The 10 Best Salt And Pepper Mills
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in August of 2015. Ideal for dispensing all kinds of spices and condiments in the kitchen or at the dinner table, these salt mills come in a variety of designs and capacities to suit all preferences and needs. They are available with manual or electrically-powered grinders, and offer adjustable settings to accommodate various ingredients. Some are even handsome enough that you may want to put them on display. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 16, 2020:
We're happy to see that at this time, many of our previous favorites are still available, including the stylish Cole and Mason Derwent and the classic Fletcher's Federal. We selected the Le Creuset Mill, as well, which is similar to the Federal. But while both come in bold colors, the Le Creuset model is darker at the bottom, then gradually lightens toward the top, for a truly eye-catching effect. The trade-off is that it is made of ABS plastic, even though it looks like wood, whereas the Federal is indeed crafted from sustainable hardwoods.
When examining our picks, we did decide to remove the Perfex Adjustable, since adjusting it can be quite fussy, and the ZaraLuxe Tall Glass. There's nothing specifically wrong with the latter, but we replaced it with the Ieebee 4 Pack, a better value. The design is similar, but for nearly the same price, you receive four pieces instead of two. This ensures you have plenty of ways to season your dishes, which is especially handy if you enjoy trying all kinds of different peppercorns and salts.
As for electric models to go with your electric pepper grinder, we kept the Latent Epicure and added the Chew Fun Gravity. Neither arrives with batteries, so plan to stock up on AAs and AAAs, respectively, but they both offer a light, a white LED in the case of the former and blue for the latter.
December 10, 2019:
A fair amount of time has elapsed since this list was last updated, so to keep up with current offerings, we removed dated models and units that suffered from quality complaints in favor of more reliable ones. Many of our selections also come bundled with a pepper mill, which is helpful if you don't yet have one, are giving these as a gift, or simply want a matching set.
We said goodbye to the Beyond Flavor Electric due to unavailability and replaced it with the Eparé 2 in 1, a versatile model with a clever, space-saving design. We also removed the Home Kitchen Star Automatic and Hudson Essentials Deluxe, which both suffered durability complaints. We sought out well-designed, dependable selections like the Grind Gourmet Modern and handmade Fletcher's Federal to take their spots. Not only does the Fletcher model pair perfectly with rustic and farmhouse decors, but its mechanisms are also backed by a generous lifetime warranty. The company designed this mill to release its inner components easily, making maintenance and cleaning a simple task.
While we love the Zelancio One Touch, we wanted to source out a similar design that was more reliable, which is why you'll find the Latent Epicure in its place. This model boasts superior craftsmanship, is more durable, and is extremely easy to use. It's sold as a single mill as well as in a two-pack, something we thought would be compelling for those who want that option.
When addressing this list, we prioritized hardwearing construction, durable grinding mechanisms, ease of use, value for money, aesthetics, and generous warranties. Remember that salts with moisture content, such as wet sea salt, can clog grinders and adversely affect their performance. To combat this, try leaving your salt out to air dry for 24 - 48 hours before loading your mill.
Scully & Scully Contrast Sterling Silver The Scully & Scully Contrast Sterling Silver salt and pepper mills each boast a high-quality Peugeot mechanism, along with hand-carved black walnut and sterling silver with an eye-catching mirror finish. The pair take their name from the contrasting finials, with a gold version for the salt mill and silver for the pepper. scullyandscully.com
L'Objet Ionic If you like Art Deco design and clean, modern styling, then a L'Objet Ionic may find a welcome home in your kitchen. Offered in both large and small, they come in black and white and fit right into the rest of the elegant Ionic collection, which includes handsome kitchen pieces, such as a French press. l-objet.com
Lalique Peugeot Feuilles Made from stunning crystal glass, the Lalique Peugeot Feuilles is one of the priciest choices you'll find, but it's easily one of the most elegant, too. It is decorated with a swirling leaf pattern — "feuilles" is French for "leaves," in fact — and stands just over 3.5 inches tall. us.peugeot-saveurs.com
To Salt Or Not to Salt?
