Zester vs Grater: A Rundown of Their Differences

zester vs grater

When it comes to food, small things make a lot of difference. Adding a sprinkle of spice or a dash of zest to a dish gives it a unique and exceptional flavor.

However, adding the right amount of these extra flavors can be challenging, especially if you do not use the correct tool for the job.

The battle between zester vs grater has been ongoing for quite some time now. These two kitchen tools are often used to add that extra flavor to your dish.

Zester vs Grater

With the close similarities of these two kitchen tools, their functions are often interchanged unknowingly.

Some say that they only differ with their hole sizes. Maybe we can use either of them for both functions. Now is the time for us to understand each one better.

What Is a Zester?

A zester is a small kitchen utensil tasked to get the zest from various citrus fruits like lemons and oranges.

Knowing what is a zester and its functions can make a difference in using different kitchen tools.

What Does a Zester Look Like?

Do you have an idea what does a zester look like? The traditional kitchen zester is about four inches in length, consisting of the handle attached to a curved metal at the end.

The tip of the curved metal features a single row of punctured and sharpened round holes.

What Is a Zester Used For?

In terms of what is a zester used for, primarily, it is to remove bits of strands of the outer skin, also called flavedo, of various citrus fruits for that added burst of citrus flavor in a dish.

What Is a Grater?

A grater or shredder is also a kitchen utensil for grating different food types, especially cheese. Hence, you will find this tool in most kitchens.

What Does a Grater Look Like?

Graters come in different shapes, styles, and sizes. Box graters would usually feature different grating sides with varying teeth sizes.

In addition to the box variety, other types of graters are the rasp or flat hand style, flat heavy-duty, multi-purpose, and rotary.

What Is a Grater Used For?

Graters perform a specific task depending on their classifications. Rasp graters are handheld devices that you manually move across the ingredient to get food gratings.

Flat heavy-duty graters are more extensive and should be held firmly with one hand as you move the food across the grating surface.

The box or all-purpose graters come in either triangle or square varieties, with each panel offering a different grating procedure.

Multi-purpose graters have removable panels from their base structure, each one representing a specific grating process.

Rotary graters are handheld devices utilizing a turning mechanism for the circular drum’s grating surface.

Can You Use a Grater as a Zester?

It is not usual for all kitchens to have a zester, unlike kitchen knives, which are a kitchen staple.

For the times that a new recipe would ask you for a zest, how else can you get some without a zester?

The standard and conventional box grater will do the trick in place of a zester.

The Steps

  1. Look for the smallest grating blade and use that side to get the zest.
  2. Place your box grater on a stable surface and firmly hold it with one of your hands. Hold the citrus fruit with your other hand.
  3. Gently rub the fruit against the rough surface of the grater, taking care not to include the bitter pith by slowly rotating the fruit as you grate.
zester vs grater

What Is a Microplane Zester?

A Microplane zester or mini-grater features a rod with premium quality stainless steel material. It has razor-sharp edges created using photo-etched technology.

These blades have anti-dulling and rust-resistant properties to ensure that it will last for a long time.

The tool also comes with an ergonomic handle that can reduce hand strain while providing a comfortable grip.

Microplane zesters produce finely shredded ingredients compared to graters, providing a more concentrated flavor to your dish.

This multi-purpose mini-grater and zester are not exclusive to these two functions alone.

It can also perform every other possible task for all food preparation procedures.

It is so versatile that most cooks also use it for other ingredients like chocolates, herbs, and spices.

Can You Zest a Lemon With a Cheese Grater?

Lemon zest is an essential ingredient in both cooking and baking recipes.

What if you don’t have a citrus zester? Can you use a cheese grater instead?

Cheese graters come in different sizes. The teeth may either be too shallow or too deep, which will significantly affect your ingredient's texture. Nonetheless, they will do the trick.

Handheld Cheese Grater

If you are using a handheld cheese grater, make sure to place the end on a stable surface while raising the handle to at least 45 degrees.

Hold the handle with a secure and firm grip, as you may be required to put in a little force while getting the zest.

Run the lemon across the grater’s protruding teeth while slowly rotating the fruit to take out all the yellow skin part.

Box Grater

For box graters, you will follow the same process. The only difference is the grater’s position since it has a different structure.

Choose the most delicate teeth on your box grater. Hold it firmly to prevent it from moving as you rub the lemon across the grating surface.

Microplane vs Grater

As we all know, a Microplane only became part of kitchen utensils by accident, which proved beneficial for both professional and home cooks alike.

On the other hand, a grater has always been part of any kitchen, proving their undeniable necessity in food preparation.

Choosing between Microplane vs grater or a zester vs grater can be tricky depending on what kind of result you want to achieve.

If you are looking for versatility in your kitchen tool, a Microplane zester or grater is your best option.

This micro-grater performs great when zesting all kinds of citrus fruits while also providing excellent grated ingredients.

It is also an excellent choice to have one of the best paring knives in your kitchen for removing the peel from your lemon, garlic, or ginger.