The mortar and pestle have been an essential kitchen tool for hundreds of thousands of years and is still used today by many people. There is no actual date the mortar and pestle were invented on, just that it has been used by every culture forever and in some cases was their only tool used for cooking. However, most people believe the mortar and pestle is outdated technology and is easily replaced by any number of kitchen gadgets.

So, you may be asking yourself, “Why would I need the best mortar and pestle when I could just use a food processor or a blender?” Well, the reason being is just that. Yes, you could use several different devices to get a job done, but a mortar and pestle will do the job of all those individual gadgets. For instance, you could use a garlic press instead of grinding the garlic in the pestle. You could use a spice grinder to crush your spices and blend them together. Or you could use a food processor to blend up sauces and purees. A mortar and pestle will do all of these jobs and then some more. In fact, many chefs believe that in order to make a great pesto, you have to utilize a mortar and pestle rather than use a food processor. The porous and rough surfaces of the mortar and pestle are ideal for grinding fibrous leaves which is essential in a pesto. Something that a blade or food processor does not have the capability to do. There is no better tool for making pesto than by using a mortar and pestle.

In this article, we will go over some of the capabilities of a mortar and pestle and what to look for when purchasing one. We will also go over some of the models available for purchase on the market today and which may be the best mortar and pestle for you.

How to Choose the Best Mortar and Pestle

A mortar and pestle will look great displayed in your kitchen and people will ask about the primitive tool more often than you think. You want to have a mortar and pestle that will not only look great in the kitchen but also function the best way it can. There are many types but if you are after a mortar and pestle to replace more than just your pepper mill then you will want the best you can find.

Make sure the mortar is heavy in weight and more preferably larger rather than smaller so that you can get more tasks done with it versatilely. The inside of the mortar should be a nice round and even surface. Some mortars have a convex or cylindrical inner bowl which makes it hard to grind all seasonings and perform certain tasks. If you are using one of these to grind spices, the job will not get done and you might as well break out the spice grinder. Make sure the product is made with quality materials like stone or marble rather than glass or ceramic. At the very least, try to find a mortar and pestle that comes with a warranty to protect it from any damages or defects that may occur while in use.

Construction and Design

The overall construction of the mortar will determine how well it functions ultimately. As said before, make sure the mortar is heavy so it won’t slide around while in use and will be more durable during grinding. It’s best to have a larger sized mortar rather than a smaller one because that widens your options of what you can and can’t grind.

The best materials for a mortar and pestle are going to be in the stone category. Granite and marble are the best choices as they are very dense and hard surfaces to grind against. Ceramic and glass are the other options but they tend to chip or break overtime. Their surfaces are also not as rough as stone can be which is ideal for grinding.

There are also other materials like wood and metal as well. These can be advantageous but as far as the actual use of the product, they stand alone at the end. Their surfaces tend to be smoother and softer which do not do well when trying to grind nutmeg or peppercorns. Also, try to avoid mortars that have a smooth or finished interior bowl. You want the mortar to be rough and abrasive and it can’t be if the inside is glossy.

As far as the design goes, they are all of the same concept usually. But they do all have unique appearances. Mortars made from stone come in many different colors and designs embedded in the rock.

9 Best Mortars and Pestles

Fox Run 3837 Large Marble Mortar and Pestle

Fox Run 3837 Large Marble Mortar and Pestle

The Best Mortar and Pestle

This is a great mortar and pestle and it comes at a very fair price. However, it does not come with a warranty to protect it.

The mortar and pestle are constructed of 100% marble that has been unpolished to help yield better grinding results. The inside bowl is a perfect 8 inches which is not too small and not too large. The weight of the mortar is reasonable and helps to prevent the stone from moving while in use. The mortar is not dishwasher safe but is able to handle just about any task you throw at it.

Pros

  • The mortar and pestle are constructed of 100% marble which sets nicely on any counter surface.
  • The inner bowl has been left unpolished to yield better grinding results.
  • The mortar’s weight keeps it steady and in place while in use.
Cons

  • The product is not dishwasher safe.
  • It does not come with a warranty.

