For some tasks, a mortar and pestle is better than a food processor, a blender, or even your trusty chef’s knife. Here’s why you need this old-school tool.

person using mortar and pestle
Photo courtesy of Offset
| Credit: Photo courtesy of Offset

It’s a Flavor-Saver

The main reason to get a mortar and pestle? Taste. The bashing, pressing, and tapping motions are more effective at releasing the flavors in whatever you're grinding up (herbs, garlic, or spices) than any of your fancy electronic gadgets. The result: punchier pestos and spice blends that sing.

It Gives You Control

Have you tried to grind a few teaspoons of spices in your mini food processor? Ever hit the pulse button one time too many when making your chimichurri? When you're going hands-on, you can easily mash up small quantities of stuff and grind mixtures with more precision. 

It Saves You Money

Sure, you have to buy a mortar and pestle, but a three- to four-inch model costs only around $20 and will last for years and years. That one-time investment will quickly pay for itself because whole spices are cheaper than ground spices and they stay fresher longer, too.

Ready to crush it? Try these recipes!

Roasted Heirloom Carrots with Coriander

Roasted Heirloom Carrots with Coriander
Credit: Photography by Marcus Nilsson

Toast the coriander and cumin, then crush it up in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle.

Fennel-Citrus Greek Tea Cookies

Fennel-Citrus Greek Tea Cookies
Credit: Photography by Ryan Liebe

Keep things interesting by adding citrus zest and crushed fennel seeds to greek tea cookies.

Mixed Olive Pesto

mixed olive pesto

No need to dirty up your food processor - you can make this olive pesto with a mortar and pestle!

Recipe: Try our Mixed Olive Pesto

Edamame Hummus 

Edamame Hummus

If you like your hummus extra chunky, mash all the ingredients together by hand.

Recipe: Try our Edamame Hummus


Credit: Photography by Melanie Acevedo

This easy Chimichurri comes together in a flash. It's great on meats, chicken, and fish! 

Recipe: Try our Chimichurri