Kitchen gadgets review: Cuisinart spice and nut grinder, as serene and lethal as a Zen swordsman
Cuisinart spice and nut grinder (£50, cuisinart.co.uk). Winglet-bladed rotor housed in metal bowl, with activating hood. Granulates seeds, roots and bark.
If you’re gonna be spicy, you may as well get fresh with it.
When my own hands cannot meet my needs, I call upon an old friend to crush my nuts and more. But we’re here to talk about gadgets; and in a giddy moment of sincerity due to an over-hot bath, I’m recommending one I’ve used for years. I cook a lot of Asian food, requiring fresh spices: mustard seeds you wouldn’t believe, garam masala freshly ground, still-zinging ginger. Unfortunately, this can be lot of work – my sworn enemy. While admiring the paleo-aesthetic of the pestle and mortar, I’d struggle to powder a cinnamon stick or star anise in one. So I don’t. The blades on this electric grinder are a Zen swordsman; lethal and serene. There’s no button – I place a transparent dome over the bowl containing the spices, and press down gently, so gently, as if reassuring a chihuahua. Great forces go to work. There’s divine contrast in this airy resting of fingers on dome and the violent vortex conjured within.
Lifting the lid releases a visible twine of vapour, the unfolding presence of aromatic oils; you feel yourself an alchemist, if not a demigod. In addition to blasphemous urges, the machine supplies two grinding bowls with airtight lids, doubling as storage. Good for coffee beans or extra spice mix. (I no longer store mine in unlabelled baggies, sniffed at indiscriminately, a hapless dealer high on his own asafoetida.) It’s brilliant at wet rubs and pastes, too – messing chilli, garlic and galangal with fish sauce takes no time. And the dishwashable brushed metal doesn’t taint or transfer smells.
You can pulse or pulverise almonds or peppercorns in vast quantities. Celebrity husband Jay-Z has taught me that being on your grind doesn’t mean risking RSI; it’s about working smarter, not harder. Nuts to tradition: I’m grateful this device has dispatched my manual efforts to the pestle and mortuary, with a wave of its lordly hand. Let’s dance again, old friend. Just mind my nuts.
Pretty analogue by 2017 standards. I’m surprised they haven’t whacked Bluetooth on it or made a “Grinder” app where you can meet spicy strangers and discuss cumin together.
Counter, drawer, back of the cupboard?
A misty mountain top. 5/5.
The 3 best spice grinders we tested in 2023
Email icon An envelope. It indicates the ability to send an email.
Email icon A stylized bird with an open mouth, tweeting.
LinkedIn icon The word “in”.
When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Spice grinders can have different grinding mechanisms, but they all have the same goal: efficiently grind whole spices into fine powders. “As a general rule, whole spices will have a much longer shelf life because the volatile oils that are responsible for flavor and aroma remain intact,” said Alex Wilkens, spice expert at The Spice House.
Top 5: Best Spice Grinder On Amazon 2022 [Tested & Reviewed]
While operating a spice grinder doesn’t require a lot of prep work, we still recommend grinding your spices before you start cooking. If you like to make your own spice blends, or if you find yourself reaching for a particular spice frequently, you can grind larger quantities once a month, suggested Uttam Mukherjee and Aakanksha Sinha, co-owners of the Spice Waala restaurant. Once you grind a spice, you have a month or so before the flavor starts to wane.
We tested six spice grinders and two pepper mills with three different spices to identify the best options currently on the market. Learn more about how Insider Reviews tests and researches kitchen products.
Here are the best spice grinders of 2023
Best spice grinder overall: Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder. See at Williams SonomaThe Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder can handle any spice you throw in it, producing an even grind without overheating.
Best budget spice grinder: Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind Electric Grinder. See at AmazonThe Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind Electric Grinder is surprisingly powerful and takes up limited kitchen space, perfect for a casual spice user.
Best manual spice grinder: Grosche Breman Manual Coffee Grinder. See at WalmartThe manual Grosche Breman Manual Coffee Grinder is powerful enough to break down even the toughest spices, thanks to its crank handle and ceramic grinding mechanism.
Best spice grinder overall
The Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder can handle any spice you throw in it, producing an even grind without overheating.
Pros: Dishwasher safe components, large capacity, produces even grind with a variety of spices
Cons: No base storage for the cord
Out of all the grinders we tested, the Cuisinart was the easiest to use and produced the most evenly-ground spices. The Cuisinart grinding chamber had a capacity of two-thirds of a cup, which is larger than our pick for best budget and smaller than the best manual spice grinder. In the Cuisinart, each spice was broken down to a powder consistency after 45 seconds to a minute, and the particles were minimally different in size.
In other grinders, finer particles clung to the sides of the chamber or the lid, while the pieces near the blades were substantially coarser. In the Cuisinart, however, the particles collected from the lid were consistent with those at the base of the bowl. You activate the grinder by pushing down on the lid, which was the easiest to hold down for more than 10 seconds out of all the grinders we tested.
The stainless steel chamber and lid are removable and dishwasher safe. Additionally, the grinder comes with a silicone top for the chamber, to store extra spices. We were initially excited that the removeable grind chamber possibly meant you could buy multiple grinding bowls (i.e., one for coffee, one for spices) to make the grinder more multipurpose. However, while Cusinart does sell replacement bowls, they’re just as expensive as buying a whole new grinder.
Best budget spice grinder
The Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind Electric Grinder is surprisingly powerful and takes up limited kitchen space, perfect for a casual spice user.
Pros: Produced powdered spices, compact, electric cord storage in base
Cons: Difficult to hold the button down continuously, plastic chamber became discolored after use
The Hamilton Beach grinder doesn’t feel substantial, as it is mostly made out of plastic, but I was pleasantly surprised by its capability. It took 45 seconds to a minute for the cumin and cloves to be powderized, which was also the case with our top pick. The body of the grinder did not feel warm to the touch until after the 45 seconds of grinding, which impressed me for such a small machine.
