I’ve Had My Microplane for 10+ Years, and It’s Still the Easiest, Most Reliable Way to Grate Any Ingredient

·4 min read

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For just $16, it’s a game changer.

<p>Food &amp; Wine / Tyler Roeland</p>

Food & Wine / Tyler Roeland

In my opinion, there are few tools in the kitchen that are  as irreplaceable as a Microplane. Though seemingly simple, it's an essential for me, along with many other chefs and home cooks, because it helps get the right texture or flavor out of an ingredient to complete a dish.

Whether it’s adding lemon zest to an olive oil cake, or finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano for a carbonara, a Microplane is perfect for the job. Once you have this $16 tool, you’ll likely never want to cook without one.



To buy: Microplane Classic Zester and Grater, $16 at amazon.com

Microplane is the brand that makes this well-loved grater and zester hybrid, though its name is synonymous with the tool. The shape is instantly recognizable. It has a slim, long size, small surface area, (it’s 12 inches long, less than 1.5 inches wide and an inch thick), along with its uniquely-sized blades.

The blades were created with photo-etched technology according to the brand, as a way to ensure each divot is both the right size and equally spaced apart onto the stainless steel surface. Since these tools are crafted so carefully, they’re not only incredibly effective, but they’re also durable and long lasting. In fact, I’ve had my classic Microplane for at least 10 years, and there’s not even a sign of aging, warping, or rusting.

Because of their small size the blades remain gentle enough to not damage or go too deep into an ingredient when the right amount of pressure is applied unlike a box grater, which shreds things with a little bit more grit.

Not only is it designed to gently grate ingredients, but it makes it easy, even. The handle is comfortable  to grip and it’s lightweight enough to hold for extended periods of time. Because of its length, you can even lay the tool overtop the bowl you’re grating into for stability.

All of these features make a Microplane the perfect zester. It can extract the essential oils with the zest without going too deep, where you’ll get a bitter taste instead of the pure citrus taste you’re after.

But a Microplane is great for so many more applications. I love it for grating whole spices, like nutmeg, for perfectly-sized granules to add to sauces, batters, and more. When it comes to savory recipes, especially uncooked ones, that use garlic and ginger — the microplane is the way to go. When you use it to grate garlic, it minces it so finely that it’s paste-like. I use it for dressings to disperse the flavor evenly (plus, there’s no chunky pieces to accidentally bite into). It’s also key for ginger or other tough vegetables like turmeric, especially when they’ve been frozen. It’ll grind the fibrous roots with so much ease you’ll never want to go back to your old grater.

It’s also especially excellent for finely grating Parmigiano Reggiano or other hard cheeses. The granules it produces are so fine that they’ll melt right away into pasta as you finish it, plus it makes a great topping. While some might not want a texture this fine, or some dishes might not lend to this texture, I find it works perfectly for dishes when you want flavors to dissolve into each bite. They also work for grating truffles over dishes, or to finely grate hot peppers for more even spice distribution.

Among the savory applications are tons more sweet uses, like shredding chocolate for topping desserts or grating fresh coconut.

Though it’s dishwasher safe, I rarely chuck it in. It’s easy to clean by hand even with its nooks and crannies. And when it’s fully dry, I pop the protective plastic cover over so I don’t accidentally graze it as I grab other tools, and pop it right into my drawer.

This tool is right up there with my beloved knife-set, my small offset spatula, and my Pyrex measuring cups as a must-have. It’s not a matter of if you need it — it’s a matter of when. Once you pick one up, you’ll never go back to your old grater again.

At the time of publishing, the price was $16. 

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