Zassenhaus Large Cast-Iron Mortar and Pestle
This mortar and pestle set from German company Zassenhaus is durable, efficient and easy to use, with ergonomic handles and convenient pour spouts for less mess. Because the mortar is made from a single piece of metal, it can be cleaned more easily and thoroughly than stone models. We also like that it's lightweight and more practical for daily use than cumbersome granite. And because it's thinner, both the sides and edge of the mortar are easier to grip while in use, for quicker, more effective grinding. Its accompanying pestle is 7.5 inches long and tapered to allow for comfort and control—a firm grip on the pestle makes grinding easier on your hand, and you won't have to worry about banging your knuckles against the edges of the bowl.
Zassenhaus Cast-Iron Mortar and Pestle Three-Piece Set
This mortar and pestle set from German company Zassenhaus is durable, efficient and easy to use, with ergonomic handles and convenient pour spouts for less mess. The nearly indestructible cast iron is ideal for grinding foods, as its coarse surface creates more friction to release aromatic compounds from spices and herbs and achieve a finer texture. And because the mortar is made from a single piece of metal, it can be cleaned more easily and thoroughly than stone models. We also like that it's lightweight and more practical for daily use than cumbersome granite. And because it's thinner, both the sides and edge of the mortar are easier to grip while in use, for quicker, more effective grinding.
Burlap & Barrel Flowering Hyssop Thyme
You'll never find thyme like this in stores: Grown only in the Middle East, hyssop thyme is brighter-tasting, less bitter and far more complex than regular thyme. It has subtle notes of bay and mint as well as a slightly piney aroma. This exceptional herb is in fact the secret to the floral, woody complexity of za'atar made in the Middle East.
Burlap & Barrel Turkish Oregano Buds
Hand-harvested just before they flower, these delicate oregano buds have the robust flavor you'd expect from the spice: peppery and minty, but grounded by herbal notes. But where conventional oregano leaves can have a medicinal pungency, Burlap and Barrel's product is less bitter, with a pronounced zesty quality and slight heat that reminds us of mouth-tingling Sichuan peppercorns.
Burlap & Barrel Tanzanian Pemba Cloves
These organic sun-dried cloves are grown by a cooperative of small artisan farms in the islands of Zanzibar and come from some of the oldest clove trees in the world. Burlap and Barrel is the only U.S. importer of cloves from Zanzibar, which was once the world's largest producer of the spice but has been overshadowed by industrial farms that utilize plantation-style cultivation. Hand-picked and hand-sorted for consistently high quality and peak freshness, Pemba cloves have a lighter, more floral aroma and uniquely fruity flavor compared to the woody, earthier notes of conventional cloves. And because Zanzibari cloves have a significantly higher percentage of essential oils than other varieties, these distinct characteristics are even more pronounced.
Burlap & Barrel Tanzanian Cinnamon Verum Shavings
These cinnamon shavings from Tanzania are Ceylon cinnamon, also known as true cinnamon for its superior quality, delicate flavor and health benefits. The shavings have an exceptionally sweet, light aroma which can be attributed to the steep coastal hillsides the cinnamon trees are grown on. All the complex woodsy undertones of this cinnamon, which are more subtle than conventional cinnamon, come through in its aroma, because the company partners with small farms that freshly hand-cut and sun-dry the shavings to order throughout the year.
Ingredients: 100% EU-certified Organic Cinnamon tree bark (cinnamomum verum) Allergens: Naturally free of preservatives, fillers, anything artificial, gluten, soy, egg, dairy, and nuts. Certifications: Organic
Net Weight: 1.8 ounces Place of Origin: Zanzibar, Tanzania
ChefSofi Granite Mortar and Pestle Set
This Mortar and Pestle's deep bowl, which is about 4.5 inches in diameter, will contain all of your spices as you're cracking or grinding, for fewer crumbs and bits on your kitchen counter. The pestle is 7 inches long and tapered to allow for comfort and control—a firm grip on the pestle makes grinding easier on your hand, and you won't have to worry about scraping it against the edges of the bowl. And, since the mortar is solid all the way through to its base, it provides a stable foundation for grinding spices finely or crushing herbs to release their aromas, as with our Italian-style Spicy Garlic and Herb Oil. This version, carved from unpolished granite, has a generous 2-cup capacity, which means you can make larger quantities of pesto or chimichurri at a time than with other brands.
Verve Culture Molcajete
Here at Milk Street, we love crushing spices or herbs by hand to create more variation in texture and extract more flavor, and a mortar and pestle allow us to blend them more precisely. The molcajete is a traditional Mexican variation of a mortar and pestle for grinding dried chilies to use in salsas or for making perfect guacamole. It has a shallower, wider bowl than a typical mortar—about 6 inches in diameter—which helps for closer control and more surface area to break down tough textures, like the skins of guajillo or ancho chilies. Plus, the molcajete is made of coarse and incredibly durable volcanic stone that creates plenty of natural friction. Its accompanying pestle is called a tejolote; at 3 inches long, it's perfectly proportional to the shallow bowl of the molcajete. Our food editor, Matt Card, says this tool is worth owning for guacamole if nothing else—the texture it yields is the ideal balance of creamy and chunky. Try our recipe for Central Mexican Guacamole, picked up from Mexican cooking doyenne Diana Kennedy.
Each molcajete comes in a one-of-a-kind, hand-woven and vibrantly colored basket made from palm leaves. It's meant to hold tortillas and has a lid to keep them warm, but we also like to use the basket to keep fruits and vegetables on the counter, such as tomatoes, onions or avocados for the guacamole you'll be making. It even makes an attractive container to store kitchen clutter—loose change, receipts and the like.
ChefSofi Extra Large 5-Cup Mortar and Pestle
When you're freshly grinding whole spices, a standard-sized mortar and pestle will do the trick and produce flavorful, aromatic results. But for making fresh salsa, guacamole and the like, a bigger model is more efficient. Enter this extra large mortar and pestle with an impressive 5-cup capacity: Carved from unpolished granite, the set is naturally durable and perfectly textured for efficient grinding, whether you're turning fibrous ginger root into paste or breaking down the tough skins of rehydrated chili peppers. The mortar's deep bowl (with an 8-inch diameter) makes it ideal for preparing wet fresh ingredients such as curry pastes, chutneys or chimichurri, as they're less likely to splash onto your countertops. And we love the accompanying pestles, which have generous lengths of 8.5 inches and 6.5 inches; they're easy to grip and have a tapered shape that allows for better grip and control.
- Mortar Diameter: 8 inches
- Pestle Length: 8.5-inch and 6.5-inch pestles