The results from the cinnamon stick test were mixed. Cinnamon powder gathered on the lid while I was grinding, and it was an ideal consistency. However, the rest of the cinnamon that stayed in the bowl of the grinder was coarser — almost too coarse to be considered powder.
Max capacities for coffee and spices are marked on the grinding chamber. The removable chamber and lid were easy to clean and did not retain a scent from the spices after washing, though both were discolored after use. The grinder activates by pressing a button on the side, where the lid attaches to the base, but the button is not very sensitive. If you’re not pressing it as hard as possible, the grinder will stop.
Best manual spice grinder
The manual Grosche Breman Manual Coffee Grinder is powerful enough to break down even the toughest spices, thanks to its crank handle and ceramic grinding mechanism.
Pros: Even grind consistency, extra storage jar and lid, crank handle is easy to operate
Cons: Lots of parts that are easy to lose, small spices may come out on the coarse side
You’ll get an arm workout and freshly ground spices when you use the Grosche Coffee Grinder. The Grosche really shined in the cinnamon test, producing some of the finest powder consistency cinnamon. Because it’s manual, it took more than twice as long as the electric grinders, but it wasn’t difficult to crank the handle and break down the woody cinnamon bark. You do have to hold down the base of the grinder with one hand while you crank it.
The grinder comes with a spare glass jar and silicone lid. The pieces come apart easily for cleaning, but make sure you note how they go back together. If you put the smaller pieces in the wrong order, the grinder just won’t turn.
I was less impressed by the cumin in this grinder. It was a coarser consistency than the cinnamon and not as fine as the cumin powder from other grinders. Additionally, I noticed that spice powder clung to the grooves in the ceramic mechanism. This may be a problem for flavor crossover.
What else we tested
What else we recommend:
Krups Silent Vortex Electric Grinder: This electric grinder is similar in form and function to our top pick: a press-down lid activates the grinder and the chamber is removable. The Krups ground cinnamon sticks to powder consistency and did not overheat. For about the same price as the Cuisinart grinder, this is another solid option.
What we don’t recommend and why:
Capresso Cool Grind Coffee and Spice Grinder: The affordable price and compact size are the main selling points of this grinder. However, it never produced powdered spices as fine as our top picks. The grinding chamber is not removable, which makes cleaning between spices difficult.
FinaMill Battery Operated Spice Grinder: The concept of this grinder is unique and intuitive to use, but the grinder did not produce powdered spices. It was not powerful enough to grind cinnamon shards, and the cumin and cloves both came out too coarse. I think this grinder is better suited for pepper and dried herbs when a coarse grind is desired.
We also tested two manual pepper grinders that performed well in our pepper grinder tests: the Kuhn Rikon Ratchet Grinder and the Zwilling Matte Black Pepper Grinder. Both ground spices to a coarse consistency, but neither produced powdered spice as successfully as the electric spice grinders. The Kuhn Rikon is intended to be used with spices beyond pepper, and I would recommend it only if you want a coarse grind.
Our spice grinder testing methodology
We chose to test cumin seeds and cloves as small and medium sized spices, respectively — both with uniform shapes. We also ground cinnamon sticks broken into shards to see how the grinders handled large, irregularly shaped spices.
For recommendations and tips on what to look for in a spice grinder, we interviewed Alex Wilkens of gourmet spice purveyor The Spice House, and Uttam Mukherjee and Aakanksha Sinha, co-owners of Spice Waala, an Indian restaurant in Seattle. After speaking with these experts and conducting our own research, we settled on our criteria:
Speed: We filled the grinder cup halfway with each spice and ground for ten seconds. At this point, we evaluated the consistency of the grounds by eye. Then, we ground the spices in 10 second intervals, and evaluated them for consistency after 20 seconds, 40 seconds, and 60 seconds.
Consistency: We used Kruve sifters — fine mesh sifters calibrated in microns for coffee grinds — to measure consistency. The 200, 250, 300, 350, and 400 micron sifters are used for espresso, a powder consistency. We sifted store bought cinnamon and cumin powder through the 200, 250, and 300 micron sifters to see which was best for powdered spices. The store bought powder easily passed through the 250 sifter, so we identified that as the goal for the spices we ground ourselves. When measuring the spices, we started with larger sifters and moved to smaller ones until the grinds stopped passing through.
Capacity: We measured the capacity of the grinders by filling the grinding cups with dry, short grain white rice and then measuring that amount of rice.
Ease of use: All of the electric grinders we tested had to be continuously operated: if you let go of the button, the grinding stopped. However, some of the buttons were more difficult to hold down than others. If we could operate the grinder with one hand, we looked to see if the grinder moved on the counter during operation.
Spice Grinder FAQs
What’s the difference between a blade grinder and a burr grinder?
Most grinders feature a burr or blade grinding mechanism. In a burr grinder, particles are forced between two grooved discs, and turning the discs grinds the particle. A blade grinder looks like a miniature blender with sharp stainless steel blades at the base of the grinding cup.
Blade grinders are less precise but also less expensive than burr grinders. With a blade grinder, pieces of the spice can get stuck under the blades or pressed against the bowl. You can control the coarseness with a burr grinder, but if you just want a fine powder, Wilkens says a blade grinder works well.
Our best overall and best budget spice grinder picks are blade grinders, but we also recommend a manual burr grinder for those who want the most consistent grind.
How do I clean my spice grinder?
Some of the grinders we tested had removable bowls and lids that could be hand washed or put in the dishwasher, according to manufacturer instructions. You do not want to get the base of your grinder too wet since the electrical mechanism is often stored in the base. If the outside is dirty, wipe it down with a damp cloth.
If the grinder bowl is not removable, treat the bowl as carefully as you do the base. One way to clean grinder bowls that aren’t removeable is to grind some dried white rice in the grinder and let it sit for a few minutes before disposing. The rice will absorb oils and particles left in the grinding bowl.
Mukherjee and Sinha recommend cleaning between spices to prevent flavor crossover. Many spice grinders can grind coffee beans and vice versa, and you’ll want to clean the grinder between those two especially. However, some coffee experts say that once you grind a spice in a coffee grinder, the coffee will never taste the same no matter how thoroughly you clean it. So proceed with caution.
