Grating cheese seems like a straightforward task until you have a bad experience with a grater. Maybe it’s flimsy and unwieldy, or you lose more cheese than you actually grate, or your precious mozzarella gets jammed up in a contraption you had no idea was suitable for hard cheese only. There are many ways grating cheese can go wrong, and luckily, there’s no need to have those experiences ever again.
To help find the optimal cheese grater for your kitchen, we tested them side by side and evaluated each on design, comfort, ease of use, performance, ease of cleaning, and overall value. We shredded lots of parmesan, mozzarella, and more with graters of various designs—including flat, box, and rotary—in order to make sure the ones that ended up on this list are truly the best cheese graters available.
OXO Good Grips Multi-Grater
Multiple grating surfaces and positions
Foldable for storage ease
Easy to clean
Plastic may crack with repeated use
The OXO Good Grips Multi-Grater comes with two stainless steel grating surfaces, a pressure-absorbing, easy-to-grip handle, and non-slip feet. Snap it open for easy cleaning (it can also be popped in the dishwasher) or easier grating—just slide apart at the handle/hinge when it’s in the closed position. When you’re done, fold it up for simple storage. It costs less than some blocks of cheese, but even at a higher price, it would still be well worth it.
Using parmesan cheese, we used the grater both standing up and flat over a bowl and found it worked well both ways. Though the plastic didn’t feel like it would last forever, and the grating area was a bit smaller than some of the others, the low price point and versatility still push this one to the top of the list. When tested with mozzarella, it worked quite well and didn't gum up as much as anticipated—a win for soft cheese lovers everywhere.
The star of the show was the easy-grip handle; During testing, we could feel that it was absorbing pressure. The non-slip feet were a nice touch, too.
Price at time of publish: $15
Material: Stainless steel, plastic | Dimensions: 9.38 x 3.38 x 6 inches | Number of Blades: 2 | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Presto Salad Shooter Electric Slicer/Shredder
Electric grater makes prep nearly effortless
Grater and slicer barrel options
Dishwasher-safe slicing barrels and food chute
Weighs more than other graters
For those with time or mobility limitations, an electric grater can be incredibly helpful. This grater is basically a handheld food processor; With its two interchangeable slicing and shredding cones, this compact machine will quickly slice and grate whatever you need and shoot it out into a bowl or onto your plate. We especially appreciated how well it worked with hard parmesan.
Soft cheese was a bit slower going and came out somewhat squished, but the grater seemingly had no problem. Every piece except the motor is dishwasher-safe—and also easy to clean by hand, thanks to simple disassembly—and it comes with a one-year warranty. It’s efficient, versatile enough to use with items other than cheese, small enough to stash away when it’s not in use, and much less expensive than most food processors.
The only drawback to this grater is that it's on the loud side. Otherwise, it quickly and effectively grates both soft and hard cheeses, and we would happily use it for big batches.
Price at time of publish: $43
Material: Plastic, metal blades | Dimensions: 11 x 8.9 x 4.2 inches | Number of Blades: 2 | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
KitchenAid Fresh Prep Slicer/Shredder Attachment
Three slicer/shredder size options
KitchenAid does most of the work
Good for big batches
Machinery may warm up cheeses
This KitchenAid attachment offers two size options for both soft and hard cheeses, and you won’t have to park yourself in front of a flimsy grater, bowl, and rock-solid hunk of cheese the next time you need a large quantity. Just take the cheese out of the fridge or freezer and let this easy-to-assemble attachment do the work.
Grating parmesan with this attachment was a flawless experience during testing. It grated exactly like it was supposed to and could easily handle bigger batches. It also performed really well with mozzarella—though soft cheese took longer to grate than hard cheese, it didn't get gummed up or cause the machine to struggle.
Cleaning by hand took a bit longer than with some of the others, but it's top-rack dishwasher-safe. If you don't have a dishwasher or would prefer to clean by hand, a small brush would help scrape the inside and tackle any hard-to-reach spots.
Price at time of publish: $48
Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 8.2 x 4 x 6.9 inches | Number of Blades: 3 | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes, top rack
Bnunwish Round Mandoline Drum Slicer
Drum slicer requires less work
Three slicer/shredder size options
Suctions to countertop for stability
Plastic body may crack with excessive use
Even if you took cheese out of the equation, this would probably become your new favorite kitchen tool. Its three different sizes of stainless steel drums for coarse and fine grating and slicing can cut down on an immense amount of knife work for fruit, vegetables, nuts, chocolate, breadcrumbs, and more. It also grates cheese perfectly.
