HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


The Microplane: What's So Great?

I hear people raving about microplanes all the time, and I almost feel like I'm missing out. Thing is, I've already got two mini-box graters and wonder how the microplane would be an improvement over them. Perhaps a pack o' Hounds can sell me on the desirability.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. My box grater is a standard size and honestly I only use the industry shred size holes for when I have a large qty of food to shred up. The other 3 sides look brand new.

    I like the ease in hand of a microplane for starters. The holes come in a variety of sizes for all sorts of jobs. Clean up is quicker than a box grater. It's a tool I can throw in my bag. So, I'm more likely to pack a microplane with me for a party to grate chocolate shavings or cheese on a dish I've prepared rather than at home. I wouldn't use a microplane for the jobs a box grater does well but they have a solid place in my gadget drawer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: HillJ

      Agree w/ everything HillJ said. I don't think there's any better tool for zesting citrus, or getting a fine grate on ginger or for finishing with parmesan cheese. Box graters just don't have small enough "holes" for those tasks.

      I lived w/ my mom for a short while and the first thing she asked for after I moved out was a microplane of her own since she loved mine so much.

    2. Hi, PK:

      I use both, but only because I haven't purchased enough microplanes.

      I like the latter because they're unbelievably sharp, ergonomic, stow easily, come with guards, and are a bit easier to clean. They're also easier for me to use grating things into or onto a prep, rather than onto a paper towel, etc.

      The jury's still out on their longevity, because the steel of which they're made is somewhat thin. One of their health products, the "Ped Egg" does dull faster than I'd expected.


      3 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        I totally forgot about the PedEgg... that thing is awesome, except yes, it does dull pretty fast.

        1. re: kaleokahu

          The Ped Egg is not put out by microplane. It is a copy and yes, dulls fast.

          Microplane came out first with (and still carries) their foot file.


          1. re: kaleokahu

            They do go dull eventually, but you'll have gotten a lot of use out of them before that happens.

          2. For zesting citrus it is simply the best. Releases tons of oils, adding much more flavor and scent - and much less bitter white pitch.

            And my husband loves it when I use it to grate pecorino - he says it makes it like snow, it is so light and fluffy, a great topping.

            1 Reply
            1. re: happybaker

              it earns its rent space for this use alone, even if I never used it for anything else. Love my microplane(s)

            2. As others said, can't beat a microplane for zesting lemons, oranges and such. Does a great job on ginger, and also for angel-fine grating Parmesan Cheese.

              On the other hand, I use the large holes on my box grater for making Parmesan Crisps. Nothing works better for that. The other sides of my box grater never get used. Zesting fruit isn't as good because it sticks too much in the box grater.

              Microplaning orange (Rhubarb Upside Down Cake)
              Microplaning ginger (Hermits)
              Box grater (Parmesan Crisps)

              1. Y'all are making a strong case and winning me over.

                21 Replies
                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  There was a thread about 4- 5 months ago about grating nutmeg. Chowhounds like HillJ and a few others extolled the results from a microplane, above and beyond your basic, tempermental nutmeg grinder (never used one of those, either). I ran out and bought a microplane, but I'll have to let you know closer to Christmas how I like it. I bought it for the exclusive job of grating nutmeg for our homemade eggnog. I'll get back to you on that!

                  1. re: Florida Hound

                    Hold on there friend, you are waiting until December to use your microplane? Now I know I didn't extoll the virtues of waiting a year to use a gadget....

                    I'm not much of a gadget pusher am I...12 months..geesh!

                    1. re: HillJ

                      I just took delivery today of my new cloud-based computer and can't figure out how to post the recent nutmeg thread. Please give it.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          Hill, NO ONE has ever accused me of THAT :) Thanks for the link. I'm probably too old for this technology but former CH Alan Barnes has been walking me through the process.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            You'll get it. We use a cloud-based setup for our music collection; about three years now.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              Whatever happened to Alan Barnes anyway?!!

                              P.S. I love my microplane... as others have said its the #1 tool for zesting citrus, finely grated parm, ginger,chocolate, etc.

                              1. re: lynnlato

                                I never thought about chocolate but then it's not an ingredient I use very often. But I'm thinking of possibilities.

                                He got tired of it here. Just that simple.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I don't use chocolate, as an ingredient, very often either.

                                  Glad to know AB just moved on and is well. I still miss Sam and some of the others from "back in the day".

