The Surprising Pantry Item That Makes It Easier to Clean Your Cheese Grater

published Nov 11, 2022
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Someone grating cheese.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

While there’s nothing wrong with using pre-shredded cheese, grating cheese from scratch on a box grater will take your mac and cheese, skillet lasagna, or cheese sauce to the next level. (Bagged shredded cheese has additives to keep it from clumping, which also means it doesn’t melt quite as well as the stuff you grate yourself.)

If you’re a fan of freshly grated cheese, you should know there are a few ways to make shredding the cheese — and cleaning your grater — easier.

One tip for better grating comes from Barbara Costello, aka Babs from Babs posted a video on TikTok in which she shows how to make an easy pull-apart bread appetizer with cheese, herbs, and a boule. Her tip? Coat the outside and inside of your box grater with cooking spray before grating your firm cheeses.

This step makes it easier to grate the cheese and prevents the shreds from sticking too much. Plus, it won’t be as difficult to rinse off super-adhesive film that’s usually left behind on the grater.

I tried this hack out for myself. Unlike Babs, though, I used a block of Colby Jack cheese instead of Gouda. I did a side-by-side test with this hack. I first grated the cheese without any cooking spray, and then rinsed and cleaned the grater. Then, I did it again, grating the cheese after spraying the outside and inside of the grater. Below is a photo of the cheese grater without cooking spray.

Credit: Cory Fernandez
Cheese grater hack without cooking spray

The photos below are of the cheese grater after spraying with cooking spray and grating the cheese.

Credit: Cory Fernandez
Cheese grater hack with cooking spray
Credit: Cory Fernandez
Cheese grater hack with cooking spray

As you can see, the spray didn’t completely keep the cheese from sticking but it did make a small (but helpful) difference. Slightly less cheese was left behind on the grater when I used the cooking spray. And when I scrubbed and rinsed the grater in the sink, I did find that the hack made cleaning off the sticky film of cheese a bit easier.

If you have some unflavored cooking spray on hand, definitely try this hack. But if you don’t, no need to fret either — you’ll just need a couple of extra minutes for cleaning.