Whether you’re using them for grating cheese to fill up a quesadilla or shredding carrots for a carrot cake, a grater is a tool that just about everybody has in their kitchen. The more often you use graters, the more you will notice how different they are. Some grate smoothly, some leave you with chunks of cheese or other crumbly products in your hand after grating. Some are simple, others have a half dozen different sizes and shapes of shreds to offer. In a recent issue (May/June 2012), Cook’s Illustrated decided to revisit the question of which type of grater is the best.
A few years ago, the CI test kitchen asked themselves this same question and picked out a four sided box grater with multiple functions, including a slicer and a super fine grate due to its versatility. The reason that they decided to revisit the issue is that they realized that they really only used the grater for one type of grating: producing long shreds of cheese, potatoes, carrots and other foods from large holes. For very fine grates, the test kitchen uses a microplane (which can’t be beat for very fine grating) and they never used the slicer that was included with their previous top choice.
They decided to look for a grater that could produce consistently excellent shreds, and not just do a little of everything. They rated ease of use, stability and ease of cleaning. They also took into account durability and, of course, performance. The best performing graters shredded soft and hard items easily and with minimal waste.
Their top pick was the Rosle Coarse Grater, which performed excellently in repeated tests and fit nicely over bowls, while still offering stability for hand grating with its rubber feet. It was compact and easy to use (and easy to store), and since the vast majority of shredding that the test kitchen needs is a coarse shred. Their two runners up were the Microplane Specialty Series 4-Sided Box Grater and the Cuisipro 4-Sided Box Grater.
Their previous top choice, the OXO Good Grips Box Grater fell to a “not recommended” thanks to a strange redesign from OXO. The new design added grates that opened both upwards and downwards and made grating messy, and the grater difficult to clean.