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Microplane - Issues Grating Parmesan

  • b

This past weekend, I was trying to grate a pile of parm using my Microplane (Classic Zester/grater, I believe) and had a heck of a tough time. It took me nearly 10 minutes and some serious elbow grease to grate ~2 ounces of cheese.

Do I need something more coarse? Is the gourmet/professional series any better? For the record, this thing works just fine for citrus zest and cinnamon. Nutmeg can also be troublesome. I can't imagine the thing is dull...I doubt I've used it 50 times.

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  1. The problem here is quantity. They're really best for zesting, garlic, and serving size amounts of parm or other hard cheeses. For nutmeg, get a proper nutmeg grater or use an old school grater that would work way better+faster for a pile of parm. It's a grate tool(couldn't resist)but doesn't do everything well.

    1. I'm so glad to realize I'm not the only one who has a hard time grating p-r with the Microplane. I hate it. I can't believe people are so wowed by this thing. It's literally a knuckle buster: I've drawn blood several times.

      I bought it for grating lemon zest originally, which is also not a load of fun, but I never have to grate as much zest as I do cheese. It's too bad, as I like the size it grates the cheese.

      I've gone back to using my box grater.

      I wonder: do you have a problem using a mandoline, also? I've never liked using those, either. I'm always afraid I'm going to slice off a piece of me.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Jay F

        I was terrified by a chirpy sales person at a cookware shop in Toronto pre-Xmas who was pushing a lethal-looking mandoline as superior to a well-accessorized KA food processor. Wondering now if the customer bought it and ended up in an ER Xmas morning minus finger tips.

        I have the old MP design minus handle like it did when it emerged from woodworking tool stores. Like that design over the newer version. They're really not a substitute for a box grater. Over Xmas I got a new old-style all-metal Italian rotary grater that's near-perfect for parm--no big surprise!

        1. re: Kagemusha

          I also use an all-metal Italian rotary grater, but I recently saw a plastic Micro Plane version of the rotary grater. I haven't seen it in person and have no idea how well it works, but it seems like it should be ideal for parm and ramano, especially if you grate large quantities like I do. I grate about a half a kg at a time and store it in a large glass jar, ready for use. The Micro Plane is so sharp, it would seem that a rotary grater version should go through these cheeses like butter.

        2. re: Jay F

          I just got a mandoline for Christmas (Oxo) and haven't taken it for a test drive. I can't wait to try it, though.

          1. re: Jay F

            I have the microplane rasp size one and also, now, the microplane box grater, which is great for bigger jobs, like when you need a pile of shredded cheddar or parm. I like it so much, I gave 5 as Christmas gifts this year. Sadly, I cannot find it for less than $35 .. but, you can order it from BB & Beyond and use your 20% off coupons.

            I have the Benriner mandolin and would never use it w/out my cut-resistant glove...I even use it at times with the box grater because I have managed to draw some blood doing that, too. Let me know if you want to know where I ordered mine. I see that microplane now sells one, too.

            1. re: walker

              I never thought of using a glove with a mandoline, but now that you mention it, I think I did use to see that during the '80s. I'll hold off on getting one now, but where did you get it?

              1. re: Jay F

                This is where I got my glove:


                It was about $25 and free shipping, don't know if that's the same price. (They tell you how to measure your hand to get the right size.


                http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/produ... This is the microplane one from BB & B and it's $14.95, one size fits all.

          2. Microplane comes in different grating sizes. I've used the same one for citrus zest for grating hard cheeses if I want a very fine feathery grating. It should not take 10 minutes and serious elbow power to grate 2 ounces. I have mine for over 5 years and is still very sharp. Is your cheese too hard? I prefer a coarser grating of cheese, so I mostly use the next coarser plane.

            1. I use the box grater. The microplane is better for garlic, citrus zest and nutmeg.

              1. Do you have the long and skinny one? Mine's a paddle. Have had it for the past 3 years and is still going strong. Absolutely a dream when grating PC. If it ever breaks I'll be a repeat customer. Can't live without mine.

                I can see someone complaining about the cheese coming out too fine. Do you think it's a problem?

                1 Reply
                1. re: cutipie721

                  Mine looks like a paddle, too. Here's a pic. It's the second one in from the right, with many tiny rasps.

                2. Ditto what other's have said: there are different grating sizes on microplanes. For parmesan, I use a microplane similar to this one: http://www.oxo.com/p-541-pro-hand-hel..., which has a coarser surface than what I use for zesting citrus, etc.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: masha

                    Agree with this - I have 2 microplane graters, both paddle shaped. One has very fine teeth and is marked for citrus rinds, ginger and garlic, and one is not so fine and marked for cheese and chocolate.

                    1. re: serah

                      I recent got a coarse microplane grater and very much like the way it works for parmesan cheese. It works better if you immobilize the cheese and move the plane back and forth. some grating problems are caused by manipulating two items in midair.

                      My old fine toothed plane is just for zesting and ginger now. We use the food processor if multiple cups of grated cheese are needed.

                      Still vainly searching for a cheese implement we saw in Parma tho - the b&b we stayed at there offered its parmigiano with a file like tool that easily took nice big ribbons off the cheese.

                  2. I remember reading in Cook's Illustrated about grating Parmesan cheese on Microplanes. They said that the cheese comes out very fine and fluffy when you use a Microplane. So, they recommended that you double (I think) the amount of cheese called for. Personally, I only grate Parm on the Microplane when I'm garnishing a plate of pasta. If I need any greater amount, I use a regular box grater.

                    I do love the Microplane for citrus zest, garlic and ginger, though.

                    1. I haven't tried my Oxo box grater, for whatever reason. I guess I'll have to give that a shot and if nothing else, get a more coarse Microplane (in the paddle type).

                      Thanks, everybody.

                      1. See mikie's post regarding the metal rotary grater - I have one too and love it. My friend bought the plastic version and hated it. As for grating anything with the long skinny microplane, put it down flat on a piece of waxed paper or similar, and hold it there while grating, removing your grated material periodically, of course. I just learned this from watching Alton Brown and it works like a charm. Ten times easier than holding it up above the surface that is doing the "catching."

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                          I usually just put it flat over a bowl, which I did in this case. Still, I was getting next to no progress.

                          I'll have to look at the rotary graters.

                        2. I like the fact that the microplane makes a cloud of parmesan, but when I need a quantity I either use the box grater or slice it thick and throw it in the big Cuisinart FP. But most of the time, I just serve a chunk of parmesan and/or romano at the table with a small grater and everyone does their own.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: escondido123

                            Using a food processor with a grating disk is the best way I've found to grate Parmesan in quantity. I use a Cuisinart DLC-835 grating disk for my older Cuisinart. It goes through hard cheeses like a buzz saw.

                            Amazon reference:

                          2. For larger amounts i use my FP, for very small amounts my Mircoplane, and for medium amounts the rotary kind. I have never had a problem with Nutmeg on the Microplane, and love it for grating small amounts of onion. I think small amounts is the key word.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Mother of four

                              Ditto for large and small, but for medium amounts I use a miniature Cuisinart someone gave me years ago. Works great for cheeses, nuts, shallots, herbs, etc, and has about 3/4 cup capacity.

                            2. I've found the Microplane teeth flatten over time, depending on use (e.g. hard cheeses, dragging foods on the upstroke, etc). Tried pushing the teeth back out, without luck. Now, just use the skinny one (1" wide) for zesting fruit and bought a Microplane Course grater for hard cheeses. Am now more careful not to push down too hard, esp on the upstroke, and seems to work.