Spice Grinder vs. Coffee Grinder
Just so you know, if you click on a product on RoastyCoffee.com and decide to buy it, we may earn a small commission.
You might have noticed that many manual spice grinders and coffee grinders function in a very similar way. You might have even thought to yourself, “Are they the same thing? Could I use a spice grinder to grind coffee?” Read on to learn more about how spice grinders and coffee grinders function and how they’re different, and you may be surprised at what you find!
Well, spice grinders are for spices, and coffee grinders are for coffee, right? It seems simple enough. But it’s just a little more complicated than that. Spice grinders and coffee grinders are designed somewhat differently, and if you try to grind coffee beans in a spice grinder, you likely won’t achieve the results you were seeking.
How are coffee grinders and spice grinders different?
You might look at a coffee grinder and a spice grinder and think that they function almost the same, so there shouldn’t be any need to buy two separate grinders when you can use just one and get the same result! And while we congratulate you on your thriftiness, unfortunately, that won’t work in this case.
Coffee grinders and spice grinders are designed to perform differently. Spice grinders almost always use spinning blades to grind up the spices by chopping them into smaller pieces. But coffee grinders use burrs, which help achieve a different result due to their grinding process. Ground coffee from electric burr grinders is much more consistent and will deliver a better flavor in your cup. Plus, as every coffee aficionado knows, having the right grind size for your coffee brewing method is crucial.
Spice Grinders vs. Coffee Grinders: A Side-by-Side Comparison
Spice grinders are intended to chop up a variety of spices of different textures and sizes into small pieces that you can put over food. While they can technically cut through coffee beans, it’s not what they’re designed to do, so the results will be an inconsistent grind.
In addition, most spice grinders don’t have a way to change up the grind size, so you won’t be able to get the right size grind for your coffee. This is very important; the size of the coffee grounds drastically affects the flavor when using different brewing methods. You’ll never want a fine grind when making cold brew, and a too-coarse coffee ground can ruin an espresso.
What We Like:
- They’re versatile, have many different uses, and can grind up several kinds of spices of different shapes, sizes, and textures.
- Depending on your preferences and budget, you can get either an electrical or manual grinder.
- There’s a wide range of models suitable for entry-level cooks up to professionals.
- If you have a higher-end model, you may even be able to chop up harder ingredients like nuts, making this an even more versatile machine for cooking.
What We Don’t:
- No blade grinder will achieve the uniform texture you need for a good cup of coffee. This is due to the design of the blades in the spice grinder.
- Spice grinders use blades, so even if they grind your coffee beans into smaller pieces, it will take longer to get a finer grind.
The Bottom Line
While efficient and useful in the kitchen, Spice grinders are not the best option when choosing an instrument to grind your coffee. They’re designed for a very specific purpose, and while you can technically grind up coffee beans in your spice grinder, it’s not going to produce the effect you want.
There’s also the problem of transferring the flavor and aroma of ground spices into your coffee if you grind your beans in your spice grinder. That’s why it’s best to have a dedicated coffee grinder.
Check Price on Amazon If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Update: 2023-05-25
If you’re looking for the right device to grind up your coffee beans, you want to go straight to the source and buy a coffee grinder with burrs that will give uniform and consistent ground coffee.
While coffee machines may be more expensive than many spice grinders, this is not an area where you want to save money by buying one or the other. If you’re a coffee enthusiast, you want the best grind possible for the brewing method you choose, and that will only come with a designated coffee grinder.
What We Like:
- Thanks to the burr design, coffee grinders are significantly better than spice grinders at grinding coffee. Since they’re designed specifically for coffee beans, they’ll produce the best, most consistent grind.
- Most coffee grinders come with adjustable grind settings or interchangeable burrs to grind coffee at different grind sizes. This is crucial if you’re planning on brewing several kinds of coffee or using different brewing methods.
- There is a considerable variety of burr coffee grinders, from manual handheld models to electric ones. Many coffee and espresso makers even come with burr grinders included. The number of coffee grinders is limitless, so find the one that you like best!
What We Don’t:
- Burr grinders shouldn’t be used for grinding anything other than coffee beans; they’re not versatile like spice grinders.
- Coffee grinders are generally much more expensive than spice grinders; however, they come in a wide range of prices, so you can find one that works for your budget.
- Electric versions can be loud or clunky, which might annoy some users.
The Bottom Line
Burr coffee grinders are the only grinders suitable to uniformly grind your coffee beans for the best flavor and extraction. If you’re a coffee fanatic who wants to have freshly ground coffee every morning, there’s really no way around it: you need to get a burr grinder. Whether it’s a manual or electric coffee grinder, you’ll need to choose the one that will fit your lifestyle the best.
In addition, many coffee grinders will have different settings for a multitude of grind sizes, helping you get the most out of your coffee and achieve the right grind for your brewing method.
Check Price on Amazon If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Last Update: 2023-05-25
So, should you use spice grinders to grind coffee?
Well, the short answer is no. Spice grinders, even electric grinders, don’t grind the coffee bean uniformly. Since it uses stainless steel blades rather than burrs, a blade grinder will mostly just chop up the beans rather than grind them, not achieving the fine grind you need for espresso.
