Many of us have probably watched mortar and pestles being used in movies about ancient times and in culinary shows on the TV. However, if you have already not kept one in your kitchen and have not experienced their seemingly magical power to enhance the quality of your dishes, then it is high time you seriously consider to give it a try. Whether you are intimidated by the thought of using one, or you simply think that they can be easily replaced by a blender or a food processor, then you would surely have a changed perspective once you are at the end of this article.
Mortar and pestles trace a long way back and have a very important place in culinary history. That is why if you want to create an authentic dish, especially from scratch, then you would not want to skip out on using a mortar and pestle. It is fascinating to see that different kind of mortar and pestles have been used by different nations, and they have a connection to the cuisine that they are used for. Hence a mortar and pestle are not only about utility, but it is like cooking a family recipe that has been passed from generation to generation, and it gives you a stronger connection to the food that you are cooking, which is a very rewarding culinary experience.Although using a mortar and pestle is not very difficult, it is a traditional tool, and choosing the right one that suits the type of food you cook and your personal preferences can call for a complete knowledge of the types of mortar and pestles available today, and the unique features and properties of each of them. And since we want you to spend your precious time cooking delicious dishes, and not on having to do an extensive research on the products, we have done it for you, and have brought together the best mortar and pestles in this article.
This elegantly designed porcelain mortar and pestle have earned its best pick position on our list due to its versatility and exceptionally high quality. Not only can you use this to crush and grind your favorite food ingredients, but you can also use it for preparing herbal medicines.
If you are looking for a mortar and pestle that has a sleek and classy appearance but comes at an affordable price, then this budget pick of our list is well deserving of your attention. It is made of lustrous brushed stainless steel and offers you a matte finish which is comfortable to hold and to work with.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Mortar
- 1. Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip Silicone & Porcelain Mortar and Pestle
- 2. Bekith Brushed Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle
- 3. ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle Set
- 4. Greenco Marble Mortar and Pestle
- 5. Vasconia 5031764 4-Cup Granite Molcajete Mortar and Pestle
- 6. Ironwood Gourmet 28341 Olmec Mortar and Pestle
- 7. Granite Mortar and Pestle by HiCoup
- 8. StainlessLUX 75552 Brushed Stainless Steel Spice Grinder
- 9. Laevo Cook Mortar and Pestle Set
- 10. COLE & MASON Granite Mortar and Pestle
- Answers to common questions regarding mortar and pestle
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Mortar
Given the number of different types of great mortar and pestles there are, it would not be fair to only have two on our list, and hence in the next section we will introduce you to several other mortar and pestle from which you would be able to find at least one that you think would be a great cooking companion for you in the kitchen.
1. Cooler Kitchen EZ-Grip Silicone & Porcelain Mortar and Pestle
If versatility and quality are factors that are high on your priority list, then you would find this mortar and pestle with a porcelain build to be worth looking into. This mortar and pestle come in a very contemporary design, with white and black accents that highlight the elegance of the minimalistic style of this tool.
It is made of apothecary-grade porcelain which means that the quality of this porcelain is at a high standard of being used for pharmaceutical purposes, for example for preparing medicinal mixes from natural ingredients.
The porcelain mortar and porcelain ensure that there is no staining or odor absorption by the parts, and hence anything you grind or crush in it will retain its original taste and flavor. The surface of both the mortar and the pestle is smooth and unglazed so there is no risk of the surface material to flake off and mix with your food. This is why not only can you use this for food preparation, but you can also use it to crush medicines for your pets.
Apart from its great appearance and pharmaceutical grade construction, this mortar and pestle have been designed to be used with utmost comfort even by arthritis patients. The handle of the pestle has a soft, anti-slip silicone covering which will ensure a secure and comfortable grip to your hands, while the base of the mortar has a silicone covering to keep it stable and prevent it from causing any damage to your countertop.
As you can guess, this mortar and pestle has been made to be used for versatile purposes and works great for anything starting from herbs, spices, nuts, medicines, etc. One more thing that we think is a great characteristic of this product is that it can be washed in the dishwasher, saving both your time and energy.
