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What is a Mouli Grater?

A. Leverkuhn
A. Leverkuhn

A mouli grater is a hand-held food processing device. This manual or hand operated cooking tool includes a chamber that purées various kinds of foods. These devices are popular for altering the consistency of small quantities of food, such as baby foods. The mouli grater is also sometimes called a food mill. It is a small, portable, and simple machine that can effectively crush different foods for a more pliable result.

The mouli grater serves some of the same purposes as a blender or food processor. It could be compared to a small, manual food processor, or a linear standard food grater. Where a flat food grater, such as a cheese grater, might be used to grate a large amount of food, the mouli grater generally is most useful for grating the volume of food that fits into its small chamber. A mouli type grate might be used to crush a small amount of some garnish or flavoring ingredient, such as garlic, although specialized garlic presses exist for that purpose as well.

A mouli grater may be used to crush garlic.
A mouli grater may be used to crush garlic.

The mouli type of grater consists of two hinged parts. A crank turns the grater and mashes food inside the central space. The inner part of the device is often called a food hopper. The other part of the mouli grater mashes the food into the hopper.

Mouli was a French company that pioneered this culinary device. It since changed its name to Moulinex. With the emergence of so many kinds of electronic graters and food processing tools, the popularity of the mouli grater has declined somewhat, but cooks or families that want low cost hand operated tools may still choose to use mouli graters for various home uses.

Some cooks who have never used a mouli grater before may have only a vague notion of what one of these items looks like. A look at vintage mouli graters available on different e-commerce sites can give a Web user a better idea of how these devices look and function. For those who may have never heard of a mouli grater before, the device can look familiar when they see it pictured in a catalog or other publication. One of these handy manual cooking tools can be great for times when a small amount of food needs to be processed without wires or cords.

Discussion Comments


anon111703 it was patented in the USA on January 27, 1942.


@anamur-- I don't agree with you, the mouli grater definitely has its own place in the kitchen that other food processors can't fill.

I started using a mouli grater to chop up fruits to make it easier for my baby to eat. It works really well with grapes, apricots and cherries because it also shreds the skins that can get stuck in the baby's throat.

After that, I also started using it with vegetables like carrots, cheese and even candy to decorate cupcakes. I think a mouli grater works better than kitchen robots because it is much more delicate with the food. It also don't require much physical effort and it comes with different size discs to shred in different thicknesses.


@anon111703-- I've seen different dates, but I think the very first patent was in 1942 in France. Later, it was also patented in the US, but I'm not sure about when.

When the mouli grater first came out in those years, it was quite a phenomenon. It was the first of its kind and I think there was a lot of commotion over it. My grandfather who ran a restaurant in those years said he got several for the cooks to use and they were really pleased with it. It help them shred foods much more easily and quickly.

Many professional cooks and chefs still use the mouli grater. It's said to work really well with chocolate, nuts and cheese, especially when it needs to be super fine.


I've never used a mouli grater before but I saw a picture of it when I was looking at different options for food processors.

I'm really surprised at how small a mouli grater is. The chamber where the food goes is so tiny! I can't really imagine what I could fit in there. It makes sense that mouli graters are generally used for garnishing, because anything bigger would not fit in it anyway.

It might be a handy kitchen tool for some recipes, but I don't think it's the most useful one out there. I agree that there are much better electronic kitchen processors that can chop things large and small and don't require any physical effort on my part. If I ever get a mouli grater, it will probably be an antique vintage one to showcase at home, not to process food with.


I have an orange hand held Mouli grater and am looking for a replacement grater drum, preferably in stainless steel. Any ideas?


Does anyone know when the Mouli Grater was first patented?

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    • A mouli grater may be used to crush garlic.
      By: phasinphoto
      A mouli grater may be used to crush garlic.