                      1. re: Florida Hound

                        It's FABULOUS for nutmeg. Can't believe I forgot to list that amongst my loves.

                        If you don't want to wait until the holidays to try it, maybe make a cream sauce or fresh spinach and grate just a bit of nutmeg in to test?

                        Enjoy your new toy!

                        1. re: happybaker

                          Or FL Hound how about trying your microplane out on something else until you make eggnog. Like a hard cheese cheese, raw garlic, chocolate shavings, etc. Nothing like breaking in a new toy!

                          1. re: HillJ

                            A community of concern- it does my heart good. I will have to try the microplane on some cheese.
                            Oh- late report... My wife tells me she did use it to shred some cheddar cheese about a month ago (who knew?). Her illuminating report: "It worked fine."

                        2. re: Florida Hound

                          Nutmeg is one of the things a microplane does best.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              Oooh, another I hadn't thought of.

                          1. re: Florida Hound

                            Microplane nutmeg report!!!! To hillj and other friends on this thread: Eggnog season finally got here, and I got to use the microplane for its intended purpose (intended at our house, anyway.) After some concern that I would grate my finger to pieces, I jumped into the task of grating the whole nutmeg over a fresh glass of homemade eggnog. And the nutmeg popped out of my fingers and rolled across the floor. Out in the trash for that little nutmeg. Repeat this exercise about 3 or 4 times since Christmas Eve. By Christmas evening, I was learning the nutmeg deathgrip, dusting the eggnogs adequately, and getting ready to post this after 6+ months of anticipation. I'm the newbie to this microplane business, and enjoying the "new toy" (took awhile to get here, HillJ, happybaker and all!) Freshly grated nutmeg is aromatic and flavorful. My wife thinks its more intense than store-bought ground nutmeg, but I found it was just different, not really more intense, and I didn't use any less freshly grated nutmeg (vs. store-bought ground nutmeg) to give my tastebuds what they wanted. This year's batch of eggnog did get very good reviews from friends and family.
                            Thanks all.
                            Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

                            1. re: Florida Hound

                              I just have to ask. Why did you throw it out just because it hit the floor? Julia Child wouldn't have done that :) Don't you know about "the three second rule"????? It IS a great tool. We're doing a house exchange right now and the only two things I brought with me, tool wise, were my chef's knife and MP grater.

                              1. re: Florida Hound

                                <By Christmas evening, I was learning the nutmeg deathgrip>

                                What is nutmeg deathgrip like?

                                < My wife thinks its more intense than store-bought ground nutmeg, but I found it was just different>

                                You would be correct. If freshly grind spice is simply more intense than store-brought ground nutmeg, then all we need to do is to add more store brought ground nutmeg to make up the intensity difference, but it isn't just that.

                                <This year's batch of eggnog did get very good reviews from friends and family.>

                                Thanks for the update. I am sure HillJ will be very happy to hear this.

                                1. re: Florida Hound

                                  With practice, tuck the nutmeg (or garlic clove if going in a savory cooked application) between 2 fingers. Hold you index and middle finger tightly together, then slide them with the nutmeg stabilized between them. Takes some practice (try garlic into a marinade. . .) but it protects ends of fingers. Now I just use my palm, but my microplane is a bit dull so I wouldn't try it with a new one.

                                  1. re: autumm

                                    I also do the "two finger" thing.

                            2. I have 2 sizes of microplanes and my good old box grater. They each have their uses. The box grater is a pain to use for finely grated items like citrus zest or ginger. But, using the microplane for grating something like cheddar cheese is tedious and the box grater wins here.

                              The sharpness of the microplanes make them a very worthy addition to my kitchen.

                              1. I use it all the time for garlic, ginger and chillis. Great for making curry pastes when you haven't got a processor.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Paprikaboy

                                  I believe you're the first one to mention garlic, a trick I just learned. I got rid of my garlic press after discovering this.

                                  Like other only one side of my box grater gets used, the large holed one. That's generally for Cheddar cheese. For dry cheeses, definitely the MP.

                                  We do house exchanges and it's one of the tools I always take with me.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    It is AWESOME for garlic, I agree!

                                    1. re: happybaker

                                      Oh sure, garlic is def easier to use this way. Actually the microplane is ideal for small food objects as opposed to the box grater. But the uses are endless.

