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Freezer Cooking Day: Um, I Think It’s Time to Replace the Cheese Grater

Our Freezer Cooking Day began at 9:15 a.m. yesterday morning. I had planned a Master List of everything that needed to be done and the order it needed to be done. I also tried to equally divide the work up among those of us who were working in the kitchen. We didn’t completely follow the plan, but it was really helpful to have everything thought-through ahead of time.

Remembering how we’d run out of bowls and pots and pans last time, I asked everyone to bring pots and pans and bowls. I also had everyone pitch in on bringing ingredients and that seemed to work well.

The only thing I forgot to ask someone to bring? A real cheese grater.

I have this little half-sized dinky one that I picked up at the store a number of months ago when my much-nicer one got rusted. Let’s just say that it was rather impractical to grate that pile of cheese blocks with my mini cheese grater.

Somehow, I managed to grate them all–but it took me probably five times what it would have taken with a real grater. But I’m all about making do. Next time, though, I’m definitely investing in a better cheese grater!

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  • TJ says:

    I really recommend using a food processor to grate cheese. I love mine!

    Also, Safeway has 2lbs of shredded cheddar for $3.99 or a 2 lb block for $3.99. Either way, it’s a good price, and nice to buy it preshredded.

    • Heiss Haus says:

      @TJ, TJ, I like your idea of using the food processor. That will be my next kitchen appliance purchase as the one I have now is quite small. (Have to wait till it dies first!) When we use cheese, I like to shred it myself and avoid all those anti-caking agents in the pre-shredded bags. (Though we still use them, I’m trying to get away from it). Next, I have a cheese making kit and can’t wait to try it!

  • Jada says:

    Do you have a food processor? We grate our cheese in that, unless it is just a small amount for say, a pizza, etc.

    • Crystal says:

      Nope, no food processor. Have thought about it, but haven’t been able to justify the cost or cupboard space yet. But feel free to change my mind!

      • Samantha R says:

        @Crystal, We got our Mom a food processor and it is SO awesome! It saved us so much time and things that use cheese and a lot of veges are a snap to prepare now. I think it’s a Hamilton and it was relatively inexpensive; you can prob get one on with Swagbucks etc… and get it almost free!
        Ours is white though.

      • Rachel says:

        @Crystal, Crystal, you should totally get a food processor…we use ours at least once a day and many times 2-3 times a day. We grate cheese, slice vegetables (so perfectly uniform too), make dips and sauces, baby food, pizza dough, cut in butter for scones or pie crusts…I could go on and on. If I could only keep one specialty appliance, that would be it.

      • Kelly says:

        @Crystal, I would definitely vote for the food processor! Mine is a fairly cheap one, but it has a grater function and a rotating blade for chopping. I use it for cheese when I do bulk cooking, but my favorite thing to use it for is onions! I would buy it for onions alone. I buy a huge bag from Costco, and since I never use all of them before they go bad, I “pulse” chop several at a time in the food processor. Then, I stick them in a 1 gallon freezer bag, freezing them flat (filling enough that it is no more than 1 inch thick). I can break off as much or as little as I want, for any recipe that calls for cooked onions. I very rarely cut onions by hand any longer, and it is a huge time saver! Reason #2 for my food processor is chopping up veggies so small that my family doesn’t notice them. Carrots and even spinach are chopped very finely, and they don’t notice them in pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, etc. Oh, and yes, I use it for the cheese too.

      • TJ says:

        @Crystal, I have a tiny kitchen (I have posted photos on my blog before). The food processor is an essential in my home and worth every inch of the counter space, which isn’t too much. I use it for shredding cheese, making salsa, shredding potatoes for hashbrowns, thin slicing peppers, mushrooms and olives, making fine bread crumbs… If you buy one a little bigger than mine, you can get a dough attachment and mix your bread in it (Tightwad Gazette has a pizza dough recipe that uses a processor).

  • Dana says:

    Pricey, but we love ours:

    Plus you can cut just about everything with it from carrots to fries. Love making latkes with it (and you don’t have to peel the potato. Just cut in half and grate and you are just left with the peel at the end!)

