What is a Parmesan Grater?

Sheri Cyprus

A parmesan grater is a kitchen tool designed for grating parmesan cheese. There are several different styles of parmesan graters. The graters usually have smoother edged holes on one side and rougher edged holes on the other to help lift the parmesan cheese onto the surface of the grater.

A parmesan grater may be used to grate pieces of chocolate.
A parmesan grater may be used to grate pieces of chocolate.

The most basic type of parmesan grater is a flat, paddle-shaped piece of stainless steel. This grater’s holes are often in even rows and the handle may be wooden or metal. The uniform holes produce uniform pieces of grated cheese. These parmesan graters are hand held and can be used at the table to quickly add some freshly grated parmesan cheese to ready to eat dishes such as pasta and salad.

A small bowl of grated Parmesan cheese.
A small bowl of grated Parmesan cheese.

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Another type of hand held parmesan grater is oval-shaped and wooden. It is designed to fit into the palm of the hand. The cheese passes through a metal grater plate on the bottom of the wooden grater.

Some flat parmesan graters come with a fold out stand and a tray to hold the grated cheese. Many of these graters collapse into a neat and fairly flat rectangular shape for storage. Most of the fold out stands have rubber feet to help prevent scratches on countertops.

A rotary parmesan grater has a handle that moves the grating mechanism as it turns. Rotary parmesan graters have a built-in compartment to hold the freshly grated cheese. Rotary cheese graters are also called parmesan mills. Some rotary parmesan graters have a clear compartment so that you can view how much cheese you're grating. Electric parmesan cheese graters make grating cheese easier, but if the parmesan is too hard it can be tough on the motor.

The box style of standing cheese grater can also be used for grating parmesan. This type has four sides with different sized holes on each side. This kind of grater is also ideal for grating vegetables and chocolate. Most of the other styles of parmesan graters can also be used for grating chocolate. Metal is a must for grating parmesan since it's a very hard cheese and will tend to break plastic cheese graters.

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