14 Reasons to Love Your Box Grater

This old-school gadget has life in it yet. Here are 14 modern-day uses for this low-tech tool that go way beyond coleslaw.

Related To:

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Photo By: Renee Comet

Shredding It

Pity the box grater. The once loyal stalwart of the home cook was long ago supplanted by the novelty of the rasp grater (Parmesan like snow!) and the innumerable shredding blades of the food processor. But it's still hard to beat the convenience and adaptability of a tool that can go from counter to dishwasher with no hard-to-clean moving parts. Not to mention a design that has a blade for seemingly every kitchen situation. Need proof? Here are 14 new ways to use your new (old) favorite tool.

Butter

For the impatient (or forgetful) baker who has no time to let butter soften, try this trick: shred a cold stick of butter on the big holes of the grater, wait a couple of minutes and voila! A room temperature spread ready to cream into your favorite cookie and cake batters.

Veggie Noodles

For homemade veggie noodles, place the grater on its side, large holes-up. Then run the full length of a trimmed zucchini on the holes.

Breadcrumbs

Toasted fresh breadcrumbs add extra crunch to gratins, casseroles and pasta. Upcycle that stale baguette, leftover toast or neglected sandwich loaf by grating it in hunks or slices on the large holes of a box grater. (You can freeze the slices first to make them stiffer and easier to handle.) Use the crumbs on the spot or stow them in a resealable plastic bag for later (no defrosting necessary).

Spices

For the deepest flavors, Food Network Kitchen chefs prefer freshly-ground over store-bought spices any day. The smallest holes on the short side of the grater will make quick work of a stick of cinnamon, whole nutmeg seed or dried lime.

Fresh Coconut

You've drunk the water inside, don't let the beautiful meat go to waste. Once you've removed the shell, use a vegetable peeler to take off the brown outer skin, then shred large chunks of the coconut on the large holes of the grater. Sprinkle the shavings on fruit salad, mix them in granola, stir them into an Indian curry or use them to decorate a frosted cake. Or simply freeze the flakes in a resealable plastic bag for the future.

Bananas

For a shortcut version of no-dairy banana ice cream, grate a frozen banana on the large holes of the grater. You can also shred frozen banana directly into to banana bread batter.

Chocolate

Run a wedge of slightly warmed chocolate on the long slicer blade on one of the short sides of the grater for picture-perfect curls to add to cakes and cream pies.

Cauliflower Rice

If you don't want to lug out the food processor, grate cauliflower on the large holes of the grater. Then sauté with butter or oil, cover and steam until tender for a filling low-carb side.

Hard-Cooked Eggs

The crowning glory of the retro dish asparagus mimosa is a blanket of fluffy egg whites and yolks. The easiest way to get it: Shred a peeled egg on the big holes of the grater directly over freshly blanched asparagus and let it snow.

Pop Tarts and Hand Pies

For perfect, even rectangles of dough, use the bottom of a box grater as a super-sized cookie cutter (there's a nice built-in handle, too). It's also great for shaping homemade crackers.

Brown Sugar

Instead of tossing that rock-hard mass of dried out brown sugar, shave it to a powder on the raised spikes of the grater. Then add it to your oatmeal, coffee or marinade.

Tomato Sauce

Ripe summer tomatoes are so sweet and juicy, it's almost a crime to cook them. For a quick no-heat tomato sauce, grate a large tomato into a bowl. Add olive oil, fresh snipped herbs, salt and pepper and toss with hot, just-drained pasta. Inspired add-ins: sliced olives, fresh ricotta, mozzarella pearls or capers.

Meat

Tenderize minute steaks and thin filets with the large raised spikes on the wide side of the grater.

Toast

Salvage a singed slice by shaving off the dark spots on the small spikes of the grater.

Next Up

How to Make Perfect Pancakes

Food Network Magazine shows you how to make the best short stack, plus some tasty toppings.

How to Caramelize Onions: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow this guide to make rich, sweet caramelized onions, then watch our how-to video.

How to Bake Bread

Follow this 101 primer to bake your own loaves with ease.