  • Katie says:

    I second the food processor. Especially for freezer cooking days when you are doing lots of shredable things. It is SO fast and easy. Plus cheese in block form doesn’t have the additives that shredded cheese does to prevent it from clumping.

  • Betsy Durand says:

    Gotta love the Pampered Chef grater– it’s wonderful! Let me know if you are interested. No more grated knuckles and a great value! 🙂 Glad to see you bought the block cheese instead of the preshredded. I recently learned that not only is it less expensive, but it is much “healthier” in that the preshredded has an added preservative to keep it from clumping together. Loved reading about your cooking day, although I find myself dreaming about those monkey muffins! 🙂

  • Tami says:

    Food processor is the only way to go when you’re grating that much cheese. The best thing is that it is multi-purpose! You can grate onion for casseroles, slice veggies and cheese. It has all sorts of chopping possibilities. I have a recipe for tasty hot sauce (picante sauce) that you can make super fast in the processor that is tastier and cheaper than store bought picante.

    Since my family is too large for a bread machine to be practical any more, I make smaller things like pizza dough in my processor with the knife blade (I use my big mixer for bread). Pie crust is a cinch to make in the processor as well.

    I love mine – it is a cuisenart 14 cup- Amazon sells them, so you should be able to get one with your swagbucks.

    • Chelsea says:

      I have the exact same one and on my word- I don’t know what I’d do without it! Only recently have I begun to really explore all its capabilities, and they seem to be endless. In the beginning it was great for making baby food, and that’s about all I used it for. Silly me! Now its my go-to for anything that needs shredding, dicing, chopping- you get the picture. Mine was a gift, so I didn’t have to pay for it, but when it dies I will definitely replace it. I can’t believe how easy it is to clean- easier to clean (and more versatile) than the blender we got for our wedding that sits uner the pantry and never gets any use.

  • Myra says:

    I agree about the food processor! I use it for everything – cheese, carrots, potatoes, etc. 🙂

  • Hint on shredding cheese…I keep mine really, really cold (near frozen) when shredding either manually or in the food processor. In fact I have put the bricks in the freezer for about 15 minutes before shredding. For some reason, warm cheese seems (to me anyway) more work because it doesn’t glide across the blade as cleanly. So I don’t let it sit on the counter and then grate.

  • Sarah Campanile says:

    I have this food processor, and it’s definitely my favorite kitchen appliance, (that’s because I don’t have a kitchenaid mixer yet, haha, I still can’t fathom spending that kind of money!) But it works great and I love it!

  • Melissa says:

    Food processors do an awesome job! You can get them really cheap at Walmart, or invest in a nice Kitchen Aid w/ mini bowl that you can even make pie crust or bread dough in! I think I use it more than anything else in my kitchen!

  • I don’t have a food processor, but I have a grater attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. I use it to grate potatoes (for hash browns), for grating cheese, to grate carrots and zuchinni for carrot cake, and for grating soap for homemade laundry soap. It’s really fast! We use it every day.

  • I have both a food processor and a grater, but I always end up just using the grater. It’s less post-cooking cleaning!


  • Megan says:

    We bought a terrific Kitchen Aid food processor off Craigslist for about $100 (brand new!). We LOVE it and use it for everything: cakes, bread dough, grating cheese, grating cabbage – the list goes on. Definitely an appliance worth considering.

  • Melinda M says:

    I second the recommendation of the food processor if you have one. I usually just do cheese on a box grater, but the one time I had to do that much cheese, I used my food processor and it was wonderful! Not something I would use for a small amount (because it’s just as much trouble at that point as a hand grater), but terrific time-saver for large amounts.
    It would be worth checking places like Goodwill for one (or just ask friends and family if they have an extra – you just never know!)

  • Audrey says:

    You definitely need a processor. They don’t have to be really expensive or big. Until a couple years ago, I’ve been using the little 3 cup dealie I got as a wedding present, um–17 years ago. It did what I needed it to do and I still use it for small bits of things, especially cheese. I have looked for a 3-cup or so new one but I can’t find one with a shredder blade, only chopping blades. I do have a kitchen-aid now and it has the big bowl and a small one. Fantastic! Pricey but a huge time saver. I made tahini yesterday and saved a bundle. Ask for one for your birthday or Christmas.