2. Bekith Brushed Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle
For anyone who is looking for a mortar and pestle that is more durable than ceramic but is lighter than stone, than this mortar and pestle made of double stainless steel would be an absolute go-to. As it has been made from double stainless steel with a thick gauge, there is no question about its durability, and you can exert as much force as you want while grinding your ingredients.
And as we all know, stainless steel is regarded as one of the safest materials to be used in kitchen utensils as it does not pose any risk to your health, so you can prepare your food ingredients in this mortar and pestle without having to worry about any health-safety issues.
In addition to that, the stainless steel has been brushed, which gives it a matte sheen which makes it a classy addition to your kitchen décor. Due to the brushed surface, the pestle is smooth and comfortable to hold and you can grind away as many spices as you want for your dish without hurting your palms. At the base of the mortar, there is a rubber covering which prevents the mortar from skidding on the kitchen table.
3. ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle Set
This granite mortar and pestle is a great choice for any dedicated chef who does not mind a little bit of maintenance work for the sake of superior results in cooking. Before you can use it for the first time, it requires you to put in some effort for the seasoning, which has to be done by washing it for several times to remove residual powders and then by grinding white rice in it.
When the white rice grinds come out clean, then it has to be further prepared by grinding cumin, garlic, salt and pepper in it. Some of us might not have time to spend on seasoning it, but it has to be done only before using it for the first time, and the effort you will put into seasoning this set would be well worth it in the end.
Unlike smooth surfaced mortar and pestles, this set has a relatively rough, naturally abrasive surface, which is a great feature for a mortar and pestle to have. This abrasive surface reduces the work you have to do in order to grind and crush and also does not let spherical and small ingredients such as peppercorn and seeds to escape. This is why granite mortar and pestles are so loved by culinary professionals.
It also has a high capacity of being able to contain 500ml of ingredients, and hence gives you enough space to grind a generous amount of things at a time. Moreover, the granite’s black, white, and grey peppered surface gives it a traditional appearance that you will be able to display and use with pride in front of your guests and family. To prevent the granite from scratching the countertop, it comes with a bonus anti-scratch pad that you can stick to the base of the mortar easily.
4. Greenco Marble Mortar and Pestle
The aesthetic value of marble is something that is regarded highly in all parts of the globe. And what can be better than being able to use an exquisitely elegant marble mortar and pestle in your kitchen that would inspire you to create artistic dishes? This marble mortar and pestle from Greenco is a piece of art on its own, with its white body and grey accents.
Other than its aesthetic aspects, marble mortar and pestles have been used from very old times, proving its efficiency in grinding and crushing anything from herbs to spices to seeds. The special feature of this mortar and pestle is that the surface has not been polished, leaving a surface that is highly effective for providing natural friction for better grinding and crushing effects.
When you are done using it, you can easily clean it with a slightly wet cloth, which will be enough to prevent the formation of any kind of stains on the marble.
5. Vasconia 5031764 4-Cup Granite Molcajete Mortar and Pestle
Ask any mortar and pestle expert about which type of mortar and pestles are the best, and the chances are high that the answer will be a Molcajete. Molcajete is the traditional Mexican version of mortar and pestle and its history goes way back to Aztec and Maya.
For thousands of years the Molcajete has been proving its greatness in food preparation, and now you can bring the age-old culinary tradition to your own kitchen with this Molcajete made by Vasconia. This Molcajete made of granite has a high capacity of four cups and allow you to grind a plenty of ingredients at once.
Designed like an authentic Molcajete, the mortar has three firm legs on which it stands stably while you mash up the ingredients inside. The pestle also has a distinctive design, being relatively short compared to other pestles, and both ends of the pestle can be used to grind. The big plus point of this mortar and pestle is that since it has an authentic Molcajete design, you can proudly serve your handmade salsa, guacamole, or pico de gallo right in this mortar without having to transfer it to a separate bowl.