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ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle Set

ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle Set

The Runner Up Mortar and Pestle

The next mortar and pestle are almost completely different in style and design but of the same construction and with one difference.

The mortar and pestle are constructed of 100% granite that has been unpolished to encourage an effective grinding surface. The inner bowl is 6 inches and is a cylindrical shape which means it is great for crushing spices but not as effective as grinding plant materials. Also included with the mortar and pestle is a recipe book on Italian cuisine and a scratch protector to keep your mortar from damaging countertops and tables. Not only is this item very fairly priced but it is also covered by a lifetime warranty against any damages.

Pros

  • Comes at a very fair price with a full lifetime warranty.
  • Constructed of 100% granite that has been unpolished to yield a better grinding surface.
  • Comes with an Italian cuisine cookbook and a scratch protector to keep scratches off of your tables and surfaces when in use.
Cons

  • While it is may be great for grinding spices, it may lack the ability to grinding plants and leaves when compared to larger mortars.

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Bekith Brushed Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle

Bekith Brushed Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle

The Best Stainless-Steel Mortar and Pestle

Next up is a stainless-steel model that puts all others to shame in terms of metal mortars. You can also have this elegant mortar and pestle for a fair price, however, there is no warranty to protect it.

The mortar and pestle are constructed of double-sided brushed stainless-steel which happens to be very heavy and durable. This eco-friendly mortar and pestle also have a non-slip base to keep steady while in use. While this may seem like a great choice, stainless-steel mortars tend to not be able to grind as well as stone mortars. You may find yourself getting frustrated with all the extra work.

Pros

  • Constructed of brushed double-sided stainless steel which is heavy.
  • The model as a non-slip base to keep it steady while in use.
  • The mortar and pestle are only $10 and looks great in any kitchen.
Cons

  • Stainless steel mortar and pestles tend to be less effective when it comes to grinding anything compared to stone.

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Imusa MEXI-2013 Granite Molcajete Spice Grinder

lmusa MEXI-2013 Granite Molcajete Spice Grinder

The Best Small Granite Mortar and Pestle

Here is another great mortar and pestle that is a bit smaller than the first one but has the same ideal shape for grinding anything.

The mortar and pestle are constructed of 100% granite with an unpolished inner bowl for ideal an ideal grinding surface. The inner bowl is also smooth and even all around and is 6 inches in diameter. The bowl stand on 3 granite legs that are built in but are not slip resistant and may scratch the surface it is on when in use. The mortar and pestle are only around $20 total but they do not come with a warranty to protect them.

Pros

  • It is constructed of 100% granite that has been unpolished to provide ideal grinding surfaces.
  • The inner bowl is 6 inches in diameter and has an even bowl shape.
  • This stone mortar is very reasonably priced.
Cons

  • There is no warranty to protect it.
  • The mortar may slide when in use and may scratch the surface or table it sets on.

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Ironwood Gourmet 28341 Olmec Mortar and Pestle

Ironwood Gourmet 28341 Olmec Mortar and Pestle

The Best Wooden Mortar and Pestle

Next up is a wooden mortar and pestle that looks amazing and is easy to handle as well as clean. The good thing about wooden mortars is that they can be handled easily and not scratch the surface or table it is used on. While they can still grind most things, they will not be as near as effective as any other type of material used, stone being the best.

The mortar and pestle are made from Acacia wood and need to be hand washed and air dried to keep the integrity of the bowl. While this model is priced very cheap, it does not come with any warranty.

Pros

  • The mortar and pestle are constructed of beautiful Acacia wood with a polished inner bowl.
  • The inner bowl is evenly shaped and is 6 inches in diameter.
  • The mortar is easy to handle and will not leave any unsightly blemishes or scratches on the surface it is used on.
Cons

  • There is no warranty to protect it.
  • Wooden mortar and pestle tend to be less effective at grinding when compared to any other material used

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JAMIE OLIVER Mortar and Pestle

JAMIE OLIVER Mortar and Pestle

Decent Mortar and Pestle from a Famous Chef

The mortar and pestle are constructed of 100% granite with an unpolished inner bowl for ideal an ideal grinding surface. The inner bowl is also smooth and even all around and is 6 inches in diameter. The bowl stand on 3 granite legs that are built in but are not slip resistant and may scratch the surface it is on when in use. It is also recommended that the bowl be seasoned with rice and salt before the first initial use which is kind of annoying.

