cheese grater

Ok, this picture has two sort of weird looking holes, but the one I'm asking about is on the left side of the picture - the metal sort-of puckers up, like it's been punched through from the back side.

I've tried this kind of grater to zest things before, with no success, and it clearly mauls cheeses... I can't figure out what it's for!

6 Answers 6


It is designed for the likes of hard cheeses, nutmeg, or zesting lemon and orange skin. As you mentioned, a lot of what you want to grate or zest gets stuck between the puckers and it clogs easily.

I would really recommend getting a micro plane as it gives the same fine result without becoming clogged.

  • Right; that's what I thought! I usually use a micro plane to do such things, but decided to try this thing because that's what I thought it was for.
    – Tara
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 2:00
  • Or just pass through with a knife and you'll get all of the grated zest ;)
    – nico
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 20:52
  • 10
    Old trick that works great is to cover that side with cling-film plastic before you zest. When you rub the lemon/lime over it the plastic gets pushed down around the metal bits and rests in the valleys where the zest hides on you. When you are done zesting you pull the plastic off and can easily slide the zest off the plastic without any hassles. No, you don't get any plastic in your zest. Been doing it for years. I prefer microplanes over the box grater any day but if its all you got... Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 21:23

I use it for hard cheeses such as Parmesan and Romano. It grates it quite fine for things like pasta.

  • 2
    Personally, I've always preferred the ~1mm shredding side of a grater for topping pasta with hard cheeses: it's faster, easier to get more cheese, and I prefer the more varied flavor (i.e. parts of the tongue are tasting sauce without cheese, parts a combination, and parts just the cheese, as opposed to the greater homogeneity of a finer shred). That said, although I'm not really a sauce maker myself, I think the fine shred may be important in sauce recipes, to make a suspension of the cheese in the sauce easier, and avoid ending up with lumps of cheese. Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 4:25
  • That is what is traditionally used in Italy for Parmigiano.
    – nico
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 20:52

This side is ideal for zesting and fine grating of hard items (ginger is my regular task for this) and can be used much more cleanly and easily with the addition of cling wrap.

To use, you pull cling wrap around that side, then grate; you will be able to collect the result much more cleanly and completely by just peeling away the cling wrap. A micro-plane grater is good, but this method will work in a pinch.

  • 1
    Does the cling wrap not tear in the process? Trying to picture this in my mind.
    – Preston
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 4:45
  • 1
    I see this idea everywhere, but I still can't understand how the plastic doesn't tear under the pressure of hard foods like ginger.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 10:07

AS others have said its for grating hard things very finely, but not just cheese! personally I use mine most for grating nutmeg.


I use the star side of the grater to grate sweet potatoes to make a sweet potato pudding. However, it must be the star side with the larger holes, 7 across the top and bottom and 15 along both sides. I'm 64 yeas old, and its an old recipe from my father.


Well I don't really know what that thing is called but I'm pretty sure it cuts the cheese way better then the other side

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