6 great cheese graters and slicers for one-handed use
Slicing cheese that aims to please
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Cheese isn’t so much a trend as it is a lifestyle. If you love cheese. you love cheese. And that passion should never be abandoned due to a lack of accessible tools. Because, as tempting as biting directly into a wedge, or heck, a wheel of cheese might be for some, occasionally you need to rejoin society and slice or grate it to serve or cook with it.
Master the kitchen.
Why bother altering something as perfect as cheese with a tool as harsh as a grater? You’ve got to put something in your mac and cheese! But if you’re stuck with a grater that requires two hands when you’ve only got one, then you’ll be left with naked noodles, which aren’t nearly as fun. And you shouldn’t be forced into eating the boxed stuff because you’ve got use of just one hand—unless you want to (not judging if that’s you, because I could go for a box of Kraft unicorn macaroni and cheese any day).
Having use of only one hand can make many tasks seem daunting. But cheese should be blissful, not inaccessible, when it comes to serving, slicing, or preparing it. As an above-elbow amputee, I took it upon myself to grate and slice more cheese than I thought possible in an effort to unveil the best products and tips for your one-handed cheese prep needs.
Let’s start with grating, because this is easily the biggest cheese-related obstacle I’ve encountered as an amputee. Sure, you can often use the grater attachment on your KitchenAid mixer or food processor if you happen to have one of the two, but I’ve never found that to be the most practical option. KitchenAid mixers and food processors are heavy devices that require lots of assembly and disassembly.
Sometimes it just isn’t reasonable to pull out a 25-pound mixer to grate some fresh parmesan for your pasta. Many manual graters are physically impossible to use with one hand—unless you find the right ones and combine them with the correct accessories (when needed). Below, you’ll find the results of my product testing.
1. G.CHEN Rotary Cheese Grater: affordable, small, and efficient
The suction cup base makes the G.CHEN Rotary Cheese Grater great for single-handed use. It comes with three attachments: coarse shredding blade, fine shredding blade, and slicing blade. Simply pop whatever it is you want to slice or grate into the top and turn the handle. I like to place a Tupperware or resealable Pyrex near the spout and grate some extra directly into a receptacle, so I don’t have to reassemble if I need some cheese later on.
Make it more accessible:
I found assembly and disassembly of this grater to be tedious, but there are a couple workarounds to mitigate that monotony. If you can get someone to help you attach the base to the main body, you can leave those two pieces attached permanently since the body won’t really be getting dirty (except the spout, which you can spot-clean).
The hardest part is attaching and detaching the attachments from the handle, because you need to stabilize the attachment while screwing on the handle. I did this by tightly stuffing a rag into the cavity. Use your shoulder (or residual limb) to press the handle of a wooden spoon into the rag while you use your functional hand to unscrew or screw in the handle. If you have a dishwasher, all the attachments are dishwasher-friendly.
I also noticed the suction cup on the G.CHEN Rotary Cheese Grater was giving way while shredding hard cheeses such as the old chunk of Parmesan I found living in the back of my fridge. I solved this problem by wedging the entire grater using the clamp on my Etac Deluxe One-Handed Paring Board. If you find yourself struggling to use the pusher at the top to add some pressure to whatever you’re grating, you can apply a bit of pressure to it using your residual limb or shoulder (if your residual limb isn’t capable or long enough).
2. 12-in-1 Vegetable Grater: A box grater with perks beyond grating
Box graters and mandoline slicers can prove tricky for a number of reasons. Their plates can be a challenge to swap out, and then comes the issue of keeping them steady while slicing or grating if you’ve only got one hand.
With the 12-in-1 Vegetable Grater from DXFWZQ, it’s super easy to switch the plates, and it comes with many options for general use. There are two effective solutions for keeping the grater steady. You can use this one while seated, holding it between your thighs, or just clamp it in place on your counter. I preferred the clamp method, and did so using the clamp on this Etac board. The thin, slightly flimsy plastic on this box grater works to its advantage, because objects that are too sturdy don’t function as well when clamped into place.
A bonus function, although not cheese-related, is a little sieve made for separating egg yolks and whites—so you can grate your Parmesan and separate your eggs if you happen to be making carbonara. Lastly, if you struggle with grip strength, the 12-in-1 Vegetable Grater comes with an attachment meant to help you hold onto whatever it is you’re grating (in this case cheese, obviously). It’s a little device with prongs you can use to help grip your cheese, and it prevents you from inadvertently cutting yourself with the sharper edges of the grater.
Cuts are annoying, but they’re even worse if they’re on your one functioning hand. If you want to be extra safe, it may help to wear a pair of cut-resistant gloves, like these linked ones from Best Buy.
