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Food & Recipes

Why the Box Grater Is the Trendiest Kitchen Tool Right Now + 5 Recipes That Really Wow

From jalapeño dust to a no-simmer tomato sauce, it's easy to see why TikTok loves a boxed grater!

If you’re whipping out your box grater to simply shred cheese, you’re missing out. It turns out this kitchen staple can do more than that: from grating tomatoes for pasta sauce to transforming whole potatoes into homemade chips. In fact, it’s one of our go-to tools to save time in the kitchen and produce delicious meals — and TikTok is loving it too, with all sorts of fun recipes like jalapeño dust racking up views. Keep reading to learn more about the surprise uses for that box grater lingering in your cabinet along with a mini roundup of recipes!

What is a box grater?

A box grater is a four-sided tool used to slice, shred or grate ingredients. Kitchen graters were dually invented by François Boullier and Isaac Hunt in the 1540s to grate cheese. While this tool’s design evolved over time, the box grater is now considered the standard for a variety of grating needs.

The 4 sides of a box grater

Each side of a box grater provides a different way to prep your ingredient. Here’s an explainer that will help you determine which side to use to maximize the ingredient’s flavor and texture.

1. Slicer

Similar to a mandolin, this side’s U-shaped opening allows you to thinly slice vegetables. Use it to slice potatoes, zucchini, onions or other solid veg when making chips or casseroles.

2. Large grate

This part of your box grater provides large shreds of any ingredient. It comes in handy to grate veggies for fritters or sauces; hard boiled eggs for egg salad; and, of course, cheese for pizza, casseroles or sandwiches. 

3. Medium grate

You’ll get thinner shreds using this side, which can provide more even distribution of the ingredient. It’s great to use for cheese, veggies and even chocolate as directed in your desired recipe.

4. Fine grate 

This side grates any ingredient into a fine powder or paste-like consistency. So, it should be your go-to for finely grating whole nutmeg, citrus peel, ginger and/or garlic cloves. 

Watch this video from Woolworths New Zealand to see this kitchen essential in action.

Our 5 favorite dishes to use this tool for

We love whipping out the box grater to make these five mouthwatering dishes.

1. Grated Tomato Pasta

For a quick-prep pasta sauce, use the large holes on your grater to grate fresh tomatoes. This trick instantly turns the tomatoes into sauce, so you can season and toss it into cooked pasta. Grated tomato pasta tastes like summer in a bowl and requires no simmering at all! (Click here for the recipe.)

2. Shaved Fruit Ice

Grating frozen fruit on your box grater’s small or medium holes creates shaved ice without the fancy machine. Not only is this viral treat easy to make, but it doesn’t require loads of sugary syrups for added flavor. (Click here for the recipe.)

3. Jalapeño Dust

With jalapeño dust, the saying “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it” rings true. It’s made by grating the frozen peppers until a fine powder forms. From there, you can sprinkle it onto pizza, eggs or cocktails for a kick of spice. (Click here for the recipe.)

4. Microwave Potato Chips

The slicer side of your grater works wonders for creating thin rounds of potatoes you can microwave into chips. They’re a delicious DIY snack that will satisfy your snack cravings in a pinch. (Click here for the recipe.)

5. Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes

Brighten up your morning by making a batch of ricotta pancakes infused with lemon zest. The fine grating holes produce tiny pieces of zest that add a nice citrus zing to the batter. (Click here for the recipe.)


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