The Best Pestle and Mortars: Our Review

by | Oct 27, 2017 | Accessories

If you’re a real food junky, you’ve probably become a regular user of the mortar and pestle. Great for grinding spices, garlic and herbs for pesto, they really are an important part of most kitchen tools.

Even if you’ve moved onto an electric version, you’re probably missing out on some of the flavour hand mixing can provide.

The main thing to look for in a mortar and pestle, is stability. The base should be able to hold firm on a kitchen counter, whilst the pestle should have a solid handle that’s not too small.

In this review, we’re gonna look at 5 mortars and pestles on the market right now. They’re all good quality items, and this is a best of round up.

Rank#1#2#3#4#5
Product


Jamie Oliver

Granite


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Bekith

Stainless Steel


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Greenco

Marble


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Home Basics

Bamboo


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Sagler

Granite


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Price$$$$$
Rating
Diameter6 inches~3.93 inches3.75 inches4 inches3.75 inches
MaterialPolished/Unpolished GraniteBrushed Stainless SteelMarbleBambooGranite

The Best Pestle and Mortars of 2017!

1. Jamie Oliver Mortar and Pestle

Our Rating:   (4.4/5)
Diameter 6 Inches
Capacity 2 Cups
Material Polished/Unpolished Granite

We’re always dubious over cooking utensils given the “professional chef makeover”. I’ve personally had bad service whilst eating at a Jamie’s Italian restaurant, and sometimes the chef in question has little control over the item being sold – they’re just lending their name to it.

However, we’ve been re-assured that the Jamie Oliver range of cooking utensils is anything but. All these items have been developed by the man himself, using his experience as a chef to guide the design.

This mortar and pestle is available in polished and unpolished versions, and has a 2-cup capacity for those large grinding jobs.

Features

  • 2-cup capacity.
  • Available in polished and unpolished versions.
  • Made from solid granite.

In Use

I wanted to trial the unpolished version of the mortar first, as I tend to grind a lot of herbs for cooking. The main advice provided by the manufacturer, is to season the pestle with a little garlic, salt and pepper, plus some rice first – before grinding anything important.

I must say, this is excellent advice, as you want to grind out a few small pieces of granite first. Once these are all gone, you’ll be left with an amazing pestle & mortar that grinds through most things in double quick time.

The handle is solid, as is the mortar base. I certainly had no trouble with either shifting in my hand or the kitchen counter. The polished version of the mortar, is worse than the unpolished for holding onto – out advice would be to save a dollar and stick with unpolished!

Pros: Easy to use and once seasoned becomes an awesome utensil.

Cons: The polished version is a bit of a scam! Save yourself a dollar and just stick with the unpolished version.

2. Bekith Spice Grinder

Our Rating: (4.5/5)
Diameter ~100mm
Food-safe, no BPA, No lead  
Material Brushed Stainless Steel

Here, we have a much cheaper model than the Jamie Oliver mortar and pestle. At just shy of $15, this is a utensil that most people can buy, and as it’s made from stainless steel, it should last for years to come.

It comes with a non-stick base, and as it’s constructed from stainless steel, there are no harmful chemicals present.

Features

  • Double stainless-steel construction.
  • Non-skid base.
  • Easy to clean.

In Use

The Bekith pestle and mortar is a slightly different proportion to the Jamie Oliver. As it’s stainless steel, you’ll find that the mortar doesn’t quite provide the same amount of grinding power as a granite version.

Even so, you can grind herbs, spices and garlic with the mortar easily, and the stainless-steel construction makes it much easier to care for in the long run. You can easily throw this mortar and pestle in the dishwasher when you’re done, and there’s no seasoning to be done either – just get your spices and go!

Pros: Simple to use no seasoning and the anti-slip base really does work well.

Cons: Doesn’t quite have the same feeling in use as the Jamie Oliver mortar and pestle. Also, doesn’t quite have the friction necessary to make grinding easy.

3. Greenco Pestle and Mortar

Our Rating: (4.2/5)
Diameter 3.75 Inches
Capacity 20.6 oz
Material Marble

Marble, is one of my favorite materials for a mortar and pestle. Not quite as awesome as granite, marble still looks amazing.

This Greenco model, is available in 3.75-inch and 4.5-inch versions. The interior of the cup is quite rough, keeping at least some of the utility of the Jamie Oliver Granite mortar.

Features

  • Available in two sizes – 3.75 and 4.5-inches.
  • Grey colored marble.
  • Unpolished interior for better grinding.
  • Easy clean surface.