It’s also not a great idea to try and grind your spices in a coffee grinder. The burrs aren’t designed for chopping up spices the way the blades in a spice grinder are, and your coffee grinder should never be used to chop up nuts since they can get stuck in the burrs and keep your grinder from rotating.
Flavors and aromas from the spices can seep into your coffee if you use your grinder for both. You can mitigate this by getting a grinder with removable burrs that can be washed frequently in the dishwasher, but we say that it’s better to just buy separate grinders for both to save yourself the headache.
A Note on Blade Coffee Grinders
You might be thinking, “Wait a minute, can’t you buy blade coffee grinders? How are they any different from spice grinders?” And you’re right. You can buy blade coffee grinders. But we don’t recommend that you do, mainly because the quality of grind that you get with a blade is much lower than you would get with a burr.
Blade coffee grinders are usually less expensive, but if you can fit it into your budget, we urge you to go with a burr coffee grinder if at all possible. Blade coffee grinders just aren’t going to give you the same result, and you’ll end up with worse-tasting coffee and may eventually decide to replace it anyway when it’s time to upgrade!
We do not recommend using a spice grinder to grind your coffee beans. Even if the spice grinder is a little less expensive than a burr grinder and seems like a good money-saving idea, you will not achieve the results you want with a spice grinder. In the end, you’ll likely end up purchasing a coffee grinder anyway.
Instead, we recommend shopping around and looking for deals and discounts on a quality coffee grinder with many positive reviews. Those will likely give you a decent grind and last for a long time to come. It’s better to wait and invest in a quality machine than try to cut corners!
When choosing a coffee grinder, make sure you consider what kinds of coffee you’re going to be brewing daily. If you’re brewing a variety of different coffees or using different brewing methods, then you may want to choose a model that has a variety of different grind settings, including a fine grind for espresso and a coarse grind for pour-over and French press methods.
Can You Use A Coffee Grinder For Spices?
Spices undoubtedly make our food better when it comes to taste and aroma. Wars have even been fought to obtain some rare spices. Fortunately, today, we just have to pick spices up at the grocery store.
Store-bought spices are convincedly pre-ground, but the flavor diminishes pretty soon because they contain volatile oils that disappear over time. That’s why spices are still better when freshly ground at home. If you don’t have a spice grinder, don’t worry.
Have you thought about using a coffee grinder to mill both coffee beans and spices? The good news is that this is possible and doesn’t have to affect the taste of your morning brew afterward.
Coffee Grinder As A Kitchen Essential
With a coffee grinder, you get several tools in one. Of course, the drawback is that you’ll have to ensure that the coffee grinder is appropriately and thoroughly cleaned before you use it for grinding coffee or spices. But the good news is that since the coffee grinder is usually an automatic tool, you won’t need to put in the elbow grease. Thus, there is much less work than you have when you are using a pestle. Also, spices aren’t the only things you grind into fine powder in them. They really are valuable tools in the kitchen.
Types Of Coffee Grinders
There are two different types of coffee grinders. Which one you go will depend on your budget, how often you drink coffee, and what brewing method you use.
Blade Coffee Grinder
The blade coffee grinder is the cheapest and can be easily found in your local store. If you’re buying a coffee grinder, look for a product shot where you can see the inside to know what type it is. A coffee grinder with two opposing blades (looks like a propeller) is a blade coffee grinder. Depending on the coffee you are brewing, how fine the coffee beans are after the grinding process will make more or less a difference. An espresso machine extracts flavor quickly, so there’s nothing to worry about with fines. However, if you’re using a coffee percolator, you’ll make a more bitter cup of coffee if your coffee beans are not well-ground.
Burr Coffee Grinder
Burr coffee grinders have a grinding disc, often made of stainless steel. It produces more even ground coffee beans than the blade coffee grinder. When buying, choose a sharp-edged burr coffee grinder instead of the ones with chunky teeth. Burr coffee grinders come in two forms – automatic and manual. The manual burr coffee grinder is also smaller, handier, cheaper, and won’t cost you that much in your electricity bill. The grinding process using a manual burr is more complicated though. The automatic burr coffee grinder is much easier to use. Most automatic burrs have a pulse setting. If you plan to grind many coffee beans, get one with the auto-grind and timed grind features.
How To Grind Spices With A Coffee Grinder
Whether you’re working with coriander, cumin seeds, or peppercorns, the process usually starts in the same way. Place the unground or whole spices in the grinder or the hopper. The hopper is the plastic or glass component where you usually place the whole coffee beans. Note that some details may differ depending on the coffee grinder. For those who have a manual coffee grinder, you need to twist the grinder until you have spices ground to the size you want. Countertop electric coffee grinders sometimes have different modes, allowing you to get a grind of spice that suits whatever you are cooking. They provide versatility, but the grinding process is much easier with these machines, allowing you to simply click a button and get a small batch of spices.
Cleaning Your Coffee Grinder
In contrast, a burr coffee grinder requires different steps to clean it, mostly because it is a lot more intricate as to how it crushes coffee beans. Instead of using a sharp blade, this type of machine presses the beans between two metal burrs. This often leads to more oils leaving residue deep inside the grinder, which in turn makes it more difficult to clean.