                                      I use a microplane in pottery, in soap making, in all sorts of ways.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        I do, however, use my vegetable peeler for "shavings" of cheese.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Good tip! I go the Ida route and use a knife for shards but a peeler works too!

                                2. Perilagu Khan,

                                  For me, microplane is aces on zesting peel. It does a much better job more quickly than other graters which I have used.

                                  Additionally, the wear and tear on my fingers has been reduced considerably. Perhaps because a microplane is narrower than a box grater or most flat graters, my fingers stay out of the way more, and I have more control.

                                  Also, I think the microplane is sharper than most graters, so it is more effective in removing rind.

                                  I have never tried the microplane on garlic and, based on the comments here, I can't wait to try it!

                                  1. I keep my ginger in the freezer, and use the microplane to grate it. Quick, easy, no need to peel. Can't live without it. Use it for garlic, sometimes, and to grate hard cheese into 'snow'.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: sparrowgrass

                                      Yup, I freeze lemongrass and microplane the stalks the same way.

                                    2. I love it for garlic, ginger, and zesting citrus. So small and easy to store in a drawer and clean up is easy. My box grater isn't going anywhere but I'd be annoyed if I had to give up my microplane.

                                      1. In addition to the great reasons, others have given, I also love my microplane because it catches the zest as you are grating it off the fruit. I just hold my microplane in my right hand, the fruit in my left and grate until I get the amount of zest I need. Then I just flip the microplane over the bowl and whack it on the rim, and most of the zest comes off with no waste. Way better than a box grater for this task.

                                        1. Trust me, this is not an overrated kitchen gadget. It's fantastic. The best way to grate parmesan over pasta hands down. Could not live without mine. In fact, I have two.

                                          1. Just use your hands and a sharp knife.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              C'mon. Can you grate orange zest as well and as quickly as I posted in the photo above with your hands and a sharp knife? Or parm cheese, or ginger, or nutmeg?

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  Doubt it. But not arguing. No point. Good for you.

                                            2. The tiny grater side of my box grater isn't designed well, and makes a mess of anything I try to grate on it. I couldn't do something like lemon zest or nutmeg because it would all just get stuck in the grooves.

                                              The microplane has cleaner holes and works better.

                                              1. What I like about the Microplanes is the convenience. I can zest lemons or limes directly onto the food and see when I've added enough. And I can take it right to the table for grating cheese onto pasta, salads, etc. Another advantage -- they take up less space in kitchen drawers.

                                                A box grater is better for larger amounts of grating/shredding. I think they complement each other; it's not either/or.

                                                1. I have a microplane box grater. You think a standard box works well...wait until you try the microplane version. WoW

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: JayL

                                                    Was scanning this thread and wondering why no one had mentioned the Microplane box grater, and there you are. Whenever any of my friends cook with me and use it at my house, they immediately go out and buy one for themselves.

                                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                      I kinda like the microplane paddle graters, myself.

                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                        EWS, do your paddle graters have the catch basin/storage plastic or without?

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          I don't have them -yet. I saw them when I was looking at the Williams Sonoma box grater link posted above. But I may not be able to live without a set for long...

                                                    2. re: JayL

                                                      When my large box grater gives out (might never) then I'd go for the microplane box grater. Until then, I'm making good use of the box grater/micropl (3 sizes) already taking up real estate.

                                                      $35.00 for this one might be attractive to someone who has neither and grates a great deal of food.

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        I'm 66 and use my mother's box grater so it's unlikely to give out :)

                                                      2. re: JayL

                                                        What are your thoughts on its durability? I wanted this box grater at first but wasn't a fan of the plastic frame which many complained about for being flimsy. Every now and then I pass it and have an internal debate over whether I should buy it or not. How long have you had yours?

                                                        1. re: JenniferLopez

                                                          Had it about 7 years now I guess. No issues here.

                                                      3. Most posts in this thread seem to assume that all Microplane graters are created equal and that has not been my experience at all. The very first Microplane grater I bought was the rasp style with the plastic handle. The blade is very slightly dented after years and years of use, but it still works like a charm for zesting. I think the holes are too small for grating either garlic or ginger; in both instances I end up with something that’s more like liquid with pulp in it--fine if that’s what I need, but it usually isn’t. The rasp-style also works well for cheese, but because it is so narrow it can be awkward to use if you want more than a small amount. Along the way, I bought wider Microplanes: one “fine ribbon grater” (now discontinued) and one “ribbon grater.” Each worked well at first, but dulled quickly, even with hand washing and replacing the plastic cover when dry. It was taking me so long, and so much effort, to grate a cup of Parmesan, that I switched to using my Zyliss cheese grater, which I think creates a better texture for sprinkling (I’m not crazy about that cloud of fluff you get with the Microplane; when I want cheese, I want lots of it and I want it to be recognizable). Eventually got rid of both the wider graters.

