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  3. 10 Best Mortar and Pestles 2023 | UK Chef Reviewed
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10 Best Mortar and Pestles 2023 | UK Chef Reviewed

It may be an ancient tool, but a mortar and pestle is still a must-have kitchen utensil. The technique releases all of the beautiful oils and aromas from your herbs, spices and roots, bringing out the subtle flavours that sing. The right mortar and pestle can take your pesto to the next level or help you finally nail that Thai curry, but how do you know which design or material is best? 

We’ll break everything down and reveal our top 10 buys for granite, marble, ceramic and wooden options available in the UK. We’ve scoured Amazon and John Lewis so you can find your way to flavour nirvana with the click of a button. Moreover, we have partnered with chef Ryan Yen for reviewing and fact-checking the article to deliver you the best information.

Last updated 28/01/2023
Ryan Yen
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Chef Tutor/Formal Restaurant Chef
Ryan Yen

Ryan is a trained chef with experience in several restaurants (with various kitchen supplies across the restaurant experience) and hotels, he also attended le cordon bleu to further his training in cuisine and patisserie and focus on creating simple and delicious dishes. Ryan is now formally working as a chef tutor.

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Fact-Checked & Approved by Chef Ryan Yen

Fact-Checked & Approved by Chef Ryan Yen

Ryan is a trained chef with experience in several restaurants (with various kitchen supplies across the restaurant experience) and hotels.


He also attended le cordon bleu to further his training in cuisine and patisserie and focus on creating simple and delicious dishes. Ryan is now formally working as a chef tutor.

How to Choose a Mortar and Pestle in the UK

Key Points to Consider
  1. Select the Material Based on the Ingredients and Meals You Cook Often
  2. Estimate the Size According to Your Usage and Desired Quantities
  3. Search for Stable Yet Manageable Mortars Weighing Between 4-5 kg
  4. Get a More Secure Grip on Ingredients With an Unpolished or Pebbled Inner Surface
1

Choose the Material Based on the Ingredients You Want to Use It for and the Meals You Like to Cook

Choose the Material Based on the Ingredients You Want to Use It for and the Meals You Like to Cook

Pick Granite or Marble if You Want to Crush Tough Ingredients Like Dried Spices, Nuts and Roots

Robust and strong, the characteristics of stone are much like the ingredients it is most suitable for. Granite is used in countries such as Thailand and India, as a pestle made from this material will easily grind native tough-skinned chillies, dried leaves and spices and fibrous roots such as lemongrass and ginger. It’ll also be great for Mexican chilli sauces and guacamole.


The mortar itself will be strong enough to take a bit more force when faced with these hardier items and will be stable enough on the worktop while you put the work in. So, if you like to cook with these kinds of ingredients, follow in the footsteps of tradition and consider a granite or marble set.


All in all, they are known as the preferred option when it comes to mortar and pestles, and as a plus, they don't absorb odours but can be stained, so be careful when switching from paste to paste due to colouration and cross-contamination. Another reason is they produce heat from the friction of the pestle and mortar to release essential oils from aromatics and spices to create a well-rounded, smooth paste.

Ceramic Is Best for Emulsifying Creamy Dressings and Creating Authentic Pesto

This slightly more brittle variety is still fairly sturdy, but the smoother surface and accompanying pestle will not be as adept at pulverizing tough ingredients. You’ll also find that hard-shelled seeds, nuts or whole spices will slide and jump around, which is frustrating to say the least.


However, they come into their own when used for whipping emulsified wet sauces such as mayo, salad dressings and pesto as well as crushing garlic. Ceramic is used in Mediterranean countries where these types of sauces are popular, so it's a great choice if you have a particular penchant for foods from this region and want to master an authentic handmade pesto.

Another well-known mortar and pestle are the Suribachi from Japan, with ridged edges in the bowl and wooden pestle. These are known for grinding sesame seeds and can also be used to make guacamole or pesto.


Ceramic mortar and pestles are also dishwasher safe and do not need special care, so are a popular choice for busy cooks or even those who want to use them simultaneously to crush up medicinal pills and tablets.

Opt For Wood as a Handsome Choice for Occasional or Light Use

There’s no denying that wooden mortar and pestles are the most handsome of the bunch – especially when made from olive wood as they often are – and would make a fine addition to any kitchen shelf or worktop.


Unfortunately, the mortars aren’t strong enough to create the base needed to successfully grind tough ingredients. Like ceramic, they are better suited to soft herbs and other Mediterranean staples such as hummus, although they will absorb strong odours such as garlic. Some people think this only adds to the taste, but you won’t be able to make much else with it once you’ve committed!