  • Kara says:

    Best tool in my house for grating cheese? My 9yo son. He *loves* that task. Sure – he sneaks a few bites here and there – but it’s worth it to not have to do it myself.

  • Nicole Z. says:

    It’s so funny that you posted about the cheese grater today. I was watching the Barefoot Contessa yesterday and she used a food processor to grate all of her cheese for mac and cheese with it. It literally took about 15 seconds for two blocks of cheese! I mean, food processors can be a pain to clean, but for freezer cooking days I would think that they would be worth it. You could even share it with your friends and family….OR, they could store it for you and bring it over on freezer cooking day. 😉

  • Kimberly says:

    I have the Wolfgang Puck food processor. It is not expensive ($35) and it gets a great work out!!! I have a kitchenaid mixer and I don’t know what I did before it 🙂 Thanks for letting me know why you don’t buy shredded cheese. I wondered about it, because it is always the same cost. Tell me if I am wrong about it being the same cost 🙂 Love this site!!!!

  • Homestead says:

    Someday I will have a food processor…. but for now we use a salad shooter. Does anyone remember those? Very popular wedding gifts years ago and you can pick them up cheap and hardly used at garage sales now. It doesn’t take up much space and it is great for slicing and dicing… at least until I have a food processor…..

    • CJ Owsley says:

      @Homestead, I got my Salad Shooter at a yard sale for $ after I moved into my first apt in 1993. I used it at least twice a week since then and used it until it died in 2006. I KNEW I wanted to replace it so I looked online and they wanted an arm and a leg for a new one. My husband bought me a food processor b/c so many people swear by them and I do like it, but it isn’t the same and I hate how many things there are to wash afterwards. He also got me the Kitchen Aid Mixer with every imaginable attachment including the shredder and it is great for the larger jobs but there is nothing like pulling out the little salad shooter to grate a few baby carrots. I was jazzed when in 2008 I found a replacement Salad Shooter at a thrift store for the same price. Nothing beats a dollar!

  • kim says:

    One more plus for a food processor: you can use it to make pastries–it does the “cutting in” for you in biscuits, pie crusts, scones, etc. You can also use it to make breads like zucchini bread. That is one task that I hate and am happy to let the processor do it for me. I use my processor pretty regularly, especially at the end of green pepper and zucchini gardening season to chop and freeze. Also good for chopping peanuts or any other nuts, and I use it to shred soap for homemade laundry detergent. It’s really just a matter of putting it in the dishwasher, so clean-up isn’t that bit a deal. I think it’s a great investment, but do go with a good brand so it’ll be a worthwhile one!

  • Crystal, I don’t have a food processor either. So, you are not alone!

  • Pam C says:

    Definitely recommend the food processor. Father-in-law keeps his out on the counter since he uses it everyday for at least one part of the evening meal he prepares. He uses it for salad dressing, chopping/shredding, dough, all kinds of things. I never knew it could be used for all the purposes he uses it for. While I can not live without my Kitchenaid Mixer he couldn’t live without his Cuisinart food processor.

  • musicalmommie says:

    I use my processor at least twice a week. It’s one of the few appliances that have a counter parking spot. Makes great salsa, biscuit mix, pie crust, chopped nuts, all with the chopping blade. I have just started using the slice and shred attachments and LOVE them.
    However, while you are saving up for a processor, get a box grater. Stands on the counter while you shred. This is the one I have: I use it for dinner prep the night of a meal. I had a small flat one before and I will never go back. Even though it takes up more room in my cabinets.

  • Yeah- a food processor is great- I picked one up only at a yard sale around 15 years ago for a couple bucks.

    But the best for cheese (and carrots) is a Salad Shooter. It’s smaller, and easy to use all the time- I use it 4-5 times a week. I also picked up my Salad Shooter at a yard sale for a $1 or something and it is the one thing in my kitchen I could not give up.