For a quick clean, use a tablet. Using a specialized tablet is the easiest method for cleaning your burr coffee grinder. All you have to do is place the recommended size tablet into the hopper and run the grinder like normal.
Dump out the piece and any loose grounds; then wipe everything down with a damp cloth to remove excess oils.
For a deep clean, disassemble the unit. This is probably the most difficult way to clean a coffee grinder. Start by removing any removable parts from the burr grinder and washing them with warm soapy water.
With the hopper removed, run the unit for a few seconds to help knock loose any remaining grounds, and then unplug it.
Remove the inner and outer burrs carefully. Use a small brush to remove any stuck grounds deep inside the machine, but do not use water on the burrs. Wait for any piece you hand-washed to dry completely before reassembling the machine.
Blade Grinders As The Better Option
Burr grinders use two revolving surfaces or burrs to grind coffee. Blade grinders use spinning propeller blades to grind coffee beans, much like a blender does with its contents. The best coffee grinder type for spices is a blade grinder, especially if you’ll use it for spices more often than coffee.
Blade grinders are more commonplace and affordable. These grinders are also easier to set up because they have fewer components. Importantly for this article, blade grinders also provide a fine grind for your spices.
That isn’t to say that you can’t use burr coffee grinders for spices, but they’re more expensive and are trickier to clean, which increases the risk of leaving a spice’s residue in the grinder. Unless you like the taste of cardamom or pepper in your coffee, you need extra care when you use and clean a burr grinder for your spices.
The most significant benefit that burr coffee grinders have over blade grinders is their consistency. The burr grinder’s output tends to have uniform shapes and sizes. This is wonderful when you want to dictate the exact consistency of your morning espresso, but it isn’t overly necessary when grinding spices for your latest dish.
However, it is a fine choice if you have no problem spending a little more when purchasing and if you enjoy your tech gadgets.
Grinding Salt And Spices In A Coffee Grinder
Sometimes, your good old salt grinder breaks, but what if your meal is ready in 15 minutes, and now you don’t know how to enhance the flavor of your dishes without a dash of this or another of your favorite spices? What if I tell you that you can grind salt using a coffee grinder?
Burr and blade coffee grinders can grind spices perfectly into a uniform batch. You only need to know how to clean it properly afterward, so it doesn’t affect the flavor of your cup of Joe.
Grinding salt in a coffee grinder will affect the flavor of your coffee if you don’t know how to clean it properly after use. You can grind old beans you don’t care about and remove the leftover spice before the new coffee beans go in. Alternatively, the method of using uncooked rice that we have listed above also comes in handy if you don’t have old coffee beans.
This simple tactic will help remove any unwanted smell and weird taste if you use the coffee grinder for salt or other spices with a strong aroma like pepper. However, it is still worth going for another round of cleaning by using a dry, clean towel to eliminate all the smell and leftover flavor on the burrs and blades before assembling it.
Can I Grind Wet Ingredients In My Coffee Grinder?
No, because coffee grinders can’t mince wet ingredients properly. You can only use dry ingredients like dried herbs and spices. Otherwise, the grinder can jam. You’re better off using a food processor or some other type of job-specific kitchen tool for wet ingredients.
Can I Use My Coffee Grinder To Grind Herbs?
You can grind chopped and dried herbs in your coffee grinder. However, leaving them in the grinder for too long can turn them into powder. So when you’re grinding herbs, ensure that you check the grind setting and how long you leave the grinder on. If you don’t, you could end up with herbs that are little more than dust.
Can I Also Use My Coffee Grinder To Grind Nuts?
Yes, like spices and coffee beans, you can also use a coffee grinder to break nuts down. Note that the issue with some nuts is they can leave a lot of oil in the coffee grinder’s blades or burrs. With that said, it’s always vital to clean the nut oil grinder before you use it to grind coffee. When doing this, you can use the same methods that you use for spices. Otherwise, you might end up with an almond taste to your morning brew, when all you wanted was a plain black coffee.
Cian Murray is an experienced writer and editor, who graduated from Cardiff University’s esteemed School of Journalism, Media and Culture. His work has been featured in both local and national media, and he has also produced content for multinational brands and agencies. View all posts
Full Coffee Roast website is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate, we also earn from qualifying purchases.
Coffee Grinder vs. Spice Grinder: Is There Any Real Difference?
Are you a foodie? Someone who loves cooking and serving and tasting new dishes? Are you more at home in your kitchen than in almost any other room in your house? Or do you just plain love eating good food, even if someone else does the cooking? If you answered “yes!” to one or all of these questions, no doubt you care a lot about coffee too – how you make it, how you serve it, and the different brews you enjoy most. You’ve likely got all the essential tools of a well-equipped kitchen, and that includes a high-quality coffee grinder and an excellent spice grinder. Do you ever ask yourself: is there any real difference between these two pieces of kitchen equipment? Do I really need to keep both closes at hand on my pantry shelf?
There are indeed several differences between coffee and spice grinders. They may seem alike on the surface – after all, they are both grinders, right? – but look a little closer and you’ll see these two kitchen tools are quite different. These factors mean that although both are designed to grind something, their purposes are in reality very unique. You shouldn’t grind coffee in a spice grinder, and nor should you grind spice in a coffee grinder. Each one is built with an individual purpose, and asking one to tackle a purpose it wasn’t designed for can lead to problems.
