You know a kitchen tool is good when it’s been around for over 35,000 years (and counting), which is why every home needs the best mortar and pestle to maximize their cooking potential and have everyone swooning over your dishes.
While we’ve been tempted to lean further into the convenience of electric-powered kitchen gadgets and grinders in recent years, there’s something about doing it all by hand that makes everything just taste better. It’s the elbow grease and the satisfying crunch, it’s the wafting scents that come with it, and it’s the knowledge that this is a practice that has been around longer than you can realistically imagine.
A mortar and pestle is more than a mere kitchen accessory, too, and those who know what they’re going can use one for a plethora of other reasons, too. From crushing pills to using as a serving bowl. For something so simple and so small, it’s certainly one of the more versatile things you’ll encounter in your time.
The Best Mortar And Pestle
Serious kitchen wizards and newbies alike will love our number one pick for the best mortar and pestle with its unpolished heavy granite and anti-scratch protection. The ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle Set is durable, easy to clean, and easy to use.
The 500ml capacity (2 cups) allows you to crush lots of ingredients at once to a flavorful feast for the whole family. Lovers of Italian food will also be in for a treat, as it comes with a free recipe ebook for all your pesto and pasta sauce needs. For more great products for Italian food fans, check out our guide to the best pasta makers.
Unpolished heavy granite
Italian recipe ebook
- Weight7.05 pounds
The UMIEN Granite Mortar and Pestle Set comes with an 8 inch tool and wide bowl for making large batches of spices with ease for simple serving when you entertain or just treating yourself. The granite material is authentic and easy to clean and doesn’t soak up too much flavor over time while still giving your meals a kick.
It suitable for tough herbs also comes with an avocado tool included so if you’re a fan of Mexican and South American cuisine, you’ll be wondering what took you so long to find such a product. Our guide to the best garlic pressers features some handy little tools any keen chef needs, so check them out.
Avocado tool included
Easy to use and clean
100% satisfaction guarantee
Suitable for tough herbs
- Weight10.6 pounds
The HIC Mortar and Pestle Spice Herb Grinder is a great choice if you want to embrace the mortar and pestle lifestyle but aren’t sure if you can splash out of the most expensive models just yet.
There are 2 sizes to choose from: 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch to suit how much space you have in the kitchen, while the porcelain material is smooth but also durable. With it, you can make pastes, dry rubs, and pestos with quick grinding. Unlike other options, it’s also dishwasher safe, to make your cleanup a little easier than normal. For all the cheese lovers out there, we have prepared our selection of the best cheese slicers, so check them out.
2 available sizes
Easy to use
- BrandHIC Harold Import Co.
- Weight0.64 ounces
The Tera Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle Pill Crusher Set is more suited for making medicine ingestible but also performs well in the more traditional food-prep sense. The rust proof material protects is from corrosion and wear and also ensures it’s safe to use with food products.
The set is easy to clean and the translucent lid prevents spillages while still allowing you to look at what you’re doing. It’s not chipping and durable, too, so while it may not look as classic as other options, it’s still a great product to have. Be sure to also check out our guide to the best stand mixers for more handy kitchen tools like this.
Rust Proof material
Easy to clean
- ModelStainless Steel Mortar
- Weight1.95 pounds
If you’re looking for a wooden mortar and pestle, then Helen’s Asian Kitchen Bamboo Mortar and Pestle set is a fantastic choice to add to your kitchen. It boasts 100% bamboo construction which is safe for food and also a sustainable material compared to other options.
As for use, it’s easy to break down ingredients and also easy to clean, but as it’s a wooden mortar and pestle set, make sure not to overload it with strong flavors, otherwise you’ll be tasting them for the rest of your life. For more must-have kitchen tools, check out our guide to the best gaiters.
3.25 x 3-inch mortar
6.25 inch pestle
100% natural bamboo construction
Easy to break down ingredients
Easy to clean
- BrandHelen’s Asian Kitchen
- Weight8 ounces
For unbridled quality and superb results, the HiCoup Kitchenware Granite Mortar and Pestle is the undisputable premium choice for today. The granite is both natural, unpolished, and durable to ensure excellent performance with every meal, and it’s also versatile for a variety of different needs.
The set is dishwasher safe to ensure easy cleaning, and of course also safe for food, but that’s the least you should expect. At nearly $35, it’s not the cheapest option around, but sometimes you’ve got to pay a little more if you want assured quality. You may also like some of the best kitchen torches from our list, so take a moment to check them out.
Natural and unpolished
- BrandHiCoup Kitchenware
- Weight7.3 pounds
British readers will recognize the name that stole their turkey dinosaurs and fatty school lunches, but don’t you think it’s time to forgive him?