                                                        Still, they’re inexpensive enough. And perhaps there’s a reason the fine ribbon grater was discontinued. Maybe I’ll try the coarse grater and see if that works better for me.

                                                        22 Replies
                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          I usually see a copyright trademark emblem after the word 'microplane'- does that not mean they're made by the same company? Has the patent expired?

                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                            The point I evidently didn't make very clearly is that although produced by the same company, some Microplane products are better made than others. The rasp (or Classic) model, which was and is still manufactured the same way their woodworking rasps are, has been a workhorse for me for about 10 years now whereas the two Home Series graters I bought have not lasted nearly as long and seemed to be of lesser quality.

                                                            Microplane sued the company that makes Cuisipro graters for patent infringement but the case was settled and both products are now on the market. I've never had a Cuisipro grater so don't know how the quality compares with Microplane.

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              <two Home Series graters I bought have not lasted nearly as long and seemed to be of lesser quality.>

                                                              For what it is worth, the Professional Microplane is more durable than the Classic due to the steel construction.


                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                That doesn't surprise me. I believe it's also a comparative new addition to the line. I know it wasn't available when I bought my second and third graters.

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                                                                  Do you know if the Pro in the link and the Classic have the same size holes? Thanks!

                                                                  1. re: seamunky


                                                                    Yes, as long as they are indicated the same. The fine for Professional the same as the fine for the Classic. Of course, we cannot expect the fine for the Professional to the same as the coarse for the Classic.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                      Thank you. I was confused because when searching Microplanes on Amazon, the first hit is the "40020 Classic Zester/Grater" and it doesn't say fine/medium/coarse.

                                                                      After searching with "fine", I find the "Premium Classic Fine Zester/Grater". I'm thinking it just depends on who's listing the item.

                                                                      I'm leaning toward the professional series. I like the wider paddle shape. Can you think of any instance where wider is worse and the long skinny classic is better?

                                                                      1. re: seamunky

                                                                        In disclosure, I actually misread your last message. Sorry. I thought you were deciding between Home Series and Professional Series:



                                                                        Yet, what you were asking was the Classic:


                                                                        As it turned out, the question was answered regardless.

                                                                        I do want to say that the Professional is better then Home Series. As you can tell, the only major difference is that the Professional series has a stainless steel frame -- and $2 more expensive (not much). Usually, I am fond of cosmetic upgrade like the OXO SteeL series. However, this is not a cosmetic upgrade. Many people have said that the plastic frame can crack.

                                                                        Back to your question. Knowing myself, I prefer the wider paddle shape too, but I am sure there are instances where the narrower one is better. For example, if you need to grater over a small container, the narrower one is better. The Professional series has a shape which works best when you use the rubber feet on a flat surface:


                                                                        So it works really well when on a flat surface or a large shallow container. Conversely, it does not work well on narrow containers..etc. I also like the larger wider shape because it is easier to me to scrap the leftover material from the other side.

                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                          <Many people have said that the plastic frame can crack.>

                                                                          This happened to one of mine. I'll never make that mistake again.

                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                            Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I think I'll go with the Pro series grater. It would mostly be for citrus zest. There's a tree in my yard that I thought gave horrible lemons because of poor soil. Turns out it is actually a citron tree and that's how the fruit are supposed to be.

                                                                            1. re: seamunky

                                                                              < It would mostly be for citrus zest>

                                                                              It will work very well. I did a few oranges, but I have done quiet a bit on lemon and lime -- for lemon bars and key lime pies.

                                                                              < Turns out it is actually a citron tree and that's how the fruit are supposed to be.>

                                                                              Interesting story. They do look alike, don't they?

                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                No citrus is safe :)

                                                                                I know I don't toss citrus without harvesting some zest

                                                                2. re: JoanN

                                                                  JoanN, on the Zyliss cheese grater, are you referring to a rotary model?