In this article, we explain what those unique purposes are, and why you shouldn’t ask a grinder to handle a task it wasn’t built for.
Coffee grinder vs. spice grinder – What are they and how do they work?
Knowing what tool is good at what task is important when it comes to making great food, and brewing great coffee. Read on, and you’ll soon know why a spice grinder should not be used as a coffee grinder, and vice versa!
What is a coffee grinder?
This device is used for one simple but vital purpose: grinding coffee beans so you can brew an excellent, aromatic, and delicious cup of coffee. You shouldn’t use it for anything else, including grinding spices.
Coffee grinders come in two varieties: burr grinders and blade grinders. Blade grinders work much the same way your blender does – it whirs and whips foods into thin, small bits. Just like that blender, a blade grinder mulches coffee beans, almost – beans are ground into tiny bits. However, blade grinders don’t grind the beans into evenly sized bits, but that’s fine for some coffees. Nonetheless, serious coffee aficionados choose burr grinders. because they grind the coffee to a more consistent size. Also, burr grinders are made using ceramic or stainless steel burrs. There is a tiny space between these burrs, and that’s what determines the size of the ground coffee beans.
Coffee grinders are available in two distinct types – manual and electric. Electric grinders are convenient, of course, but coffee baristas and other professionals believe manual grinder results in a better, more even coffee grind. Furthermore, they make less noise in the morning, and who doesn’t prefer that to the “whirrr!” of an electric tool at five o’clock? Manual grinders don’t make loud sounds, and that’s a big plus. But you may prefer an electrical one if you make a lot of coffee first thing in the morning. Grinding quickly and efficiently, in spite of the noise, mama bee best solution if you begin your day with several pots of coffee.
What is a spice grinder?
Calling this tool, a spice grinder is a little bit misleading. Spice grinders are mostly used to grind spices like coriander, pepper, cloves, and other things. But they can’t grind every single spice on the market, and some of them are only able to grind just one spice. For example, your pepper mill (also called a grinder) is built to grind one spice alone, peppercorns. And you may have a nutmeg grater in your lineup of kitchen tools. It grates nutmeg beautifully, but it isn’t meant for grating any other spices.
Spice grinders use spinning blades, and consequently, they don’t grind spices really – they chop them, then slice them, but don’t pulverize them. You don’t need spices in exactly the same size, so blade grinders do a fantastic job.
Some grinders – like those used to grind peppercorns, for example – come equipped with a variety of grind sizes. That means you can grind pepper quite finely or make it coarse, depending on what your recipe asks for. The larger the pepper flake is after grinding, the longer it lasts on your pantry shelf. This variety of grind sizes is why so many professional chefs prefer to use adjustable pepper grinders. Grinding pepper to use instantly ensures it has the most flavor, the biggest taste punch, so to speak.
One more thing to keep in mind when choosing an electric or manual grinder is cost. Electric grinders are more expensive, but they’re convenient. Manual grinders are perfect for home cooks because you can control the grind size and the number of spices needed for a single meal. Spices are at peak freshness when you grind them each day for whatever recipe you’re whipping up for dinner. Manual grinders demand more effort, but electric grinders offer convenience. Which is best for your circumstances is a decision only you can make.
Coffee grinder vs. spice grinder – What are the differences?
One of the most significant differences between these two essential tools is the mechanics contained within them. Coffee grinders have burrs, as we mentioned, which grind coffee to similarly-sized bits. Spice grinders predominantly use spinning blades that chop and slice whatever spice you’ve put in them.
Are you curious whether the different burr types inside spice grinders, which let you choose the optimum grind setting, can be used for coffee beans? The answer is a definite no! The canals within a spice grinder are too narrow to accommodate coffee beans. Consider the size of a coffee bean versus the size of a peppercorn. The burr grinding mechanism is simply not capable of grinding coffee beans.
2.5 Inch Spice Grinder
Coffee grinder vs. spice grinder – The pros cons
Each one of these important tools for your kitchen has several pluses and minuses. Let’s take a look at them.
Pros of coffee grinders
This tool is the ideal device for grinding coffee because of the way the burr is designed. The burr is made with the express purpose of grinding coffee – that is its sole function.
Cons of coffee grinders
Perhaps the biggest drawback of coffee grinders is that you should use them daily, every time you make a fresh pot. Rather than grinding a whole container of coffee at once, use your coffee grinder every time you fancy a fresh cup. This guarantees your coffee is at its peak and bursting with flavor, but it can be a nuisance! And your coffee grinder can’t be adapted to grind anything else – it is for coffee, and coffee only! Furthermore, electric grinders are quite noisy, and they are expensive to buy.
Pros of spice grinders
Spice grinders offer versatility because they can be used to grind a diverse number of firm or soft ingredients. Advanced spice grinders can handle something as hard as nuts, or as soft as bay leaves. Spice grinders, versus coffee grinders, are usually quite reasonably priced. And finally, the right spice grinder gives all cooks and chefs, whether you’re a novice or a pro, a variety of design options to choose from. In other words, your spice grinder can cost a lot or a little – the choice is yours!
Cons of spice grinders
The sole drawback of spice grinders is a lack of consistency in the size of the ground spices.