Even if you’re not convinced, the Jamie Oliver Mortar and Pestle should twist your arm to welcome him back with its 2 cup capacity, thick walls and solid base that make it a useful tool for your kitchen. You can’t clean it in the dishwasher, but you can use warm water to clean it with a little soap, but not too much and remember you’ll need to season it when it arrives. If vegetables are usually on your menu, be sure to check out our reviews of the best spiralizers and pick your favorite.
2 cup capacity
Warm water wash
- BrandJamie Oliver
- Weight7.4 pounds
The Laevo Cook Granite Mortar and Pestle is unique in the industry because it boasts a reversible design so you can mix and make multiple spices and pastes without affecting the flavor and a 17 ounce capacity to provide one of the largest sizes around.
It’s easy to use and comes with a silicone mat and a wooden spoon to keep it stable on the countertop and scoop out ingredients for tasting. It’s made of 100% solid stone, too, which ensures durability and also helps it look like a classic mortar and pestle set that’s been in the family for generations. For more tools that will make cooking so much easier, check out our guide to the best vegetable peelers.
17 ounce capacity
Silicone mat and spoon included
Easy to use
Stable and durable
100% solid stone
- BrandLaevo Cook
- Weight6 pounds
The HealthSmart Granite Mortar and Pestle boasts solid stone construction for a reliable and long lasting way for you to improve your recipes and convince everyone you’re down with all this kitchen lark.
The 5-1/8 pestle is easy to grip, while the 9 ounce capacity offers plenty of space for your spices, while the professional grade granite ensures food safety. It’s stylish without being too modern, and the traditional design gives you kitchen more of a home-y feel and gives you plenty of options for experimenting with spices, pastes, and rubs. Be sure to acheck out our top picks of the best meat grinders and pick the right one for your kitchen.
Solid stone construction
5-1/8 inch pestle
9 ounce capacity
Easy to use
- Weight4 pounds
The Sagler Marble Grey Mortar and Pestle Set is a durable, compact choice for those short on space but big on ambition to make their kitchen the most welcoming place to be this winter. It’s a versatile tool for many applications but is best suited for small things like pills and salt due to the size.
It can fit in the palm of your hand and is also hand-washable to prevent too much flavor build up. You may want to invest in something larger if you’re planning on making a feast, but just for two, it’s ideal as long as you keep an eye on where it is at all times. For more versatile kitchen tools, check out our guide to the best immersion blenders.
4.2 inch pestle
3.75 inch diameter
- Weight1.25 pounds
If you are looking for a large mortar and pestle for all your flavorful feasting needs, the Kota Japan Large Black Granite Mortar and Pestle offers plenty of benefits to bring into your kitchen and discover taste bud sensations you never knew existed.
It’s made from natural igneous stones and the non-porous style prevents bitty grittiness dislodging while you pulverize while also not absorbing too much flavor. This makes it suitable for both dry and wet ingredients and makes it easy to clean while the lifetime warranty is a nice bonus to ensure you’re covered if there are any issues. Our guide to the best mandoline slicers features more kitchen essentials, so check them out.
Suitable for wet and dry ingredients
Natural igneous stone
Easy to clean
- BrandKota Japan
- Weight8.5 pounds
The Laevo Cook Double-Sided Mortar and Pestle Set is the original version of another pick if you want to go back to the start and see where it all began. The reversible design is convenient for separating different flavors you don’t want to compromise while also offering more space to create.
For stability, the silicone mat keeps it secure on the countertop, while the wooden spoon helps to mix without affecting the taste of your rubs and spices. It’s constructed using all-natural materials and therefore durable and is also easy to use, even if you’ve never used a mortar and pestle before. Be sure to also check out our guide to the best chopping boards for more must-have kitchen tools.
Silicone mat and wooden spoon included
Easy to use
- BrandLaevo Cook
- ModelGrey Marble
- Weight6 pounds
The IMUSA Granite Molcajete Spice Grinder is an interesting option as it looks so different to other options and resembles a fine antique ornament more than a kitchen instrument. You can choose from 2 sizes, either 6-inch or 8-inch, and is made from durable granite that both looks good and ensures longevity.
The wide bowl and stable legs make it easy to crush and smash, which allows you to deal with more stubborn ingredients to guarantee versatile spice creation. The size also makes it great for doubling as a serving bowl, and adds a splash of the exotic to your dinner parties which, frankly, have been lacking recently. An ideal gift for foodies that like to prepare their own meals.
2 sizes available
Doubles as serving piece
Easy to use and grind
- Weight5.3 pounds
Our final choice in our search for the best mortar and pestle is the Bekith Brushed Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle. The metal construction ensures durability even if it’s more prone to denting compared to harder materials. However, that’s not to say it’s still not useful, and the low-maintenance design and elegant style overcome any issues you might have.
