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Best spice grinder 2023: Grind cinnamon, peppercorns, tonka beans, nuts and more

Grind your favourite spices with the best spice grinders from the likes of Cuisinart, Salter and Microplane

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 2023.

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 the present day, 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.

Spice mill

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.

How we test spice grinders

We test all the spice grinders on our list by putting them to use in our kitchens at home. When testing a spice grinder, we look at a few key factors. First, we assess the level of power a spice grinder has: i.e. can it just crush basic spices and seasonings, or is it robust enough to tackle things like nuts, seeds and coffee beans. When testing its performance on these items, we also look to see how thoroughly and finely it grinds, noting whether or not it has any settings or adjustability that allow us to control this.

Alongside performance, we also assess the product’s general ease of use, as well as how easy it is to clean and store in our kitchen once we’re finished using it. As with every review and roundup we feature on the site, we also seek out spice grinders that match great performance with a reasonable price.

READ NEXT: Best pepper mill


The best spice grinders you can buy in 2023

1. 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 boast air-tight lids for keeping that all-important flavour in. Using it feels almost too efficient compared to manual grinding and the only real downside is the higher price point compared to others on our list – but as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for.

Key details – Dimensions: 9.8 x 9.8 x 20 cm (LWH); Electric: Yes; Colours available: Midnight Grey

2. Microplane 2-in-1 Spice Mill: Best grinder for hard spices

Price: £25 | Buy now from AmazonWe 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

3. Le Creuset Salt and Pepper Mills: Best spice grinders for dinnertime

Price: From £21 | Buy now from Le CreusetSalt and pepper mills are a crucial part of any cook’s set-up, and if you’re looking for a classic spice grinder that can tackle peppercorns and sea salt, while also adding a sophisticated touch to your dining table, search no further.

Le Creuset is synonymous with high-quality kitchenware and tableware, and these salt and pepper mills are as practical as they are elegant. They’re available to order in a rainbow of colours, meaning there’s a set to match almost any kitchen colour scheme, and they look great in any dining space.

Of course, as salt and pepper mills, these aren’t exactly the products to grind cinnamon sticks and tonka beans with. However, for seasoning pre- and post-cooking, they’re perfect. Their ceramic grinders can be adjusted according to whether you prefer your salt and pepper fine or coarse. This can be controlled by twisting the dial on the base of each mill and while we struggled with this on our first attempt, we were able to master it eventually.

Key details – Dimensions: 6.18 x 6.18 x 21 cm (LWH); Electric: No; Colours available: 18 to choose from

Buy now from Le Creuset

4. ProCook Marble Pestle and Mortar (16.5cm): Best manual spice grinder

Price: £25 | Buy now from ProCook

Foodies will adore this stylish pestle and mortar set from ProCook. A pestle and mortar is the original (and some would argue the best way) to release fresh flavours from spices and other ingredients. We found it oddly therapeutic to use it to crush garlic, as well as chillis, for a fiery arrabbiata sauce.

While you don’t need to be strong to use a pestle and mortar, a certain degree of physical input is required – as is time. If you’d prefer a spice grinder that you can use as and when in a flash, an electric model might be better for your needs. If you’re happy to enjoy the more satisfying experience of doing it by hand, a pestle and mortar could be the one – and they look great, too.

Key details – Dimensions: Available in three widths: 9.5cm, 13cm and 16.5cm; Electric: No; Colours available: Chocolate

Buy now from ProCook

5. Salter Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder: Best grinder for coffee beans

Price: £20 | Buy now from Very

Caffeine devotees will love this multifunctional spice grinder, which can be used for coffee beans, as well as spices and nuts. We liked that it came with a clear lid, which makes peering into the bowl to monitor progress easy, especially if you’re eagerly awaiting that first cup of the day. It blitzed our coffee beans well and made short work of spices for a fruit crumble, too. It’s worth knowing that Salter recommends using it for dry ingredients only.

This product is great value for money on the whole and can tackle a range of spices and beans without issue. The main downside is that it’s tough to clean. The bowl can’t be removed from the machine, which makes giving it a post-use scrub a lot harder to do. The bowl is also smaller than the other electric model on this list, with a recommended max capacity of 60g.

Key details – Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.3 x 18.3 cm (LWH); Electric: Yes; Colours available: Silver

6. Eddingtons Spice Boy Grinder: Best spice grinder for small quantities

Price: £38 | Buy now from Harts of SturWe love the stylish aesthetic of the Spice Boy, which was award-winningly designed by Oliver Hemming and is available in your choice of red, black or white. We found it easy to operate – simply measure out your quantity into the top, release the stopper and twist to grind. Meanwhile, a dial on the base of the gadget can be adjusted to change the coarseness of the grind, meaning you can reduce spices to powder or flakes.

While it doesn’t offer the capacity or versatility of other models on this list, it’s a great all-rounder if you’re looking for a high-quality spice grinder to use with smaller quantities. Its award-winning design also means it can bring a certain aesthetic edge to any kitchen. This grinder isn’t dishwasher safe, but it does come with a five-year guarantee.

Key details – Dimensions: 21.5 x 9.5 x 9.5 cm (LWH); Electric: No; Colours available: Red, white and black

Buy now from Harts of Stur

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