The 10 Best Mortar And Pestles

Updated October 03, 2017

10 Best Mortar And Pestles
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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If homemade food means more to you than just sticking a frozen meal in the oven, then you'll definitely be interested in our list of mortar and pestle sets. These will allow you to grind your own herbs, spices, and pastes for a truly made-from-scratch dining experience. Nothing adds more flavor than freshly processed ingredients. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best mortar and pestle on Amazon.

10. Le Creuset 10-Ounce

Le Creuset 10-Ounce is made of extra strong, quality stoneware, and has an enamel coating that resists cracks or chips, even after heavy use. It is freezer, microwave, and oven safe, making it a versatile addition to any kitchen.
  • nearly five inches deep
  • great gift for cooking enthusiasts
  • doesn't hold a lot of product
Brand Le Creuset
Model PG4050-0467
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Greenco Marble

The Greenco Marble is available in two handy sizes, both of which are useful for small blending projects or crushing pills. It has a naturally rough interior for an extra fine grind and, considering its attractive appearance and functionality, the price is very affordable.
  • white with grey accents
  • heavy pestle does the work for you
  • must be hand washed
Brand Greenco
Model GRC0223
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

8. Bekith Brushed Stainless

The Bekith Brushed Stainless is sturdier than most steel sets on the market and comes in at an incredible price point, making it a bona fide bargain. Best of all, it's free of chemicals so you don't have to worry about food safety.
  • contains no lead or mercury
  • non-skid rubber ring on base
  • scratches easily
Brand Bekith
Model MortarAndPestle-148
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Home Basics

The rustic Home Basics pair is made from eco-friendly bamboo and has high sides that prevent your spices from flying out while you're working. Its simple and natural style is something that minimalist home cooks are likely to appreciate.
  • exterior has matte finish
  • appropriate for muddling herbs
  • wood may become indented
Brand Home Basics
Model MP01053
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. VonShef Granite 5.5-Inch

The elegant, midnight black VonShef Granite 5.5-Inch is an incredible value given its solid construction and timeless design. It tackles spices and herbs easily, and can create awesome curry bases and customized seasoning mixes.
  • built to last for years
  • can be used to make pestos
  • undersized bowl area
Brand VonShef
Model 07/062
Weight 6.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Ironwood Gourmet Acacia

This Ironwood Gourmet Acacia is so handsome you may find yourself using it as a small serving bowl more often than as a kitchen tool, and you'll definitely be happy to leave it on the counter whenever you have guests. It's as easy on the eyes as it is to work with.
  • environmentally friendly wood
  • much lighter than stone options
  • wipes clean with damp cloth
Brand Ironwood Gourmet
Model 28341
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

4. Frontier White Marble

The Frontier White Marble is purpose-built for crushing even the toughest spices, like cloves and coriander, using its broad pestle. With this smart selection, you'll be able to concoct as many unique spice mixes as your heart desires.
  • coarse surface creates friction
  • cleans easily with water
  • compact size for easy storage
Brand Frontier
Model pending
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Vasconia Granite Molcajete

The Vasconia Granite Molcajete has a generous four-cup capacity, so it's the ideal choice for serving your famous guacamole or making a heaping amount of flavorful paste that will last for weeks. As a bonus, it's also great for preparing baby food.
  • traditional native design
  • handle fits comfortably in palm
  • can be used on grains
Brand Vasconia
Model 5031764
Weight 9.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. StainlessLUX 75552

The modern StainlessLUX 75552 is a brushed stainless steel duo that won't become discolored or absorb odors over time. It has an extra long handle and a knobbed head, which facilitate a secure grip and provide superior control.
  • dishwasher safe
  • contemporary take on an ancient tool
  • drawstring storage pouch included
Brand StainlessLUX
Model 75552
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Cole and Mason Granite

If you're on the hunt for a beautiful piece that will get the job done, the Cole and Mason Granite is the pick for you. This choice is heavy-duty and can stand up to vigorous grinding. When you're not cooking, leave it on the counter as an eye-catching decoration.
  • original design
  • polished finish is quick to clean
  • non-porous impermeable interior
Brand Cole & Mason
Model H100279USA
Weight 7.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Why You Need A Mortar And Pestle

Maybe you've seen these elegant little tools in kitchen stores and thought, "They look nice, but what can they do that a bowl and a spoon can't?" The answer: a lot. If you're ready to take your culinary skills to the next level, a mortar and pestle should be among the next items you add to your cooking arsenal. First of all, if you think a knife can stand in the place of a pestle, that's simply not true. Pestles crush up food, which releases their essential oils — special liquids extracted from plants that offer many benefits ranging from food flavoring to food preservation. That's something a knife cannot do. There's a reason that a sauce with garlic that's been crushed in a mortar and pestle is so much more flavorful than one with garlic that's simply been diced up. Using a mortar and pestle, you can open up the rigid structure of various plants, exposing the flavors trapped inside. Cutting them cleanly with knives just won't do that.

