A good cheese grater is an important piece of kitchen equipment, especially if you cook a lot with cheese. What kind of cheese grater you use really depends on your preference. Do you go with a microplane? Or maybe a box grater? You can even use one of those cool, round graters favored by Italian chain restaurants. But what if you don't have any of those tools? We're going to show you how to grate cheese without a cheese grater because you never know when you'll need a good cheese hack.
I know you're thinking that you know exactly where your favorite cheese grater is and there's no way it can just up and walk off. But there are times when you may be without your beloved kitchen tools, like when you go camping or stay in a vacation home or cook at a friend's house. (Or when you're moving, but if you're cooking a meal when you're packing or unpacking a kitchen, you are obviously a better, more organized person than I am and don't need any advice.)
If you're planning on melting the cheese anyway, you can just crumble pieces of cheese in your hands or chop the cheese into little bits. But if you want more shredded or grated cheese to sprinkle on top of a dish, you can make that happen without a cheese grater.
Here are three easy ways how to grate cheese without a cheese grater, just in case you need to know.
1. Food processor
If you can find a food processor, shredding isn't a problem. It's helpful if the processor has a shredding disk, but even if you only have the regular blades, you can break the cheese down. There are a few things you can do to help make this method a little easier. First, spray the blades of the processor with a little cooking spray to help keep the cheese from clumping on the blades. Second, make sure the cheese is cold. Cold cheese is less likely to be turned into cheese paste by the shredder. And third, use short bursts or pulses instead of letting the machine run.
It may also help to break the cheese block up into smaller pieces first. While you can use a food processor for almost any kind of shredded cheese, the firmer the cheese is, the better it will work. Use this method for parmesan cheese or other hard cheeses, especially if you're looking for smaller cheese bits.
If you've never used a mandoline, you need one for your kitchen. It's a fantastic multi-tasker to have on hand. You don't need a fancy one either; a simple, inexpensive version works well. Most mandolines come with a few different blades. To shred the cheese, use one of the blades that you would use to shred onions or zucchini.
This method works well when you want longer cheese strips and with softer or semi-firm cheeses like mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and cheddar.
3. Vegetable peeler
You can also use a vegetable peeler to break down your bigger piece of cheese. Simply run the peeler over the block of cheese in long, smooth cuts. If you need to break down the cheese more, use a sharp knife to julienne the strips of cheese.