Though it lacks the retro charm of a handheld rotary cheese grater that you’d find in an old-school Italian-American restaurant, we found this model much easier to use. We loved the strong suction base for stabilizing the grater as it was working—which was key for exerting the proper amount of pressure to push both soft and hard cheeses through seamlessly. This is one of the few manual graters we'd trust for larger batches of cheese. The attachments are top-rack dishwasher-safe, but if you're opting to wash in the sink, it's very easy to disassemble and clean by hand.
Price at time of publish: $24
Material: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, stainless steel blades | Dimensions: 10.23 x 4.5 x 9.5 inches | Number of Blades: 3 | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes, top rack
Best for Parmesan and Other Hard Cheese
Utopia Kitchen Cheese Grater & Shredder
Wide variety of grater/zester/slicer options
Heavy-duty stainless steel construction
Rubber handle and base for stable comfort
Clunky to store
Whatever the occasion, this six-sided grater will do the trick when it comes to hard cheese. Not only can you seriously customize the shred size, but the non-slip base means you won’t have to wrestle with your cheese in order to grate it. During testing, we found it a little unwieldy for grating soft cheese, though the slicer side did work well in that aspect. The nonstick base kept the grater sturdy enough to grate a block of parmesan using all of the sides, though, so if you’re mostly planning on using it for lower-moisture cheeses, it’s a great option.
Just make sure to take caution while cleaning by hand and grating in order to avoid scraping hands or fingers on the sides. We also found ourselves using extra care with the handle, which sometimes felt like it could bend or break, but otherwise, it was a good experience. This grater is dishwasher-safe.
Price at time of publish: $10
Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 3.54 x 10.03 x 4.52 inches | Number of Blades: 6 | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
Best Stainless Steel
Boska Professional Series Ribbon Grater
Great for individual portions
Safer for hands and fingers
Easily fits in silverware drawer
Not appropriate for large batches
Cheese professionals always look to Boska for sleek, brilliantly designed cheese tools, and this is no exception. With most graters, you run the cheese over the grater, but this tool is designed to run over the cheese, which is both easier and safer for your fingers. Likewise, it's nice to have more control over the grater. Is this the right tool if you need to shred a pound of cheddar for your cheesy potato recipe? No. But for smaller jobs, this is an excellent option. It’ll fit in your silverware drawer and is easy to throw in the dishwasher.
We found this to be a handy tool for a bit of cheese to top salad or pasta, though the sleek (and not super comfortable) metal handle would make it a bit frustrating as a primary grater. While testing, we couldn't help but imagine how a rubberized handle would have made it more efficient. The grater also got a little gummed up during our tests, but it managed to grate enough of a mozzarella block to use for a sandwich. The pressure required felt like a lot, but it did what it was supposed to do. For that, this could be a great tool to add to your kitchen as a secondary grater. It's dishwasher-safe, and the size and design make it easy to clean by hand.
Price at time of publish: $10
Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 11.02 x 3.15 x 0.79 inches | Number of Blades: 1 | Dishwasher-Safe: Yes
The multi-surface OXO Good Grips Multi-Grater is our top pick because it's budget-friendly, easy to use, and performed beautifully with both soft and hard cheeses. If you'd prefer a handle to help you crank through pecorino, parmesan, and more, the Bnunwish Round Mandoline Drum Slicer Rotary Cheese Grater is an impressive option that suctions to the counter for stability.
How We Tested
We sent eight cheese graters to our cheese expert and home tester, who used each one to grate both hard and soft cheeses, including parmesan and mozzarella, to determine which cheese graters are truly the best. Each cheese grater was rated on design, comfort, ease of use, performance, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Our tester then offered additional insights on each cheese grater's strengths and weaknesses.
Other Options We Tested
- Zyliss Classic Rotary Cheese Grater: While this budget-friendly rotary grater is lauded for being accessible to both right- and left-handed users, we found it generally exhausting to use. Grating parmesan took quite a bit of pressure, though once grated, it came out fairly quickly, which could be suitable for people looking to grate small batches of cheese over pasta or salad. For large batches, however, it's not comfortable. This grater isn't sufficient for use with soft cheese, either, as mozzarella was laborious to grate and clumped as it came out. While it is dishwasher-safe, cleaning this is not easy. Though it's possible to disassemble it, we did notice that little bits of cheese got stuck in inaccessible places.
What to Look for in a Cheese Grater
Your grater should be sharp enough to cut through cheese or veggies without much resistance. Sharpness also matters when it comes to things like zesting—if the grater is dull, it’s likely to dig into the bitter citrus pith instead of scrape the delicate, aromatic outside.
Stability matters because it makes grating easier and helps you lose less cheese. Some types of graters, though, like a rasp grater, are designed for quickness of use rather than stability. If you have the storage space, it may be worth having a more stable grater option for larger jobs, as well as a quick, easy-to-clean grater for a quick dusting of parmesan over pasta and other small tasks.
