Which granite mortar and pestles are best?
Fresh pesto from the garden, a simmering three-day molé, a chunky guacamole: what do these have in common? They can all be made better by using a granite mortar and pestle. This ancient cooking tool uses a stone bowl (the mortar) to hold ingredients that are then ground by a sturdy pestle to create delicious and flavorful foods.
If you want a granite mortar and pestle that is large and designed to last a lifetime, the ChefSofi Extra Large Mortar and Pestle Set is a great choice.
What to know before you buy a granite mortar and pestle
Your granite mortar and pestle should be sized to fit your needs. If you plan to feed a crowd or use it to process a bounty of summer herbs, look for a large, deep mortar and pestle (8 inches or more).
If you are only preparing small-batch dips or grinding a handful of spices every now and then, a 6-inch mortar and pestle would work for you. Just keep in mind that your needs might change over time. It might be better to buy a larger mortar and pestle for future projects.
Some mortars and pestles have a solid, wide, circular base, while others have four legs. The wider the base, the more stable your mortar and pestle will be.
Some people prefer the look of legs instead of a solid base. If you’re planning on grinding soft herbs and foods only (like for guacamole) and using the mortar and pestle to serve, a 3- or 4-legged base might work best for you.
Granite is a popular choice for mortars and pestles, but that’s not the only material used. Look for mortars and pestles made of stainless steel, wood, porcelain and even plastic.
What to look for in a quality granite mortar and pestle
More than one pestle
An extra pestle can come in handy if you’re trying to perform multiple functions for one batch of food. For example, you can crack red pepper with a small pestle and then grind parsley as the base of a chimichurri with a larger pestle.
More than on pestle is not strictly necessary but can be convenient.
Although shallow mortars and pestles are great for some dips and sauces, a high-sided mortar means no more food slopping onto the counter. High sides also provide more surface to grind against.
A pre-seasoned mortar and pestle is ready to use right out of the box. Just rinse, wipe dry and you’re ready to cook.
How much you can expect to spend on granite mortar and pestle
A small-capacity granite mortar and pestle can be purchased for around $20. If you need a larger capacity, expect to pay $50 or more.
Granite mortar and pestle FAQ
What can you make in a mortar and pestle?
A. A mortar and pestle expands your culinary options.
Use it to:
- Grind fresh spices and create your own blends.
- Create a bright pesto or zingy chimichurri.
- Serve homemade salsa.
- Blend curry paste.
- Crush medications (be sure to re-season afterwards).
- Grind a bounty of fresh herbs for storing in the freezer.
- Grind nuts into powder or paste.
- Make salad dressings and dips.
- Prepare flavored salts and sugars.
- Grind your own coffee (and add fresh spices).
How do you care for a granite mortar and pestle?
A. Caring for your mortar and pestle is simple, requiring just a rinse and wipe dry after each use. Never use soap on your mortar and pestle, and never put it in the dishwasher,
If you notice off flavors or a lingering odor, re-season your mortar and pestle as directed below.
Does my granite mortar and pestle need to be seasoned?
A. Many mortar and pestle sets are ready to use out of the box, but some require seasoning before their first use or whenever they hold on to odors or flavors. Granite is a porous rock, so its surface can trap bits of spices and herbs over time. Seasoning helps to smooth the rough, porous surface and seal it against this.
Here’s how to season your mortar and pestle.
- Rinse both the mortar and pestle with water.
- Add a handful of uncooked rice to the mortar.
- Carefully grind the rice to powder.
- Dump the powder and test the mortar surface.
- If the surface is not smooth, repeat the process until it is.
- Rinse and dry mortar and pestle.
What’s the best granite mortar and pestle to buy?
Top granite mortar & pestle
What you need to know: Use this mortar and pestle for large batches of food.
What you’ll love: The 5-cup capacity and rough granite surface of the mortar makes quick work of big batches of tough herbs and spices. It comes with two pestles and is both versatile and durable.
What you should consider: This is an expensive choice, but it is sturdy and could last for decades in your kitchen.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top granite mortar & pestle for the money
What you need to know: This mortar and pestle features a wide bowl and a classic look.
What you’ll love: The Imusa doubles as a beautiful serving bowl. It is weighty and stable on the counter, allowing you to grind tough herbs and spices. The pestle has a comfortable rounded top.
What you should consider: Watch out for rough feet that can scratch counters.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This affordable mortar and pestle beautifully marries form and function.
What you’ll love: The solid design of this set both works and looks great. It grinds hard spices and tender herbs equally well, and it doesn’t walk across the counter while you use it.
What you should consider: This mortar and pestle requires seasoning before use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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