You would be hard pressed to find a culinary expert insisting that a salt grinder is a necessity.
We all need salt. It's a necessity of life for humans. As such, the limits are boundless when it comes to presenting the precious dietary staple. Salt is used as a preservative in food, a flavoring agent, and for pickling foods as well. The versatility of this commodity is not to be understated.
In recent years, the salt grinder has risen to prominence, rivaling the classic salt shaker. A salt grinder is designed to process coarse salt into smaller pieces for dressing a meal. It's functionality is very similar to that of a pepper mill and it is often paired in a set with its companion.
Although some salt grinders are operated manually with a burr grinder, you'll find electric models on the market, too. Whereas a pepper mill is used to break the husk of the peppercorns, and release the fresh aroma and flavor of the pepper, the salt grinder may not have such an obvious function. There is no such thing as a salt corn, so one might ask if the salt grinder is essential when one can simply buy a smaller grain of salt.
You would be hard pressed to find a culinary expert insisting that a salt grinder is a necessity. Usually it's a product of luxury and personal taste. Its pairing with a pepper mill makes it aesthetically pleasing. Also, if you like chunkier salts, the grinder will be able to customize the grain size as opposed to pre-ground flakes or iodized salt.
The Nitty Gritty
If you are a Type A personality who likes order and symmetry, then I suggest you buy a pepper and salt combination set. They are cosmetically pleasing and they give you some peace of mind knowing that they will both operate in a similar fashion.
If you are interested in multiple uses for your salt grinder, ensure that the one you choose can accommodate other herbs and spices. Do not assume that every grinder will accommodate other ingredients; they may have a tendency of getting stuck and jamming your burr grinder.
The biggest reason that the salt grinder has come into fashion is the grain size.
Grinders come in a variety of materials. Plastic models are cheap and prone to wear easily as opposed to glass, ceramic, or stainless steel. The steel and ceramic models are durable options of course, yet some might yield to glass if only for the fact that you can see the level of salt left in the grinder, eliminating the guesswork. I would suggest glass if you are working in a high volume kitchen and cannot afford the time to replace the salt.
The biggest reason that the salt grinder has come into fashion is the grain size. A chunky cube of salt topping a dish is seen as an enhancement and consumers prefer the texture of a larger grain over its standard table salt cousin. The grinder will ensure a standard grain size. The salt grinder can be used as a regulator to make sure a pre-measured amount of salt is added to a dish.
The possibility of different grain sizes is simply a matter of personal preference. If the salt is going to be dissolved in a liquid, the grain size does not matter. The general rule, however, is that larger crystals of salt are more aesthetically pleasing and savory as a finishing touch on dishes.
The History of Salt
Salt was a valuable commodity in ancient times, so much so that Roman soldiers were even paid in salt, making it their salary. The demand for salt worldwide became so high that salt roads were developed to bring the precious commodity to regions that lacked the natural resource.
Salt comes from two sources: salt rock and ocean water. As early as 8,000 years ago, cultures in what is now Romania were boiling spring water to collect the byproduct of the evaporation, salt.
The demand for salt worldwide became so high that salt roads were developed to bring the precious commodity to regions that lacked the natural resource.
Salt at the table was established in Roman antiquity by the salt cellar. An open vessel designed to hold salt, it enjoyed popularity until the salt shaker arrived in the twentieth century. The new anti-caking agents added to salt made it easy to flow from a shaker, eliminating the need for a cellar. The anti-caking agents in table salt are still used today along with iodine to replenish minerals stripped in the purification process of the salt.
Salt and pepper shakers rose to popularity in the 1920s and became a staple on dining tables in the Western hemisphere. The salt cellar became obsolete and the novelty of a matched salt and pepper set became the standard. Collecting pairs became a hobby for consumers.
The future of seasoning rests on the shoulders of the salt grinder. I personally believe a pepper mill and salt grinder will replace the salt and pepper shaker very soon, given the public attitude of personalization of food and the demand for customization and health consciousness.