3. GraterZoom: An inaccessible kitchen “utensil”
I was shocked by my testing results for GraterZoom, considering it was sold on a site made for people with hand impairments. Its retailer description reads “reduced hand function—no problem” and “can be used one-handed, great for those with a limb difference.” I should’ve been tipped off by the product images showing someone with two hands demonstrating its use, because, in my testing, those claims couldn’t be further from the truth.
It’s extremely difficult to load this grater because its exterior keeps falling to one side or the other since the entire thing is mounted on a wheel. To add insult to injury, you’ll be reloading frequently because it only holds about two cubes’ worth of cheese. Once you manage to close GraterZoom back up (another very difficult task in itself), you’re meant to roll it across the counter to grate the cheese as the individual shreds go flying all over the place with no receptacle to keep them in.
All the while, the top keeps popping off because, once loaded, the spring on the inside keeps causing it to push open. The chunk of cheese I wasted was nothing compared to the chunk of time I then spent cleaning up all of the stray cheese that had been haphazardly flung across my countertop. It’s ironic that the one grater I tested meant explicitly for single-handed use turned out to be such a dud.
Slicing and Multi-Purpose
Most graters offer a slicing option, but sometimes you have to go beyond the wispy shaves masquerading as “slices” that come from using the slicing attachment on a grater. When I say multi-purpose, I’m referring to tools that offer multiple functions, such as grating and real slicing help, by offering effective ways to stabilize whatever it is you’re cutting. There’s nothing worse than breaking your functional hand on a hard cheese that feels like the equivalent of cutting into a cement block. Another understated hurdle when it comes to managing cheese with one hand is removing the cling wrap or tight plastic that imprisons nearly every single cheese you can possibly buy.
4. Peterson Housewares Inc. Rubberwood Cutting Board: pricey but versatile
I really love many aspects of the Peterson Housewares Cutting Board, starting with its sturdiness. This heavy, wooden board comes with non-slip feet and a built-in stainless steel bowl with various grating and slicing attachments. It’s honestly pretty awesome all around, because the bowl pops in and out with ease, and you don’t need two hands, or even a shoulder, to assist with basic use.
You also have the option of covering up the bowl with a flat, wooden topper to use the surface as a full cutting board. If you flip that topper, you can use the metal prongs underneath to impale cheese or other foods you may want to slice. The prongs act as a good way of securing slightly softer cheeses that you can’t use with a grater, have a tendency to slide around the plate, or get stuck to your knife.
In addition to nailing down stubborn cheeses, I also found these prongs particularly useful for slicing bread. For harder cheeses, I’d stab them in place with the prongs and use a rocker knife, such as this Swedish Chef Knife, to lessen the amount of pressure I needed to use when cutting.
If you push the Peterson Housewares Inc. Rubberwood Cutting Board up to where your wall meets your counter, it’ll keep it from moving at all when grating. The non-slip feet may be helpful for keeping the board from sliding, but they can still be overcome when grating a firmer cheese or when grating with force.
5. Homecraft Plastic Spread Board: accessible, affordable, necessary
This modest, plastic rectangle is light enough to pop in a suitcase or bag if you know you’ll be in a foreign kitchen lacking in accessibility. Its L-shaped corner is genius for supporting anything that might slide away from you when preparing food, such as rolls when spreading butter or jam. In the context of cheese, I used this to help me open and remove that nightmarish cling wrap that serves as a cheese straitjacket. I’d pop the cheese in that L-shaped corner and use a sharp pair of scissors to cut in the direction of the L-shape so the corner could offer some counter-support to my cutting.
Aside from the corner support, this Homecraft Plastic Spread Board is the perfect board to use because it holds steady on the counter with really great no-slip grips on the bottom. It also comes with optional prongs to hold objects in place. Since this board is smaller, however, I found these prongs helpful for cheeses, but less useful for bread. I love this product and think every one-handed individual should have one of these at their disposal.
6. Slicester One-Handed Cheese Slicer: slice without strain or pressure
Slicing through a block of cheese when I’m going for even slices never actually results in even slices. That’s because I struggle evenly distributing pressure when holding a knife at the handle without being able to place a second hand on top. The method also tires my hand out more. This little contraption solves that problem with its sharp blade and centralized handle.
The Slicester One-Handed Cheese Slicer comes with three different thickness settings and operates like a large date stamp. The dial used to adjust the thickness is easy to turn, I just hold the machine between my knees while turning it. If you secure the block of cheese using one of the pronged boards mentioned above, your slices will come out even nicer.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.