It’s food safe and BPA-free, while the non-absorbent walls ensure no residual taste so you get a garlic twang in your crushed-up medicines and no medicine residue in your pestos and rubs. The bowl and grinder are easy to clean, while the non-skid base prevents spillages and ensures successful food prep that doesn’t make too much of a mess. For more affordable and useful kitchen equipment, check out our guide to the best pasta drying racks.
Durable stainless steel
Elegant style and no-skid base
Food safe, BPA-free
Easy to clean
No residual taste
- Weight14.1 ounces
Mortar And Pestle Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of Mortars And Pestles
Narrowing down our selection from the hundreds of options to the 14 choices you see about was not easy, but here’s how we did it.
Brand - There is a wide range of different brands for your mortars with pestles, but by judging the quality of these brands, we found the ones we believe you’ll be satisfied with. You may even recognize some of them, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the others.
Price - The price is also a decent indicator of the quality of the product, however; we understand it’s not always within the budget to splash the cash on the most expensive options. Because we trust the quality of all our products, we also feel confident selecting cheaper choices alongside more expensive ones without worrying about sacrificing satisfaction.
Reviews - Reviews are our number one source for understanding how well a product works. We don’t have the time to spend months testing it, so instead, we rely on testimonials from real customers to give us the lowdown on the good, the bad, and the somewhere-in-between. Without these reviews, we wouldn’t feel as confident in our selection process.
Features To Look For In Mortar And Pestle
Before you go off and choose which best mortar and pestle set you believe is the perfect one for you, check out these essential features to look out for.
Material - Considering which material you choose can affect how successful your pulverizing is. Something like a marble mortar and pestle is easy to grind with, while a wooden one soaks up flavors better. You should also think about how easy the material is to clean and it durability, as stone is more likely to last long compared to wood, but might be more challenging to clean than steel.
Shape - The shape of the set determines how easy it is to use. The mortar bowl will (or should) be circular, which allows you to roll the pestle around for easy mixing. The difference in shape often comes on the base. Where you will either have a platform or legs that help to stabilize the mortar. The more stable it is, the less chance of spilling or slipping, so it might be worth looking into, especially if you’re particularly clumsy.
Size - As always, size matters, and when you’re considering which mortar and pestle set to choose, larger is likely to be better. The bigger bowl makes it easier to crush ingredients and also make more at a time, and if you want it to double up as a serving bowl, there will be ample capacity for that, too. If you live alone or in a small household, you might not need such a large size, so think about your situation and decide from there.
Types Of Mortar And Pestle
If you’re still unsure about which mortar and pestle best suits you, consider which type you would prefer and consider the differences between the 4 potential materials.
Wood - Common in the Mediterranean and also places where bamboo is abundant, wooden mortar and pestle sets aren’t as durable as their stone and metal counterparts. However, it absorbs flavors better to create a symphony of taste that builds up over time.
Metal - Stainless steel mortar and pestle sets are easy to clean and care for. They blend in nicely in a modern kitchen, but traditionalists may turn up their noses. They’re often cheaper than other materials, too. Other metal options include cast iron, which most agree is more trouble than it’s worth even if it’s great for the flavor.
Ceramic - Unlike other parts of the world, ceramic is more common in both Italy and Spain among other areas of Europe and is great if you want to make guacamole. You’ll also find ceramic mortar and pestles in Thailand, which is used to bring out flavor through bruising over merely smashing herb and spices.
Hard Stone - Reliable, tough, and versatile, hard stone options like a granite mortar and pestle are easy to use and won’t wear you out because of the uneven bowl that makes pulverizing ingredients much easier. If you like to create your own pastes and spices every day, a stone mortar and pestle, especially granite, is the way forward. You’ll typically find them all over Thailand.
Mortar And Pestle FAQ
Q: What is the best material for a mortar and pestle?
A: There’s no such thing as the best material for a mortar and pestle, as different materials boasts different benefits. Depending on your needs, a marble bowl may be better, especially if you’re pounding garlic or ginger. Likewise, ceramic sets is good for pesto, while steel can crush pills with ease and avoids residue lodging in the bowl.
You’re obviously not buying a different material for each purpose unless, of course, you’re really into mortar and pestle sets (no judgement here), so it’s wise to go with a material suitable for most - if not all - uses.
Granite mortar and pestles are generally considered versatile enough to cover all the bases, so while there may be other materials that do better with certain ingredients, you’re unlikely to notice the difference if you use a granite set.
Q: Do I need to season my mortar and pestle?
A: Your need to season or cure your mortar and pestle will depend on whether they advise you to when you purchase one. Some sets come readily seasoned, whereas others, especially volcanic rock or molcajete sets, demand seasoning so you can get rid of the grittiness that’s abundant when you buy them.
Seasoning your mortar and pestle is not an easy task and can take a long time, however, if the product instructions advise you to do it, then it’s definitely something to do. However, most options will provide a how-to regarding the process, so it’s not as scary as it seems.
- Mortar And Pestle For Different Jobs - Washington Post