Investing in a spice grinder for your kitchen can be a gamechanger, making it easier than ever before to incorporate delicious fresh spices into your favourite dishes. Some of the best spice grinders are even suitable for grinding nuts and coffee beans, making the gadget a bit of an unsung kitchen hero.
Whether you’re looking for a classic spice mill or are a foodie on a quest to find the perfect gadget to help you make your favourite curry or crumble, a spice grinder is a must-have appliance for any kitchen.
But which one should you pick? Style, function and price all play a part in finding your favourite but if you’re not sure where to start, don’t panic. We’ve done the research and tested some of the very best, so you don’t have to.
Keep reading for our guide to the features you should look out for when buying a spice grinder, followed by our edit of the best spice grinders to buy in 2022.
Best spice grinders: at a glance
How to choose the best spice grinder for your kitchen
What is a spice grinder?
A spice grinder is used to crush spices down to powder, typically to add them into recipes. They offer a fuss-free way to access the full flavour of the spice, without running the risk of unwanted debris making it into the dish. Spice grinders can also be used to grind nuts and seeds, make pastes, and prepare coffee beans.
Similar in purpose to a food processor, they give you more control over what does – and doesn’t – make it onto your plate, meaning that unwanted husks can be easily identified and discarded. You can also gently toast your spices in a frying pan before you start grinding them, to help to unlock their flavour.
Spice grinders come in many forms, with the pestle and mortar dating back thousands of years to the Stone Age. Fast-forward to 2022, though, and there are also more modern takes on hand-operated spice grinders available, as well as electric models that make it even easier to release the flavour of your favourite seasonings.
Consider what you’ll use it for
Some spice grinders can be used for:
- Grinding spaces, ranging from cinnamon and cloves to nutmeg and cardamom
- Simple table use, such as for salt and pepper
- Grinding nuts for baking
- Grinding coffee beans
Some spice grinders will tick all the boxes, while others have a more limited range of functionality. Ahead of making your purchase, give careful consideration to what you want to use yout spice grinder for and choose accordingly.
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How much space do you have?
If you have a smaller kitchen, it’s worth taking size into account. Unlike some kitchen appliances, spice grinders aren’t typically bulky gadgets, but you might still need to give it some thought if countertop room or storage space isn’t on your side.
How much should I spend?
The functionality of the product will often be influenced by its price and vice versa. Hand-operated models can tend to offer a more minimal approach in terms of what they can do, while electric options will be more expensive.
For example, if you’re looking for a basic pair of salt and pepper grinders, you can buy them for less than £10 on the high street or via Amazon. If you’re looking for an electric spice grinder that can also grind coffee beans, prices will naturally be higher.
What types of spice grinder are there?
There are several different types of spice grinder, with each having its own different pluses and minuses for purchasing.
A spice mill is hand-operated, with the user typically twisting and turning it to grind spices. Typically more limited in functionality than electric spice grinders, they’re a great choice for cooks who are looking to precisely grind small amounts of spices on a regular basis.
Pestle and mortar
A pestle and mortar– also known as a mortar and pestle – comprises a bowl typically made of stone or wood and a heavy, rounded club-like tool used to crush spices. It can be used on both wet and dry ingredients and despite being old, is still used in modern kitchens due to its excellent ability to unlock flavours.
Electric spice grinder
Electric grinders are the height of convenience when it comes to grinding spices in your kitchen. Able to handle everything from hard spices to coffee beans, they’re a great pick for busy cooks. They lack some of the precision of hand-operated spice grinders but offer a quick, easy alternative to what can be quite a physically demanding task.
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The best spice grinders you can buy
1. Microplane 2-in-1 Spice Mill: Best grinder for hard spices
Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon
We found there was something rather satisfying about using this 2-in-1 device. With products including zesters and cheese graters available, Microplane is renowned for its super-sharp blades and this spice mill is no different. Ideal for use with harder spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and peppercorns, you simply pop what you want to grind into the base, replace the cap and twist for fuss-free grating.
As with any intricate and sharp grinder, we did find cleaning the base a fraction fiddly. However, the results were impressively even. We also liked that the product has a built-in storage area, giving you somewhere to keep ground spices until you need them. Measuring in at just over 11cm tall, it’s also incredibly unobtrusive, and can be easily stowed away in a kitchen drawer or cupboard until needed again.
Key details – Dimensions: 4.4 x 4.4 x 11.4 cm (LWH); Electric: No; Colours available: Black or black-and-silver
£22.09 Buy now
2. Cuisinart Spice and Nut Grinder: Best multi-purpose spice grinder
Price: £59 | Buy now from Very
Almost more like a food blender than a traditional spice grinder, Cuisinart’s Spice and Nut Grinder is a great pick for anyone who wants total versatility. Its mighty motor made short work of coffee beans, almonds and cinnamon sticks and we were really impressed with the evenness of the results, as well as blown away by the scents that were released. It can hold up to 90g too, making it ideal for family-sized recipes.
Cooks who like to get their food prep out the way before following a recipe will also appreciate that two dishwasher-friendly grinding bowls are included, which