Can I grind coffee or nuts in my spice grinder?
The grinder’s manual will tell you whether it is compatible with coffee beans or nuts. Coffee experts have told Insider that a burr grinder is always preferable for coffee, though a blade grinder, like most of the spice grinders we tested, can do the job adequately.
The risk in grinding multiple things, or even multiple spices, is always flavor crossover. Both coffee beans and whole spices release their flavor when ground, and the oils can linger in the grinder even after being washed. You may not notice if your cinnamon has a note of nutmeg, but pepper-flavored coffee may not be so benign.
Can I use my pepper grinder to grind spices?
If your pepper grinder has a ceramic mechanism, you can grind small and uniformly shaped spices in it. However, most pepper grinders are not dishwasher safe and can only be brushed out with a dry cloth. Flavor crossover is a risk here as well.
What is the best way to store ground spices?
When we spoke to spice experts for our guide to the best pepper mills, the consensus was that you should use the ground spices as quickly as possible to get the best flavor. Whole spices have a longer flavor shelf life than ground spices.
However, ground spices should remain fragrant and flavorful for a few months if stored properly. Mukherjee and Sinha recommend an airtight glass jar instead of plastic, and suggest keeping the jar in a dry place out of direct sunlight.
How do I grind smaller or lighter spices, like cumin seeds?
In theory, spice grinders can handle large and small spices, but the machines aren’t perfect. The best way to get an even grind with small spice is to grind in short pulses and shake the grinder to reshuffle the particles between bursts.
According to Mukherjee and Sinha, the weight of the spice impacts the grinding more than the size. “When small, light-weighted seeds, like black mustard seeds, are put in the grinder, the speed of the blades and the air circulation causes the seeds to stay above the blades,” they said. This can result in an uneven grind.
Check out our other great kitchen guides
- The best coffee grinders
- The best pepper mills and salt grinders
- The best spice racks
Lily Alig is an editor on the Insider Reviews team, covering the home and kitchen verticals. She helps run the kitchen section, working with in-house and freelance writers to build out coverage of small appliances, kitchen tools, and gourmet food. Since joining Insider as a fellow in August 2020, Lily spent a year and a half as a full-time reporter before becoming an editor. As a writer, she spoke with independent spice houses and professional chefs, as well as tested products by making 50 waffles in one day and searing 7 steaks in a week. In her role as editor, Lily tracks stories from pitch to publish, maintains the kitchen publishing calendar, and edits every story for copy and content. Lily is an avid home cook and baker, so she knows what consumers are looking for in kitchenware products. After work, you can find her watching sports, reading fantasy novels, and finding new recipes to try. Reach out to Lily at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. Learn more about how we test kitchen products.
Sign up for Insider Reviews’ weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals.
You can purchase logo and accolade licensing to this story here.
Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at email@example.com.
The 5 Best Spice Grinders for 2023
The best spice grinders can help to create meals that satisfy your cravings and ignite your senses. To take your recipes to the next level, we suggest investing in a good quality and easy-to-use spice grinder.
Spices get their flavors from the oils contained within them, so the moment they’re broken down, some of those oils will be lost. By freshly grinding your spices (as opposed to buying preground ones), you’ll retain more of the flavors, and subsequently, enhance your recipes. Meggan uses a spice grinder to help recipes like her Grilled Chicken Rub or Homemade Ancho Chile Powder come alive.
After spending hours researching the best spice grinders currently on the market, Meggan and I have come up with our top 5 spice grinders, including the one from the same brand that Meggan uses in her own kitchen. Additionally, we’ve listed other top-rated spice grinders you might want to consider for your cooking needs.
Reviews of The Best Spice Grinders
Meggan’s Top Pick: KRUPS Fast Touch Electric Grinder
Meggan bought her first Krups spice grinder in 2003, and she still uses it to make recipes like her Homemade Celery Salt and Lemon Pepper Seasoning. In fact, she even has a second one now for grinding coffee.
“My husband is a coffee drinker and I believe in keeping separate grinders for coffee and spices,” she says. “Luckily the grinders are small and compact, so it’s easy to keep two around (just be sure to make labels so there’s no thinking involved).”
Although the exact model Meggan uses is no longer manufactured, the Krups Fast-Touch is a similar, updated version. The large-capacity grinder creates a fine grind in less than 10 seconds, making it fast and convenient. The one-touch system is easy to use for beginners or spice grinding experts alike. “It’s powerful, gets the job done, and is easy to clean when you need to,” Meggan says.
What Meggan Says:
“It works perfectly for grinding spices, but I also love how economical it is.”
- Capacity: 85 grams
- Operation mode: Electric
- Material: Stainless steel
- Item dimensions: 4.02 by 3.15 by 6.69 inches
- Quick grind
- Easy to clean
- Easy one-touch system
- Grinds spices, herbs, and nuts
What Others are Saying:
Serious Eats found the Krups Fast Grinder to be the best fixed-cup spice grinder they tested.
Buy the Krups Fast Touch Grinder:
Best Electric: Cuisinart SG-10 Electric Spice Nut Grinder
If you prefer the spice grinder to do the lion’s share of the work, the Cuisinart is a versatile and effective electric spice grinder. It can chop almost any spice you put into it, making it stand out among the other electric grinders we researched.
While the powerful 200-watt electric motor makes light work of chopping up your fresh herbs, it can also handle tougher spices such as cloves and cocoa beans. The Cuisinart also grinds down cinnamon sticks to a fine powder and can also tackle grinding nuts (which some other spice grinders can’t handle).
Plus, it’s easy to assemble and has dishwasher-safe parts — which helps to cut down the cleaning time. The extra large capacity makes it the perfect gadget for meal prepping or batch cooking.
