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Best pepper mill 2023: The perfect grinders for that extra touch of flavour

Our roundup of the best pepper mills will help take your dinners to the next level

No meal is complete without seasoning, and if you care about your cooking, finding the best pepper mill is a must. While the pre-ground stuff may be easier and cheaper, the essential oils in pepper react with oxygen in the packet, causing it to lose its intense flavour over time. By freshly grinding it over your meal, you’re allowing for the best taste possible.

But this isn’t the only benefit to using a quality pepper grinder. Not only can they add a touch of style to any dining table, but by being refillable they also reduce waste packaging and are more sustainable in the long term.

While pepper mills may seem like a simple kitchen accessory, there’s a lot to consider when buying. Don’t fret though: our handy guide will tell you everything you need to know about choosing the right pepper mill. Once you’re clued up, take a look at the most stylish and practical ones we’ve reviewed below.

Best pepper mill: At a glance

How to choose the best pepper mill for you

How much should I spend on a pepper mill?

Pepper grinders can vary wildly in price depending on brand, but the reusable pepper mills in our roundup sit between £14 to £40. This may seem pricey, but spending more usually ensures your mill has a nicer design and better build quality. Premium options also tend to come with lengthy guarantees, so even if they do break, you can get them replaced free of charge.

What should a pepper mill be made of?

While the external shell of the mill can be made from a range of materials, it’s important to buy a grinder specifically designed for pepper, as the mechanism that grinds the pepper needs to be tough enough to break down the peppercorns. The best materials for this are ceramic and stainless steel, as they’re tough enough to get the job done. Though if you opt for a stainless steel grinder, you should avoid using it for other spices or salt, as they can corrode the metal.

How fine do you want your pepper to be?

Depending on your needs or preferences, you might want to manually adjust the grind of your pepper. Typically you’ll need a coarser grind for something like steak, while a finer grind allows for a more even distribution for salads or soups. You can buy mills with just one setting, but a pepper mill with adjustable grind settings offers more flexibility.

READ NEXT: The best salt and pepper grinder sets to buy

How easy are they to use?

Ideally, pepper mills shouldn’t require too much effort to twist. But if twisting is a particular issue, there are one-handed grinders and even electric options. Also, while sites won’t always disclose this, it’s worth seeing if it explains how to refill the mill. Some we tested had very confusing methods and might be tricky to handle if accessibility is an issue.

Is appearance important?

This is very much down to personal preference, as there are a wide variety of styles and aesthetics to choose from. However, the appearance of a mill can have a few practical pros and cons too.

For example, the bonus of having a pepper grinder with some form of transparent element means you can see when you are starting to run out. But if these are left in well-lit spots, the sun can begin to affect the flavour.

Similarly, while you may fancy one of those ultra-long mills often seen at your local pizza restaurant, the longer the peppercorns are stored in the mill, the more flavour they lose over time. Ideally, you should pick a size that compliments how much pepper you use on a weekly to monthly basis.

READ NEXT: The best garlic presses

The best pepper mills you can buy in 2023

1. Zwilling Wooden Pepper Mill: Best contemporary pepper mill

Price when reviewed: £38 | Check price at Nordic NestIt’s hard to find anything bad to say about this pepper mill. The design may be simple but its minimal wooden look means it will fit into almost any kitchen, whether you’re going for a clean modern look or something more quirky and rustic.

It’s also easy to refill and use and comes with an adjustable grind setting for all your peppery needs. It is a touch on the expensive side, but its build quality and design make it well worth the cost in our opinion.

Key details – Height: 19.3cm; Colours: 1; Material: Wood; Grinder material: Ceramic; Batteries required: No; Guarantee: Lifetime

Check price at Nordic Nest

2. Epare Battery Operated Mill: Best electric pepper mill

Price when reviewed: £9.99 | Check price at AmazonThis is a grinder for those who prefer their kitchen accessories to be practical rather than stylish. It’s easy to use, as instead of twisting, all you need to do is press the button on top for instant ground pepper. This is coupled with a small transparent midsection, to show when you’re running out, and a handy automatic LED light underneath, so you can see exactly how much pepper you’ve ground.

It’s not the prettiest pepper mill on this list, and you will need to factor the price of the batteries into your decision, but its accessible price point is still a huge plus.

Key details – Height: 22.2 cm; Colours: 6; Material: Stainless steel; Grinder material: Ceramic; Batteries required: Yes; Guarantee: Lifetime

3. MÄNNKITCHEN Pepper Cannon: Best pepper mill for serious home chefs

Price when reviewed: £199 | Check price at AmazonWhile it’s admittedly pricey, the Pepper Cannon proved itself to be a standout piece of kit in testing. With a simple release button on top, the mill is super easy to open up and fill to capacity, which is roughly 150g. Once filled, it lives up to its stated promises, massively outperforming standard grinders in terms of volume produced and ease of use. With 10 easy-going turns, this mill can grind over a teaspoon of coarse pepper, more than doubling the volume of the grinder against which we tested it.

The range of fineness settings is impressive, too. Offering 46 levels, you can crank out coarsely cracked pepper for seasoning steaks, as well as incredibly finely ground pepper for soups and stocks, and everything in-between. The mill also comes with a catch cup that attaches to the bottom, allowing you to pre-grind and store up to ⅓ of a cup of pepper. This is useful for when you’re seasoning meats, for example, and need to work one-handed. Features aside, the Pepper Cannon is also sleek and modern-looking, as well as sturdy feeling and nicely weighty to hold.

All in all, If you’re a serious home cook with some stretch in your accessories budget, then the MÄNNKITCHEN Pepper Cannon will make for a very worthy addition to your kitchen setup.

Key details – Height: 18.5cm; Colours: 1; Material: Aluminium, stainless steel; Grinder material: High-carbon stainless steel; Batteries required: No; Guarantee: 5 years

4. Le Creuset: Best pepper mill for style

Price when reviewed: £38 | Check price at John LewisIf you want a colourful twist on a classic pepper mill, look no further than masters of the aesthetic: Le Creuset. This is a good quality, lightweight mill, offering both style and substance and it comes in a range of colours and gradients including classic Le Creuset hues like ‘Volcanic’, ‘Cerise’ and ‘Meringue’.

The only downside we found is that the screwtop is quite delicate, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re an exuberant seasoner. All in all though, this is a fun take on a classic that will take pride of place in your kitchen.

Key details – Height: 20.5cm; Colours: 8; Material: ABS plastic; Grinder material: Ceramic; Batteries required: No; Guarantee: 10yrs

Check price at John Lewis

5. Peugeot Lacquered Paris U Select Pepper Mill: Best classic pepper mill

Price when reviewed: £62 | Check price at Peugeot SaveursPeugeot has been making pepper mills longer than it’s been making cars, and it certainly shows in the design of this mill. The sleek, black wood finish has the elegance of a chess piece, but also the simple functionality of cheaper mill designs.

The grind adjusting mechanism on the base of the mill has sizes printed clearly on the side, making it more obvious how fine or coarse your pepper will be when ground.

Its wooden body is robust, but the lacquer gives it a lovely silky feel, and while it is more expensive than other manual grinders, you can get it replaced for free if there are any problems thanks to a generous lifetime guarantee.

Key details – Height: 22cm; Colours: 6; Material: Wood; Grinder material: Steel; Batteries required: No; Guarantee: Lifetime

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