Kitchen test: best cheese graters
It’s the one kitchen ‘gadget’ we all have – a cheese grater. Can a new-fangled design really beat the trusty box grater? We put six models to the test.
Unlike an espresso machine or a low fat fryer, a cheese grater is a must-have kitchen tool. Without it there’d be no macaroni cheese, and no sprinklings of Parmesan. And before you say, pre-grated cheese bought from the supermarket, coated in cornstarch, just doesn’t taste the same – plus it goes mouldy quicker.
Most of us have a box grater (like this) at home, but there are many more models on the market. From left to right in the main image above, team lovefood tested an ‘I can cook’ child’s grater from Lakeland; a Lakeland etched coarse grater; a Taylors Eye Witness bamboo hand grater; a Microplane Elite Fine Grater; a standard box grater; and the most expensive of the lot, a Tefal Fresh Express. The latter was our only electric machine.
We tested the time it took each grater to grate a 90g block of Cheddar cheese. Lovefood’s Matt did the honours all six times. Here are our results, starting from the grater that took the most time to use.
6th: Microplane Elite Fine Grater
Surprisingly, it was the Microplane hand grater that took Matt the longest time to use. Microplanes are perhaps the most expensive hand grater on the market (ours was just shy of £20), and one of the sharpest. I’ve got one at home, and concentration lapses while using it have been the cause of many wounds.
As with all three of our hand graters, Matt found it laborious to grate a whole block of cheese with the Microplane. It is, however, perfect if you’ve only a little grating to do, like preparing Parmesan. A Microplane will make very short work of that.
Time to grate: 1 minute 50 seconds
Where to get it: For £19.96 online here
5th: Lakeland Etched Coarse Grater
The second hand grater in our test. It’s perfectly adequate, but like the Microplane it isn’t really suitable for grating big chunks of cheese. Plus there was quite a bit of cheese spillage with this model, as you can see from the video below.
We like the colourful design – you can also buy a green ‘etched fine grater’ (for Parmesan and the like), and a red ‘etched ribbon grater’, for vegetables and cheese. Also, this grater made the ‘prettiest’ grated cheese in our opinion (pictured); rather like chocolate curls.
Time to grate: 1 minute 34 seconds
Where to get it: For £8.46 either in-store or online here
4th: Taylor’s Eye Witness
Our last hand grater, from Taylor Eye Witness’s ‘Natural Home’ collection. In terms of appearance, we liked the fact that the handle was made from bamboo, but in practice it made the handle a little slippy.
It was quicker to grate the cheese with this model, but only by a matter of seconds. Essentially, hand graters (no matter what make they are) don’t excel at grating large amounts of anything. At least not according to our test.
Time to grate: 1 minute 33 seconds
Where to get it: For £6.94 online here
3rd: ‘I Can Cook’ child’s grater
A fun alternative to a normal grater, even by an adult’s standard. This clever little machine works by popping your block of cheese into the chute, then grinding the lever until it’s all gone.
It’s actually very easy to use, and efficient too. There’s a suction pad to keep the machine fixed to the table (which we forgot to use, as the video below shows), and all the nasty sharp bits are kept hidden away for the sake of little fingers. Plus it’s pretty compact, and should fit into a small space on your worktop. Our colleague Susan, who has small children, said that it was “a great hit” in her household.
Time to grate: 1 minute
Where to get it: For £16.99 either in-store or online here
2nd: Tefal Fresh Express
For around £100, this mother of all graters can be yours. It’s a ‘cube and stick mandolin’, which means it can slice, dice, chop and shred all manner of foodstuffs into groovy shapes. We had great fun playing with the ‘cuber’ mandolin, making perfect little orange cubes out of carrots. Just the ticket for a Russian salad.
It features five different blade cartridges in total, each for a different function, and they can be stored together in a magnetic basket that fits neatly into the main machine. Just plug it in, select your cartridge, and press the big button (as Matt demonstrates beautifully in the video below).
It’s fun to use and grates quickly – nearly 30 seconds faster than the next best-performing machine. But it is a bit of an effort to get the machine out and put it all together. Plus some of the cheese got stuck at the top of the machine (see picture left), and so we probably collected more like 80g of grated cheese in total.
Time to grate: 33 seconds
Where to get it: For £108 online here
1st: Standard box grater
Well there you have it. For all their frills and bright colours, the more ‘advanced’ (and expensive) graters just can’t beat the original stainless steel box grater.
It’s a design we’re all used to: four sides, each one etched with a different grating grade, and a handle on top for sturdiness. As our video shows, Matt found it far easier to use than the hand graters. Just stick it on a plate, and go to work. No complaints whatsoever for this model, other than it being a bit of a pain to wash up.
Sure, it’s not as fun to use as the Tefal Fresh Express, but if your grater budget is low (and why would it be anything else), then we wholeheartedly recommend this boxy number.
Time to grate: 32 seconds
Where to get it: The cheapest we found was £3.99 from Argos. Or splash out on a slightly swisher model such as this John Lewis option for £11.89
What grater do you have at home? Would you be willing to spend more than a tenner on one? Talk to us in the Comments box below.
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