- Capacity: Bowl holds up to 90 grams
- Operation mode: Electric
- Material: Stainless steel
- Item dimensions: 5 by 6 by 9 inches
- Large capacity
- Powerful motor
- Removable parts are dishwasher-safe
- Compact size, easy to store
- Only designed for nuts and spices
- Not ideal for lightweight herbs
- Main grinder is not dishwasher-safe
Buy the Cuisinart SG-10 Electric Spice Nut Grinder:
Best Pepper Mill: OXO Good Grips Mess-Free Pepper Grinder
Known for exceptional (and affordable) kitchen products, OXO is one of Meggan’s favorite brands, and this pepper grinder is a cut above the others. It’s ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand but is also long enough for you to hold it with two hands, making grinding easier on the wrist. Unlike other pepper grinders, it doesn’t leave a trail of pepper flakes everywhere and the ceramic interior won’t absorb the flavors of the peppercorns.
This pepper grinder has five grind sizes, ranging from coarse to fine, that can be adjusted with the flip of a button. It holds just under ½ cup of peppercorns which lasts quite a while, so you won’t waste time constantly refilling. Although it comes pre-filled with peppercorns, the clear window makes it easy to know when it needs refilling. To do so, simply flip it over and unscrew the cap, making for a hassle-free process.
- Five grind sizes
- Easy to refill
- Top grind design means less mess
- Arrives pre-filled with black peppercorns
What Others Are Saying
Good Housekeeping named the OXO Good Grips Mess-Free Pepper Grinder the easiest to refill. It has a 4.7 rating on Amazon from over 10,000 reviews.
Buy the OXO Good Grips Mess-Free Pepper Grinder:
Best Manual: Kuhn Rikon Adjustable Ratchet Grinder
Manual spice grinders are quiet, compact, affordable, and portable, so they’re also good for camping trips or if you’re staying at a vacation rental with a not-so-stocked kitchen. The Swiss-made, Kuhn Rikon Adjustable Ratchet Grinder is an all-in-one piece with no removable parts. Due to the simple nature of this grinder, it’s renowned for being one of the easiest manual grinders to use. It works really well for smaller spices such as salt, pepper, cumin seeds, and flax seeds.
That being said, you’re limited on what types of herbs and spices you can grind in it. Certain spices such as cloves or anise will damage the plastic, large spices like nutmeg won’t fit in the grinder, and you should avoid leafy herbs because these may clog the mechanism.
- Capacity: 115 mililiters
- Operation mode: Manual
- Material: Plastic
- Item dimensions: 2.5 by 2.5 by 9 inches
- High-performance ratchet operating system
- Ergonomic so it’s easy on the wrists
- Can adjust from fine to coarse
- Quick and hassle-free refilling
What Others Are Saying
This Kuhn Rikon Adjustable manual grinder has a 4.7 rating on Amazon from over 2,700 reviews.
You Can Buy the Kuhn Rikon Adjustable Ratchet Grinder:
Best Large: Mueller HyperGrind Electric Spice Grinder Mill
The Mueller HyperGrind Spice Grinder has a larger-than-average capacity, so it’s able to process up to 11 tablespoons of whole coffee beans, or your favorite spices, herbs, and nuts. It’s perfect for tackling hard-to-grind spices such as cardamom or cloves. However, as with most grinders, you should break up nutmeg and really large spices with a hammer or rolling pin first before putting them in a grinder.
The compact design means it fits nicely on your kitchen countertop without taking up too much space. The Mueller has three different grind settings: coarse, medium, or fine grind, and is available at an affordable price — particularly for a more heavy-duty grinder. It’s worth noting that it can be a bit loud, but that is to be expected with larger grinders.
- Capacity: 60 grams
- Operation mode: Electric
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Item dimensions: 7.72 by 4.41 by 4.33 inches
- Large grinding bowl
- Easy to use one-touch operation
- Long cord
- Long lasting blades
What Others Are Saying:
The Mueller HyperGrind Electric Spice Grinder Mill has a 4.5 rating on Amazon from over 19,700 reviews.
Buy the Mueller HyperGrind Electric Spice Grinder Mill:
Other Spice Grinders to Consider
Microplane 48060 Manual Spice Mill
This spice grinder is a good option for anyone who regularly grinds tough spices such as cloves, cocoa beans, and cinnamon. Despite its small and compact design, it creates a very fine ground. However, the small capacity could also be considered a downfall for anyone that wishes to grind a lot of ingredients. Lastly, because it’s a manual grinder, it does take time to grind the spices down. The Microplane 48060 Manual Spice Mill is available on Amazon for 20.99.
Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind Electric Coffee Grinder
If you’re looking for the best budget spice grinder then the Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind could be a good option for you. It’s easy to use, versatile and has a removable, dishwasher-safe grinding chamber. The Hamilton didn’t make our top picks list is it can be messy and the cord is very short in comparison to other grinders. The Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind Electric Coffee Grinder is available on Amazon for 19.99.
Secura Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder
The Secura Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder regularly gets rated as a great multi-purpose spice grinder because it copes well with both wet and dry ingredients. However, it’s quite a bit more expensive than other electric grinders that will perform similarly. The Secura Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder is available on Amazon for 41.98.
Krups Silent Vortex
If you’re in need of a quieter spice grinder, we recommend looking at the Krups Silent Vortex, which has the convenience of an efficient electric grinder without all the noise. However, the design of the unit leads to a couple of minor inconveniences. The lid is difficult to clean, and ingredients can leak from the container. The Krups Silent Vortex is available at Amazon for 43.99.
Why You Can Trust Us
I’m Georgina, an award-winning content creator, sustainable living expert, and certified vegetarian and vegan nutritionist. Over the last 12 years, I’ve researched and created hundreds of product guides to bring my audience the best home goods on the market. I’ve been featured in numerous publications including House Beautiful, Ethical Consumer, Apartment Therapy, Huffpost, The Sunday Times, and many other home and lifestyle publications.
Meggan Hill, the founder of Culinary Hill and classically-trained chef, has developed dozens of spice blends, rubs, and seasoning recipes. Together, Meggan and I compiled a list of her favorite spice grinders, beginning with the ones she uses regularly, and then scoured the internet for noteworthy products from reliable kitchen brands. In making our decisions for the best spice grinders, we also evaluated trusted reviews from other culinary experts and focused on performance, design, versatility, cost, ease of use, and overall value.
