A grater is a true kitchen essential that’s often overlooked, but obvious in its absence when needed.
The box grater is a versatile go-to, offering multiple blade grades across its sides. If kitchen space for storage is at a premium, hand-held graters with hanging loops are excellent alternatives.
Two or three grades are all you need. A coarse grater is good for cheese and hard veggies like carrots. Zesters will take the top layer of flavourful citrus peel and can also be used for chomping through fibrous aromatics like ginger, or mincing garlic without a press. Grating chillies is an clever way to add a subtle hint of heat to a dish whilst side-stepping unexpected chunks.
Not all graters are made equal. The blades can wear down over time, so a guarantee is a great indication of the brand’s faith in its product. You want sharp notches that won’t tear or shred the ingredient, and asks for minimal effort on your part.
The angle and grade of blades are both things to consider, as are additional features that might make a grater mess-free or safer. We’ve all grated the odd finger.
We tested graters with a combination of fresh ingredients, to bring you our picks of the best models on the market. We used parmesan, lemon and ginger to test out zesters, whilst carrot, cheddar and courgette were grated with the others.
Little compares to tangy grated cheddar, piled high onto a hot jacket potato. But for the more adventurous, BBC Good Food Magazines editor and judge of the World Cheese Awards, Keith Kendrick, shares his picks of the best cheese subscription boxes. Plus we’ve more inspiration with our top picks of the best cheese gifts.
- Microplane stainless steel premium classic zester
- Masterclass zester
- Victorinox compact grater
- ProCook narrow micro grater
- Colourworks set of four graters
- Stellar acid-etched coarse grater
- Victorinox coarse grater
- Masterclass rotary cheese grater
- VonShef 750W food processor
- OXO Good Grips box grater with removable zester
Microplane premium classic series zester
- Silicone grip
- Lethal to fingers in a utensils draw without its protective cover
Star rating: 5/5
Flat zesters typically limit how much of the citrus you can reach, not so with the Microplane – the toothed curves allows you to zest all the way up to the fruit’s pedicel (where its stem was once attached to the tree).
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The blade itself is photo-etched, so you can count on its sharp little teeth catching trickier angles. A noticeable feature is the chunky soft-touch silicone handle which comes in a variety of colours. This sits nicely in the hand whilst you zest downwards onto a chopping board; its sharp little corners softened by two anti-scratch silicone feet.
The folded edges actually direct zest neatly onto the plate with a good tap. This will also catch lemon pips if you’re adding juice to the recipe - turn it upside down for this.
Best zester for fuss-free mincing
- Fibrous ginger and garlic
- 10-year guarantee
- Zests thicker
Star rating: 4.5/5
The Masterclass is an excellent citrus zester, but really shone when we tested its blade against fresh ginger. Its acid etched teeth are a similar size to those of the Microplane and are ever-so slightly more raised, allowing it to bite into crisp ingredients more efficiently than any others we tested.
The ginger minced quickly into a fine pulp; a great indication that garlic would meet the same fate with even less effort. A non-slip thumb rest gives you purchase on its long and sleek design, plus there’s a non-slip foot for resting it on a chopping board.
Its 10-year guarantee is a good indication that Masterclass is confident about the longevity of this zester’s blades.
Stellar premium acid-etched medium grater
- Available from Horwood (£17)
Best hand-held grater
- Anti-slip foot
- Lifetime guarantee
- Generic-looking, but simple is sometimes best
Ergonomically, the Stellar is beautifully designed for comfortable use; even with a whole bowl of carrots to tackle. Its soft-grip handle is slightly contoured to balance in the hand and there’s a non-slip foot at the other end which grips and protects surfaces.
Its curved grating blade produces long square curls thanks to sharp, acid-etched teeth. The depth of grate was perfect for prepping ingredients for courgette fritters, but also tackled potato and onion easily for hash browns which we cooked in a frying pan. We also found that some old crusty bread grated well to make breadcrumbs for a crispy topping to fish pie.
When resting on a work surface, the blade sits flat but raised. A loop on its handle also means it can be hung up for storage. A safety pusher is available for this model.
Victorinox Compact Cheese Grater
Best cheese grater gadget
- Two-way blade
- Not the easiest to clean by hand
Star rating: 4/5
The Victorinox paring knife is a firm favourite of the BBC Good Food team. The brand has taken its precision blade technology and applied it to cheese graters. The result is excellent.
Hold it between your thumb and forefinger and just drag it the length of the cheese. Its two-way blades shred hard cheeses into thin strands and do the same with carrot, forming little nests that resemble slim spaghetti.
Of course, the cheese doesn’t fall in an orderly fashion, but do you really want it to? We’d recommended keeping a napkin next to it and just embracing the flurry. This would also work well for finely grating chocolate onto the top of a cake.
ProCook narrow micro grater
- Available from ProCook (£12)
Best grater with safety feature
- Optional safety guard
- Reduces wastage
- Dishwasher-safe on the top rack
- Light coloured handle is prone to stains
- Safety pusher sold separately
Star rating: 3/5
For those little nubbins leftover from the desire to preserve one’s fingers, the removable safety pusher on this rasp grater is a good way to save them from waste.
