that save you from purchasing a few different handheld options, but that’s not what everyone prefers. One thing to look out for is the type of blade: stamped or etched. Etched graters have teeth-like indents that are super sharp, but leave the shreds shorter in length. As for stamped, their thicker blades tend to stick out and can cause more pain should your finger get caught.

What’s the difference between a zester and a grater?

At the end of the day, the main difference between the two mainly comes down to the size of the hole. A zester typically has all the same functions as a grater, just on a smaller scale. You won’t usually find as many zester options compared to the graters on the market. 

How do I clean a cheese grater? 

You’d be surprised at how fast cheese can cling to your grater, so be sure to clean it as soon as you can to avoid any heavy-duty scrubbing that could result in a cut on your finger or a shredded sponge. Your best bet is to grab a stiff brush (think pastry or dish brush) and scrub away, which can get into the perforations without getting damaged. 

spring chef professional box grater

Simply Recipes / Jacqueline Weiss

Why Trust Simply Recipes?

Jacqueline Weiss tested all the products in this piece and reported on her findings. She was quite literally raised in a cheese shop, first opened in Philadelphia by her grandfather in 1963 and later owned and operated by her father until 2019. She has grown up working with tools of the trade, which she now uses in her Los Angeles kitchen on vegan and non-vegan cheeses. To choose the best options for this article, she consulted third-party and consumer reviews, spoke with experts, and considered functionality, design, and price.

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