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How to grate cheese without a grater

Discover the secrets for how to grate cheese without a grater in this article below! Believe it or not, you can grate cheese without a cheese grater. You can grate different types of cheeses in this way, effectively turning any cheese into grated cheese whenever you wish.

Whether you’re making tacos or an Italian feast, grated cheese will add the flavors you need. But what do you do when you’re in the middle of cooking and realize you don’t have any shredded cheese and you don’t own a cheese grater?

The simple solution of course is to grate it yourself. If you don’t own a cheese grater though, what can you use to make it happen?

cutting board with grated cheese, box grater and a Microplane

Benefits of Grating Your Cheese

Of course, it’s easier to open up a bag of shredded cheese and call it a day. However, you may want to reconsider buying grated cheeses of any kind in favor of the benefits of grating your own cheese.

You’ll get smoother melting when using freshly grated cheese.

Have you ever taken a real look at the ingredients on grated or shredded cheese? When you buy those pre-shredded or pre-grated cheeses, you’re getting a little more than just cheese.

You’re getting a bunch of preservatives. Often, it’s cellulose, which is added to extend shelf life and prevent cheese from clumping inside the bag and look more appetizing.

And while it’s nice you won’t buy a bag of clumped-together cheese, those additives keep it from really getting melty the way cheese should melt. So, when you grate the cheese yourself, that pure cheese comes out with a smoother texture and it will taste so much better.

It’s cheaper to grate your own cheese.

The next time you’re at the supermarket, take a look at the blocks of cheese and the bags of pre-grated cheese. Look at the weight for the bag as well as for the block. Most standard sizes are 8 ounces for both. However, the price is significantly higher for pre-shredded cheese.

Sure, it is time-consuming, and buying pre-grated cheese saves you time. When you take a block of cheese and shred it yourself, you’ll wind up with more cheese. If you want to get more for your money, buy your cheese in a block and shred it at home.

Grated cheese is healthier and tastes better.

We touched on the taste a bit with the meltiness. But freshly-grated cheese doesn’t have those added preservatives which means the cheese you grate yourself will be much healthier.

If you’re looking to eat more healthfully, choosing to grate your cheese is a step in the right direction. Besides, grating cheese yourself helps those arm muscles, another bonus!

How to Grate Cheese Without a Grater

Now that you know why grating your cheese is better, you’re probably wondering how you go about doing that without a cheese shredder. Glad you asked! There are plenty of other ways to do it, read all our tips on how to grate cheese without grater.

Here are the best methods of grating cheese when you have no grater to make it happen!

1. Use a Food Processor.

If your food processor has a grating plate, you’re in business. Most food processors come with some kind of shredding attachment like a shredding disk for slicing and grating. So, if yours does, you can shred cheese in food processor using this super-quick way.

With your food processor, you will probably have options for fine and medium shredding. You can simply choose which one you’d like, attach the grating disk to your food processor and have a ball making homemade grated cheese.

Depending on the model of food processor you own, you may need to chop your block of cheese into smaller pieces or long rectangular shapes. Then you can carefully stick those pieces in and have the food processor do all the hard work for you.

The only downside is there will be more to clean up, but on the plus side, you don’t have to wonder how to shred cheese without a grater anymore and will have your grated cheese lightning-quick.

2. Grab a Zester or a Microplane

Perhaps you’ve got a lemon zester or a Microplane lying in your kitchen. Maybe it was a wedding gift that you shoved in your kitchen drawer and forgot about. If you’ve got a zester, you can make finely-grated cheese. It is as simple to use as a grater. All you do is hold it and grate the cheese along the zester’s grating.

3. Use box grater.

This is the best method of shredding your cheese. Gather cheese and a box grater with larger holes. Place it over the surface of your chopping board. Remove any wrappers from your cheese block if they are not already pre-cut into manageable pieces.

Shred cheese using firm pressure until all large pieces have been completely grated and you are left with a pile of fluffy cheese in front of you.

4. Chop with a Knife

No fancy kitchen gadgets? No problem! Make sure you have a sharp knife and you’re good to go. You should make sure your cheese is cold, right from the fridge. Then you can cut off thin slices or smaller thin strips of cheese from your block.

You’ll then chop the thin slice into small cheese cubes like you would do to make matchstick carrots. You will end up with thin shreds to use in your recipes. It’s a long process, but it gives you solid results that can help you evenly distribute pure cheesy goodness into your dishes.

5. Use a Vegetable Peeler or Cheese Slicer

If using a sharp knife sounds a bit too drawn out for you, you can do it with a vegetable peeler or a cheese slicer.

