Christopher Kimball for Kuhn Rikon Ratchet Grinder

Most pepper mills (this model also grinds spices) take forever to grind just one tablespoon. This new design is easy to use, uses a special ratchet motion, and produces all the pepper or spice you can use quickly and easily. 

We’ve been through a fair share of spice grinders and find this new design, which we developed in conjunction with Kuhn Rikon, the best of the bunch. Its innovative back-and-forth ratchet action is easier than a twist-style mill, especially for those with hand issues. The precision ceramic grinder is effective and durable, and the front-loading hopper is far easier than top-loading grinders, where half the spices inevitably spill during filling. Perhaps our favorite feature is the removable bottom container, which makes it easy to measure and transport spices to a stovetop pot or mixing bowl. 

We strongly encourage grinding whole spices fresh for your recipes. Sure, it’s an extra step, but the flavor boost is transformative. That’s why we have also designed multiple stacking spice jars. The 3-tablespoon containers are just the right size for holding a small amount of spice without staling. We also love the containers for transporting small amounts of spices and seasonings in our lunch or picnic containers. A desk lunch will never be boring again.

We often make small batches of spice blends to enhance our cooking through the week. Our Baharat Blend, a common Middle Eastern seasoning for meats and vegetables, is equally good on a bowl of lentils or chickpeas: Stir together 1½ tablespoons each ground black pepper, toasted ground coriander and toasted ground cumin, 1 tablespoon each ground cinnamon and ground cardamom, and ½ teaspoon each cayenne pepper and kosher salt.

Or try Berbere (bur-bur-ree), a defining spice blend of Ethiopia that is great as a spice rub or as a final dusting for lentils and stews. It also works well with the savory-sweet flavor of tomatoes, such as in a simple sauté of diced tomatoes and garlic to accompany plain roasted meats or seared steaks. Or mix with lime juice and extra-virgin olive oil to use as a dressing that is especially good on a chickpea, radish and red onion salad: In a small skillet over medium-low, toast 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon each ground coriander and ground ginger, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper and ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in ½ teaspoon kosher salt.

The spice grinder also works well as a dedicated pepper mill. Freshly ground pepper is an essential flavoring element and aromatic in our cooking. Try our custom-blended peppercorn mix or mixing your own at home, using a 3:1 ratio of black to white peppercorns. Or try the old-school French trick of adding a few cracked allspice berries along with the peppercorns (whole berries won’t fit through the grinding mechanism).

Try the Kuhn Rikon Ratchet Grinder to make our favorite pepper-heavy dish, classic Cacio e Pepe, which pairs bold Italian cheese and freshly ground pepper in a nearly instant sauce (with a novel trick to making the sauce extra creamy). It’s the kind of back-pocket dish everyone should master for last-minute meals.