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12 Surprising Foods You Never Thought to Grate

If you’re only using your grater for cheese, you’re missing out. Skip the chopping and grab your grater for these surprising foods.

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Frozen overripe bananas are great in baked goods, but letting them thaw before you mash them can be a time suck. Cut the wait and grate frozen bananas the next time you want to make banana bread. Don’t miss these foods you never knew were illegal in the U.S.

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Have you been wanting to try zoodles, but don’t have a mandoline or fancy spiralizer? Don’t give up just yet—with the right technique, a box grater will give you long strands instead of tiny shreds. Lay the grater on the table, with the large grates facing up, then swipe the length of the zucchini over the holes for simple, spaghetti-shaped squash “noodles.”

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First freeze a stick of butter, then grate it when you’re baking pastries and need a pastry cutter. The shreds will mix quickly into the dough, giving you incredibly flaky biscuits and pastries. Here are some other foods you didn’t know you could freeze.

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Get coleslaw-ready cabbage shreds without the annoying chopping. Take the outside leaves off, then cut a head of cabbage into quarters. Grate each piece into a large bowl for a quick and easy start to your dish.

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If you want your egg salad to have uniform little pieces, grate the egg instead of using a knife. Stick the peeled hard-boiled eggs in the freezer first to make it easier.

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Onions have a high water content, and with the help of a grater, you can use their juice to flavor sauces without the frustration of mincing. Chop off the root end of your onion and remove the skin, then grate the vegetable. Put the pulp into a fine mesh strainer, and use a rubber spatula to squeeze the juices out. To remove even more of the liquid, wrap the pulp in cheesecloth and squeeze it with your hand. Don’t miss these veggies you never thought you actually liked.

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Peeling and dicing tomatoes can make homemade sauce a chore. Instead, grate tomatoes for a hassle-free pulp you can throw in pasta sauce or salsa, or even on top of sandwiches.

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Need breadcrumbs to coat chicken cutlets or top a casserole? Make your own with the help of a grater. Start with a hard bread that’s not pre-sliced or covered in oats, like Italian or French. Leave it in the fridge for a few days, or pop it into a 350°F oven for 10 minutes, taking it out before it can brown. Now rub it against the larger holes of your grater for easy crumbs. These are the foods you should never keep in the freezer, by the way.

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Grated chocolate melts quickly, speeding along your recipe for fudge or chocolate-covered strawberries. Grate it finely to use in recipes, or sprinkle the fine shavings on cakes for a pretty, tasty garnish.

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Skip the packaged stuff and make whole nutmeg or peeled ginger into powder yourself. It will taste way fresher than anything you’d get at the supermarket, bringing your recipes more dimension.

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Grated cauliflower can make a surprisingly good replacement for rice or pizza crust. For a low-calorie, nutrient-rich alternative, grate a head of cauliflower and use a paper towel to squeeze out any moisture. Check out these foods you should never eat by themselves.

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Don’t resort to meticulously mincing garlic if you don’t have a garlic press. Just rub the peeled clove on a microplane grater for easy bits to flavor your dish. Next, don’t miss these 26 foods you should never buy at the store again.


Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.