Peeling the zest doesn't seem like peeling a full peel of an Orange.
Any special kind of knieves to be used? Any special method?
What precautions need to be taken care off?

What is the practical way to peel off zest of an orange?

  • 1
    I always wash my oranges with detergent when I want to use the peel because of pesticides. I don't know if it actually helps to remove them though :-)
    – w00t
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 20:13
  • @w00t that is an absolute must! Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 0:43

4 Answers 4


The ideal tool depends on what you're trying to do with it.

If you want something nice and fine, which will release as much flavor as possible, avoid getting any of the pith, and not add distracting texture to a dish, use a fine rasp grater (sometimes known by the brand name microplane):

rasp grater

(There are also coarse rasp graters. That won't be any better than a standard grater. You want one that looks like the picture.)

If you want something small but visible, use a citrus zester:

citrus zester

zester with zest

You can get skinny little strips that tend to curl with the small holes at the end, and bigger curls like you've seen on the rims of cocktails with the wider hole in the middle. (Edit: added the second picture. That looks like it was fun.)

Finally, if you want big pieces to put in something to cook in something, then maybe fish out later, you can use a normal vegetable peeler:


  • +1. If you go for the rasp grater, get one of the modern etched ones (microplane was the first, but these days you can get them from many brands). It's a completely different experience from using old style ones. I can't really explain how you distinguish the two types, but in a good kitchen utensil store the salespeople should know.
    – Erik P.
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 5:19
  • A standard grater does the same job as the rasp grater on the cheap if budget (or kitchen clutter) is a concern, although it may not be as ergonomically friendly. Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 8:43
  • @PeterTaylor Not exactly, unless you're extremely good at using a very light touch with it. A good rasp grater can't cut very deep into the skin. A standard grater, even on the smaller holes, can get a lot deeper.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 15:51
  • The micro-plane style is my favorite. And for a multi-tasker it is great - I use it for nutmeg, hard cheese, zest, and more. Avoiding the pith is key - it is bitter. I personally just use a small paring knife for "big pieces" and a microplane for "tiny bits" - nothing else.
    – Sam Ley
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 17:12

You want a zester. Perfect for removing the peel, but leaving the pith (the white part) in tact.

A zester

  • Thanks for the picture, but I wanted something which could peel out directly the juice instead of the solid skin. Commented Feb 25, 2012 at 17:55

Use the basic $2 plastic peeler and don;t push hard, just let it glide

If the blade bends too much, heat the plastic between the blade ends over a flame, and bend the plastic slightly to tighten the blade up

enter image description here


A simple cheese grater will do the trick, but if you have the money, definitely opt for the abovementioned microplane.

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