HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


Microplane: how do you use yours?

Many people love their microplanes. I don’t have the official microplane, but I own one which looks and performs the same. I bought it for zesting citrus for my baked goods. I was pleasantly surprised by its performance. It cut more efficient and more precise than my previous box grater.

I know it can be used for many things like: cheese, chocolate, carrot, garlic…etc.

I have mostly used it for zesting limes and lemons, and have used it for garlic and ginger once or twice.

What about you? So what do you use your microplane for? Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. At home, I use it primarily for Parmigiano and for garlic. I have used it for ginger a handfull of times, and for apple in Japanese curry.

    At work I use it for everything. Horseradish, garlic, ginger, Parmigiano, citrus zest, chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon and probably other things I'm forgetting.

    I absolutely adore microplanes, one of my favourite kitchen gadgets, if treated well they work so incredibly well.

    1. Like TeRReT, I use mine for garlic and hard Parmesan cheese. For ginger and daikon, I prefer using a Kyocera ceramic grating dish.

      6 Replies
      1. re: tanuki soup

        Terret and Tanuki Soup,

        I have use mine for garlic and ginger, but I felt I have to be very careful because I was holding a very small object and zesting/grinding it very close to sharp blades. How do you guys do it? Any other trick?

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          For garlic, I don't cut off the hard woody part at the base, so I have something to hold onto. I haven't accidentally grated my fingers yet. (Hope I haven't just jinxed myself.)

          Microplane also makes a special attachment for grating little things. Although I have one, I rarely use it.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I also don't cut the stem off, but also just a lot of practice. When i get down to very little i use the flat hand technique, so rather then gripping the garlic i just press with a flat hand so i can't grate the tips of my fingers. The parm is easy with the rind. The microplane doesn't bother me too much.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Also, i only do 1-5 cloves of garlic on a microplane, if its anymore then that then the garlic meets the robocoupe :P

              1. re: TeRReT

                What is a robocoupe? I did a quick search. It looks like a food processor.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  that is correct, when pureeing 20 heads of garlic its much faster then microplane :P

                  But at home if i'm just doing 3 or 4 cloves then I microplane it

          2. I've only used mine for grating fresh nutmeg. Maybe I should branch out!

            1. Parmigiano, garlic, ginger, chocolate, zesting citrus... not all at the same time... The only thing my box grater does better at grating than my microplane is a block of cheddar cheese... and my knuckle skin.

              1 Reply
              1. I have a 2 sided box cutter with microplane cutting edges - one side is for large and the opposite has medium and small cutting edges. The bottom has a plastic holder that snaps in. It's basically replaced my old style box cutter. I use it for cheese, apples, almost anything I want to grate.
                For garlic or ginger. I use a knife for small jobs or a knife and a garlic press for larger jobs. I am very afraid of planing small objects for obvious reasons.

                1. All of the usual uses (hard cheeses, ginger, nutmeg, etc.) but I got mine at a hardware store. It is about ten inches long and has no handle. I place it over the pan or bowl into which I am grating.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: tim irvine


                    Microplane makes kitchenware and woodworking tools. I wonder if yours is a woodworking tools:



                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I don't know about woodworking tools, but the first microplane I got was in a kitchen supply store had no handle as it was much cheaper then with the handle. About 1/3 of the ones i've used in restaurants have had no handle, and most are the narrow ones. I have a wider one at home now which i love and for the horseradish at the oyster bar at work we have the wide one as well. Also have a tiny baby one for nutmeg with a container underneath to catch it :P

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I think it is. I got it about 20 years ago.

                        1. re: tim irvine

                          :) 20 years ago Microplane only has the woodworking division. The whole kitchen thing is an accidental incident.

                          "It started out in 1990, merely as a new type of woodworking tool. The Microplane® rasp was first invented in 1990 by brothers Richard and Jeff Grace ...."

                          ".. The big moment came in 1994, when Lorraine Lee, a homemaker in Ottawa, Canada, was making an Armenian orange cake. Out of frustration with her old grater, she picked up a new tool her husband, Leonard, had brought home from their hardware store, Lee Valley Tools. She slid the orange across its blades and was amazed. Lacy shards of zest fell from its surface like snowflakes. The Lees marveled at the tool, ate the cake, then promptly changed the product description in their catalogue. The Microplane® grater had earned permanent space in the kitchen...."

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Well then I must have gotten it in the. 90s because I remember someone had told me about using them for cooking purposes. My first use was actually ginger. Thanks for the history season!

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              really? lee valley? i love lee valley! they have cheap sharpening stones there too :P

                              1. re: TeRReT


                                Yeah. Here is the link for the story:


                                It certainly makes for a nice story, doesn't it?

                                Microplane, the woodworking tool, was accidentally discovered as a kitchen grater/zester by none other than the Lee family -- owners of the Lee Valley Tools.

                      2. I have a couple different ones, I use them for zest, garlic, ginger, hard cheese, chocolate, stick cinnamon. I have a nutmeg grinder so I don't use them for that.

                        1. I have one like you do, and a microplane as well. I like that the microplane actually grates items into a finer texture than what you have. I use your device for grating hard cheese over a pasta dish (parmigiano or grana padana), but I reserve the microplane for ginger and large quantities of parmigiano when needed in a dish like Carbonara sauces. I also use the microplane for zesting citrus.

                          1. Look like everyone uses his/her microplane much more extensive than I do. I am looking forward to use mine for broader applications.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              In addition to what others have used it for pulping tomatoes and to grate chorizo and serrano.

                            2. I would not part with my 4-sided Microplane box grater. I use it for everything/anything requiring grating or zesting. It's incredibly sharp which is a huge plus, but it requires great care in using. After skinning a knuckle, I am now the proud owner of the Microplane protective glove that I use with the grater!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: josephnl

                                Everyone talks about skinning a knuckle. This sounds very scary.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  You learn quickly not to do it again though :)

                                  1. re: TeRReT

                                    Sigh--I must be the slowest learner in the world then, but not with my microplaner, but the mandoline. It's a very effective skin slicer.

                                    1. re: pine time

                                      mandoline has a much steeper learning curve then microplane :P

                              2. I use mine for hard cheeses and even some softer ones, citrus zest, garlic, onion and ginger when I want to puree a small quantity , hard root vegetables when I want some color but not a lot of texture from the vegetable. Also nutmeg and chocolate. I'm I leaving something out?

                                It's one of my favorite tools besides my knives. I use it at least several times a week.