Mortar & Pestle - Your Favorites and Where to Purchase


I’m thinking of adding a mortar and pestle to my kitchen. I’ve been researching and have found that two effective versions are the Thai-style made of granite and the Italian-style made of marble. What are your favorites/suggestions and why? Would you suggest purchasing on Amazon/online or is it better to go to a store?

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What do you think will you use your M+P for?
I use my Thai granite set frequently enough to be happy that I got that one. It’s a good all-arounder.
If you suspect that you’ll be making pesto A LOT, then you should definitely get the marble one.
I got this one:
I think I got the 8”, but it’s been awhile.



like the Thai style as well. Picked up mine in Thai town at a market

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A lot of them are badly designed. The pestle isn’t shaped to put a large surface against the mortar, or one or both surfaces are too smooth.

I have an unglazed porecelain set that looks exactly like this and find it superior to the granite and marble ones I’ve used.

Same price at Williams-Sonoma:

I also have a little one that looks identical to this, good for small amounts of spices or garlic.

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I think I got the little one from a laboratory / scientific supply place.

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I think I’m going to use it for spice grinding/mixing and for marinades/sauces (a la salsa verde). I’m really looking forward to getting my garlic into a paste for other uses like aioli.

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For garlic, I put a little salt in the mortar, put the garlic through a press, mash it to a paste, cover it with a little olive oil to keep out the air, and let it sit for half an hour or longer. Removes the bite while retaining the intense garlic flavor.

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That Thai M+P will work out well, I think.
I use it for those things all the time and am very happy with the results.
The pestle is heavy enough to crush most stuff very effectively since it’s designed to crush up spices and aromatics for a Thai curry paste.
Get a little bigger than you think you’ll need.



One plus of the ceramic I linked to above is that the mortar is about half the weight of stone and the pestle is very light. Easier on the wrists.



Or for the molecular gastronomist:



Is getting food-safe liquid nitrogen easy? It was hard a few years ago when my friends looked into it.



Is there non-food safe LN2?
Getting LN2 is a piece of cake. The big part of your fee will be the delivery charge.
It’s also helpful (and recommended) to have a proper dewer. Those are quite spendy.

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Get a granite one second hand if possible (i.e. Salvation Army)

Or just buy a new granite one on Amazon.

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Totally different technique is recommended for the Thai granite set. Very little wrist action. Unlike an apothecary M+P which is all wrist.



Never buy a ceramic mortar and pestle. Too brittle.

Only thing a ceramic model is good for is making guacamole. But then if you have to use a mortar and pestle to make guacamole your issues extend beyond just using a poor choice in kitchen/cookware.



Maybe some are. I’ve had mine for 30 years.