The Best Spice Grinders, According to Our Test Kitchen
Spices are crucial to the flavor of any dish. From peppercorns in Black Pepper Steak with Sour Cherry Sauce to mustard seeds in Rosemary Deviled Eggs, spice makes a world of difference. And when spices are freshly ground, they add another level of depth that you don't always find in pre-ground spices. So if you're wondering "What is the best grinder for spices?" we've pulled together this list of the best spice grinders so you can easily add flavor to your cooking.
Types of Spice Grinders
There are two main types of spice grinders: electric and manual. Electric spice grinders primarily consist of a motor base, a grinding bowl with a blade, and a lid. They may be battery operated or plug-in. An electric spice grinder is a great choice because it requires less physical effort than a manual one. This difference also becomes a benefit if you're grinding a large quantity of spices and need it done quickly. Electric spice grinders also produce a consistent texture and fineness of the ground spice since the grinding is motor-operated and there's no room for human error.
Meanwhile, there are a few styles of manual spice grinders: ratchet and mill. Both of these styles work to grind spices but have different motions that the user engages in. A ratchet spice grinder is operated in a back and forth motion while a mill spice grinder is twisted in a circular motion to grind the spices. A manual spice grinder is a solid choice if you're looking to grind small quantities of an ingredient. A manual version also allows you to have more control over the fineness of the spice as you can change the pressure and force being applied.
Best Spice Grinders
This is our list of the best spice grinders to make it easy for you to find the perfect one for your needs. Each spice grinder was tested by grinding whole black peppercorns (which is, by the way, one of the best spices for fighting inflammation).
Read on for what makes these grinders the best, as well as the ones that deserve an honorable mention.
Best Electric Spice Grinder (Tie)
Shardor Coffee & Spice Grinder
If you're looking for a spice grinder that can do it all, the Shardor grinder is the one for you. While some grinders are designed for spices as well as nuts or coffee beans, the Shardor is capable of that, plus more. With two separate stainless-steel bowls, one with a two-blade system and one with a four-blade system, the Shardor can be used with whole spices and ingredients like garlic and basil, making it the best wet and dry spice grinder. In addition to its many grinding capabilities, the Shardor was one of the best electric spice grinders tested because of how easy it is to clean. The stainless-steel bowls are dishwasher-safe, while the lid is easy to rinse. With all of these helpful features, the Shardor is the perfect all-around spice grinder for any kitchen.
Buy it: Amazon, $47
Cuisinart Spice & Nut Grinder
The Cuisinart spice and nut grinder tops our list as one of the best electric spice grinders for a number of reasons. First, it had one of the best results as the pepper was very finely ground (because no one wants to bite into a chunk of peppercorn). Plus, this spice grinder is also really straightforward to use: just load up to ½ cup of the ingredient, push down on the lid to grind and you're all set. And if you don't plan on using your newly ground spices right away, the Cuisinart includes an airtight lid to keep your spices fresh. But our favorite feature of the Cuisinart grinder is the retractable cord. The retractable cord makes it easy to store this electric grinder without any hassle. And as easy as storage is, it's also stress-free to clean as the grinder bowl and lid are dishwasher-safe.
Buy it: Williams Sonoma, $40
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KitchenAid Blade Coffee Grinder and Spice Grinder Pack
If you don't want to pull out the spice grinder every time you're cooking with whole spices, the KitchenAid is the right fit for you. That's because the KitchenAid comes with three grinding containers, one 4-ounce container and two 2-ounce containers, all of which include lids. That means you can grind your spices ahead of time so they're ready to go when you cook (and in case they go stale before use, learn how to revive stale spices). Each grinding bowl is also dishwasher-safe and is easy to assemble on the base for smooth operating.
Buy it: Bed Bath & Beyond, $60
Best Manual Spice Grinder
Kuhn Rikon Vase Grinder
The Kuhn Rikon is the best manual spice grinder thanks to its simple, straightforward nature. All you have to do is load the whole spices into the base, twist on the top and it's ready for use. This mill-style grinder did a fair job of grinding the pepper with the occasional larger piece escaping into the mix. While grinding, it did feel like chunks of peppercorn were stuck in the grinder, but a simple twist in the opposite direction solved the problem (in case you run into similar issues). This affordable and no-frills spice grinder is perfect for everyday use in any kitchen. (Kuhn Rikon also makes a ratchet-style grinder, but we found the vase grinder was smoother to operate.)
Buy it: Amazon, $22
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Microplane Spice Mill
The Microplane grinder is another straightforward option for your kitchen. Although this is a manual grinder, the motion for operating works similar to a mortar and pestle. To use, simply load the spices into the base and then use the top to push and turn down and the ground spices will sprinkle out of the bottom of the base. With just two main working parts, the Microplane is quick and easy to use. The one downside of this budget-friendly option, though, is that the base and the top don't lock together when in use, so if you accidentally drop the base, spices are prone to spill (which happened during our testing).
Buy it: The Spice House, $20
Best Budget-Friendly Spice Grinder
Hamilton Beach Chamber Coffee Grinder
If you're looking for a solid spice grinder at an affordable price, look no further than Hamilton Beach. While we love this grinder's retractable cord for easy storage, the design of the cord and the base caused minor stability issues when operating (so just be aware when first using it!). Luckily, it doesn't affect performance as this budget-friendly grinder had no issue turning the whole peppercorns into a fine dust. Plus, out of all of the electric spice grinders tested, it was clearest to see the contents of the grinder while it was running, which made it easier to judge when the spices were at the desired consistency. The grinding cup is also dishwasher-safe for an easy cleanup. With all of these key functions, the Hamilton Beach is perfect for people who want a spice grinder at a cost-effective price.
Buy it: Target, $20
Best Spice Grinder on Amazon
This battery-operated spice grinder combines function and fun in one sleek package. The spice grinder works by loading spices into a reusable pod, which then gets attached to the grinder with a simple click. One great safety feature is that the grinder won't run unless a pod is attached. In addition, the pods can be adjusted to change the coarseness of the ground spice. On top of that, the grinder also includes an LED light to make it easy to see what you're doing and comes in three colors. With all of these unique and helpful features, the FinaMill is an excellent choice for any home cook.
Buy it: Amazon, $40
Best Cast-Iron Spice Grinder
Frieling Cast-Iron Spice Grinder
The Frieling spice grinder is a durable option when you want fresh spices. This manual spice grinder actually works more like a mortar and pestle, as the spices are loaded into the outer cup and then pounded on with the inner cup. With this manual grinder, you can easily control the coarseness of the spice. And if you have any leftover spices, the inner cup comes with a lid for handy storage. Although this spice grinder does require the most muscle, the weight of the cast iron helps grind the spices. Pro tip: We found it easier and quicker to grind spices when we did a little bit at a time rather than dumping in the whole amount (too many layers made it tougher to grind through).
Buy it: Food52, $39