Because of that, using your spice grinder to grind coffee is just not advisable.
Are coffee grinders and spice grinders interchangeable?
The answer is NO, or at least they shouldn’t be! They may look the same, and their functions sound similar, but using one tool as a stand-in for the other is just not wise.
You can use your coffee grinder to grind spices – they can handle that task from a mechanical perspective. You won’t break it if you do. But here’s the problem: never again will you be able to use it for grinding coffee! The coffee grinder takes on the smell of the spice, no matter how thoroughly you clean it. And who wants their cup of morning java smelling like cloves? Nobody!
And spice grinders simply aren’t built for grinding equal-sized bits. and you need that for getting maximum flavor from ground coffee beans. They have to be uniform in size. And the same goes about lingering odors in your spice grinder: do you want it smelling a little like French Roast? Of course not! But it will, no matter how carefully you scrub your spice grinder.
But every rule has an exception, and so does this one. If you’re in a pinch, if for some reason you don’t have access to both your coffee grinder and your spice grinder, certain pepper grinders can grind coffee beans. We don’t recommend this – ever. If your coffee grinder has stopped working for some reason, you should replace it right away. Resist the urge to grind your morning coffee beans in the pepper mill. Ideally, you should never face the question of which is more important, your coffee grinder versus your spice grinder.
In a perfect culinary world, everyone’s kitchen would come equipped with all the right tools for preparing fabulous food and perfect coffee every time. But we know that’s not always possible. And if you’re on a budget, buying both a coffee grinder and a spice grinder simultaneously may not be feasible. In those situations, we recommend that you decide which is more important to you.
If you love cooking fabulous meals for the family, maybe invest in a spice grinder first. Or if you’re a coffee aficionado who can’t start your day without a great cup of Joe, opt for a coffee grinder first. We know that sometimes you have to choose between a coffee grinder and a spice grinder, at least temporarily.
Ultimately, however, your kitchen should have both. That way, you’ll never be tempted to let one grinder stand-in for the other. All your meals and your morning coffee will be prepared as they should be – with spices and coffee beans ground to perfection. You’ll never have to ask yourself, are there any true differences between coffee grinders and spice grinders? Because you’ll have both of these essential kitchen tools close at hand.
The 5 Best Spice Grinders We Tested and Why They’re Worth It
The winner is the Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder.
Sarah Zorn is a professional food writer, born, raised, and currently living in Brooklyn. She has over a decade of experience in content management for multiple food and e-commerce brands. Her work has been featured in USA Today, Yahoo, Allrecipes, TODAY, ELLE, Esquire, Epicurious, Eater, and more.
Melanie Fincher is a Birmingham, Alabama–based food writer who covers everything from cooking techniques to gadget reviews. She has nearly 7 years experience writing news and lifestyle content.
The delightful aroma and flavor that comes with grinding whole spices really take recipes to the next level. Spice grinders are designed to grind whole spices into fresh blends, but they can also be used to break down coffee beans, seeds, and nuts—making them a versatile tool to add to your collection.
After testing some of the best spice grinders on the market, we selected Cuisinart’s Electric Spice and Nut Grinder as our winner based on its efficiency, capacity, durability, versatility, appearance, and ease of cleaning.
Below, you can read about our experience with each option and then use our findings to choose the best spice grinder for you.
Best Overall: Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder
Cuisinart’s Electric Spice Grinder accomplishes more with one bladed bowl than its competition does with an assortment of swappable choppers and grinders. Built with a 200-watt motor and constructed from heavy-duty stainless steel, it made quick and consistent work of just about anything we threw at it. A push of the lid allowed us to effortlessly break down black peppercorns, cardamom pods, fennel seeds, hazelnuts, and coffee beans—it even created a fine powder from dense and woody cinnamon sticks.
Since you might not use a spice grinder every day, you want to be able to store it. That’s why we love the compact footprint of the Cuisinart. It tops the competition with a generous 90-gram capacity while measuring a comparatively diminutive 9 inches tall and 6 inches wide.
This spice grinder has practical design features, including rubber feet to keep the unit from slipping and a safety lock that only operates when the lid is securely in place. If you need ideas on what to make with your fresh blends, the instruction manual doubles as a handy recipe booklet.
The Details: Stainless steel and plastic; 200 watts; dishwasher-safe lid and bowl
Best Budget: Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind Electric Grinder
At under 30, this spice grinder by Hamilton Beach is about 15 to 20 cheaper than the other models on our list yet still works like a charm. Featuring a mostly plastic body, it’s not the most attractive or durable option; however, we found that it performs well and doesn’t break the bank.
For such a lightweight, unassuming grinder, we were really impressed with its ability to produce evenly processed pulses of peppercorns, coffee beans, cardamom, nuts, cinnamon sticks, and more. The device was pleasantly quiet while operating, which made it more enjoyable to use than some of the other models.
Nothing is sacrificed when it comes to capacity: The cup can be removed from the base and popped into the dishwasher for fuss-free cleanup, and the cord tucks into the base for convenient storage. Another slightly more expensive Hamilton Beach model, the Custom Grind, offers multiple grind levels (coarse, medium, and fine), as well as adjustable settings for cup sizes. While these are nice upgraded features for grinding coffee, we didn’t feel they were necessary for spices.
