Cheese Graters: Genius Tips That Will Make Your Life Easier


Of all the tools in your kitchen, graters have to be one of the most frustrating.They’re a pain to use, and they’re even more of a pain to clean.†But they don’t have to be! Read on for tips on the best way to avoid clumpy, uneven cheese and messy clean up.

Using the Grater.

Freeze the Cheese. The colder the cheese, the better it grates. Stick the block in the freezer for about 30 minutes before grating, and you’ll avoid all those annoying clumps. Even softer cheeses, like mozzarella and fontina, will grate really well if you freeze them first. At the very least, avoid grating cheese that’s been sitting out at room temperature.

Oil the Grater. To avoid the messy clean up and end up with more evenly-grated cheese, lightly mist the grater with cooking spray, or, using a paper towel, dampen with oil.

Cleaning the Grater.

Clean It ASAP. Letting a grater sit out just dries out the cheese, and makes it more difficult to dislodge any stuck-on bits. Try washing it right away to avoid the hassle.

For Really Soft Cheese: If a lot of cheese bits have stuck to the grater, you can dislodge them immediately by rubbing a lemon wedge on both sides.

… And If You Didn’t Clean it Immediately? There’s still hope for procrastinators! A couple of good methods:

  • Grate an apple or a potato. These will help dislodge the dried cheese bits.
  • Use a toothbrush or a nylon brush †to clean the small holes, not a sponge.
  • Wash the grater against the grain to avoid grating your sponge as well.
  • If the stuck-on bits really aren’t coming off, soak the grater in a solution of vinegar (or baking soda) and water before cleaning.
  • Freezing the dirty grater will make the dried-on bits come off more easily.

More Tips.

A Word on Dishwashers. Though they do make the job of cleaning a grater †much easier, dishwashers can dull the blades and stain the metal of your grater. As with knives, dull blades are actually less safe to use. But, unlike knives, cheese graters are a lot more difficult to sharpen. If you want your grater to last as long as possible, avoid putting it in the dishwasher.

Get a Better Grater. I’m obsessed with my Microplane — and I’m not the only one! It’s a lot easier to use, it’s a lot easier to clean, and it actually produces really good-quality grated cheese. Cook’s Illustrated gives its highest markings to RŲsle’s coarse grater. Anyone else want to share their recommendations for awesome graters?

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Sonia Minwer Barakat Requ
Sonia M5 months ago

Good post with useful tips,thanks for sharing

Bea P.
Bea P3 years ago

Thanks for the tips. I remember my mother using (and making me use it... I had to clean it most of the time) a toothpick to get the little bits in the holes. Worked surprisingly well, and it is something that can keep a child occupied for a good 10-20 minutes.

Janis K.
Janis K4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey4 years ago

I did like the part where you freeze the cheese. I have a hard time grating Mozzarella. Definitely will give it a try. Brick cheese is a lot cheaper than the already grated in the bag.

Tanya Selth
Tanya Selth4 years ago


Karen K.
Karen K4 years ago

Wash the grater first with cold water so the cheese doesn't get melty and stick all over the sponge and grater (or food processor). Once the cheese is off, you can then use the hot water. Makes washing a little less frustrating.

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey4 years ago

I use an OXO hand held grater. It has remained sharp for several years now.

Carole f.
Carole f4 years ago

Some very "interesting" comments tonight!!
I also LOVE my microplane grater. have given one to my kids for stocking stuffers in the past. I also like my very small grater that I use for fresh nutmeg, but have been known to use for small pieces of hard cheeses when needed!

Kate S.
Kate S4 years ago


Dale O.

That cheesy comment pertaining to the Omega Directive was primarily meant for the assimilation of borg d. Resistance is Not Futile!

Freezing the cheese is an interesting step and at the moment one could just open the outside door and let it sit for a bit as it will freezeshortly!