11 Best Mortars And Pestles (Review) In 2021
- The Best Mortar And Pestle
- 1. Tera Granite Mortar and Pestle Set with Lid
- 2. ChefSofi Granite Mortar and Pestle Set
- 3. Vasconia 4-Cup Granite Molcajete Mortar and Pestle
- 4. PriorityChef Unpolished Granite Mortar and Pestle Set
- 5. Tera Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle with Brush
- 6. Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip Silicone & Porcelain Mortar and Pestle
- 7. HIC Fine-Quality Porcelain Mortar and Pestle
- 8. Laevo Granite Mortar and Pestle Set
- 9. Snugrom Mortar and Pestle Set
- 10. Bekith Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle Set
- 11. One Goods Porcelain Mortar and Pestle Set
Mortar and pestles have been around for generations and are used for grinding spices, making curry paste, guacamole, and numerous other food mixtures. While a modern food processor may try to compete, you will often find that using mortar and pestle sets will give you much better results. You get more control over the texture of your ingredients while appreciating their aroma and flavors.
Mortars and pestles differ with various materials, shapes, and sizes used in their design. It is important to look at which design will be best for you before making a purchase, so we guide you through some of the best options available and also the key features you should look at before buying.
The Best Mortar And Pestle
Garlic peeler included
Comes with anti-slip pad
Our best choice for a mortar and pestle is an unpolished organic Granite Mortar and Pestle Set from Tera. In addition to this being a robust, attractive tool, it comes with some handy accessories, like an adhesive non-slip base protector and a garlic peeler. If you are someone who makes a bit of a mess when you are in the kitchen, you will appreciate the silicone lid as it stops ingredients from flying around spilling out of the bowl while you are crushing.
The two-cup capacity means that this mortar and pestle combination is large enough to make pastes and marinades and the rough granite texture works well for grinding tough ingredients such as coffee beans and eggshells.
The Tera model is very easy to clean as it just needs washing with warm water, but before the first use, you will need to grind it in uncooked rice to help remove any excess granite powder.
Two cup capacity (500ml)
Anti-scratch protector included
Our premium pick for the best mortar and pestle set is the ChefSofi Granite Model. This is incredibly sturdy and old-fashioned, yet is not too bulky, so you won’t find it taking up too much room in your kitchen organizer. With this model, you get an adhesive anti-scratch protector for the base of the bowl, to ensure it doesn’t mark your work surface.
The mortar has a two-cup capacity and has a rough surface, making it ideal for grinding spices and crushing garlic in a manner garlic press does. Thanks to its material, it is strong enough for crushing nuts and even pills if you need to disguise them in your pets’ food!
The capacity also means it is a suitable size for mixing salsa or guacamole and works well with both dry and wet ingredients.
With a weight of 7lbs, the ChefSofi is robust but not too heavy to handle comfortably. It is a little more expensive than other mortars and pestles, but as it is made from unpolished heavy granite, this is likely to last you for a lifetime. To ensure you get the best results, you will need to follow the preparation instructions carefully before you use it for the first time, and this can be quite a lengthy process.
Made from granite, it is another heavy-duty model and the large, four-cup capacity bowl has a smooth interior. The smooth interior is more commonly found on marble mortar and pestle sets; it is quite unusual for a granite design. Vasconia is recommended for softer ingredients, such as avocados, various fruits, and traditional Mexican dishes, like pico de gallo and salsa. It also works well as a serving dish. With the smooth surface, you will find it harder to finely grind seeds and dry spices as they can slip around the bowl. At 4-inches long, the pestle in this set is quite short, and while it is still very durable, you may end up with mixture on your hands.
As with many of the other granite-based mortars and pestles, this will require some preparation before the first use that involves rice, salt, and hot water. While it may be tempting to skip this step, please don’t. You could end up with granite dust in your food.
100% natural unpolished granite grinder
Includes two non-slip pads
Includes silicone garlic peeler
The PriorityChef Mortar And Pestle Set is a traditionally designed tool made from 100% natural unpolished granite. As it has a rough texture it is highly effective as a spice grinder, and the no-slip, anti-scratch adhesive base protectors will keep the bowl in place during even the most intense crushing.
The two-cup capacity and 6-inch pestle will be more than adequate for most kitchen needs, but for best results, you will need to prepare it before the first use. Detailed instructions on this preparation are included.