The Details: Stainless steel and plastic; 125 watts; hand wash only
Best Multi-Purpose: Secura Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder
Want all the bells and whistles? Consider Secura’s Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder. It comes with a two-blade grinder bowl for dry ingredients, such as spices, seeds, coffee, and nuts, and a four-blade chopper bowl for wet ingredients, including herbs, chilies, and garlic.
In addition to its enhanced versatility, both bowls are printed on the inside with minimum and maximum capacity marks (up to 80 grams). Plus, they feature lids for storing ground spices, which expedites cleanup and keeps your extras fresh. The device even features a built-in Smart overheat protection that helps prolong the life of the motor and cord storage under the base to keep things tidy.
Secura has a range of other coffee and spice grinders, including the similar SP7446 style; however, it has a slightly smaller capacity and doesn’t come with interchangeable bowls like our pick.
The Details: Stainless steel and plastic; 200 watts; removable cups are dishwasher safe
Most Quiet: Krups Silent Vortex Electric Grinder
The Krups Silent Vortex lives up to its name, featuring a whisper-quiet motor that doesn’t skimp on efficiency. Thanks to its Vortex Spin Technology, it pulls ingredients into the blades for quick and consistent grinding. It makes speedy work of dry spices, coffee beans, and nuts of varying sizes and degrees of toughness, and it boasts a sizable capacity of up to 85 grams.
The spice grinder’s mixing bowl is made from durable stainless steel and can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher after each use. If you have leftover spices, the removable bowl comes with a storage lid so you can keep blends fresh for future recipes.
Krups has another model, the Fast Touch Coffee and Spice Grinder, which is easy to operate and has enough space to grind whole coffee beans for 12 cups of coffee. While it’s a good budget option, we recommend the Silent Vortex because it’s essentially noiseless, easy to clean, and looks sleek on countertops.
The Details: Stainless steel and plastic; 200 watts; dishwasher safe grinding bowl
Best Manual: Frieling Cast Iron Spice Grinder
This manual spice grinder is an excellent choice for those who plan on making smaller batches of grounds, prefer a completely noise-free model, and want a grinder that will last a lifetime. Not to mention, the black pre-seasoned cast iron base and beechwood lid make it arguably the most attractive option on our list.
Frieling’s spice grinder has three parts: a base, an inner cup, and a lid. To break down your whole spices, simply place them in the base and crush them using the bottom of the inner cup. There are ridges on the bottom of the cup, so it’s not too daunting of a task—just twist and turn until you reach your desired consistency.
This grinder is good for spices like peppercorns and chilies, as well as nuts and herbs (basically, anything you’d use to make pesto), but it’s less efficient when it comes to tougher ingredients like coffee beans. While it technically has a decent capacity, the grinder performs best on small amounts of ingredients at a time. And needless to say, being manual, it can take a bit of a toll on your hands and wrists.
If you’re familiar with cast iron, you know it has special requirements when it comes to its care. Wipe down with a damp cloth and air dry.
The Details: Seasoned cast iron and beech wood; twist by hand; clean with a damp cloth
We chose Cuisinart’s Electric Spice and Nut Grinder as our best overall pick because of its powerful motor, simple design, and compact size. By simply pressing down on the lid, the device effortlessly grinds whole spices, nuts, and coffee beans in seconds.
How to Pick the Right Spice Grinder
Manual vs. Electric Grinders
There are two main types of spice grinders: electric and manual. Manual grinders can be broken down even further into two subcategories: ratchet and mill-type grinders. Manual grinders work well for grinding small batches of spices, while electric grinders are the best option when making large batches.
Spice grinders’ capacity ranges from 40 to 90 grams, with an average capacity of about 70 grams. Manual grinders tend to have smaller chambers than electric grinders. You’ll want to consider the volume of spices you’ll be grinding as well as the amount of free counter space or storage you have before choosing the best model for you.
Most electric grinders have loud motors, which gives manual grinders the upper hand when it comes to noise volume. However, some electric models feature advanced technology to minimize noise levels while still retaining grinding power.
Although this review focuses on grinding whole spices, you’ll find that most models have the ability to grind coffee, nuts, and even vegetables as well. If you want to cut down on the number of kitchen gadgets used for chopping, grinding, and crunching, consider choosing a model that can do it all.
About Our Tests
Seasoned Product Tester Sarah Zorn started out by researching spice grinders from familiar brands like Cuisinart, KitchenAid, and Hamilton Beach and then selected eight models to test. Each grinder was used to test a variety of whole spices, including large grain salt, whole peppercorns, fennel seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, and coffee beans and nuts when applicable.
When testing the spice grinders, we considered the following factors:
- Efficiency and Ease of Use: Are the mechanisms and operations straightforward? Does it require setting up and taking apart? Can it grind spices of all sorts quickly and consistently?
- Capacity: How much can it grind at a time? Can it handle larger spices?
- Durability and Feel: Do the parts feel flimsy, or well-constructed? What materials is it made out of? Does it come with a warranty?
- Versatility: Can it be used for more than pepper, salt, and fine spices? How about coffee? Nuts?
- Look: Does it look nice sitting on a counter? Does it take up too much space?
