If you love cheese (and who doesn’t?), cheese graters are one of those kitchen utensils you have to have in your home. I can’t think of a single recipe that wouldn’t be awesome with some shredded cheese on top (okay, maybe there are a lot, but you know what I mean). But if you can’t be bothered to get a cheese grater, you can still get your cheese fix. Today, I’ll show you how to grate cheese without a grater, using things you already have in your home.
Method 1: Use a Knife!
The easiest way of grating cheese without a cheese grater is to use a kitchen knife or chef knife. Just make sure it’s perfectly sharp (we recommend using an electric knife sharpener) and you’re good to go.
Lay the cheese block on your cutting board. Make sure they won’t move on your counter. Then, go in with your sharp knife and cut the block of cheese into thin slices. Lastly, cut those thin slices into smaller strips of cheese.
Method 2: Use Your Cheese Slicer (or Vegetable Peeler)
Another way of grating cheese without a grater is by using a cheese slicer. If you’re a cheese connoisseur, you may already have this utensil in your kitchen drawer. Use it on the corner of your block of cheese to get shreds of cheese. You could also run the slicer down the length of your cheese block and then cut those cheese strips into thin shreds.
Alternatively, you can use a vegetable peeler for the same effect. Just make sure the blade is sharp and clean.
Method 3: Dust Off Your Zester
A lemon zester can also be used to shred cheese. This method is perfect for hard cheeses, such as parmesan cheese. Simply zest the cheese as if it were a lemon or an orange carefully. It will give your shreds of cheese a powder-like consistency, perfect to top risottos and other decadent Italian dishes.
Method 4: Use a Vegetable Chopper
A vegetable chopper can also work as a great cheese grater! Admittedly, it works best on softer and semi-hard cheeses, such as mozzarella and cheddar. But you can also try to shred hard, cured cheeses if your vegetable chopper is pretty sturdy!
Get your cutting board and chop the block of cheese you want to shred into smaller pieces that can fit in the vegetable chopper. Choose the plates for your chopper—we recommend going with a plate that resembles the texture of a cheese grater. Then, place your pieces of cheese in the chopper and press the cutting lid down on it. Depending on the plate you chose, you may have to repeat this process a few times at different angles, but you’ll have shredded cheese in no time!
Method 5: Harness the Power of a Food Processor
We’ve saved the easiest, most effective method for last: using food processors as cheese graters. If you already have a good food processor at home, you can save yourself the time and trouble of trying the other methods we’ve outlined here. Food processors are incredibly easy to use and, in this case, the most effective at grating cheese!
The first thing you need to do is get your food processor shredding disk. You’ll attach it to the top of the blade insert and then close the food processor lid. Make sure it’s locked in place. Then, cut your block into cheese cubes that can fit through the chute. Turn on the food processor and feed the cheese cubes through the tube, using the food pusher as you go.
You should be able to grate your cheese in less than a minute following this method. Luckily, it works for harder cheeses, softer cheeses, and everything in between.
Pro Tips: How to Grate Cheese Without a Cheese Grater, But Better
Using any of these five methods, you’ll get grated cheese in no time without having to invest in a quality cheese grater. To make things even easier, I’m including just three more hacks for you to try the next time you head into the kitchen.
Pick the Right Kind of Cheese
Half the battle of grating your own cheese is picking the right kind of cheese. Not all cheeses shred well. For instance, soft, mushy cheeses (such as camembert and fresh mozzarella) won’t give you great shreds. That’s because they either have too much fat or too much water to shred easily. You can still enjoy them, of course, but you’d be better off just slicing them and adding them to your food. Stick to semi-hard or hard, cured cheeses.
And here’s something you probably didn’t know: parmesan cheese can shred itself. Get two pieces of parmesan cheese, rub the two together with some vigor, and watch as snow-like shreds fall to your cutting board. Pretty neat, right?
Chill Soft and Semi-Hard Cheeses
If you do want to grate cheese that’s much softer than your block of parmesan cheese, leave it in the freezer for up to thirty minutes. This will firm up the cheese and make it easier for you to grate it. Plus, when soft cheese is firmer, it doesn’t gunk up whatever kitchen utensil you’re using to grate it.
Grease Blades Before Shredding
Lastly, if you’ve had a hard time in the past grating cheese because it always stuck everywhere, it might be a good idea to grease the blades. Use cooking spray on your knife or grating disk to prevent the shreds of cheese from sticking to it. You don’t have to use much: just make sure the cutting surfaces are evenly coated.