    I even wrote a post declaring my love for it- lol


    • Kim says:

      @Frugal, Freebies and Deals,

      I was just looking up a link to the salad shooter and then read a little further down.!! I absolutely Love ours and also got it at a yard sale for $1. I’ve seen them several times at yard sales since for that price too. It takes up almost no space at all and all of the peices that come in contact with the food can be washed in the dishwasher 🙂

  • Mary Ann says:

    With all the freezer cooking you do, a food processor would be a real time-saver for you. At the very least, a 3-sided or box grater is so much easier to use than what you have.

    I have a Cuisanart food processor which is very nice but more pricey. Other less expensive brands are jut as effective and don’t cost quite as much. Shredding cheese, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, etc. is a snap plus you can use it to mix. I make cheese balls and hummus in mine. They are something else to wash but I usually use it for several chores at once so it’s not so bad. 🙂

  • Katie says:

    Okay, this is in response to your tweet 😉

    I own a food processer (came with my Bosch) and I rarely use it. I could easily live without it.

    Does that make you feel better?

    I would rather just grab a simple stainless cheese grater like this: (I didn’t spend that much! It was a set of three and I got them at Big Lots). Works great and is much easier to clean.

    • Priscilla says:

      I have a Bosch mixer which I love to use for bread making (I can do up to 6 or 8 loaves, depending on which recipe I use).

      I purchased the Bosch attachment, slicer & grater (not their food processor, as this attachment does not have the extra blade inside & it is bigger than their food processor, which I thought would be nice for our family of 8).

      I use it for slicing potatoes or carrots. I also like it for grating carrots, which I use for a whole wheat honey carrot cake. It does grate cheese nicely, as well, which is what I’d use for a project with lots of blocks instead of a hand one. I do sell Pampered Chef, if anyone wants a nice grater for small jobs, ex. adding cheese or nuts on top of salads/etc.

  • Andrea Q says:

    I own a food processor that came with my blender. I’ve never used it!

  • Monica says:

    Hi Crystal –

    I don’t use a food processor – but have a manual grater that has a hand crank so it works amazingly well every time! You can slice and shred all kinds of things on it!

    Here’s a link to what I have:

  • Monica says:

    I never use my food processor any more since I got the kitchenaide grater attachment. I can grate blocks of cheese in seconds. I recommend that or a food processor. I second the sharing thing too!

  • LaurieS says:

    You could probably pick up a good food processor at a yard sale. I picked up a great $200 breadmaker for $15 a couple of years ago.

    Do you freeze the cheese? I’ve always been afraid of doing that but I would prefer to do that over the pre-grated stuff.

    • Tami says:


      I freeze cheese I’ve shredded without any problem. Of course I don’t have to now that there are enough of us to go through it fast enough, but I used to without any problem. I HATE the stuff they coat the pre-shredded stuff in.

    • katie bledsoe says:


      you can freeze cheese no problem! If you want it to look nicely grated, then grate it before freezing, but If you are just going to use it in something, a whole frozen block of cheese, thawed to refrigerator temp, will crumble up in seconds! I keep blocks of cheese in my freezer for anything that will be melted… 🙂

  • Loretta says:

    Ok, these are some of the things I use the food processor for. Making torilla dough, bread dough, cookie dough, quick salads, shredded lettuces, cheese, potato salad (pickles,olives,onions), scalloped potatoes. Oh and slicing slightly frozen meats for a quick chinese food dish like peppered steak and chicken dishes, sliced and shredded carrots. The list goes on and on. Gosh just to let you know, i get the lazies and my food processor completes me, lol.

  • Connie says:

    My food processor breaks every time I try to grate cheese with it. I’ve tried freezing the cheese, still breaks it. After replacing the shaft several times and losing too much knuckle skin to the manual one, I gave in and I purchase bags of shredded cheese from Costco. I repackage it into 1 to 2 cup bags and freeze it.

    Luckily they have several varieties so I’ve never not been able to find the cheese I needed there.

