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What is the proper way to grate parmesan?

I have many recipes that call for volumes of grated parmesan in portions of a cup (ie. 1/2 cup). There is a big difference in the weight of 1/2 cup parmesan if I grate it with a normal large hole grater versus a microplane versus grating it to a powder in a food processor. Any thoughts on what is the correct method?

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  1. I would pick one and use it as a benchmark. Then if it's too parmesany then you can scale it back.


    1. Stick the microplane. It's easier to grate and blends/melts better...you can always add more.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JVU

        See now to me, I'd have said, I like the bigger chunks for more flavor!! :)

      2. The more, the merrier. Start with the microplane (the food processor will hurt my ears!), then pack it into the cup. Then throw some more on top.
        But, to be serious, an official "cup" of cheese is 4 oz, so your half cup should really be 2 oz. If you're counting.

        1. Im pretty sure that most recipes will mean parm that is grated on the small, rough holes that you find on one side of a box grater. Tiny holes would be okay too. Parm is rarely or never grated on a large hold grater. While a microplane does a great job for sprinkling on top, I read an article recently (Fine Cooking, iirc) that you need more than double the amount to be an equivalent.

          1 Reply
          1. re: coconutz

            I just used my MPG for parm this weekend and it turns out incredible airy and fluffy. I can see you needing a lot more doing it that way.


          2. According to Cook's Illustrated, 1 oz. parmesan cheese grated on the fine holes of a box grater produces 1/2 cup lightly packed; grated on a microplane it will produce 3/4 cup lightly packed.

            1. Go with the microplane...best kitchen gadget invented for a long time

              1 Reply
              1. re: jinet12

                It is a great gadget, but the point is about measuring the Parm, and recipes are just not written using the microplane measures, so your dish will comeo ut with too little Parm unless you adjust.

              2. I think that many recipes were devloped for Parm grated on the small holes of a box grater. Not everyone has a food processor or a microplane, so I think the "standard" is the box grater. This is my jumping-off point, at least: If I'm using the microplane, I grate more, if the food processor, a lot more. I much prefer that recipes give a weight measure for the cheese, but few do.