Expert and amateur chefs may not have all the same kitchen items, but one thing we think is essential in any home is a pestle and mortar set. Easy to use and affordable, the pestle and mortar set makes quick work out of everything from pesto to homemade salad dressing.
A mortar is a small cup or bowl that holds anything from spices to oils and vegetables. Using a pestle, which is a small club, users mash or grind up the contents inside the mortar. Some sets are small, while others are large. Think the big mortars that are used to make guacamole next to your table at fancy Mexican restaurants. Pick up your own pestle and mortar and throw in some avocados, onions, cilantro, salt, and lime and you could be the next guacamole guru (check out our favorite guacamole recipes here). Taco Tuesdays just became the best night in your house.
Mortal and pestles have been used since around 35,000 BC and while there are newer and faster ways to grind and combine ingredients, we still love using the traditional kitchen gadget. No electrical outlet is needed. Clean up is limited. And the taste is much, much better. As explained by Saveur, electric devices have blades that cut things like garlic and leaves. A pestle and mortar crushes the food, which expels the essential-oils and flavors trapped inside the ingredients for your homemade mustard, chutney, curry sauce and more. Crushing small servings is also more manageable in a pestle and mortar, with electric choppers often struggling to grab tiny flecks of herbs and spices.
Pestle and mortar sets can also be used to make taking medication easier. Whether you have difficulty swallowing large pills or need to crush medication for your dog or cat to sprinkle in their food, there are many uses for this kitchen staple.
Now that you know why you need a pestle and mortar, it’s time to decide which one to add to your cupboard.
1. ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle Set
Crafted from durable granite to make a bowl that is easy to grip and steady enough that it won’t slide around on counters, the ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle Set is a high-end kitchen accessory that goes back to basics in its design. The granite set doesn’t require sanitization and provides natural friction for an easy grinding and mashing process.
Pros: The ChefSofi has a 500 ml or two cup capacity, making it one of the larger pestle and mortar sets available and great for making dips and sauces.
Cons: The ChefSofi is considerably more expensive than the other pestle and mortars on our list.
2. Bekith Brushed Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle
Durable and easy to clean, the Bekith Brushed Stainless Steel Mortar and Pestle set can grind herbs, spices, nuts, and anything else you need to make your favorite recipe. The food-safe, BPA-free set has no mercury and doesn’t leave any lingering taste in your food.
Pros: The Bekith has an anti-slip base and is dishwasher safe.
Cons: The Bekith is better for crushing items like coffee and nuts as opposed to grinding spices and herbs, which the ChefSofi better suited for.
3. HIC Mortar and Pestle
Perfect for grinding items into a fine paste or dust, the HIC Mortar and Pestle is made from high quality porcelain and is dishwasher safe. A great set for those looking to quickly grind herbs and spices or medications.
Pros: The small set (the mortar measures 2.75 x 1.5 inches) is perfect for grinding small food ingredients and easy to clean.
Cons: The HIC is much smaller than the other two sets and not as well designed for crushing large items, like avocados.