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    Yes, the rotary model. Friends brought one back for me about 15 years ago from Harry Caray's in Chicago where they used them to grate cheese at the table. I love it. Works faster for me and with less effort than the Microplane, and I prefer the texture of the grated cheese.

                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                      I have one of those that I haven't used in quite a while. I'll pull it out. I love the MP but agree that soft cloud of cheese isn't what I'm looking for all the time.

                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                        I like the shredded results from the rotary style but the clean up involves a bit more time. My sister tends to leave a hunk of parm inside the rotary housing in the frig so its handy and then she only cleans it when the parm hunk is used up. If I want more tender looking shreds of cheese I use a narrow peeler.

                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                          For me, the time difference in cleanup can be measured in seconds. Unscrew the handle, rinse the blade mechanism, and toss all three parts in the washing machine. That last may be a no-no, but I've been doing it since I first received it and have seen no deterioration in the sharpness of the blade.

                                                                          I wouldn't leave cheese in the grater. Small hunks dry out so much more quickly. And since I don't eat much pasta, I don't use it much more than a couple of times a month. But I see it could be very convenient if you just want a small amount of grated cheese a few times a week.

                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                            I'm sure my Sis follows all those tips with hers. I don't own one myself. I understand the preference.

                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                              You meant dishwasher, right? ;-)

                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                I'm sure JoanN did :) I didn't have the heart to correct it.

                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                  And it wasn't even cocktail hour yet.

                                                                      2. They are great for zesting citrus. Way better than a box grater of any size. Turning Parmesan and other hard cheese into a airy pile that melts in your mouth.

                                                                        1. When I go into Indian cuisine a microplane did a great job on making garlic and ginger purée in short order with easy clean up

                                                                          1. It is easy to use and it cuts precisely.

                                                                            1. Maybe I haven't read the whole board closely enough, but I have 2 different Microplanes: one has the tiny tiny holes for all that citrus work, but the 2nd has narrow little slots, making long, skinny ribbons. Great for garnishes.

                                                                              1. Microplane's best thing is it's rasp grater. After using the same generic box grater for over 30 years, I bought 4 Microplanes, from large to small, plus the rasp grater.

                                                                                Fast forward 3 years. 3 of them are rarely used. The rasp grater and my old trusty box grater handle 95% of my grating needs.

                                                                                So if you're still thinking of getting one, start with the rasp grater. It's one tool that's in a class by itself, and should be in every cook's drawer.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: DuffyH


                                                                                  By rasp grater, do you mean the long skinny "Classic Zester/Grater"?


                                                                                  Any instances in which you find it better than the wider paddle style:


                                                                                  I only plan on getting one and mostly for citrus zest.

                                                                                  1. re: seamunky


                                                                                    Yes, the long, skinny. That's exactly the rasp grater I use. Except mine is stylin' with a lime green handle.

                                                                                    I can't think of a single instance in which the skinny shape would be superior to the wider.

                                                                                    In the spirit of full disclosure, I have the home version of the fine grater but use the skinny one instead. While I'm being all open and touchy/feely, I'll admit that I'd forgotten I had it, and found it when doing my grater count. Sooo, I can't tell you why i don't use it. :(


                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                      Thanks DuffyH. I think I might go with the wider one in case i want to do cheeses too.

                                                                                    2. re: seamunky

                                                                                      I have both styles - the Microplane long one; I also have a wider one but not the microplane brand. I mostly use the long one for grating citrus/Parmesan cheese. I found the wider one good for grating fresh ginger, but the narrow one works too.

                                                                                      The narrow one is my favorite. I find myself only using the wider one when I'm using the narrow one for something else and don't want to mix the two.

                                                                                  2. Just an anecdote. We're leaving the country next week for a few weeks. One of the few things I'm taking is my MP grater :) Also my chef's knife.

                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      < One of the few things I'm taking is my MP grater :) Also my chef's knife.>

                                                                                      Survival kit for international travel?

                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                        :) I could write a book! Pretty much all travel. We do house exchanges and, when driving, I take A LOT!!!!! Like spices, oils, vinegars. Oops, started to get OT, so will stop. But, yeah, 'survival kit." :)

                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                          Have you ever bought Microplane just as a gift for like Christmas exchange and stuffs? As much as I like MP, I haven't done that -- I think I just haven't thought about it until now. Maybe I should in the future. I cannot really go too wrong with it.

                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                            Good idea. I should see if our kids already have them.

                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                              My mom used to give the classic microplane zester as a hostess gift for dinners or visits. People loved it!