6. Ironwood Gourmet 28341 Olmec Mortar and Pestle
There is something about wooden kitchenware that no other material can offer. Wood is lighter compared to stone, marble, or steel and has an organic feel that adds warmth to the household like no other material can. If you are among the avid lovers of wooden kitchenware, then you will be delighted to know about this mortar and pestle made of highly regarded acacia wood.
Acacia wood has unique properties such as water-resistance, anti-microbial effect, and durability, which are great advantages to have in a tool like mortar and pestle that has to go through heavy-duty usage and frequent contact with liquid substances. Due to its water-resistance, it can gracefully survive the moisture in the kitchen environment without warping or cracking.
Apart from its durability, the acacia wood has a great aesthetic value due to its rich brown tone with streaks of darker brown that will surely match any kitchen interior. The mortar of this set is not as large as many others and is great for anyone who does not have to grind a large number of ingredients and is looking for a small mortar that would be portable and easy to store even in a small kitchen shelf. The pestle has been designed with an angled tip for easy grinding of spices, and the handle part has also been contoured to fit snugly inside your palm, making it easy to apply force without tiring your hands.
7. Granite Mortar and Pestle by HiCoup
This is a contemporary take on a traditional granite mortar and pestle and hence it offers you multiple advantages in terms of utility while keeping its classy aesthetics intact. The mortar and pestle are made of non-porous high-quality granite, which means it will not absorb odor and stains from food ingredients and keep them fresh and original flavors of anything ground inside it unaltered.
The grinding end of the pestle has been made to be broad and with unpolished granite so as to minimize the effort you would have to put in to crush or grind even the difficult materials such as peppercorns and seeds. In comparison, the handle of the pestle is made of smooth and polished granite so you will have a comfortable grip on it.
The inner surface of the mortar has been made to have a matte finish which provides the friction needed to keep things such as peppercorns contained within the mortar and to stop them from jumping outside the mortar when they are being ground.
8. StainlessLUX 75552 Brushed Stainless Steel Spice Grinder
If you are looking for a compact and lightweight mortar and pestle, this one from StainlessLUX is a product that you will surely not want to miss out on. It is made with a sturdy and durable construction with ergonomic contouring that makes grinding easy, and at the same time minimizing the maintenance effort that you would have to put in for ensuring the longevity of the tool.
It has a rubberized base to provide stability to the mortar and prevent it from skidding on the table. The pestle of this set has a distinct style, with a knob at one end to fit inside your hand and give you a good grip, whereas the other end is made with a wide base to give you a large surface area for grinding the ingredients without letting them escape.
9. Laevo Cook Mortar and Pestle Set
This innovatively designed masterpiece from Laevo Cook is one of our favorite choices for anyone who wants a uniquely designed mortar and pestle. If you have never heard of a reversible mortar and pestle, right now you are looking at one. Both the mortar and the pestle can be reversed, which means you are getting two sets of mortar and pestle in one.
The mortar has a large compartment and a small compartment, and you can turn it upside down to use any of the compartment that fits your purpose. The larger compartment is useful for grinding large ingredients such as leaves, avocados, etc.
and if you want to crush a small quantity such as a few spices or peppercorns, then you can use the smaller side of the mortar. Just like the mortar, the pestle of this set also has two sides for grinding, with one side being more angled and one side with a flatter base.
The mortar and pestle are made of heavy-weight granite, and this sturdy construction and the weight is great for assisting in grinding your food ingredients without you having to exert a lot of force yourself. This set also comes with a bonus wooden spoon and a silicone mat which you will find to be very useful in the kitchen. The silicone mat can be placed under the mortar to keep the tabletop unscratched and to keep the mortar stabilized in its place.
10. COLE & MASON Granite Mortar and Pestle
This mortar and pestle from Cole and Mason is a gorgeous piece of art with exquisite black surfaces made from heavy granite. The mortar has been smartly designed with a smooth and polished exterior with a shine, and an unpolished interior to provide the friction needed for grinding.
Likewise, the handle of the pestle has been polished to make it comfortable to hold, but the tip of the pestle stays coarse so that it can hold down the small spice and herbs inside the mortar.