In Use

We were lucky enough to get the 4.5-inch model for our review, and to be honest, we would suggest purchasing this version over the 3.75-inch. 4.5 is just about right for most grinding jobs, and I’ve a feeling most people would get quickly fed up with a smaller model.

The mortar and pestle is extremely well made, and quite pretty sitting on a counter. It’s also only $11, which is amazing on its own, and far cheaper than others in our review line up.

The only real negative to the mortar, is the fact it’s not quite porous and rough to finely grind up herbs. Just like the Bekith stainless steel mortar, you’ll find small chunks in the bowl after you’re finished.

Pros: Scarily cheap, and not bad considering. Also, very pretty and reasonably well made.

Cons: Mortar surface isn’t quite rough enough to grind into a fine paste.

4. Home Basics Mortar and Pestle

Our Rating: (4.3/5)
 Diameter 4 Inches
Non-Coated  
Material Bamboo

Now it’s fins to go back to a traditional material not commonly used for a mortar and pestle anymore. Bamboo and wood, aren’t that popular now, yet their use goes back to Old Testament Times, even being partly used by Wedgewood till the 18th century.

This modern version, brings the design up to date with a 4.5-inch mortar, solid bamboo pestle, plus it has the tallest cup in our review, handy if you find yourself spilling as you grind!

Features

  • 100% bamboo construction.
  • 5-inch mortar.
  • Solid bamboo pestle.

In Use

It’s only after a few minutes use that you realise why wooden mortars and pestles came out of vogue. They really don’t work as well as their stone and metal counterparts. Unfortunately, we discovered that the varnish of the mortar quickly degraded, leaving trace elements in our paste – not great!

There’s also issues over how to care for this mortar properly. Bamboo does have a habit of expanding and contracting when placed in water, so we’re wondering if even an accidently soaking in your sink might be enough to destroy it.

We really wanted to recommend the Home Basics pestle and mortar, as we love traditional looks brought to life again; however, we really can’t

Pros: Cheap, and would make an idea ornament or decoration.

Cons: You really don’t want to cook with this model

5. Sagler Mortar and Pestle Set

Our Rating: (4.8/5)
Diameter 3.75 inches
Hand Washing Recommended  
Material Granite

We love a bit of Sagler in our review group! They make a huge range of kitchen utensils and tools, all with amazing quality. Several our group rock their products in their own home too!

The Sagler mortar and pestle set, continues this trend with a solid marble construction, granite interior and 3.7-inch width. It’s also on sale now for a little under $15, that’s not a bad price at all!

Features

  • Made from solid marble.
  • Marble exterior and granite interior.

In Use

The feature that makes this mortar a real winner, is the granite interior. In a similar way to the Jamie Oliver model, granite is rough enough to make light more of most grinding jobs.

The pestle is good too, long enough to really get your hand around and with a nose that feels solid as you grind. The only problem, is that the base is just a little too small to stay secure, you’ll have to hold this mortar with your hand as you use it.

The price is amazing too, at half the cost of the Jamie Oliver, and yet including a granite surface; you really need to weigh up how much you want the Jamie Oliver brand name in your life!

Pros: Cheapest granite mortar we found!

Cons: Base could be better as it scuttles around during use.

Rounding Up These Pestle and Mortar Reviews

Realistically, there’s only two choices I would make from these mortars and pestles. It eventually comes down to the roughness of the mortar surface, and I personally love granite – every time!

The Jamie Oliver – Mortar and pestle, is the one you want if you fancy something smart, and don’t mind paying a few dollars to get it. It works wonderfully, and it’s only when you use lesser brands that you appreciate the thought that’s gone into its design. I was sceptical at first, after being burnt by poor quality TV chef branded stuff in the past; however, this Jamie Oliver mortar isn’t like that at all!

Sagler – Run the Jamie Oliver mortar and pestle to a close race. The only thing is fails on, is the size of the base which makes it a little unstable during use. Even so, that’s the total of where this mortar and pestle fell short, and it’s half the price!

If you have the cash, and want something good, purchase the Jamie Oliver. However, if you want something decent at an awesome price, Sagler will make your day!

Billy StewartBilly Stewart

Founder of BarbequeSmoked.com

My dad is a true mans man, and has owned a number of grills. Ranging from gas to charcoal. Growing up with him allowed me to see what different types of rubs, spices, brines, etc went into making the best BBQ. Although my dad was a truck driver, and I had a degree in Information Technology I knew that I wanted to do something about grilling and our recipes.  That’s where Barbeque Smoked comes in.

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