I have about 10 graters in my kitchen. All of them are useful in some ways, and can be used for much more than just grating cheese. Graters are so versatile too. I’ve put together a list of 20 surprising uses for a cheese grater or microplane.
A Cheese Grater is not just for Cheese. See my 20 surprising uses for a Cheese Grater
Graters come in several types. The most commonly found ones are the normal box grater, and also hand held versions of it. They vary with the size and type of grating slots, too. One of my favorites is a hand held grater also known as a microplane. I had one that I used all the time but the slots were too closely together to use it for many types of food.
But it is still the one I use this the most often and it is also much less likely to skin my knuckles which is a big plus for me. I recently purchased a new microplane grater that is much more versatile and I just love it. (affiliate link)
1. For Citrus Zest. This is my most often used tip. When I am cooking and the recipe calls for lemon, lime or orange juice, I also zest the citrus first with my food grater. The zest adds a great burst of flavor to recipes that you just can’t get from the juice alone. 2. For Nutmeg. Ever seen whole nutmeg? It looks a bit like a nut. (funny that….nutmeg) When your recipe calls for ground nutmeg, take out a nut and grate it with a microplane. You will be amazed at the difference in taste and never use the store bought ground stuff again! 3. Butter for Baked Goods. I love this tip. Do you need to bake and don’t want to wait for the butter to get to room temperature? No problem. Just grate the butter right into the mixing bowl. Works like a charm! I grated 1/2 stick of butter for this photo in just a few seconds and it is ready to use in a baked goods recipe right now.4. For old soap. When your soap gets down to a size that is no longer useable in the bathroom, use the food grater to grate it into small pieces. Then melt the soap on the stove and pour into a soap mold. Presto! A new bar of soap! 5. Shredded Veggies for Salads. This one is better done with a larger grater instead of a microplane. Grate carrots for salads, potatoes for hash browns, zucchini for breads. Any hard veggie will work well. 6. To preserve ginger. I don’t know about you, but my ginger often withers in the fridge before I use it all. The trick here is to freeze the ginger and then, when you need it, take it out, get out the microplane and grate away. So much easier than peeling and chopping the ginger when it is fresh. And it lasts a long time in the freezer. Just remember not to defrost it. It will get soggy. Grate it frozen.
Surprised by any of these? Read on, there are lots more!7. To Decorate baked goods. Nothing is quite as appealing as a frosted cupcake, or cake with some grated chocolate over the top or, even fancier, chocolate curls. Or make cookies that have a powered sugar coating, and add some extra grated chocolate to give them a different look and taste. Both grated chocolate and curls are possible with a cheese grater.8. Onions in a hurry. In a hurry and don’t want to spend the time chopping onions? Get out your food grater and grate them right into the skillet. Sure, you will have some tears, but the job will be over in a flash. (see how to peel an onion without crying here.) 9. Minced Garlic. Don’t have a garlic press? Just peel and grate the garlic. You might want to wear some latex gloves for this. Garlic smell on the skin lasts a LONG time! 10. Fresh Bread crumbs. When your bread gets stale, toast it and then grate it with a microplane. Viola! Fresh breadcrumbs. 11. With Frozen Lemons or Limes. Do you ever buy more lemons than you will soon use? No problem. Freeze the lemons and then grate the whole thing and add the grated citrus to other foods. Examples are vegetable salads, ice cream, soups, cereals, noodles, spaghetti sauce, and rice. 12. Better Tasting Parmesan Cheese. The stuff in the jar is nasty in my opinion. I always buy a block of Parmigiano cheese and grate it right over cooked pasta dishes. The difference in taste is amazing and it takes only seconds with a microplane. 13. Low fat ice cream. Freeze a banana and then grate it into a bowl. Top with some low fat chocolate sauce and you have yourself a tasty ice cream alternative. 14. Stick Cinnamon. This is another spice that is so much better ground just when you need it. Get the stick and grate it with a microplane right into the mixing bowl. So good! 15. Lemongrass. If you chop this popular Southeast Asian ingredient, you can often end up with an overpowering flavor. Grate it instead to add to stir fries and curries for the best taste.
16. Fresh Horseradish. Bottled horseradish does not hold a candle to a homemade version done with freshly grated whole horseradish. Give it a try! Just combine 8 pieces of grated horseradish with 2 tbsp water, 1 tbsp of white vinegar and a pinch of salt. You will never want the bottled stuff again!
17. For Kitchen BBQ Smoke Flavor. Here is a neat trick when you have not time to BBQ. Add some grated charcoal to your finishing salt. It gives the meat a smoky burnt wood flavor. Tip is courtesy of Adam Perry Lang in his new cookbook Charred and Scruffed.
18. Hard Boiled Eggs. I love the taste of eggs on top of a salad with grated carrots. Just hard boil your eggs and grate them right over the salad for a fluffy addition texture to your greens. 19. Fresh Coconut. Nothing beats the taste of freshly grated coconut. Just cut a piece of the meat, grate it with the cheese grater and use in baked goods and on desserts. 20. Grating nuts. Sometimes you don’t want the chunks of nuts in a recipe. Instead use the food grater to give you a finer texture to your nuts.
Do you have other uses for your cheese grater? I’d love to hear your suggestions. Please leave them in the comments below.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."