What to Know Before Buying Spice Grinders
What to Consider Before Buying a Spice Grinder
Before you buy a spice grinder, decide what you’ll be using it for. Grinders can be used for grinding herbs, spices, or salt and pepper to add to recipes, for grinding coffee beans, or for chopping nuts for baking. It’s best to familiarize yourself with the different types of grinders before making your decision. The three main types of grinders are a mortar and pestle, a modern manual spice mill, and an electric grinder.
Mortar and pestles are the most traditional type of grinders (dating back to the Stone Age) that consist of a heavy handle and sturdy stone or ceramic bowl to grind spices by hand. A modern, manual spice mill — like a peppermill — has an internal mechanism (typically made from steel or ceramic) to aid in hand grinding by using a crank or rotating top. It’s worth noting that if you plan on grinding salt, a ceramic grinder is a better choice (salt can corrode the steel). Lastly, an electric grinder does all the work for you and can often double as a coffee grinder.
Other things to consider are how much you want to spend and how much storage space you have. Some spice grinders, like electric ones, are quite bulky.
How to Use a Spice Grinder
How you use your grinder will depend on the type, but when in doubt, always check the manual. Electric spice grinders are easy to operate with simple on and off buttons. A manual grinder requires more effort: you’ll need to grind the spices by turning a lever or crushing them with a pestle. Manual grinders can be a better option for keen campers or people who travel a lot. Common spices to use in a grinder include turmeric, rosemary, black pepper, cumin, and oregano.
How to Clean a Spice Grinder
Before you attempt to clean your spice grinder, check the manual to see if it’s dishwasher-safe. If it requires hand washing, remove the bowl and clean it with warm water and dish soap. Make sure the bowl is dry before reattaching. If your grinder doesn’t have a removable bowl, wipe the bowl with white distilled vinegar and let it air dry overnight.
Do You Need a Spice Grinder?
While it’s easy to reach for an already-prepared jar of spices, it can also be expensive, and some varieties (like bay leaves and sage) can be difficult to find in ground form but are often available in whole, bulk options — at significantly cheaper prices. Plus, the moment a spice is ground, it begins to break down the flavor, so by using a spice grinder you get the best flavor out of your herbs and spices.
Meggan says, “In a perfect world, we would all grind all of our spices fresh when we needed them, every time… but there are times when it really makes sense. For example, there are certain spices that I don’t use daily, such as allspice, cloves, and coriander. It’s easy enough to buy the whole spices and just grind them when I need them (or a small portion) so they really are fresh and I’m not letting a full, expensive jar get stale.” By doing this, you can improve your cooking with the best possible flavor while also saving money on spices.
Alternatives to using spice grinders include a mortar and pestle, microplane grater, the back of a spoon and a small dish, hammer and a chopping board, a food blender, or smashing the spices in a zip-lock bag with a rolling pin. However, a spice grinder is the most effective and least time-consuming way to grind spices, plus you can grind other food items like coffee beans and nuts.
Can You Use a Coffee Grinder for Spices?
Yes, you can use a coffee grinder for herbs and spices, but they must be dry. Wet ingredients will clog up the grinder and may cause it to jam or break. Examples of items that can be ground in a coffee grinder include cloves, black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, and cumin. It’s important to wash out the grinder thoroughly after use to remove any leftover ingredients that may alter the taste of the coffee. For this reason, Meggan prefers to have two separate grinders for coffee and spices.
Is an Electric Spice Grinder Better Than a Manual Spice Grinder?
Electric grinders are more expensive than manual grinders but tend to be more efficient and quicker to use. If you frequently add herbs and spices to your recipes and only want to do so in a limited quantity, then an electric spice grinder may be the best option for you.
The Best Recipes to Use Your New Spice Grinder
Using a spice grinder can transform the taste and flavors of your recipes. It’s a simple but effective way to create delicious and mouth-watering meals for you and your family. Once you’ve found your favorite, try it out with one of these seasoning recipes:
were accurate at time of publication.
The Best Nut Chopper: A Complete Guide
Often recipes call for chopped or crushed nuts; save yourself some time, and throw a handful of them into an electric or manual nut chopper!
Are you almost done with adding all of your ingredients to that amazing cookie recipe and now realize that it calls for chopped walnuts? Keep in mind that making the best hazelnut chocolate chip cookies requires a good nut crusher and a quality bakeware set. Don’t worry; if you have one of our best nut choppers, then you can easily add in any amount of crushed nuts in seconds.
The Best Manual Nut Chopper!
OXO Good Grips Nut Chopper
The OXO brand of kitchen tools is one you can trust. They like to create kitchen tools to make everyone’s life a little easier. If you are looking for a good nut grinder, you must be tired of chopping nuts on a cutting board with a knife.
A good nut chopper will allow you to chop up nuts without a mess quickly. Then you can add them to a recipe or sprinkle them on top of a salad!
Material: Stainless Steel Blade and BPA Free Plastic
- Wave-pattern blades rotate evenly, chopping onions, nuts and other ingredients with precision
- Non-slip knob makes chopping safe and easy
- Scoop out chopped ingredients with included spoon, or snap lid on for a quick container
- Blade cartridge unscrews for speedy cleanup
- Symmetrical blade makes reassembly simple, knob locks down for Smart storage
What We Like
- The nuts are in a closed chamber so that they won’t fly out of the top like some other nut grinders.
- The blades rotate following each depression, so there is no need to rearrange the nuts inside of the chamber.
What We Don’t Like
- The OXO nut crusher doesn’t chop more than ⅓ a cup of nuts well. If you need to chop an entire cup of nuts, it might be best to do it in batches.
A Handcrank Nut Chopper!
Progressive International Prepworks NUT CHOPPER, One Size
There are a few great features about this hand-crank nut chopper. Firstly it has a non-skid base; this will allow you to use the nut chopper without falling over. Secondly, you can chop up to 1 ½ cups of nuts at the same time. Thirdly, you can adjust the nut chopping blades to chop nuts into a fine or coarse grind.