Resistant to corrosion
2lbs lightweight padded base
Our best value option is another mortar and pestle from Tera, but this is made from stainless steel, instead of the more traditional granite. Tera Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle is rustproof, food-safe, and resistant to corrosion plus there is no need for any pre-preparation or pre-seasoning before use.
Tera gives you a padded base on the mortar to make it more user friendly, and at only 2 lbs, it is one of the most lightweight sets available.
The capacity of this mortar and pestle is only one cup, and it is completely smooth, so it isn’t as versatile as many competitors and not the best for heavy-duty grinding. Yet with a brush and a fitted lid included it works very well for crushing spices or pills.
Apothecary grade porcelain
Unglazed grinding surface
Available in three colors
Silicone grip pestles
Non-slip silicone base
The EZ-Grip Mortar and Pestle from Cooler Kitchen follows the shape of the traditional tool, but everything else is different. Firstly, the mortar is made from apothecary grade porcelain which is typically used to grind medication. You can use it to grind tablets for your fussy pets, and it works just as well for numerous food ingredients.
Next, this has a pre-fitted silicone base, not an adhesive cover like many models. This will stop it from slipping around and won’t mark any surfaces. The pestle also has an ergonomic design with a silicone cover, making it easy to grip, even if you have arthritis or a wrist injury.
Two other advantages of this product are that, unlike granite mortars and pestles, you don’t need to do any preparation before the first use, and it can be put in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
A few customer reviews have had difficulty with the durability of this mortar and pestle when it comes to grinding spices so it may not be the best choice if you have large quantities of heavy-duty pulverizing to do.
Fine quality porcelain
Our budget pick for the best mortar and pestle is the HIC Porcelain Mortar and Pestle. This is not a heavy-duty tool and is extremely compact – it weighs under 1lb and is 2.75 inches, although two larger size options are available. The pestle itself is only 2.8 inches long.
The HIC is too small for making pastes or sauces but works well for crushing vitamins, pills, or small quantities of spices.
If you are looking for an occasional use mortar and pestle kit that will take up minimum space in your kitchen, then this is one option worth considering. It is also dishwasher safe, so if you do use it to crush pills, you can be reassured that any residue will be removed thoroughly. For solid ingredients such as coffee beans or peppercorns, the manufacturers recommend that these are split first, before adding to the mortar for crushing.
2.2 cup capacity
Double-sided, reversible tool
Solid stone grinder
Silicone mat and spoon included
The Laevo Granite Mortar and Pestle Set is the only model available that has a reversible function. This means you can use both sides of the pestle and both sides of the mortar to keep flavors and aromas from different food items separate. So if you have a few things to crush, you don’t need to wait for the bowl to be washed and dried, you can just flip it over. The depth of the mortar is also different on each side so you can choose the best surface for your ingredients.
Aside from these features, it is a durable tool with a reasonable volume of 2.2 cups, made from 100% natural granite. With the kit, you will also get a silicon mat that doubles up as a lid, and a complimentary wooden spoon. The Laevo will need to be seasoned and cleaned before first use.
Rough grain surface
Snugrom is a little known, new brand, and as such, there are limited reviews available for this product. What we can tell you, however, is that Snugrom Mortar and Pestle Set is a traditionally designed, heavy-duty utensil. The natural, dark granite volcanic rock looks beautiful, and you get a combination of a smooth exterior with a slightly rough interior, perfect for fine grinding.
The Snugrom also has a two-cup capacity which is large enough to hold guacamole, salsa, and significant quantities of curry paste.
Seasoning will be required before use, but then simple handwashing with only water will keep it clean and in great-quality for many years.
Food grade stainless steel
The Bekith Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle is an affordable, effective tool, that is heavy duty and resistant from rust and corrosion. The bowl with this is relatively deep, and it comes with a translucent lid that stays on snugly while you are crushing. As the surface is smooth, ingredients are prone to flying around, so this lid will help you keep them in one place.
This is a very user-friendly model as it comes with a non-slip base, requiring no pre-seasoning and can be put in the dishwasher. It also weighs just under 1lb, but the capacity is a little on the small side at only one cup. It is very low maintenance, sturdy product.
Bamboo grip pulverizer
This Porcelain Mortar and Pestle Set from One Goods has unusual porcelain and wooden pestle design and has a price point equivalent to our best value model, the Tera stainless steel set.
This design is very aesthetically pleasing, with an externally polished white bowl and bamboo coated accessories. Despite it being made from porcelain, they have left the interior unpolished, giving it a rough surface for more effective grinding.