- Cleanup: Are any parts dishwasher safe? Is it a pain to wash by hand?
Shardor Coffee and Spice Grinder
Apologies to our tester, Sarah’s husband—we tried to test this grinder first thing in the morning, and the screaming of gears, snapping of spices and seeds, and crunching of coffee beans reverberated around the house. And we didn’t even have much to show for it; the Shardor made an uneven mess of everything we tried. When we removed the lid, runaway spice detritus fell into the base and all over the counter, creating a cleanup job that simply wasn’t worth the price.
KitchenAid Blade Coffee and Spice Grinder
The KitchenAid wins points for having the most fun extras, including a duo of grinding bowls with lids for storage, and perforated caps that allow you to sprinkle spice over your food. However, it took up a fair amount of counter space, and just like the Shardor model above, it simply didn’t process ingredients consistently and efficiently and was way too noisy.
Bazaar Anatolia Spice Grinder
This is the beauty queen of spice grinders. It’s made of cast embossed metal, available in silver, antique gold, and copper, and completely free of plastic parts. Petite in size, the Turkish-style manual grinder can fit snugly in your palm.
The downside to this tiny grinder is that it has limited capacity. It’s great for a sprinkle of pepper on top of your pasta, but not really built for larger jobs. And since the crank is so small, some could find it a literal pain to operate.
Why grind your own spices?
Though convenient, pre-ground spices only offer you a fraction of the flavor and aroma compared to freshly ground spices. The reason for this is that spices rapidly lose their flavor once ground, so it’s best to keep them whole up until you’re ready to use them in a recipe. For even more of an aromatic punch, you can toast whole spices prior to grinding them. All in all, you get more flavor for your money.
Why Take Our Word For It?
Allrecipes is a community-driven brand providing trusted resources to our large network of home cooks. Ecommerce Writer Melanie Fincher and Product Tester Sarah Zorn spent hours researching, testing, and comparing each product to determine the best spice grinders on the market. We are confident one of the models on our list will be a good fit for you.
The Best Spice Grinders in 2022
Whether you simply need a new salt-and-pepper set or want to crush spices in bulk, these deserve a spot on your counter.
Christine is a freelance writer specializing in food, culture, travel, wine, and cheese. Her work has appeared in VinePair, Wine Enthusiast, Eater, Epicurious, Travel Leisure, and Allrecipes.
I bought my first spice grinder in my late 20s. I had decided to start making my own masala chai mix at home and needed a simple grinder. I also made coffee occasionally and didn’t want to spring for a burr grinder, but wanted to be able to grind my coffee decently at home. The Hamilton Beach Fresh-Grind Coffee Grinder was exactly what I needed at the time—I used it maybe twice a month and it lasted for as long as I needed it.
For most, a spice grinder isn’t a kitchen necessity, but if you’re getting to the point where you think you need one, you’ll find your life far easier with it. When shopping for a spice grinder, it’s important to take inventory of what you’ll want to make. Are you planning on making chai weekly? Do you plan to make a small batch of garam masala once in a while? Are you dipping your toe into grinding your coffee beans fresh every morning and not ready to spring for a burr grinder?
Whatever you’re looking for, here are the best spice grinders we trust, based on our experience, reviews, and specs.
Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder
What We Love: Large capacity, multiuse, removable airtight storage
What We Don’t Love: Pricey
Between its powerful motor and its sharp, durable stainless steel blades, the Cuisinart Spice and Nut Grinder can be counted on to grind nuts, cloves, and even whole cinnamon sticks quickly and painlessly.
Holding up to 3 ounces or 0.5-cup of spices, this has a larger capacity than many others on this list and its design makes it incredibly simple to use. You just press down on the lid until your spices are properly ground. It also offers a storage vessel for freshly ground spices if you remove the grinding lid and replace it with the airtight lid until you’re ready to use whatever you ground.
The removable lid and grinder are both safe on the top rack of the dishwasher, and if you choose to store this on your counter, it takes up very little space. In other words, a winner all around.
Price at time of publish: 40
Dimensions (LxWxH): 5.4 x 5.3 x 9 inches | Capacity: 0.5 cup
Grind Spices with HERO Manual Coffee Grinder
Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind Coffee Grinder
What We Love: Doesn’t take up much space, sharp blade, discreet cord storage
What We Don’t Love: Discolors easily
This little machine is a great entry-level spice grinder at a budget-friendly price. If you’re dipping your toe into the world of freshly ground spices, this is a great option as far as size and function. It’s fast, quieter than many other models, and has a hidden cord storage option to make this diminutive model even smaller. It can also grind up to 9 tablespoons of spices or coffee beans at once.
One of the bigger cons, though, is the detachable compartment is plastic, not stainless steel. That plastic can quickly become discolored. It also only comes with a one-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: 20
Dimensions (DxWxH): 3.7 x 3.5 x 7 inches | Capacity: 9 tablespoons
Cilio by Frieling Goliath Natural Granite Mortar and Pestle Set
What We Love: Effective, versatile, beautiful on your counter
What We Don’t Love: Pricey
Electric spice grinders offer speed and power. That said, a mortar and pestle can’t be beaten for smaller grind jobs like a few peppercorns or for something like pesto. And, believe it or not, a mortar and pestle can offer even more versatility, as you’re the power source. It can be used for wet and dry ingredients, for everything from muddling to mixing.