Be aware that you have to remove the bottom to pour out the nuts. Pay attention to which way you turn the handle, one way chops the nuts into a fine powder, and the other way chops them up coarsely.
Type: Hand Crank Nut Chopper
- PERFECT FOR MAKING TOPPINGS: This Prepworks by Progressive Large Nut Chopper makes it an easy task to create delicious toppings for sundaes, cookies, brownies, salads and more!
- ADJUSTABLE COARSENESS: The blades chop through hard nuts like almonds with ease and allow you to switch between fine and coarse grinds by simply changing the direction of the turn handle
- 1 ½ CUP (350ml) CAPACITY The chopped nuts fall into the clear base that has measurements up to 1 ½ cups, to ensure that you get the perfect amount each time
- NON-SKID BASE: The top lid is hinged for easy filling while the elliptical design and non-skid base provide increased stability during use.
- DISHWASHER SAFE: This Nut Chopper is dishwasher safe for easy, convenient cleaning
What We Like
- Professional bakers stand by this nut chopper. It creates an easy way to chop a large number of nuts.
- You can quickly chop 1 ½ cups of nuts in just a few minutes.
- This manual nut grinder is fun to use; you can get kids involved in the baking by letting them turn the handle. (Only under supervision)
- The container’s measurement lines come in handy when your recipe calls for a specific amount of chopped nuts.
- You can turn your nuts into a nut meal with this chopper. Many gluten-free recipes call for almond meal flour; you can easily make any nut meal flour with this chopper.
- Low price point.
What We Don’t Like
- The whole nut chopper does not come apart, like some of the other ones on our list. Although, you can still put the entire kitchen tool into the dishwasher.
- If you chop many nuts, this manual hand crank nut chopper won’t last for years. Since it has a low price point, you can easily buy another one.
The Best Glass Nut Grinder
RSVP Endurance Stainless Steel Vintage Inspired 1/4-Cup Nut Grinder
Having a stainless steel grinder with a glass jar for the ground nuts to fall into makes this our #1 pick. Stainless steel and glass is a great non-toxic combo.
We like that this manual nut chopper gets a solid four-star review since 2017; that says a lot. It is by no means perfect, but if you don’t like to use plastic, then this hand-crank nut chopper is a great option.
Material: Glass and Stainless Steel
- PERFECT SIZE: Measures 5.13 x 3.38 x 6.50″
- A KITCHEN NECESSITY: Use this to make both hard and soft nuts into small enough pieces that are perfect for baking
- CONVENIENT DESIGN: Convenient sliding door makes it easy to clean
- QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Features a stainless steel hopper and a manual hand crank and a 1-1/4-cup clear jar
- CARE INSTRUCTIONS: Dishwasher safe
What We Like
- The jar for the chopped nuts to fall into is glass.
- This glass nut grinder has a similar style to nut choppers from years ago. This manual nut grinder can bring back fond memories!
- Chops nuts uniformly.
What We Don’t Like
- There is no lid on top of the stainless steel grinder, so the nuts pop out.
- The glass jar is an awkward shape that is hard to hold for some people.
Cuisinart Spice & Nut Grinder
- You cannot interchange a mason jar with this nut grinder.
The Best Rolling Nut Chopper On The Market!
Chef’n NutZoom Nut Chopper
This unique nut chopper is similar to the garlic zoom chopper. It’s fun and straightforward to use; just fill the chamber and roll it on a hard surface. The blades start chopping once the kitchen nut grinding tool is in motion. The longer you move it, the finer the nuts are chopped.
Material: Stainless Steel Blade and Plastic
- Inspired by best selling GarlicZoom garlic chopper, this nut prepper allows you to roll your nuts to a perfect chopped texture without dirtying a chopping block or knife.
- The NutZoom features a self-contained chamber that holds any type of nut with blades activated by rolling. Now you can easily chop nuts for any nut-friendly recipe including pies, cookies, or cakes.
- To use, simply pop the top open and fill with your favorite nuts. Close the top, grip the sides, and roll to chop and mince nuts fast.
- When finished, the blade is easy to remove thanks to large finger grips. Top rack dishwasher safe for easy care.
- Choose Smart, easy-to-use kitchen utensils that are built on tasteful design, new technologies, and the trusted reputation of Chef’n.
What We Like
- Excellent tool for a small number of nuts!
- It works great for a recipe that calls for minced nuts because this chopper will grind them up finer than other nut crushers on the market.
What We Don’t Like
- It has a tiny chamber, so to get ½ a cup of chopped nuts, you will need to fill it a few times.
- The nuts in the chamber do not come out evenly. Some nuts get ground up, and others are barely chopped.
- It is tough to wash by hand because of the nooks and crannies on the device.
The Best Electric Nut Chopper
Ninja BN601 Professional Plus Food Processor 1000-Peak-Watts
Do you need a food processor to chop nuts? The simple answer is no, but if you don’t already have a food processor, the Ninja is a great choice. With almost 2,000 five-star amazon reviews, you can’t go wrong here.
Can the Ninja chop nuts? – YES!
Are you looking for different types of nut grinders for DIY flour? The Ninja is a great tool if you are into making DIY flours!
The professional quality Ninja is great for chopping almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, and more. You can easily make nut butter and nut milk with this multi-tasking machine.
Type: Electric Nut Grinder and Nut Chopper
Color: Black, Clear, and Stainless Steel
Material: Plastic and Stainless Steel
- MOST POWERFUL KITCHEN FOOD PROCESSOR: The 1000-peak-watt motor can process the toughest ingredients with ease. (under 11-cups, based on rated wattage and listed bowl capacity).
- PRROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE: Dedicated blades and discs deliver restaurant-worthy results. Precisely chop, consistently slice, and evenly mix all in one appliance.