Pros

  • It is constructed of 100% granite that has been unpolished to provide ideal grinding surfaces.
  • The inner bowl is 6 inches in diameter and has an even bowl shape.
Cons

  • The inner bowl needs to be seasoned with rice and salt before using it.
  • There is no warranty to protect it.
  • The mortar may slide when in use and may scratch the surface or table it sets on.

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Granite Mortar and Pestle by HiCoup

Granite Mortar and Pestle by HiCoup

The Next Best Thing

This mortar and pestle are almost identical to the Jamie Oliver mortar and pestle except for a couple things that actually better the product as a whole.

The mortar and pestle are constructed of 100% granite with an unpolished inner bowl for ideal an ideal grinding surface. The inner bowl is also smooth and even all around and is 6 inches in diameter. The bowl stands on a granite circular base that is built in but is not slip resistant and may scratch the surface it is on when in use. The mortar and pestle comes at around $30 and it also offers a lifetime full warranty to protect it from any damages. It also happens to be dishwasher safe.

Pros

  • Constructed of 100% granite that has been unpolished to provide a perfect grinding surface and is dishwasher safe.
  • The inner bowl has an even shape and it the perfect 6 inches in diameter to fit just about anything inside
  • The mortar and pestle come backed by a full lifetime warranty as well.
Cons

  • The granite base may slide around while in use and may leave scratches on the surface you use it on.

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RSVP Authentic Mexican Molcajete

RSVP Authentic Mexican Molcajete

The Most Authentic Mortar and Pestle

This mortar and pestle are very similar to all the other models except for one major factor. The mortar and pestle have been hand carved out of volcanic rock which needs to be cared for properly and cured from time to time.

The inner bowl is also smooth and even all around and is 6 inches in diameter. The bowl stands on 3 granite legs that are built in but are not slip resistant and may scratch the surface it is on when in use. While the mortar may be the closest thing to a primitive tool, it is expensive and comes with no warranty to protect it.

Pros

  • The mortar and pestle are hand carved from volcanic rock.
  • The inner bowl is evenly shaped and 6 inches in diameter.
Cons

  • The mortar and pestle are quite expensive for what it is and do no come with any warranty.
  • The mortar needs to be taken care of properly and cured before use every time.

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Helen’s Asian Kitchen Suribachi Set

Helens Asian Kitchen Suribachi Set

The Burden of the Beast Mortar and Pestle

The last mortar and pestle we want to show you is kind of a novelty or is only good for one task and not even the best choice of mortar for that task.

The mortar is constructed of ceramic and the pestle is made from wood. The inner bowl of the mortar has sharp ridges around it to help break down whatever is being ground. However, the food may become stuck in the ridges and be hard to release later. While the mortar and pestle are very cheap, there is no warranty to protect and the ceramic bowl may be prone to chipping or breaking while in use. Overall not a very good choice to go with but an interesting one.

Pros

  • The inner bowl is 6 inches in diameter and has ridges to help break down the food being ground up.
  • The mortar and pestle are very cheap to purchase
  • The bowl will not leave scratches on the counter or surface it is used on.
Cons

  • The ceramic bowl may be prone to chipping or breaking when used roughly or too often.
  • Food can become lodged in the ridges of the bowl.
  • There is no warranty.

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Conclusion

So, have you decided which to go with yet? Well, it is pretty obvious you will want to get a mortar and pestle that is constructed of some kind of stone. You will get the best results; it will last forever and be very easy to clean. Just make sure to get a mat to place it on if it doesn’t have a slip-resistant bottom to protect your countertops and tables.