Learn About Spice Grinders

Author: Chef Toby

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What is a spice grinder?

A spice grinder is a kitchen tool that turns while spices into smaller pieces or powders. Spice grinders can be operated manually or electronically. 

What are the different types of spice grinders?

Electric Grinder 

An electric spice grinder is an electric appliance that pulverizes spices by the press of a button. Electric spice grinders usually include a canister body with a blending blade in the bottom, a lid at the top, and a button to turn the grinder on and off. These types of grinders also work well for other things like nuts and coffee. 

Spice Grinders - Electric Grinder
Electric grinders have a can shape with a blending blade that breaks down coffee, dried herbs, and spices.

Manual Salt and Pepper Mill

These types of grinders are used by filling the body with the whole spice and turning the mill by hand. This allows blades to grind the spice into small pieces and lets it fall onto your food or recipe. This is commonly used for pepper and salt and can be made with a variety of different materials, such as wood, stainless steel, and glass. 

Spice Grinders - Pepper and Salt Mill
Salt and pepper mills are great for crushing rock salt and peppercorns into smaller pieces.

Mortar and Pestle 

This kitchen tool can be made out of a variety of materials such as ceramic, wood or stone, and can be used to crush spices into powders. This is done by applying pressure to the spices using the pestle and crushing them over and over until the spice is to your desired texture. 

Spice Grinders - Mortar and Pestle
The mortar is the bowl, and the pestle is the instrument used to crush the ingredients.


A type of mortar and pestle, a molcajete consists of a large round bowl with small feet to help stabilize the bowl and a short pestle. Both the bowl and pestle are made from a porous volcanic rock. This material helps to crush ingredients like spices, but can also crush chiles, aromatics, and other ingredients. In Mexico, it is often used to make salsas instead of using a blender!  

What you can make with a spice grinder?

With a spice grinder, you can make a variety of seasoning blends, rubs, and other things that require pulverized spices or chiles.  

Recipes Using A Spice Grinder 

Garam Masala

Make your own garam masala blend at home!  Start with cardamom pods, coriander seeds, whole nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, cumin seeds, whole cloves, peppercorns, and fennel seeds.  Toast spices in a skillet until the spices become fragrant.  Then, using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind the spices into powder.


Authentic Guacamole Video Recipe

Give our classic guacamole a twist by making it with a molcajete! Instead of chopping, add onions and jalapeno chile to the molcajete and crush until it becomes a paste. Add in your avocado and mash until you reach the desired texture. Add in lemon juice, chopped cilantro, and give it another good mix. 

Multi Purpose Seasoning Blend 

This all-purpose blend is great on a variety of foods like potatoes, chicken, and even fish. In a spice grinder, combine whole peppercorns, dried thyme, dried basil, dried rosemary, and dried parsley. Blend the herbs and spices together until fine. Combine the spices with salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder until well incorporated. Store in an airtight container and sprinkle on your food for added flavor! 

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