On its own, this is a practical bit of kit for transforming cheese and vegetables into small, slim curls thanks to its sharply etched square notches. We found it worked particularly well with courgettes, although if you’re looking to grate in bulk, a wider grater would be more efficient.
When tried with parmesan, the cheese fell as satisfyingly chunky curls that gave punchy hits of saltiness.
The safety pusher is not particularly practical. Cheese needs to be cut into small cubes, but it would come in useful if you’re not grating in bulk and want kids to be able to use it.
Colourworks set of four graters
Best affordable grater selection
- Five-year guarantee
- Easy to store with silicone hanging strap
- Bold design
Star rating: 3/5
For anyone who loves a pop of colour, this swatch of four stackable graters from the Colourworks collection comes strung on a sturdy but removable loop, so can be hung among other utensils for convenience if your draws are busy. Undo the toggle and they each unthread.
A fine, medium, coarse and slice grater is included in the set; all of which are sharp and have a rubber foot to help protect your chopping board. A small indent on the underside of each grater acts as a nice rest if you’re grating over a bowl.
The zester could be finer, but didn’t take any pith from below the lemon’s zest, which can be bitter. Both the medium and coarse graters produced nicely grated cheese, carrots and courgettes. Because of its width, the slicer produces slithers of varying shapes where you have to turn the vegetable, but we didn’t mind that. It certainly saves you time slicing with a knife.
Victorinox coarse grater
Best hand-held coarse grater
- Stands out in a cluttered draw
- Lifetime guarantee
- Plastic handle not the best to grip
Star rating: 4/5
If you’re after the thick strands of cheese that resemble the ‘pre-grated’ you can buy in shops, the Victorinox delivers as a great alternative to the traditional mandolin. You can achieve a proper cheese nest.
Its blades are incredibly sharp, which made light work of hard vegetables like carrots – thankfully it comes with a reusable blade cover to keep fingers safe when delving into kitchen draws. A Swiss-brand, Victorinox has fully embraced its national red shade for this collection edition and it really works, but a silver edition is also available. There are two indents for securing the grater’s positioning on the edge of a bowl.
Masterclass rotary cheese grater
Best rotary cheese grater
- Good for pre-grating large quantities
- Simple to build
- Messy to move if using at the table
Star rating: 3/5
This kitchen gadget chomps through hard cheese at an incredibly efficient pace. Its three rotary components slot together to create a kind of ‘mill’ that you wind with the handle. Load up the box section and secure the cheese against the grater drum, notched with fine teeth.
When wound, a thick dust of cheese falls out of the centre into whatever you place beneath it. The process takes minimal effort and would be an efficient way to quickly grate a large amount of parmesan, if you didn’t have a food processor.
The novelty of its highly engineered stainless steel solution to cheese grating is quite satisfying. Expect to have grated cheese everywhere if used at the table.
VonShef 750W food processor
- Available from VonHaus (£74.99)
Best electric grater
- Good value for money
- Needs storage space for attachments
Star rating: 4/5
If you’re thinking about getting an electric cheese grater, let us steer you instead towards a multi-function food processor. This versatile kitchen gadget comes with an excellent array of grating attachments and packs seven functions in the footprint of one appliance.
The BBC Good Food team rated the Vonshef 750 food processor 4.5/5 stars for its easy-use controls, the quality of its output from juicing to grating and overall affordability when tested against the best food processors on the market.
Available from VonHaus (£74.99)
OXO Good Grips box grater with removable zester
Best box grater
- Removable zester
- Attachable grater box
- Larger footprint than hand-held graters
Star rating: 4.5/5
Although this box grater has a heftier price tag than many, we can see why. The clue is in the OXO Good Grips name – both the (very comfortable) handle and the base are highly grippy, meaning it stays put when grating.
As well as a side with nice big, sharp holes for coarse grating things like cheese, courgettes and carrots, there’s also a finer side for grating ingredients like parmesan and ginger, and a slice function to cut single slices of ingredients like cheese, cucumber, carrot and radish.
But the most innovative feature is the final side, which has a removable zester. This means you have a choice to either use it as part of the grater itself, or remove it to grate ingredients straight over a dish – such as a fine covering of parmesan over a pasta dish, or a grating of garlic right into a pan.
The addition of a box which attaches onto the base is a really great feature for mess-free grating, or if you want to save the ingredients to use at a later date – it can fit 300ml/g in it and comes with a lid so you can store it in the fridge.
What we looked for when testing graters
Surface area of the grater: the bigger the surface area, the quicker you can complete the task in hand.
Sharpness: we looked for a blade that made uniform shavings in one clean sweep, not blunt blades that were awkward to manoeuvre.
Sturdiness: wobbly metal and boxes that didn't balance well were marked down.
Extra functions: we looked for graters that were collapsible or had handy extras, like clever storage capacity.
Ease of storage and cleaning: graters are one of the most tricky kitchen items to clean. We looked for dishwasher-friendly graters that scrub up as new and can be hung or stored flat in a small amount of space.
How we tested
We tested using parmesan, carrot, cheddar, courgette, lemon and ginger.
What didn't make the cut?
Blunt and flimsy graters.
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This review was last updated in August 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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