Ideally, you shouldn’t get a hand cramp while using your cheese grater. It also shouldn’t slip out of your hands, even if they're wet.
Box graters get points here because the different sides usually have different sizes of holes. Rasp graters also get points for their ease of use and ability to take on miscellaneous but incredibly useful jobs, like zesting a bit of ginger. Electric or rotary models can often prep ingredients like veggies, nuts, and more.
Ease of Cleaning and Storage
Especially if you’re not using it all that often, your grater shouldn’t be taking up most of your cabinet space. While flatter options won’t always be the easiest to use, they often will be the easiest to clean and store. It may also be beneficial to invest in an option that comes with a guard, so no accidental injuries happen.
Types of Cheese Graters
Box graters are the quintessential all-purpose grater. They often have several sizes and shapes of holes for grating, making them versatile, and most have a sturdy base. They also tend to be reasonably priced. However, box graters are not always sharp, and for best results, you’ll want to make sure your cheese is cold. Otherwise, you’re likely to lose some, especially if it’s a soft cheese, which can get gummed up in the device. Some box graters come with a removable storage container for catching and quickly measuring the cheese you just grated.
Rotary graters are especially useful for hard Italian cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino. They can also be used for chopping nuts or grating chocolate. Some devoted fans even store them in their fridge with cheese inside. They can be easier to maneuver than some of the other styles, and you run less risk of minor injury with them. Plus, you often have the option of several grate sizes. On the other hand, they also take up a lot of room to store. Many come with two parts, and if you lose one of the parts, the device becomes unusable. Still, rotary graters that feature a suction base for easy use have an edge over box graters.
Flat graters tend to be the least expensive option but can be rather limited. Most come with a limited number of hole sizes and can be unwieldy to use. They do, however, tend to be easy to clean.
We don’t hear the term “rasp grater” often. You may know this style of grater as a Microplane (a registered trademark of Grace Manufacturing Inc), but the generic name for the style is a rasp grater, named after the woodworking tool. These tend to be sharp and are especially useful for small cheese grating jobs, zesting, and even things like grating a bit of nutmeg or cinnamon over a freshly made pastry. If you’re looking for your final result to be airy and light, a rasp grater is a perfect tool. However, if you’re looking to grate softer cheese or a larger quantity of cheese (or other food), these can quickly become unwieldy and even dangerous.
Lots of folks use a microplane for parmesan. If that works for you, that’s fine. However, most cheese professionals will advise you that not all parmesan is the same. Is it aged, crystalline Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is best finely grated? Or is it a less-aged domestic version, which can get gummy in a microplane? Is it a rock-hard block of you-can’t-remember-exactly-what that you keep in your fridge for pasta?
Most food processors come with a grating plate, plus there are optional attachments for appliances like KitchenAids. These make grating cheese and chopping vegetables incredibly easy, with no fear of accidentally grating your own skin. It's worth noting they are not always effective for small amounts of cheese, though, and if you don’t already have a food processor, it’s probably not worth getting one just for this purpose.
If you have a favorite kitchenware manufacturer, it’s likely that they’ll have a solid cheese grater option. This includes Oxo, KitchenAid, and more. As far as cheese tools go, cheesemongers often default to Boska, a Dutch company that manufactures professional-grade cheeseware.
How do you use a cheese grater?
Different cheese graters work differently, so always read the instructions. The average cheese grater is meant to be held still while a block of cheese is run over it with medium pressure. This process will be easier if the cheese is harder or still cold from the fridge.
How do you clean a cheese grater?
Check the manufacturer’s instructions. Some graters are dishwasher-safe, while some are only safe in the top rack of the dishwasher, and some should be hand washed. When in doubt, it doesn’t hurt to hand wash. If you have a small brush (like you’d use to clean a reusable metal straw), you may find it helpful for graters with crevices that cheese can get stuck in.
What else can you use a cheese grater for?
Cheese graters can be used for much more than cheese. You can shred veggies, such as carrots or potatoes, get a head start on sauce by pulverizing tomatoes, make bread crumbs with toasted bread, zest citrus, or even grate spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Writer and professional cheese eater Christine Clark teaches cheese and pairing classes throughout the United States and is dedicated to helping people expertly get their cheese fix. Her cheese adoration is so strong that she has a whole podcast dedicated to it. She is a Certified Cheese Professional through the American Cheese Society and tested eight cheese graters for this roundup.
This article was updated by Katya Weiss-Andersson, a writer and editor who has nearly a decade of experience as a professional chef. Katya is vegan but loves some bougie, high-quality vegan cheese as a treat, and still finds plenty of uses for the cheese grater in her kitchen.