- 4 VERSATILE FUNCTIONS: 4 Auto-iQ intelligent preset programs make food prep easier with 3 speeds – low, high, and pulse. Chop veggies, shred cheese, and make smooth sauces and quick pizza dough or cookie dough from scratch—all at the touch of a button.
- XL PROCESSING CAPACITY: The 9-cup (72-oz.) processing bowl delivers consistent results whether you’re chopping a small batch (a few garlic cloves) or an entire bowlful of ingredients—great for large families and entertaining guests.
- MIX DOUGH IN SECONDS: Powerful dough mixer has the torque to fold in ingredients quickly and evenly, making up to 2 lbs. of dough in as little as 30 seconds.
What We Like
- It is a versatile, multi-tasking machine. You can do everything from chopping nuts to grinding herbs with the Ninja.
- You can easily fit this under a kitchen cabinet.
- The motor is a lot quieter than other professional-grade food processors.
What We Don’t Like
A Great Inexpensive Electric Nut Chopper
Electric Nut Chopper, 5-Cup Food Processor, with a Glass Bowl by Homeleader
What an excellent electric nut chopper! Just being able to throw a large number of nuts into this food processor and not have to do it in stages is priceless. With a powerful 300 Watt motor and a large glass bowl, you can chop enough nuts simultaneously.
Some of our other picks require you to empty the chamber and chop the nuts in stages. Another great feature of this nut chopper is that you can make your nut butter with it. So not only is it a nut chopper, but it’s a nut grinder as well.
I would have to say this is the best electric nut chopper on the market. In addition to being an excellent electric nut grinder, it is also one of the best nut choppers for almonds. Those almond cookies can now be made without having to buy pre-chopped almonds.
Type: Electric Nut Chopper
Material: Stainless Steel and Glass
- TIME SAVER: much faster than cutting by hand; chop onions, slice salad ingredients, meats, mix sauces or puree soups, etc in seconds.
- SHARP STAINLESS STEEL BLADES: 300W powerful motor, 4 stainless steel blades and 4D glass bowl design allows the upper and lower blades to chop food evenly.(Please use the machine less than 30s at one time.)
- SATISFY HOME NEED: 1.2L capacity for 1-4 persons-mashed potato for babies, milkshake for friends, dumpling filling for family party, etc.
- USER-FRIENDLY DESIGN: other than meat grinder, it only takes seconds to clean glass bowl and blades; non-slip rubber ring for stable operation; 2 easy and comfortable grips; lower noise-less than 40db.
- CERTIFICATION SERVICE: customer service to respond with 24 hours; ETL approved with 12 month replacement for all parts of the chopper.
What We Like
- This electric nut chopper is a versatile kitchen tool; you can use it to chop a lot more than nuts.
- This electric nut chopper works excellent as an almond chopper, pecan chopper, or walnut chopper.
- The glass bowl is a nice touch.
What We Don’t Like
- Some users have trouble aligning the blades with the body. They must be in line with each other to work.
- The plastic piece that surrounds the blade breaks down after a few months of continuous use.
Why Do You Need A Nut Chopper?
- Keep Your Kitchen Cleaner. When you chop nuts by hand with a knife, you will probably end up with some on the floor. If you have one of our best nut choppers, then you will not have to be frustrated by cleaning up nuts on the floor.
- Eat Healthier. Grinding your nuts with our Ninja pick for the best electric nut chopper will allow you to create many unique kinds of nut butter, like Abby’s Better Butter! Many store-bought jars of nut butter have unhealthy ingredients. Why not make your nut butter from scratch and be in control of exactly what you add.
- Make Your Life Easier. Knowing that you can just throw the nuts into a grinder or chopper will make your meal prep a lot easier. Making things from scratch doesn’t have to be complicated.
Things To Consider When Buying A Nut Crusher
When it comes to nut choppers, do you want to turn a handle to crush the nuts manually? If not, you might be better off getting an electric one, so you don’t have to worry about manual labor.
Hence, it brings up the question of electric or manual nut chopper – which one is better?
For example, if you have 2-3 cups of nuts to chop each time, you may want to invest in an electric grinder or food processor. If you only chop nut every once in a while, then a manual nut grinder will work just fine.
If the chamber you add the nuts into does not have a lid, then as you are grinding the nuts, they may fly out. Nuts flying out of the chamber is one complaint about our number three pick for the vintage-inspired nut grinder.
Although this is a great nut grinder that sits on top of a glass mason jar, it does cause frustration.
Some nut choppers have a glass bow//jar that collects the chopped nuts. On the other hand, the majority of the nut choppers out there are made of plastics.
Most of these plastics are not BPA-free. So if you want to stay away from the toxicity of plastic, choose one of our nut choppers made with glass or BPA-free plastic.
Sometimes you don’t want to spend money on a new kitchen appliance if it only has one purpose. Most manual nut choppers are single-purpose kitchen tools.
Nuts leave behind an oily residue, and sometimes it is best to dedicate the manual nut crushers for only crushing nuts. On the other hand, if you have an electric one, usually the entire appliance comes apart, so you can put each piece into the dishwasher and clean it thoroughly before chopping herbs, onions, garlic, or something else in it.
The Different Types of Nut Grinders
Electric Nut Grinder
An electric nut grinder can be a single-purpose one or more of a multipurpose food processor. An advantage of using an electric nut grinder is that you can chop many nuts quickly. One disadvantage is that sometimes they don’t give you a coarsely chopped nut and instead grind it up into a more delicate powder. They can be great if you make your nut butter from scratch.
Hand Crank Nut Chopper
These are great little single-purpose kitchen tools that can chop a small number of nuts. I like using this model because it reminds me of one we had in our kitchen growing up. My mom would make almond horn cookies, and we would always use a hand crank nut chopper for the recipe.
Manual Push Down Nut Chopper
You fill-up the nut chamber, then push a blade down to crush them. The blade rotates and chops all of the nuts in the section.
Rolling Manual Nut Chopper
The brand that makes this one is called NutZoom. What they are most famous for is a rolling garlic chopper. With the NutZoom, you can only chop a tiny amount of nuts. The rolling nut grinder might be a fun tool to have in the kitchen if you have kids helping you bake.