2

Base the Size of Both the Mortar and the Pestle on Practicality and Your Desired Quantities

Base the Size of Both the Mortar and the Pestle on Practicality and Your Desired Quantities

Consider Mortar Width: The Largest and Easiest to Use Are 20 cm and Come With Wider Pestles

The size of the product is usually determined in mortar and pestles by the inner width. Mortars below 12 cm are considered small, so will be fine for lesser quantities. 14, 16, 18 or even 20 cm widths are the largest so can hold greater amounts of ingredients.


Opting for a larger mortar does also have some practical advantages, such as providing more room to get stuck in with the crushing process. On the other hand, a smaller mortar can be useful for a quick spice grind or dressing mix and is much speedier than hauling out and cleaning an electric gadget. It’s up to you, but frequent cooks may like to have several sizes at their disposal.


As an additional point, the bigger the width of the pestle head, the easier and more efficient it will be. Large, round heads with plenty of surface area will better emulsify sauces and better pound harder nuts and spices. Although not commonly noted on products, we’d also suggest looking for a pestle with a large end, especially if you’re deciding between two products.

Aim for Mortars Over 8 cm High as Deeper Bowls Keep Ingredients Better Contained

Some products will also provide the height of the mortar alongside the width, so if you can find this information, it is worth sussing it out – especially if you have limited storage or a smaller worktop. Noting the height and comparing it to the width will also be helpful in distinguishing how deep the mortar is. Large or small, a mortar should not be too shallow to limit the likelihood of ingredients flying out over the top of the bowl.
3

Look For Mortars Weighing 4-5 kg as These Will Stay Put Without Becoming too Heavy to Handle

Look For Mortars Weighing 4-5 kg as These Will Stay Put Without Becoming too Heavy to Handle
The weight of the mortar is also a factor worth considering. A heavier unit won’t move around as much when you’re working up a sweat crushing your ingredients to smithereens, but if it’s too heavy you may find it cumbersome to hold and move around and store.


A weight of 3-4 kg is average for a solid stone set that won’t shift around, but those tipping the scales at 5 kg should only really be considered if you’re after a very weighty piece of kit. Be wary of sets under 2 kg if you do want them for heavy-duty use.

4

Ensure a Better Grip on Ingredients With an Unpolished or Pebbled Inner Surface

Ensure a Better Grip on Ingredients With an Unpolished or Pebbled Inner Surface
Wood excluded (as it is always smooth), it is preferable for the inner bowl of the mortar to be unpolished or pebbled. This makes the surface more proficient at gripping ingredients to keep them from slipping and sliding around, and that includes both thick skinned spices and pesky small items like peppercorns. It reduces the amount of work you’ll have to put in too, so it’s a win-win!
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10 Best Mortar and Pestles in the UK

This ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used.
Popularity
Products
Image
Click to purchase
Key features
1

Ezo Home

Granite Mortar and Pestle

Ezo Home Granite Mortar and Pestle 1枚目

A Unique Dual-Sided Set That Can Handle Even Tougher Ingredients

2

H&S

Solid Granite Mortar and Pestle

H&S  Solid Granite Mortar and Pestle 1枚目

A Smaller Choice That Doesn't Forgo Sturdiness

3

Jamie Oliver

Granite Mortar and Pestle

Jamie Oliver  Granite Mortar and Pestle 1枚目

A Great Quality Mid-Sized Option From Jamie Oliver

4

COSYLAND

2 in 1 Pestle and Mortar Set

COSYLAND 2 in 1 Pestle and Mortar Set 1枚目

A Practical Addition to Your Kitchen That's Just the Right Size

5

Maison & White

Ceramic Mortar and Pestle Set With Silicone

Maison & White  Ceramic Mortar and Pestle Set With Silicone 1枚目

Perfect for Those Wanting Something Light and Easy to Handle

6

Judge

White Marble Mortar and Pestle

Judge  White Marble Mortar and Pestle 1枚目

Ideal for Quick Grinds or as a Second Smaller Mortar

7

John Lewis & Partners

Grey Marble Pestle and Mortar

John Lewis & Partners  Grey Marble Pestle and Mortar 1枚目

A Great Balance of Sleek Looks and Good Depth

8

Premier Housewares

Stoneware Mortar and Pestle

Premier Housewares  Stoneware Mortar and Pestle 1枚目

A Smaller Ceramic Set That's Useful for Dressings

9

Cole & Mason

Large Granite Mortar and Pestle

Cole & Mason  Large Granite Mortar and Pestle 1枚目

Extra Large and Best for Big Quantities

10

World of Flavours

KitchenCraft Pestle and Mortar Set

World of Flavours KitchenCraft Pestle and Mortar Set 1枚目

Stunning Olive Wood Worthy of Display

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

Ezo HomeGranite Mortar and Pestle

Granite Mortar and Pestle Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Granite Mortar and Pestle Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Granite Mortar and Pestle Image 3
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£21.99
Reference price
£21.99

A Unique Dual-Sided Set That Can Handle Even Tougher Ingredients

Nearly three hundred 5-star reviews can’t be wrong, and we agree that this set from affordable brand Ezo Home ticks all the boxes. It has a dual-sided body for large and smaller tasks like pill crushing, a generous enough mortar and wide pestle to fulfil all your culinary needs.