If you think you can just use a food processor to get the same effect, keep in mind that the rapidly-moving blades of this appliance create heat, which can dilute some of the flavors of plants. Only a mortar and pestle is the perfect balance of strong and gentle to release a plant's flavor, without destroying it. Second, keep in mind that sometimes you only need the tiniest portion of an ingredient, like half a tablespoon of crushed pepper. Sticking this in a food processor just isn't practical. You could put a small about of spices into a spice grinder, but again, that appliance will cut up rather than mash up your ingredients, failing to release those tasty essential oils.

Finally, you need a mortar and pestle because trying to fasten a makeshift one out of mixing bowls and spoons will destroy your bowls, spoons, or both. Mortars are heavy duty, typically made of granite, marble, or other hefty materials that can withstand the pressure you need to apply to mash up ingredients.

The Various Mortar And Pestles And Their Jobs

Mortars and pestles can be made from various materials. We're going to discuss each one and the jobs for which they're best suited. If your newest obsession is your pasta maker, you should reach for a set made from ceramic. They're ideal for crushing nuts, garlic, and herbs, so they can make a delicious pesto sauce. Those who favor slightly spicier cuisine, like Thai or Indian food, might want a granite mortar and pestle. The bumpy, irregular surface of this type is perfect for breaking up small ingredients with stubborn structures, such as dried chili peppers. If you place longer ingredients, like lemongrass or leaves, in a granite mortar, gently rolling your pestle across these and pushing them into the bumpy surface of the mortar releases their flavor beautifully.

Olive wood mortars serve a unique purpose that is perfect for some chefs, and not so for others. Because the material holds onto the flavors of the foods you put in it, this type of mortar and pestle should only be used for one type of cuisine that has a consistent base ingredient. For example, you could use it to make a lot of garlic-based foods. It will hold onto that garlic flavor, enhancing the taste of future recipes. Of course, you wouldn't want to make some dessert item in an olive wood mortar that you've previously used for garlic-based sauces.

If you want a more versatile mortar and pestle that you can use to make all sorts of cuisine, opt for a marble set. Marble won't hold onto flavors, so you can use it for both savory foods and desserts, as long as you wash it well. Marble sets also look quite elegant. If you mash a lot of hard ingredients, you'll want the strength of a cast iron mortar. There's almost nothing this material can't stand up to. If you're all about your sushi making kit right now, you'll enjoy a mortar and pestle made from Japanese earthenware. These are ideal for crushing many of the things you may roll up in your rice and seaweed, like fish and ginger. They're also good for mashing tofu and pulverizing seeds.

The History Of Mortars And Pestles

When you use a mortar and pestle, you're connecting with thousands of years of culinary culture around the world. Historians have found versions of these tools dating back to 35000 B.C.E. Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the mortar and pestle is that they've barely changed during all of that time. The server mashing up guacamole in a mortar and pestle table-side at your favorite Mexican restaurant is using one almost identical to the molcajetes used in Mexico’s Tehuacan Valley nearly 6,000 years ago. However, while the appearance and composition of these tools have barely changed, their uses have.

Today, chefs mainly use mortars and pestles to grind spices, herbs, and nuts. But if the Book of Exodus is to be believed, Israelites used mortars and pestles to grind their manna around the 6th century B.C.E. One Egyptian medical text dating back to 1550 B.C.E describes doctors using mortars and pestles to make tincture and ointments, and there is evidence that shows Italian apothecaries used them in the 14th and 15th centuries C.E.

Some historians would say that mortar and pestles played a larger role in the medicinal community than the culinary world for the majority of their existence. In fact, they've still left their mark, since you'll see the image of a mortar and pestle on major pharmacies like Walgreens. Of course, modern pharmacists aren't grinding your prescription up in a mortar and pestle; the image is merely symbolic at this point.



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Last updated on October 03, 2017 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

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