                                                                                              And she felt so smug as a) she'd introduced them to something handy and new. And b) she got all hers using the 20% off coupon at Bed, Bath and Beyond. So new, useful, clever AND - at a discount. Joy central.

                                                                                              1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                <And she felt so smug as a) she'd introduced them to something handy and new.>

                                                                                                Agree. It is not the same as giving someone a microwave -- which almost anyone know what it is. Microplane is a new design on an old concept -- or is it a new concept on an old design?!

                                                                                                Anyway, I suppose another advantage of a microplane gift is that it is still a useful gift even if the receiver has one. It is like a paring knife. An extra paring knife or an extra microplane is still useful -- unlike some other tools.

                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                  Yes. You are correct - a spare is always good!

                                                                                                  I was packing up my folks house and a dear friend came in to help me. I looked at the kitchen goods left "You already have a microplane, don't you?" Her answer "Yes I do - but not at the cottage!" (Her family's vacation home.) She nabbed it faster than I could move!

                                                                                                  And I have a friend who has just moved back to our town, staying with us as she gets settled into her new job. She has a $600 Vitamix, which she lets me play with (whee!) but she was stunned at how the $10 microplane zester handled garlic, so that it literally melted into salad dressing. She is now a convert : )

                                                                                                  So yes, I already have one, but I would not say no to two. There's always a use!

                                                                                                  1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                    I don't see that but then I'm trying to rid myself of things I'm not using or duplicates. We have two homes and I have one at each place but don't want any more. If someone gave or offered me another, I'd return/decline. Just me.

                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                      I like having spares so that, if someone is cooking with me and loves the tool - I can just hand it over, or surprise them with it. Dat's why : )

                                                                                                      1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                        We use our Microplane often. In addition to the nice jobs it does on the aforementioned citrus zest, hard cheese, ginger and nutmeg, I also like it for fresh horseradish. The fluff it produces is a good texture for mashed potatoes and bloody mary mixes. For coarsely-grated horseradish, such as for a Passover table, I use a blender. I might try garlic, based on the recs here, although I can foresee shaving my fingers trying to grate the little cloves. Chiles is another use that hadn't occurred to me, so thank you for that tip.

                                                                                                        1. re: GourmetWednesday

                                                                                                          Horseradish?! What an awesome idea! Never thought of that and now I have to try it.

                                                                                                          As for shaving your fingers when grating garlic - leave the root tip on, don't trim it off as you normally would before chopping and use it as a "handle". That helps keep my fingers intact!

                                                                                                          1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                            the narrow classic model is sturdier, the paddle shaped one has a frame with almost a foil thin cutting surface. still i got rid of the classic since i find it harder to clean, esp in the bent over sides. get the pro model not with the two way cutting. the one way cutters allow you to wipe off in the other direction. the paddle does not grate as fine but works for me.

                                                                                      2. Wow, I can't believe I'm the only one. Google brought me here and I thought it probably is the best place to find real world experience with the microplane products. I can't believe no one else has had problems.

                                                                                        I LOVED my plastic handle narrow classic zester that I purchased about 10 years ago and the box grater too. Both of them have broken and after very light use and neither had ever been put through the dishwasher (caustic chemicals/high heat).

                                                                                        The narrow classic zester broke through the metal of the tool right at the point where it goes into the plastic handle. I can still use it but obviously lots of functionality compromised with no handle and a raw metal edge that I wrap up in a cloth to protect the skin. I'd never used it for anything other than zest, parm, peccorino and nutmeg and I never recall being "too rough" with it so I was really surprised when I broke as I was using it. I realize it's over 10 years old but this was the metal, not the plastic. I have lots of 20-30-even 50+year old metal implements in my kitchen drawers handed down from family and rarely see any just break apart like this.

                                                                                        The box grater cracked in 3 places on the plastic. I can still use it too but it is quite flimsy with the cracked frame. I guess I'm not surprised since it IS plastic. I just did not expect that to happen to such a highly rated brand. This tool also did not get a lot of heavy use: some cheddar, onions, carrots, potatoes, apples, perhaps used 6x per year over about 5 years and one day while grating potatoes, I realized it had cracked then saw all 3 cracks when I closely examined it. Never fell on the floor, again no history of hard use or abuse.

                                                                                        Am I really the only one? Or has anyone else had failures in these microplanes?