This mortar and pestle are both cut from one piece of granite, so there’s no chance it’ll come apart at the seam. Able to handle up to a full cup of ingredients, this Cilio set’s large capacity is balanced by its sturdiness. Its rough interior helps with the grinding process, and it’s simpler to clean than electric grinders, as it just takes a quick hand wash. Keep in mind that at 11 pounds, it is quite heavy.
Price at time of publish: 75
Dimensions (LxWxH): 7.9 x 7.5 x 8.7 inches | Capacity: 1 cup
Olrid Cordless Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder
What We Love: Cordless, long-lasting, USB charger
What We Don’t Love: Too large for some
This grinder is unique in that it grinds grains and makes grinding dry herbs easy. And there haven’t been many huge advances in spice grinder technology lately, as far as we know, but the Olrid Cordless Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder is definitely cutting-edge in its class.
For one, it’s cordless and charges via a USB charger instead of requiring a wall plug. If you often find yourself needing to grind spices in places that don’t have power, you’re in luck. Each 3-hour charge gives you about 25 uses, and the battery power is prominently displayed, so you’re never surprised.
Price at time of publish: 30
Dimensions (LxWxH): 3.5 x 3.5 x 7.4 inches | Capacity: 170 ml
Krups Silent Vortex Electric Grinder
What We Love: Quiet motor, grinds fast, user-friendly one-touch design What We Don’t Love: Plastic shows wear and tear Thanks to some Smart design elements, this grinder is effective, durable, and extremely quiet. It relies on Vortex Spin Technology (patent pending!) to pull the ingredients into the grinder, meaning there’s not as much rattling around in the removable dishwasher-safe stainless-steel grinding bowl. This can grind in as little as 15 seconds, meaning that the noise won’t last long either. There’s also a dishwasher-safe storage lid in case you want to keep your freshly ground spices in the container until you’re ready for them. It also offers continuous grinding or pulse grinding, allowing you to customize your grind a bit more. Price at time of publish: 44 Dimensions (LxWxH): 4.3 x 4 x 8.5 inches | Capacity: 90 grams Related: The Best Spice Racks
Best for Salt Pepper
Latent Epicure Battery Operated Grinder Set
What We Love: Accessible, customizable grind size, comes with a tray What We Don’t Love: Needs batteries Maybe you’re really just looking for a tabletop salt-and-pepper grinder, preferably one with a god capacity and easy grinding. If that’s the case, we’ve got you. The Latent Epicure Battery Operated Salt and Pepper Grinder Set is a favorite for a few reasons. First of all, we love that its stainless steel construction makes it both durable and sleek on the countertop. While battery-powered appliances are annoying when they lose power without batteries around, they are more accessible and easier. With these grinders, there’s one button to push, plus various coarseness options for whatever spices you put inside. The set comes with a tray, so you’re not littering pepper or salt pieces on your counter, and there’s a light so you can see exactly how much you’ve ground. Price at time of publish: 40 Dimensions (LxWxH): 4.4 x 3.1 x 8.6 inches | Capacity: 2 ounces each Related: The Best Pepper Mills
If you want an electric grinder that can handle all your spices, the Cuisinart SG-10 Spice and Nut Grinder (view at Amazon) can do it all, plus help you make your morning coffee. To manually grind spices and maybe make the occasional batch of pesto or guacamole, the Cilio by Frieling Goliath Natural Granite Mortar and Pestle Set (view at Amazon) deserves a spot on your counter.
What to Look for When Buying a Spice Grinder
Some spice grinders are really just intended for coffee beans and dry spices. Some models can be used for nuts, dry herbs, and even fresh herbs. Think about all of your cooking and what you will need a grinder for. If you plan on grinding spices frequently, it might make sense to have a dedicated grinder. If not, you should look into a grinder that can be used in multiple ways.
Most spice grinders will be a little noisy, especially when you have hard spices like cardamom, cloves, or seeds. That said, some are designed with a quieter grind in mind. If you or anyone in your household can’t stand loud noises, consider a quieter option.
If you’re springing for an electric grinder, you should be able to expect it to grind the spices to a good consistency. There shouldn’t be large pieces while others are dust. It should also stay consistent over time, even if the motor and blades start showing signs of wear and tear.
How do you clean a spice grinder?
Spice grinders should not be submerged in water, due to their electric parts. But, the good news is that cleaning it is still rather simple. Simply grind about 1/4 cup of white rice until it’s pulverized, which should take around a minute. This will catch any stray bits of spice left in the grinder and neutralize any remaining oils. Dump the rice dust into the trash or compost, then take a slightly damp cloth to the inside to wipe it clean.
Can you grind wet ingredients in a spice grinder?
Most grinders should not be used for wet ingredients unless the manufacturer specifies that they can be. For wet ingredients, consider a blender or food processor instead.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Christine Clark has been in the specialty food world since 2015, with bylines in Epicurious, AllRecipes, The Spruce Eats, Wine Enthusiast, and more. A devotee of homemade masala chai, she uses her spice grinder weekly for her fresh cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and more. Read Next: The Best Milk Frothers