The durable construction stays sharp to enable smooth zesting. It's easy to store and comes with a convenient plastic cover to prevent it from getting dull in your kitchen drawer. Easy to clean and won't rust.
Some find it a little too long.
Sturdy construction makes this a durable kitchen tool. An anti-slip handle makes it easy to hold, and grating or zesting requires very little effort. Dishwasher safe so it's easy to clean.
For those without a dishwasher, it's tough to thoroughly hand-wash.
This inexpensive and lightweight model features a comfortable handle that's easy to grip. Cleaning is a breeze since it can go straight into the dishwasher. Comes with a protective cover to ensure it stays sharp.
Plastic cover is finicky and gets stuck on sometimes.
Comes with a convenient safety cover and an attached container for mess-free use. It also comes with a spatula to help remove stuck on food particles. Handle is easy to hold. Dishwasher safe.
Not a good option for grating hard cheeses.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.