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Rotary Graters

Love Parmesan cheese but hate grating it? A rotary grater might be for you.


Published Apr. 13, 2020. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 21: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

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What You Need To Know

Rotary graters purportedly make it easier and faster to grate hard cheeses such as Parmesan and pecorino. Some models come with additional inserts that allow you to grate or slice other foods more coarsely as well. To use a rotary grater, you insert the food you want to grate into the hopper and close the lid. With one hand, you press down on the lid so that the food is forced against a rotating drum studded with sharp teeth; with the other hand, you turn a crank, rotating the drum and grating the food. Since we last tested these gadgets, many of the models we examined have been discontinued or redesigned. And, dubious of tools that perform only a few tasks, we wanted to know if we still even liked rotary graters at all. So we tested six models, priced from about $11 to about $55, using them to grate different amounts of Parmesan (1, 2, 4, and 6 ounces)—the food we’d be most likely to grate in a rotary grater.

Rotary Graters Are Safe, Efficient, and Grate Cheese Quickly

As it turned out, we liked the rotary graters a lot. Anyone who’s ever accidentally cut their fingers on a rasp grater knows how painful the experience can be. Rotary graters, on the other hand, make it nearly impossible to injure yourself—because the food is completely enclosed inside the hopper, your fingers never come anywhere near the sharp teeth of the drum. This clever design also means that rotary graters are safe for even children to use. And these graters let you grate Parmesan cheese down very close to the rind without fearing for your hands, so that you can get more out of every piece you buy.

We were also impressed by how well all the rotary graters performed. Each did a good job of finely grating mounds of Parmesan—and in much less time than our favorite rasp-style grater, which is what we’d ordinarily use for the task. On average, the rotary graters took about half a minute to finely grate an ounce of Parmesan; the rasp-style grater took more than twice that, at about 1 minute and 20 seconds. 

Hopper Dimensions and Shred Size Help Determine Speed

Still, a few features made certain graters faster to use than others. The dimensions of the grater’s hopper were critical. The bigger the hopper, the bigger the piece of cheese we could fit in it, speeding up the grating process and requiring us to reload less frequently when grating larger amounts of cheese. The dimensions of the hopper’s bottom opening were particularly important, since they determined how much cheese made contact with the teeth on the rotating drum; here again, larger openings allowed for quicker grating. Bigger hoppers had another advantage: They were easier to load. Smaller hop...

Everything We Tested

Good : 3 stars out of 3.Fair : 2 stars out of 3.Poor : 1 stars out of 3.
*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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Reviews you can trust

Reviews you can trust

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 Bromberg

Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.