When they are easy to clean, a mortar and pestle make a unique addition to a kitchen that not only looks great, but also helps to unlock flavors that other cooking prep cannot. Although they require a little work form the user, the health benefits and great taste of the likes of freshly ground peppercorns and spices are what keeps people grinding away and a quality one can be a special addition to a kitchen top.
The problem is, unless you have experience of buying them, it can be hard to tell which is the best mortar and pestle for your needs. We have taken some of the strain out of researching by selecting our top products, each one is durable, comes with a stellar reputation and vary in size to suit your needs.
Quick Summary of Mortar And Pestles
ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle Set – 6 Inch – 2 Cup Capacity
When you think of a classic mortar and pestle, the chances are it looks like this product from ChefSofi. It comes with an anti-scratch protector that you attach to the bottom. This saves your countertop from scratches, something that can happen with other products when you’re grinding hard.
It is made from stone and has a large, deep 500 ml capacity so you won’t have to keep refilling it with ingredients, get more done in one go! The heaviness of the unpolished granite means it won’t slip around the kitchen, making a mess and it comes with a hassle-free refund offer. ChefSofi also gives you an eBook with the purchase containing 185 Italian recipes so you can start making the most of the mortar and pestle.
- Large 2 cup capacity
- Non-slip thanks to the heavy granite
- Comes with an anti-scratch protector
- Refund guarantee
Fox Run 3822 Marble Mortar and Pestle, Green
This compact mortar and pestle is ideal for anyone making a spice mix for their meal and is one of the most attractive products thanks to the deep green of the marble. The design is slick and won’t look out of place in the most stylish of kitchens but it is the functionality that impresses the most.
The pestle is heavy, giving you the ability to unlock the full flavor and aroma of spices without having to settle for bland shop-bought products. It’s handy for taking away with you thanks to the compact size and a lot of people using it to crush pills for medicinal reasons, probably because it is easy to wipe clean. A lot of people tend to hold it in the palm of their hands and crush away.
- Great compact design
- Attractive green marble
- Easy to take anywhere
- Not as good for larger spice mixes
EZ-Grip Silicone & Porcelain Mortar and Pestle
If you don’t want the detachable silicone base then you can remove it, but being able to control this porcelain mortar and pestle thanks to the non-slip base is a bonus. One of its best attributes is that it is dishwasher safe making it one of the easiest products to clean, a bonus for removing strong odors.
The pestle also features a silicon handle so you can easily grip it and grind making it one of the better products for those with hand injuries or arthritis. The porcelain is apothecary grade because it is non-porous so no flavors will transfer between uses. With a modern design and extra functionality, you don’t have to worry about flaking or peeling, ideal for making your own blend of spices and herbs.
- Apothecary grade porcelain
- Non-slip base and grippy handle
- Dishwasher safe
- Not as attractive as other products
Bekith Mortar and Pestle Sets 18/8 Brushed Stainless
Best Stainless Steel
Made from 18/8 brushed stainless steel this is one of the better mortar and pestles on the market. It is food grade and rustproof which leaves no residual taste and the non-slip base allows you to grind with confidence without scratching the kitchen surface or making a mess.
The pestle has some weight behind it which will make the crushing and grinding a lot easier. It even comes with a translucent lid that you can use with the pestle handle so you can see the grinding without having to worry about debris. Use it to crush a multitude of ingredients and even medical pills and when it comes to cleaning, a quick rinse under the tap will suffice.
- Quality build
- Easy to clean
- Comes with a translucent lid to avoid debris
- Non-slip base
- For some people it is not as attractive as marble
Ironwood Gourmet Olmec Mortar and Pestle
The quality of the acacia wood is easy to love thanks to the unique patterns. A lot of people try to avoid wooden mortar and pestles because they can absorb some of the flavors but it is easy to wash – use soapy water and leave to air dry between uses.
It is one of the most attractive bowls and has a pre-Columbian design to complement a kitchen design. The main problem you will encounter is that the pestle isn’t as heavy like other products so it will require more hard work from the user but that is the price you pay for a wooden product.
- Attractive acacia wood design
- Easy to clean
- Wide pestle tip
- Have to rub with oil to protect the wood
Wirezoll Marble Mortar And Pestle 5 Inch
Most people want a marble mortar and pestle because of the durability and quality which are two words you associate with Wirezolls 5-inch product. It has a natural white design that features pleasant grey and black stripes and of course, it doesn’t leave any chalk so it is completely food safe.
Clean up is easy, you only have to wipe it with a damp cloth to return it to its best before you grind herbs and spices for your next meal. The pestle is heavy enough to make light work of a variety of ingredients so you’ll be crushing garlic in no time. A lot of people comment on the solid build and sturdy feel in your hands making this attractive mortar and pestle easy to love.
