Mortar and Pestle Sets That Crush the Competition

Nothing replaces the flavor produced by the traditional mortar and pestle

If you grew up with a mortar and pestle set, you might agree that the concept of making pesto in a food processor seems backwards and wrong, not to mention a waste of your sauce’s herbaceous potential. Getting a mortar and pestle is a game-changer that unleashes aromas and full-bodied flavors in your kitchen.

The components of a good set depend on what you plan to use it for, but as a baseline rule, you’re better off with solid stone. (It’s the most user-friendly.) As for size, smaller mortars and pestles are great for grinding spices, whereas larger versions are better suited for grinding large leafy items and nuts, or for mashing avocados.

Thai Granite Mortar and Pestle

Thai Granite mortar and pestle.
Weighing in at just over 22 pounds, this mortar and pestle set is truly a heavy hitter.Amazon

This solid, hand-carved Thai granite mortar and pestle is hefty and (literally) rock-hard. Its matte surface, combined with the stone-on-stone action, makes for particularly pleasant grinding conditions. It also puts this set in the running for the most versatile type of large mortar and pestle you can own.

Health Smart Granite Mortar and Pestle

Health Smart mortar and pestle.
It may be leaner and cheaper, but don’t discount its value in the kitchen.Amazon

If you’ve got fewer mouths to feed on the regular but still want a heavyweight contender, consider adding this all-granite HealthSmart mortar and pestle to your kitchen. The rough-textured interior of the mortar makes for efficient grinding, smashing, and condiment-creating in small batches.

HIC Mortar and Pestle

HIC Harold Import Co. mortar and pestle.
Unlike its counterparts, this mortar and pestle set is dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.Amazon

Maybe you’re more a porcelain mortar-and-pestle person. In that case, the best all-purpose one is arguably HIC’s mortar and pestle: large-ish but relatively light, good for big and small jobs, with a handy pour spout to boot. Pro tip: Harder items, like peppercorns, may need their surface cracked before they can be ground.

Greenco Marble Mortar and Pestle

Greenco mortar and pestle.
This mortar and pestle also has an unpolished, naturally rough interior for better grinding.Amazon

Utilitarianism never looked so good. Constructed from solid white marble with gray accents, the Greenco mortar and pestle is small yet sleek, and somewhat of a specialist: It’s better suited to crushing spices for spice mixes.