Nut Chopping FAQs
Can you chop nuts in a coffee grinder?
Yes, you absolutely can chop nuts in a coffee grinder. Beware that the coffee residue and oil left behind will flavor any nuts you add to it. Even if you clean it out, coffee beans have an oil residue that will taint any grinder that crushes the beans. It will be best to use a second coffee grinder for your nut chopping recipes.
Can you grind almonds in a food processor?
Yes, a food processor is a great tool to grind almonds. Just use short pulses until you see that all of the almonds have become a fine powder. You want to keep a close eye on your almonds. Because if you grind them too much, they will start to turn into a nut butter paste. A nut butter paste is excellent if your goal is to make nut butter!
The Best Spice Grinders for Your Kitchen, According to Chefs
Clarissa Buch Zilberman is a freelance Commerce Writer at Food Wine, specializing in product reviews and roundups. Her work has also appeared in Travel Leisure, Bon Appétit, Entrepreneur and Realtor.com, among other print and digital titles.
In This Article
It’s tough to beat the convenience of pre-ground spices. But with the right spice grinder in your kitchen arsenal, crushing dried, whole spices, like cloves or cumin, becomes effortless. By granulating spices at home with one of these spice grinders, you’ll have the chance to take full advantage of the complex flavors sometimes lost in a pre-ground version. Plus, using a spice grinder ensures you choose everything going into your next meal — whereas pre-ground spices sometimes contain additives that aren’t necessarily listed on the back of the bottle. (Scary, we know.)
While chefs love to wax poetic on old-fashioned mortar and pestles, electric spice grinders get the job done quickly and efficiently. So before you go shopping for your next spice grinder, consider these chef-bought favorites that are reliable, durable, easy to use, and even easier to clean. For every grinding need in the kitchen, we’ve got you covered, so read on to learn more about our top picks.
Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder
Pros: A smaller electric grinder makes it quick and easy to crush your favorite spices while ensuring you make just enough to enjoy peak freshness.
Cons: This grinder itself is not dishwasher-safe, only the bowl.
A medium-sized grinder like the Cuisinart Electric Spice-and-Nut Grinder — not too big and not too small — forces you to grind your spices fresh. If you use a big grinder, you might prepare too large of a batch that will sit on the shelf for longer and ultimately lose its aromatic freshness.
The alternative is a grinder like this, where you can crush and smash in small doses, controlling the freshness to the maximum extent, explains chef Tarik Fallous of Lebanese restaurant Au Za’atar in New York.
FW Best New Chef alum Nina Compton, of Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro in New Orleans, opts for the Cuisinart Electric Spice-and-Nut Grinder, too. “It’s very easy to use, and the best part is that it can also be used to grind nuts. Another perk is that this grinder is easy to maintain.”
They’re not the only chefs who prefer the Cuisinart gadget either: Donatella Arpaia uses the same one. The space-efficient grinder features extra-sharp, stainless-steel blades that can handle ingredients like whole cloves to cinnamon sticks. It’s easy to clean too, with a removable grinding bowl and includes a removable airtight lid for seamless storage.
Price at time of publish: 40
- Material: Stainless steel blade
- Dishwasher-safe: Grinding bowl is dishwasher safe
KitchenAid Blade Coffee Grinder
Pros: This coffee grinder features one-touch control and a spice-grinding accessory kit to grind seasonings like coriander and cumin.
Cons: This grinder is more expensive than other models.
Top Chef star Jeremy Ford avoids a traditional spice grinder at his Miami restaurant Stubborn Seed. The chef, who stars in the truTV show Fast Foodies, says that the best grinder he’s ever used isn’t meant for spices.
“My favorite spice grinder isn’t a spice grinder at all—it’s a coffee grinder,” he says. “I use the KitchenAid one at Stubborn Seed because it’s so durable. It can withstand the roughness and wear and tear of daily use in a real restaurant kitchen.”
The KitchenAid tool includes a one-touch control, making grinding so easy that you’ll wonder why you ever bought pre-ground spices. Push down on the cover to begin grinding and release to stop, and use the clear lid to view the size and consistency of spices and grinds.
If you’re wondering whether you’re one of the only ones using a coffee grinder for spices, the short answer is no. This gadget is equipped with spice-grinding accessory bowls and specialized blade designs that you can swap in to grind spices such as coriander and cumin.
Price at time of publish: 40
- Material: Stainless steel blade
- Dishwasher-safe: Grinding bowl is dishwasher-safe
Krups Silent Vortex Electric Grinder
- Material: Stainless steel blade
- Dishwasher-safe: Grinding bowl is dishwasher safe
Best Mortar and Pestle
Cole Mason Granite Pestle and Mortar
Pros: This mortar and pestle will work just as beautifully as it looks on your kitchen counter.
Cons: This kitchen tool requires more effort than electric grinders and might not be ideal for big batches.
After years of trying various spice grinders and being disappointed, executive chef Ryan Pera of Coltivare in Houston, Texas, uses a mortar and pestle. “It’s reliable and multi-use,” he says. “I use it to make guacamole, pastes, even aiolis, as well as grinding spices.”
Maneet Chauhan, James Beard Award-winning chef, cookbook author, and co-founder of Morph Hospitality Group, would rather use a mortar and pestle, too. “This way, your spices aren’t ground to powder, but instead, they are left a bit more coarse, similar to cracked pepper versus powdered pepper, which gives you a better texture,” she explains.
In her kitchen, she uses the 7″ Cole Mason Granite mortar and pestle from William Sonoma, which is “the ideal size whether you’re working with a small or large amount of spices,” she says. “Another trick I often do is I toast my spices before grinding them, which gives you the best flavors,” she adds. “When the spices are still warm, they break and mix together more cohesively.”
This particular mortar and pestle is heavyweight black granite, which provides steady control when grinding. It works for both wet and dry ingredients, with an unpolished, rough-textured interior that will help take spice-making to the next level.
Price at time of publish: 41