Want the best grater? Look for the stamp of approval.
Published Jan. 13, 2020. Appears in Cook's Country TV Season 14: Pork, Peaches, and Potatoes
The shredding disk of a good food processor can make quick work of shredding a pile of vegetables or a block of cheese, but we like to keep a grater on hand for smaller shredding jobs or for those times when we don’t want to drag out a big machine. It had been a while since we last tested these basic kitchen tools, and we wanted to know if our favorite, the Rösle Coarse Grater, still held up to the competition. So we bought eight products, priced from about $9.50 to about $36.00, and put them to the test, using them to shred soft and hard cheeses, potatoes, and carrots. Two models (including the Rösle model) were paddle-style graters, one model was two-sided, and the other five models were standard box graters. For testing, we focused on the large-holed side of the graters, since this is the side we use for shredding.
While all the graters worked, a few factors made certain models shred food more quickly, more safely, and with less waste than others. The type of teeth each grater had was critical. Teeth are formed when holes are made in the grater surface in one of two ways. The holes can be stamped, or punched out of a thick, rigid sheet of metal, forming teeth that rise relatively high above the grating surface and are sharpened in a separate step by the manufacturer. Or the holes can be etched, the pattern of the holes printed photographically onto a thinner, more flexible sheet of metal, and then selectively eroded by chemicals. After the holes have been etched, the teeth are pushed up by a machine. These etched teeth sit at a lower angle to the grating surface than those on stamped models; there’s no need to sharpen them, since the etching process makes them very keen.
Stamped and etched graters alike did a decent job of shredding cheddar cheese, potatoes, and carrots. The main difference was how thickly they shredded that food—stamped graters made thicker shreds than etched graters. Curious if the shred size made a difference in cooking, we made latkes and carrot cakes with the thickest and thinnest shreds; while the textures of the finished products varied slightly, all were acceptable.
In general, however, we preferred graters with stamped teeth. Because stamped teeth usually jut out higher above the grating surface, they provide more clearance for food to pass through. Etched teeth, by contrast, sit lower on the grating plane, creating narrower openings in which food is more likely to get stuck, making your food skid dangerously as you’re shredding and taking extra time to clear. Graters with stamped teeth also shred soft, malleable foods such as mozzarella more safely and co...
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.