Cheese Grater Alternatives

Cheese adds great flavor to many dishes, from pizza and pasta to tacos and salads.

Cheese Grater Alternatives

Having freshly grated cheese can really elevate the taste and texture of your recipes.

But what if you don't have a cheese grater? Don't worry - there are plenty of ways to grate cheese without a cheese grater!

Why Grate Your Own Cheese?

Here are some of the key benefits of shredding your own cheese rather than buying pre-shredded:

  • Better melting. Pre-shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents that inhibit proper melting. Freshly grated cheese melts smoothly for better texture.
  • More affordable. Pre-shredded cheese can cost significantly more than a block of the same cheese. Grating it yourself saves money.
  • No added ingredients. Pre-shredded cheese contains preservatives and anti-caking agents. Grating your own avoids these unnecessary additives.
  • Fresher flavor. The flavor and aroma of freshly shredded cheese is markedly better than pre-packaged.
  • Customize shred size. Grate cheese into the size you need for the recipe, from fine shreds to chunky grates.

Key Takeaway: Grating your own cheese at home results in better flavor, texture, and affordability compared to buying pre-shredded cheese.

Cheese Grater Alternatives

If you don't have a box grater or handheld grater, don't worry! Here are 12 common kitchen tools you can use to shred cheese:

1. Food Processor

A food processor equipped with a shredding or grating attachment is one of the easiest ways to shred cheese without a grater.

  • Use the slicing/shredding disc that comes with most food processors. This usually allows you to choose fine or medium shreds.
  • Cut cheese into chunks that fit through the feed tube. Process until shredded to desired consistency.

2. Mandoline

A mandoline slicer with julienne and grating attachments can finely shred cheeses.

  • Use the grater attachment for hard cheeses like parmesan.
  • For softer cheeses like cheddar or mozzarella, use the julienne setting and then chop shreds smaller.

3. Box Grater

If you don't have a cheese grater, a box grater with large holes can work.

  • Grate in a back and forth motion over the large holes. Use firm pressure.
  • Best for hard cheeses like parmesan that grate into fine particles rather than long shreds.

4. Lemon Zester

A handheld zester or Microplane can finely grate hard cheeses.

  • Work over a cutting board or bowl to catch shreds.
  • Grate in a back and forth motion, applying light pressure.

5. Cheese Plane/Slicer

A cheese plane can slice off thin layers that can then be cut into shreds.

  • Use short, quick motions and moderate pressure to shave off thin slices.
  • Stack slices and cut crosswise into matchstick shapes to make shreds.

6. Vegetable Peeler

Use the blade of a swivel vegetable peeler to make cheese shreds.

  • Make sure the peeler blade is very sharp for clean cuts.
  • Carefully shave off thin slices, then stack and cut into matchsticks.

7. Knife

With a very sharp chef's knife, you can hand cut cheese into shreds.

  • Carefully cut thin slices off the block.
  • Stack slices and cut into matchstick strips to make shreds.

8. Cheese Grater Gloves

Special cut-proof gloves allow you to safely grate cheese with a box grater.

  • Provides protection when grating a full block of cheese by hand.
  • Look for ambidextrous gloves with cut-resistant mesh material.

9. Rotary Cheese Grater

A rotary or electric grater gives fast, consistent shreds without shredding your fingers.

  • Choose cylindrical or conical graters that allow you to grate with a handle, not your hands.
  • Requires electricity, but very easy and safe to operate.

10. Salad Shooter

Salad shooter appliances have conical drums with grater blades to shred vegetables and cheese.

  • Rotate cheese around drum while maintaining light pressure.
  • Catches shreds in container below shooter—no mess.

11. Cheese Grating Discs

Shredding discs designed specifically for cheese can be used with a food processor or mandoline.

  • Check that diameter fits appliance you want to use it with.
  • Offers customized grating with slots sized for soft, hard, or dry cheese.

12. Vegetable Chopper

A hand-powered vegetable chopper can also shred softer cheeses like mozzarella.

  • Choose chopper plates with large grate-like holes.
  • May require multiple passes at different angles.

Key Takeaway: From food processors to vegetable peelers, there are many common kitchen tools that can be used to shred cheese if you don't have a grater.

Tips for Grating Different Cheeses

The texture of the cheese matters when it comes to shredding without a grater. Here are some tips:

  • Soft cheeses: Refrigerate until chilled and firm before shredding. The cold temperature helps prevent mushy shreds.
  • Semi-soft cheeses: Also chill slightly for cleaner cuts, but allow to warm up slightly before grating if too firm from fridge.
  • Semi-hard cheeses: Room temperature is ideal. If chilled, let sit out briefly to soften for easier shredding.
  • Hard cheeses: Grate cold right out of the fridge for a fine, powdery texture. If too firm, allow to warm up for 10 minutes before grating.
  • Crumbly cheeses: Break off pieces and grate gently using a Microplane or by rubbing pieces together.

Key Takeaway: Chilling softer cheeses and warming harder cheeses helps achieve the ideal texture for clean, consistent shreds.

Best Cheeses for Shredding

You'll get the best shreds from cheeses that have some firmness but aren't too brittle. Here are good options:

  • Cheddar
  • Monterey Jack
  • Mozzarella
  • Provolone
  • Swiss
  • Parmesan
  • Pecorino Romano
  • Gruyère
  • Gouda
  • Asiago
  • Manchego

Soft fresh cheeses like ricotta, cottage cheese, goat cheese, or brie will not shred well. Avoid crumbly cheeses like feta too.

For a beautifully melty pizza or lasagna, a blend of mozzarella and parmesan is perfect. Tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas taste great with a Mexican cheese blend of Monterey jack, cheddar, and queso.

Key Takeaway: Aim for semi-hard cheeses that are firm but not crumbly. Soft fresh cheeses won't shred well.


How can I shred mozzarella cheese without a grater?

For best results, start with cold mozzarella straight from the fridge. Use a food processor or mandoline with the julienne blade to slice the chilled mozzarella into long thin strips. Then roughly chop the strips a few times to make short shreds. Work quickly before the mozzarella warms up and softens.

What's the best way to shred hard parmesan cheese without a grater?

For parmesan, you can use the rough side of a box grater or a lemon zester to grate it into a fine powdery texture. A Microplane or rotary grater also works very well for harder cheeses like parmesan. Grate cold parmesan right out of the refrigerator for easiest shredding.

Can you shred crumbly cheese like feta without an actual cheese grater?

It's tricky to finely shred very soft or crumbly cheeses like feta. The best way is to break the cheese into small chunks and grate gently using a zester or Microplane. Don't try to shred down to the rind. The small crumbles you get from gentle zesting will work well sprinkled over salads, pasta, and other dishes.


While specialized cheese graters are handy, a variety of common kitchen tools can shred cheese in a pinch. From food processors to vegetable peelers, you can improvise ways to freshly grate cheese for your recipes.

Pay attention to cheese textures, chilling softer varieties and warming harder ones. Stick to semi-hard cheeses that grate well, like cheddar, Monterey jack, gouda, and parmesan. With the right cheese and technique, you'll get perfect shreds every time.

Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀
Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀

I'm a total cheese fanatic! When I'm not busy studying to be a cheesemaker, you can find me scouring local farmers markets and specialty shops for new and exciting cheeses to try. Brie is my all-time fave, but I also love exploring aged goudas, funky blues, and rich creamy camemberts. Looking forward to sharing lots of melty, gooey cheese pics and reviews!