  • Christy says:

    I didn’t have a food processor until recently. I found one at Soho Liquidator’s in Murfreesboro for $22! I bought it and later found out that it’s retail is about $90! I love it and it is now my favorite kitchen appliance.

  • karen says:

    Don’t forget that you can double (or triple) duty your food processor on cooking day–chop veggies, rinse, chop onions, rinse, grate cheese, rinse, make hummus, etc. I always try to get two or three jobs out of my processor before I have to wash it.

  • Christi says:

    another vote for a Cuisinart food processor (don’t try to save money on a less expensive one – the motor burns out!)
    cheese is grated in no time, you can even make amazing salsa in 1 minute flat! (

  • Susanna says:

    I use a salad shooter for most of those things…it’s smaller so it’s easier to pull out if you’re not going to leave it out all the time and it’s relatively inexpensive. I finally ran the first one I had to death and found one on ebay for not much money…just another option. I can’t imagine grating cheese by hand especially for a lot for a meal cooking day.

  • Mandi says:

    So many posts about food processors and graters! I have been baking bread since I was 8 years old…started my own Bread Business when I was 13. I have ALWAYS used a BOSCH. They are your one stop kitchen tool that will literally do it all. from baking bread to grinding meat, from grating cheese to making fresh salsa, from making home-made pasta to making home-made ice cream…it really does do it all. There is a heavy duty blender attachment, food processor, cookie paddles, dough hook, meat attachment, and the list goes on and on…the bread bowl is big enough to make a 6-loaf batch of bread with lots of room to spare. When I got married, it was the top of the list for me…and, before we even had a washing machine or a kitchen table, we had a BOSCH. I have a dinky kitchen, but I MAKE ROOM for this item on my counter because of all the uses. I now have a growing family (3 girls:-) and we are using it more than ever. It takes me about 3 minutes to grate all the cheese I will need for a freezer day…also, when freezing grated cheese, add some corn starch to keep it “loose” even after freezing…no more chunks to break up. When you need to use it for lots of different things, the same day, just rinse and use again. I also use the Pampered Chef grater for small quick jobs.

  • Meg says:

    I have a food processor and a grater and use them both 🙂

    This grater: is an excellent one! It works well, doesn’t rust and really is worth the price. I don’t love my pampered chef hand one because it doesn’t hold much cheese to grate but that one is WONDERFUL!

  • patti says:

    Love the Salad Shooter, had one years ago and it must have gotten lost in a move somewhere. I have a zyliss now, it’s okay. I recently bought Sargento shredded mild cheddar on a one day sale and you can really tell it is a superior shredded to cheese to Kraft.

  • Heather says:

    For grating cheese, the best tool is a food processor or a salad shooter. But, already grated cheese runs about $2/pound at Sam’s or Costco, which is cheaper than buying the block of cheese to great, oftentimes. And, especially given the aid of a vacuum sealer, grated cheese freezes nicely. I usually buy grated mozzarella 5 pounds at a time, then freeze in portions the right size for homemade pizza. Just DON’T vacuum all the air out. or our grated cheese will meld itself back into a chunk.
    (Um…we are cheese snobs & don’t do American singles or Velveeta, so I use grated cheddar often for things that need melted cheese, too)

  • Courtney Holcomb says:

    I agree w/the food processor, too! And I slice my cheese with it, too, and bag it for grilled cheese sandwiches.

    Pre-shredded can be cheaper, like at Costco where I get my blocks of cheese, but they shred old cheese and add antibiotics to keep it and make sure we don’t get sick.

  • Jennifer says:

    BEST CHEESE GRATER EVER is available at Ikea for about $2 – in fact, you may even get a 2-pack for that price. It comes with a plastic container that you lock the grater onto (there are two different sized graters) and then you grate right into the container. It also comes with a lid that you can seal the cheese into the container if you want to keep a container of grated cheese in your cupboard. LOVE IT!

  • Tracy says:

    If you have a Kitchenaid mixer I highly recommend the grater attachment. It takes very little time (I think I can grate about four blocks of cheese in less than ten minutes), and it’s easy to clean up and not painful on the hands.

