Let’s talk cheese and why you should grate your own cheese over prepackaged shredded cheese.
It’s already grated.
Open and use.
If you’re making macaroni and cheese, a cheesy casserole, a dip that stars cheese, lasagna, homemade pizzas, or any other meal that involves cheese–you want the ooey-gooey goodness of melted cheese.
There are many differences between prepackaged cheese and freshly shredded cheese.
The primary one is cellulose.
It’s the primary ingredient that keeps each shred of cheese separate from its neighbor in the bag.
It’s why prepackaged shredded cheese doesn’t clump.
It’s also the stuff that keeps the cheese from melting into an ooey-gooey state of bliss.
Cellulose is a plant fiber often included in foods to add texture and create bulk.
For the best flavor in any dish, take the time to shred your cheese.
Trust me when I tell you, block cheese is better.
Let me just share a few reasons why you should choose freshly grated cheese over prepackaged shredded cheese:
It melts more smoothly.
We talked about cellulose.
If it keeps the shreds from sticking together in the bag, don’t you think it works the same way when cooking?
Prepackaged shredded cheese also contains additives like natamycin and potato starch.
Freshly grated cheese does not.
You get more for less money.
You’re paying more for convenience over quality with prepackaged cheese.
Eight ounces of block cheese makes more grated cheese shreds than an 8 oz bag of pre-grated cheese.
It tastes better.
Freshly grated cheese is pure cheese.
No added preservatives.
No added chemicals.
It has a creamier taste and adds a depth of flavor.
The cellulose is said to be harmless, but it does add carbs to the cheese.
Grating Pro Tips:
- For easy shredding: Place your block of cheese in the freezer for 15-30 minutes (this is especially useful for soft cheeses like Mozzarella and Havarti).
- Use a high-quality grater, or cut the cheese block into chunks to run through the food processor’s shredding attachment.
- Store shredded cheese in the freezer in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 6 months. You can use the cheese immediately from the freezer as it thaws very quickly.
- Freshly Grated Cheese doesn’t have preservatives, so store it in an airtight container and use it within three days.
- If you’re freezing a large quantity, it’s helpful to line a baking sheet with parchment paper and make a layer of freshly shredded cheese and freeze for one hour. Then, transfer the cheese to a freezer bag or storage container. This keeps the shreds separated. I make 1 cup baggies for quick use.
- Buy in bulk. Make shredding cheese part of your meal prep and store it in the freezer in premeasured bags. You’ll save money and still have the convenience of ready, measured cheese.
- Freshly shredded cheese will clump once placed in the refrigerator. It’s still good; it just doesn’t have the additives to keep it from sticking.
- Make your own cheese blend. Experiment and find flavors that make your cheese-loving soul happy. Use the right grater. You don’t need anything fancy here, some knowledge on the blades of your grater.
- The smaller “grain” of the grater is for hard cheese, like parmesan.
- The medium “grain” is for a quick, even melt.
- The larger “grain” is for softer cheese like cheddar and when you need a lot of cheese.
Finally, if you have children, grating cheese is a fun job for them and is a great way to spend time together in the kitchen.