What Is a Microplane Grater: A Guide for Cooks

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Graters are designed to help in the preparation of a whole range of food in the kitchen.

The great thing about graters is that they are standalone utensils that come in a variety of shapes and sizes where the user simply glides a food item over the cutting surface to produce consistently thin cuts.

That said, buying one is not as simple as it seems; hence, to help you out, we're going to look at one of the finest cutting graters, which is the microplane type.

By the end, you should be able to answer the frequently asked question, "What is a microplane grater?" as well as know the different types that are available.

We'll also cover the variety of uses that they offer us in the kitchen as well as what to look out when you're buying your own microplane grater.

What Is a Microplane Grater?

A microplane grater is a kitchen tool with extremely fine-cutting holes to produce almost powder-like substances.

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Although microplanes are already the finest of the grater family, they do actually come in various types based on the size of their holes:

  • Fine: This microplane produces more dust-like food, which is similar to the size of spices and zests. This is great for ingredients that need to be quickly and evenly absorbed without altering its structure such as cakes and delicate desserts.
  • Medium: Medium microplanes produce shavings of your ingredient, allowing the resulting chunks to leave more of an impact for those eating your dishes. These are more suited for grating garlic or ginger for stir-fries, as well as for grating hard cheeses such as Parmesan.
  • Coarse: The largest of the microplanes, this leaves users with ribbon-like shavings which are better suited for garnishes. You'll find that this type of microplane grater is commonly used with chocolate or coconut for a delicate finish.


Below, you'll find a variety of cooking processes wherein you can use microplane graters, taking your cooking to another level, both easing and enhancing the cooking process.

Softening Butter

If you're like us who try to spread butter after it's been in the refrigerator for a long time, then you'll know how it can wreak havoc on any type of bread or soft food. Microplaning butter produces extremely small and smooth shaving that melt significantly quicker, making it far easier to spread. This also makes adding butter to flour less aggravating since rather than mixing slices or chunks of butter into the mixture, you can quickly spread and mix the butter throughout the entirety of the mixture.

Mincing Garlic

With a microplane grater, there are no more large chunks of garlic in your food since the tool produces more of a paste, which is distributed very easily and evenly through your food. This allows the garlic to blend into soups or broths with ease.

Grating Chocolate

Whether you need decorative shaving or chocolate that is easier to add to a mixture, using a microplane will significantly speed up the process. If you are looking to produce fine dust of chocolate, you should freeze the bar beforehand to make it more robust so that it can make it through the grating process without melting or falling apart.

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Grating Whole Spices

Say goodbye to store-bought dry spices and make your own ground spices fresh at home with the help of a microplane grater. What you just need to do is buy the spice whole, such as nutmeg or cinnamon, and repeatedly glide it along the microplane for a fine powder-like finish.

Shredding Chillies

If you really love to add spice to your food but suffer every time you come across a large chunk of chili, then you might be better off using a microplane grater. This will finely shred the chili and its seeds, allowing you to deliver a more consistent heat throughout your dish.

Fixing Charred Food

Whether it be muffins or toast, we've all, at one point, had to use a knife to scrape off the charred pieces of food to save it from the bin. Microplanes do this with ease and efficiency as they spare a large amount of your food item as opposed to cutting it off with a knife.

Zesting Fruits

Most commonly related to making desserts and cooking lighter main dishes such as fish or chicken, fruit zests are a great way to punch a bunch of vitamins into a meal while also adding a twist to the flavor. Lemon and lime are extremely popular for this as they are both extremely high in vitamin C, which provides a whole host of health benefits such as preventing heart disease and fighting toxins.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to answering the common question, "What is a microplane grater?", it offers a way to produce fantastically small shavings of food items both quickly and easily.  It's a must have for those looking to add subtle notes of spices in their food.

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