Best Zesters

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we tested

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

24 Models Considered
1 Experts Interviewed
340 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best zesters

Last Updated August 2019

Citrus zest can brighten up a meal with its fresh tangy flavor or work its magic in a range of tasty baked goods. But first, you need a quality zester to remove the zest from the fruit without getting bitter rind in the mix.

When shopping for a zester, there’s more to consider than one would think. Do you want a model that can only be used for zesting, or do you want one that can grate other foods as well? Are you hoping for a very fine zest or something a little more chunky? Do you need one with an ergonomic handle for lots of zesting, or will a more inexpensive model work for you?

You can find a wide range of zesters out there, but not all are equally effective. So, how can you tell which will do the job properly and which will leave you frustrated? We have created an in-depth guide to everything zester-related. Check out our top recommendations or read on to learn more about how to pick out your perfect zester.

You should drag fruit against a zester (or the zester against fruit) in one direction rather than rubbing it back and forth.

Key considerations

Traditional vs. grater-style

  • Traditional zesters have a single row of holes to separate pieces of zest from citrus fruit. They're specially designed for the job, making them near-perfect at getting all the zest without getting any of the rind.

  • Grater-style zesters are much like a slender cheese grater but with smaller holes. These are generally a bit quicker to use and more versatile. But you're more likely to get some rind with your zest, especially if you try to zest too quickly. Grater-style zesters can also finely grate other foods, such as nuts, chocolate, or cheese, making them the more popular option.

Hole size

You can find zesters with a range of different hole sizes. Although the holes on zesters are always smaller than those on cheese graters, some are extremely small whereas others are mid-sized. Of course, the smaller the hole, the finer the zest will be, so you'll need to think about how you like your zest. Some people like it as fine as possible, so it will blend into the dish seamlessly, while others prefer a bit more texture. If you simply can't decide, you may need to buy two zesters with different hole sizes to cover all your bases.

Ease of cleaning

Zesters can be a pain to clean, especially since zest sticks fast when it dries, so any leftover shreds need a good scrubbing to remove. Zesters with hard-to-clean nooks and crannies can trap old food and breed bacteria over time. Many zesters are dishwasher-safe, which makes cleanup that much easier.

Zesters with a larger zesting surface are best for zesting large fruits, such as oranges or grapefruits, because you get more zest with each pass.

Staff
BestReviews

Features

Handle

A quality zester should have a comfortable, ergonomically designed handle that won't leave you with a hand cramp after a long zesting session. It might not matter that much when you only need a small amount of zest, but if you're making something like a lemon meringue pie that requires the zest of six or eight lemons, you'll thank yourself for choosing a well-designed, comfy handle. If you can find one with a rubberized grip, that’s even better.

Hanging loop

If you'd like to hang your zester, rather than put it in a drawer, a hanging loop is handy. Some people prefer to hang zesters, since you can easily nick yourself on the sharp zesting blades while rooting around in a drawer. They're also less likely to get knocked or damaged when safely hung out of harm's way.

Cover

Some zesters come with a protective cover or sheath that you can use to cover the blades when you're not grating or zesting. If you do choose to keep your zester in a drawer, a cover can help prevent accidental injuries. The cover also helps keep the zester sharp when stored in a drawer, since other utensils rubbing up against it can dull the zesting blades over time, which means you'll probably need to replace your zester sooner rather than later.

Channel knife

You can find traditional zesters that feature a built-in channel knife. A channel knife lets you create strips or swirls of citrus peel commonly used as a drink garnish or a decorative flair for certain recipes.

EXPERT TIP

Avoid grating the white of the rind along with the zest, as this will add bitterness to your recipe.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

The more often you use your zester to grate hard foods, the sharper you'll need your zesting blades to be.


Staff  | BestReviews

Zester prices

Inexpensive: For less than $5, you can find zesters made from cheap materials that don't have comfortable handles. In general, it’s best to avoid these models.

Mid-range: Between $5 and $10 are middle-of-the-road grater-style zesters, plus some of the best traditional zesters.

Expensive: High-end grater-style zesters cost between $10 and $15. These tend to be made from the highest quality metals, with super-sharp blades and a comfortable action.

Tips

  • The best zesters will be made from super-strong 18/10 stainless steel, which stays sharper for longer and is more resistant to corrosion. Zesters usually can't be sharpened, so low-quality stainless steel will dull quickly and won't be as effective.

  • If you'll be zesting or grating other ingredients daily, choose the best zester you can afford. On the other hand, there's no point spending too much if you plan on using it only a few times a year.

  • Find out the length of the zesting blade on grater-style zesters. Longer blades can grate or zest more in a single pass, but they can be unwieldy to use and take up more storage space.

  • Some zesters come with containers for catching zest as you grate. While this is a nice addition, you can simply zest into your own containers, so not including a container isn't a deal breaker for us.

Other products we considered

The Raniaco Stainless Steel Zester features an 8-inch blade with medium-sized holes. It has an ergonomic rubber handle that's easy to grip. Another excellent grater-style option is Keklle’s AdeptChef Citrus Lemon Zester, a versatile choice with a sharp grating surface and protective cover for when it's not in use. For a more traditional citrus zester, try the 1Easylife Stainless Steel Lemon Zester, which features a handy channel knife for creating attractive garnishes. We also love the OXO Good Grips Lemon Zester, which is a pleasure to use thanks to the chunky ergonomic handle. It isn't, however, as versatile as grater-style options.

Some zesters have cleaning accessories included, such as brushes or squeegees, to help clean in tight corners or get rid of wet zest from the blade before it dries and sticks.

FAQ

Q. What can I use my zester for other than zesting citrus?
A.
Traditional zesters are best suited to zesting only, but grater-style zesters are much more versatile. This isn't an exhaustive list, but you can also use a grater-style zester to grate hard cheeses for pasta dishes, make chocolate shavings for desserts, grate garlic or ginger for when you want extremely fine pieces in a recipe, or finely grate nuts to sprinkle over oatmeal or add to other recipes.

Q. Is there anything I need to do to keep my zester in good condition?
A.
Zesters don't need much maintenance, but you should thoroughly wash and dry them before storing to avoid rust. It's also best to avoid scrubbing them with metal scourers, which could damage the finish or dull the blades.

Q. How can I avoid getting the rind when zesting?
A.
It takes a bit of practice to zest citrus fruits effectively without getting any of the bitter rind. Our best advice is to take it slowly and use gentle pressure.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Writer

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