Although the mortar and pestle require seasoning before its first use, the seasoning effort is worth it, as once it is done, you would have a 2-cup capacity of grinding space ready to help you prepare any traditional and flavorful dish effortlessly.
Marble, wooded, granite, porcelain, you are now aware of different kinds of mortar and pestles that the market is offering, and some of them might have piqued your interest, but are you fully prepared to know which one will suit you best, do you have more questions regarding purchasing and using a mortar and pestle? All those last-minute questions regarding mortar and pestles will be answered in the next section of our article which will give you an in-depth idea of all you need to know about buying a mortar and pestle.
Answers to common questions regarding mortar and pestle
Do I really need a mortar and pestle?
Even if you have a powerful food processor, professional kitchen knife skills, and a very efficient blender, if you are serious and passionate about cooking, the answer would be a hundred percent yes. The first reason is of the sheer fact that when it comes to bringing out the best flavors, essential oil, and the subtle aromas from a small amount of ingredient, nothing compares to the mortar pestle. While the sharp blades of a knife, blender or a food processor cut through the ingredients and cause excessive damage, the blunt surfaces of a mortar and pestle will crush through the cellular structures of the herbs or spices and help to retain their freshness and rich flavor.
Another important advantage of using a mortar and pestle is that they do not generate heat like the friction of the blades of an electrically operated processor would. Which means that the ingredients will stay cool, a crucial requirement when you are making a cold sauce or a garnish for a cold salad. As there is no heat to damage the fresh and bright flavors of the ingredients, they will have their original flavors intact when you crush them by using a mortar and pestle. One more reason is that it saves a lot of time.
If you need a small amount of crushed garlic and ginger to add to your dish, you would not want to take out a food processor, set it up, connect it to a power point, and wash it afterward just so that you can get a spoonful of crushed garlic. In a situation like this, a mortar and pestle are way more convenient, faster, and easier.
What are some of the types of cooking where a mortar and pestle can be useful?
To give you a glimpse into the endless possibilities of things that you can achieve with a mortar and pestle, we want to mention a few recipes where using a mortar and pestle will give you superior results compared to any other tools. One of the best examples for this would be pesto, where crushing basil and garlic using a mortar and pestle will release their flavors and colors better than doing it in a food processor. Another one is guacamole, where you can mash your avocado to the creaminess you desire. There are so many others but some of the most popular ones are Chimichurri sauce, spice blend, curry paste, hummus, Gremolata, etc. If you want to have a look at complete recipes of dishes where you can let your mortar and pestle shine, you can find them here.
Are mortar and pestles only used for cooking?
Although mortar and pestle are primarily used for cooking purposes nowadays, it is not limited to its use in the kitchen. It can be exceptionally useful for different kinds of medicine that have to be consumed in powdered form or as a solution. You can easily crush the tablets and turn into smaller granules before you take it. Many people use mortar and pestle to prepare medicines for their pets as pets do not want to take in medicines in the form of tablets. Apart from that, mortar and pestle can be used for grinding different kinds of tea leaves, coffee beans, chocolate, etc. for making desserts and drinks.
What kind of materials are best for mortar and pestles?
Different kinds of materials are used for making mortar and pestles, and it is up to you to choose the one that fits you best, but before you can do that it is important to know the ups and downs of each of the materials. Whatever the material is, it is it should be able to provide friction and abrasive effect in order to prevent the contents from flying out of the mortar, and also to make it easier for you to crush and grind. This is why completely smooth surfaces for the mortar is not a very positive feature for mortars even if it looks very polished and aesthetically pleasing.
You should also take into consideration if the material requires seasoning, for example, granite mortar and pestles require a specific seasoning process before you can use it for the first time. Another thing to consider is the weight of the material, for example, stainless steel mortar and pestles are lightweight, while marble and granite mortar and pestles can be as heavy as 7 pounds. The mortar and pestle should also be made of a material that is as less porous as possible, since the more porous a material is, the more likely it is to absorb flavors from food and affect the flavor of the next ingredient that you are going to grind in it.