The wooden pestle, or pulverizer as the manufacturers call it, is well designed, with curves in the bamboo grip that make it smooth and comfortable to handle. The base, which can function as a lid, is also made from the same high-quality bamboo.
The One Goods option is best used for grinding spices or pills, and while it will work well to puree fruit, the capacity is not overly generous so you will struggle to fit much food in the bowl.
Features To Consider With Mortar And Pestle
Ease Of Use
How easy a pestle and mortar is to use will be determined by the material, shape, and size used in its construction, and, ultimately, what you intend to use it for.
If you want a product that will easily create a finely ground powder, then a stone or granite mortar will work best. However, it will be heavy, so not ideal if you plan to hold it for long periods. You could be tempted to go for a very lightweight version which is much easier to carry and hold, but it will slide around more, so isn't the best option for ingredients such as peppercorns and salt.
Cleaning and preparation also come into the ease of use ratings. If you are going to use the product a lot, and need to change ingredients quickly, then opt for a set that is quick to clean and dry. Some mortars and pestles are even dishwasher safe, which could be important for you.
Also, remember that if you opt for a granite version, you will need to factor in the preparation and seasoning process. If this doesn't appeal to you, then you will find porcelain or stainless steel option is much easier to use.
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Some of the best mortars and pestles set have an ergonomic handle or a non-slip grip around the pestle. Should you be planning to make regular use of the set, hold it for long periods, or if you have any challenges with pain in your wrist, then it is best to seek a comfortable, easy to hold grip. Silicone or bamboo grips will be better to hold than a standard granite pestle.
Mortars and pestles are available in many different materials, and these materials will determine the type of ingredients it works best with.
- A granite or marble mortar and pestle gives you an exceptionally hard base that is best for grinding nuts, dry spices, seeds, and salt.
- Stainless steel or brass models are great for foods or tablets that don't need to be crushed into a fine powder. They are highly durable but will normally be smooth on the interior, so there is a risk of ingredients moving around a lot in the bowl.
- Porcelain is one of the newest materials being used for pestle and mortars. This material is best for oily or wet ingredients but not for tougher elements, like nuts.
In addition to the material, the texture of the mortar will also play a role in how effective it is at dealing with different ingredients.
If the interior is smooth, then it will be easier to remove all traces of the ingredients from the bowl. If the interior is rough, then while it may be more challenging to remove any debris, you will be able to get an even finer result.
Most mortars and pestles are already relatively scratch-resistant, so they can withstand heavy grinding and pulverizing.
However, it is important to look at the base of the mortar. You will find that a granite or marble mortar and pestle can cause scratches on your work surface. The best mortar and pestle sets will come with grips on the base, made of rubber or silicone to prevent it from slipping and scratching while in use. Some also have self-adhesive covers to put on the base, which has the same effect but have to be replaced more often.
If you opt for steel, porcelain or wooden sets, then they are less likely to cause scratches, but you should still be cautious when crushing.
There are two things to consider when you look at the size of a mortar and pestle.
Firstly, the capacity of the mortar which usually ranges from just under one cup up to four cups. If you are using it for crushing pills or small quantities of spices, a one-cup capacity will be plenty big enough. However, if you want to make guacamole, salsa, or crush fruits, then one made with a bigger capacity is recommended. You will get greater versatility with a larger size.
Next, the size of pestles will vary between models, generally between 3 and 6 inches long. The length will not impact how effective the pestle is, but if it is too small in comparison with the mortar, you are likely to hit your hand on the edge of the bowl while pulverizing. Be sure to pick pestles that are comfortable to hold.
Mortar And Pestle FAQ
Q: How does the material of your mortar and pestle affect grind size?
The interior of your mortar bowl and the pestle head will determine how finely you can grind your ingredients. To achieve finely ground spices, then you will need to choose an unpolished version - this type as a slightly abrasive texture, which assists with the grinding. Smoother, polished surfaces will still allow you to crush ingredients, but the resulting grind size will be larger.
Q: Do you need to season a granite pestle and mortar?
If you are buying a granite pestle and mortar, then you will need to pre-season and clean it before the first use. This is to ensure all granite dust is removed, and that it is sealed to preserve longevity. The process may be a little lengthy, but it is essential, and each manufacturer will provide clear details on what to do for their specific tool.
For stainless steel or porcelain models, pre-treatment is not required.