For those that love creating cheese trays and charcuterie, you may have a cheese slicer somewhere in the kitchen. You can use it on the corner of the block to make grated cheese.

Your vegetable peeler works quite the same way. It might even be quicker and easier, though it’s important that it is clean. You surely don’t want remnants of potato peels gumming up the works.

6. Try a Vegetable Chopper

Do you have a vegetable chopper? That kitchen gadget can be your cheese grater in a pinch. It is best for semi-hard and softer varieties of cheeses though a well-built vegetable chopper can handle anything harder than that.

You’ll still need to cut up your block of cheese so it will fit into this kitchen tool. You’ll also need to pick the right plate for your vegetable chopper. The one that looks most like a grater would be best. You can then put the cheese into the chopper and press the lid down.

One thing about this method is it may that multiple passes at different angles to get that shredded cheese. But it works quite well and once you get into a rhythm, you’ll be great at this.

Tips on Grating Soft vs Hard Cheese

When it comes to cheese, there are hundreds of different kinds. Some are softer cheeses, some are semi-soft or semi-hard cheeses. Some are semi-hard, and of course, there are hard ones too. They all have different textures that you’ll have to keep in mind when you want to shred them yourself.

Grating soft cheese poses a bit of a problem because it will mush onto the grater. And naturally, if you have no cheese grater, it will mush all over anything else you use. So, how do you grate soft cheeses?

There’s one very simple solution to grating soft cheeses. All you need to do is put it in your freezer for about 15 minutes. But please, do yourself a favor and set a timer. If you get busy in the kitchen taking care of all the other prep work for a recipe, chances are you could forget that you put your soft cheese in there. Then you’ll have a dinner disaster.

Firmer cheeses and harder cheeses like cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese are easy to work with when it comes to the grating. Even the hard cheeses work well, though if it’s really hard out of the fridge, let it sit out for about 15 minutes. It should be much easier to work with after that.

When using your zester, or when you finally get that grater, you can also make cleanup a breeze by spritzing just a little oil or cooking spray onto the surface of whatever you’re using. This keeps the cheese from sticking to the surface.

Tips For Grating Cheese

Naturally, you might be wondering if you can save yourself the hassle for the next time you need grated cheese. One surefire way would be to buy one of these cute cheese graters so you’re not caught out. However, even if you have one, you’ll still be grating away for the next recipe.

There is a solution you can try which beats using those pre-grated bags. You can add a little flour or corn starch in with your extra grated cheese, remove the air from the bag, and pop it into the freezer. It’s best you don’t keep it this way for too long (about a month is long enough), but it can save you oodles of prep time ahead.

That’s a great trick for grating when you have a block of cheese but you don’t need as much cheese. Why not just grate it up and have it ready to go?

For either flour or cornstarch though, only a little bit is necessary to keep the cheese from becoming clumpy after grating.

What Can You Do with Grated Cheese?

The sky really is the limit when it comes to using your grated cheese. But certain cheeses bode better in particular dishes than others. For example, cheddar is fairly universal.

You can use it in Mexican dishes like tacos, enchiladas, and burritos. It goes great on top of baked potatoes or can help you make grilled cheese sandwiches in a pinch.

But grated cheddar feels quite out of place in Italian cuisine. That’s where mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan work best though. Knowing a bit about how your cheeses taste can help you decide for which meals they’d be the best match.


How to grate parmesan cheese without a grater?

Using the finest side of the box grater, rub the cheese over the holes until all that comes out is powder. If cheese is too dry some pieces won’t grate well and will need to be re-grated.

How to shred mozzarella?

Buy a whole ball of mozzarella. Use a food processor or box grater to grate the mozzarella into very fine pieces to use in the recipes.

Can You Grate Crumbly Cheese?

Feta and cotija are definitely softer cheeses with a crumbly texture. However, Parmigiano Reggiano is an aged cheese that has a crumbly grainy texture. This makes it difficult to grate, just like softer crumbles of cheese. For cheeses like these, you can break off a couple of pieces and then rub them together. In doing so, the cheese pieces will help grate themselves in a way, and you’ll have the desired effect.


While it’s easy to buy a bag of pre-grated cheese, it’s never as good as grating it yourself. By grating your own cheese, you’ll save money and get better flavors. But if you don’t have a grater in your kitchen, there are other ways to grate a block of cheese yourself.

Now that you know what you can use, you’ll be able to grate all your cheeses from the block and create culinary masterpieces in your kitchen!

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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