  • Merrilee says:

    The food processor is the one appliance I wouldn’t give up. I can mix and knead things by hand (instead of the Kitchen Aid, if I had to), but slicing potatoes and onions and cheese for scalloped potatoes–just would not happen if it weren’t for my little Cuisinart. Ditto for pie crust and biscuits and anything involving “cutting in the butter.” The secret to cleaning it is rinsing it out right away. My only regret is that I didn’t get a bigger one.

  • Beth Crace says:

    One word! MICROPLANE. Every grater I have by them is a “can’t live w/out”. Last year I got a Williams-Sonoma gift card & I’d been eyeing their box grater since it had been released. But last time I was in Sam’s Club about 1 mo ago they had a pkg deal for about $29 & the box grater alone is about $35. While it’s pricey it’s soooooooo well worth it & will last for years to come. It even grates carrots like their room temp butter.

    And Pampered Chef’s is a Microplane too.

    Here’s some on sale at their site

  • Tina says:

    DEFINITELY invest in this, Crystal! Think of it as your servant for the next 20 years or so. I use mine almost every day and most of all to grate cheese or carrots! If you get one you will wonder how you ever lived without it. And this is one item that you definitely want to go ahead and spend the extra money on to get a good one. I have had my Cuisinart for over 10 years and it is still going strong.

  • Andrea says:

    I dont have the room to keep a food processor so I use an IKEA grater and I love it you can grate right into the bowl and keep in the fridge.
    you can view it here.

  • Leah says:

    I totally agree about the salad shooter! That is the only thing I use my salad shooter for any more. I still have the same one I got as a wedding gift from 16 years ago. Back about 4 years ago, I thought it was going to die on me and bought a back up at a garage sale for $1. I was so excited about my find that I wound up buying a second one a month or two later for you guess it $1 as well. They are very handy and I was able to give one of my backup shooters to my best friend when she was in need of a cheese grater!

  • Jennifer says:

    I use a Salad Shooter for shredding cheese. It doesn’t take up as much room as a food processor and it will even shred frozen cheese.

  • Kellyn says:

    I love how my food processor does it so fast! I haven’t used my hand grater in months.

  • I was like you, Crystal and thought they would be nice but could not justify it!!! You can find them at garage sales, but one birthday i got a gift card for one (it was specified) and I love it!!! Especially if you are planning on continuing your once monthly cooking, it is so nice! I really needed it for canning time for salsa, it makes a job that took all day, something i can do in a couple of hours!
    The cheaper ones can burn out with cheese….but they are so nice and time saving. Otherwise, I just use a plain old box grater on regular days. I was making zucchini bread the other day with a bunch of baby zucchinis. it would have taken me like 20 minutes to grate the 15 baby zucchinis and in my handy machine it was done in like 5…..which is nice when you are trying to fit everything in. So, it is worth it, even for frugal, penny pinching people!

  • Dana says:

    My mom gave me her Salad Shooter a few years ago. While it’s not a food processor, it does grate fairly fast. However, in my area the shredded cheese is the same price as a block of cheese so I opt to buy it already shredded.


  • Laura in TX says:

    Salad Shooter for sure.

  • Lorie says:

    I’m surprised you don’t have a food processor. I didn’t realize you’d been hand grating your cheese all this time. That’s a lot of work! I love, love, love my Cuisinart. Yes, it’s a bit pricey but it’s big, quiet, and fast. I use it for so many things, I couldn’t imagine living without it. I would NOT suggest the Black and Decker. The bowl on mine had broken. When I looked into replacing it I couldn’t find any replacement parts for it so I had to buy a new one. That’s when I found my Cuisinart for a really good price.

  • Ashley says:

    I just bought a Pampered Chef rotary cheese grater – would HIGHLY recommend to anyone grating cheese on a regular basis!

  • Janice says:

    I am also leery of the food processor, and I have a nice Cuisinart one in my pantry (a Christmas gift) – It is just so big and a pain to clean, etc.

    I LOVE my Pampered Chef cheese grater – It has the crank handle – Everything can just go in the dishwasher, so no weird cleanup issues, and it makes the cheese grating go by very quickly!

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