- Quality marble
- Easy to clean
- Solid build
- Can chip after heavy use
Vasconia 4-Cup Granite Molcajete Mortar and Pestle
Best Large Capacity
With its large 4-cup capacity, this is great for when you are preparing the spices for large meals or want to make a large bowl of guacamole. The granite molcajete design looks great so it can double up as a serving bowl on the table when guests want to tuck into the freshly prepared dip.
You should hand wash it to remove the excess of this wide mortar and pestle that has a neutral white and grey finish. For some people, the bowl might be a little smoother so the workload might be a bit more than expected but it remains a quality mortar and pestle.
- Large 4-cup capacity
- Wide bowl great for serving dip
- Pestle is a little small
Mortar And Pestle Guide
If you haven’t used a mortar and pestle before, you don’t even know how good your home cooking could taste. Using shop bought spices and herbs only goes so far to provide the flavors you should come to expect. A mortar and pestle crush spices and herbs, releasing the aromas and flavor in a way that brings your meal to life.
So how do you know what makes a quality product so you can experience this for yourself? It’s a difficult decision and one you should research before rushing in. This is why we have created the following guide, so you get this one right first time and end up with a great product you use all the time.
What To Look For In A Mortar And Pestle
We’ll cover each one in detail a little later but this is significant in more ways than one. In terms of durability and sturdiness, you must choose the materials carefully. There is more to a mortar and pestle than good looks, it all depends on what you want to get out of the product if you want one that will last a long time, marble is a good place to start.
Easy To Clean
The good news is that most mortar and pestles are easy to clean but some more so than others. If this is high on your list you might want to go for a porcelain product as they can go in the dishwasher. Otherwise, most of them are easy to wipe clean and don’t require a lot of elbow grease.
To protect your kitchen top, a non-slip base is a good idea. The rough materials can scratch and leave their mark and the other benefit of a non-slip base is that it keeps the bowl in place, so there is less mess.
With a matte finish or slightly rough surface, you will get the right amount of grip when crushing the contents. The friction is what helps to stop everything from slipping but you don’t want one that is so rough it is impossible to clean.
This will be down to your personal preference and needs. Those who want to create a spice mix for a variety of meals or just crush pills won’t need more than a 2-cup product but anyone who want to make a large salsa might want something bigger.
Sometimes you might want to make something a little larger so if you buy a smaller product, you’ll have to prepare the mix in stages.
This is why wooden products aren’t as desirable. The pestle needs to be heavy so you don’t have to apply as much pressure with every push. The heavier the pestle, the less effort on your part although there is balance between too heavy and just right.
Different Types of Mortar And Pestle
A lot of people’s preference as it matches many people’s image of traditional mortar and pestle. The smooth design is the most attractive but also very easy to clean. Not to mention the heaviness of the pestle makes it easier to grind pills and spices.
Although they feel sturdy, the porous nature of wooden mortar and pestles means they are difficult to clean and hold onto odors which can affect the next grind. The darker colors hide stains better than light finishes but they will still be there and worsen over time.
A major benefit of porcelain is that most of the time, it is dishwasher safe. This saves you time on clean up and they often come in neutral colors to match most kitchens.
These are some of the sturdiest types of mortar and pestle but take due diligence when grinding. If you are too rough you risk leaving residue in the mix but the heaviness of the pestle makes it easier to grind.
Look for a stainless steel product with a brushed finish to give you some grip when crushing and grinding. These are popular because you can’t break them in the same way that other mortar and pestles can and are generally easy to clean.
How High Should I Fill My Mortar and Pestle?
Fill the bowl too much and you will spill the contents over the side and make a big mess in your kitchen so aim for filling it at a maximum of 1/3 of the size of the bowl. That gives you plenty of room to crush and grind and you’ll find it easier to turn the ingredients into a satisfying paste.
How To Clean A Mortar And Pestle
No one way suits all types of mortar and pestle because the material of the product will determine how you should clean it. For most, wiping with a damp soapy cloth and rinsing will suffice. You’ll want to dry it if it is wood so the water does not impact the quality.
Certain types are dishwasher safe, particularly porcelain mortar and pestles although you should check with the brand specs before doing so.
What Is The Best Mortar And Pestle?
A lot of what makes a mortar and pestle so good is the unique design so what you think is best will be down to what catches the eye. As long as it has the functionality to make light work of spices and herbs and is made from durable materials, it should be a winner.
The product that we recommend above all others is the ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle Set. At 6-inches and with a 2 cup capacity it has the room to make a good amount of spice mix but with a quality marble build and an anti-scratch base included, it has everything you need.