The overall shape has a very charming look to it but it also does an exceptional job at keeping everything inside where it should be. Plus, this also comes with a silicone lid and spatula which is a welcomed bonus!
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No.2

H&S Solid Granite Mortar and Pestle

Solid Granite Mortar and Pestle Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£18.99
Reference price
£18.99

A Smaller Choice That Doesn't Forgo Sturdiness

It’s the subtle differences that set these similar-looking granite sets apart from one another, and in this case, it’s the longer pestle for a better hold and the polished exterior for a smart look and easy cleaning. Don’t worry, the interior is left pebbled!

The 16 cm bowl is on the smaller side but it still weighs in at around 3 kg, so it would be ideal for those wanting something smaller but with all the appealing, sturdy, and long lasting qualities of granite.
No.3

Jamie Oliver Granite Mortar and Pestle

Granite Mortar and Pestle Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£20.30
Reference price
£20.30

A Great Quality Mid-Sized Option From Jamie Oliver

Known for actually bringing the mortar and pestle back into the kitchens of British home cooks, Jamie’s granite set has made waves owing to its excellent quality. The additional base stand isn’t just there to look pretty either – it anchors the mortar and keeps it stable when in use.

It’s the perfect medium capacity for an impromptu spice blend or just enough for a curry paste for one or two, made easy by the abrasive interior and pestle. In addition to its many other functions, the mortar can be used as a serving bowl, which makes for a beautiful presentation and reduces cleanup. 
No.4

COSYLAND2 in 1 Pestle and Mortar Set

2 in 1 Pestle and Mortar Set Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£21.99
Reference price
£21.99

A Practical Addition to Your Kitchen That's Just the Right Size

Made from high-grade solid granite, this mortar is a “just right” size for aspiring chefs or larger households without being too heavy or clunky to hold or carry. It's also sure to make any kitchen space pop with its chic, black grainy colour. 

The width-to-diameter ratio of the bowl is ideal, and the pestle has a nice thickness for easy crushing and grinding. Included with the purchase are a silicone mat and cover, which you can use while grinding to minimise mess and prevent it from sliding. 
No.5

Maison & White Ceramic Mortar and Pestle Set With Silicone

Reference price
£11.89

Perfect for Those Wanting Something Light and Easy to Handle

Bargain hunters or those wanting a compact, lightweight mortar and pestle will appreciate this value set. To counter the minimal weight of the material, it’s enforced with non-slip silicone, which features on the pestle handle too. This is a good one to consider if you have joint or grip issues in the hands, too.

While it will probably be too brittle for vigorous use, it is made from apothecary-grade material so it should last a while. It’s also non-absorbent so won’t retain garlicky odours, and can be cleaned in the dishwasher just to be sure.
No.6

Judge White Marble Mortar and Pestle

White Marble Mortar and Pestle Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£14.50
Reference price
£14.50

Ideal for Quick Grinds or as a Second Smaller Mortar

The other marble set that made our list is this cool number – and by that, we mean that it’s classically good looking and it literally keeps the contents cool! This makes it a great little tool to have around for creamy sauces and other minimalist recipes that don’t require a big mortar or electric blender.

It’s a decent weight considering its size, and it's also very tough and unpolished on the inside which makes for great and easier grinding. Plus, it’s not a bad price for long-lasting marble.
No.7

John Lewis & Partners Grey Marble Pestle and Mortar

Grey Marble Pestle and Mortar Image 1
Source:johnlewis.com
Reference price
£30.00
Reference price
£30.00

A Great Balance of Sleek Looks and Good Depth

With its unusual grey marble look, this beauty can take pride of place on both your counter and your dinner table. It’s strong enough for tough ingredients and has a generous depth to really get involved with the grinding process.

The use of marble is not only great to guarantee its long lastingness, but it is also a natural, eco friendly material. Overall it’s a fine marble choice with the quality and durability you’d expect from John Lewis.
No.8

Premier Housewares Stoneware Mortar and Pestle

Stoneware Mortar and Pestle Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£8.15
Reference price
£8.15

A Smaller Ceramic Set That's Useful for Dressings

Brilliant for whipping up a quick salad dressing, dry spice rub or smushing a few cloves of garlic, this petite set is a cheap and useful utensil to have on hand. It features a lip to easily pour out the contents, too. 

The interior of the ceramic stoneware mortar is left rough and unpolished, but you won’t be able to make large amounts of pastes or get too vigorous with it due to its size and lighter weight.
No.9

Cole & Mason Large Granite Mortar and Pestle

Large Granite Mortar and Pestle Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£31.53
Reference price
£31.53

Extra Large and Best for Big Quantities

Weighing in at a hefty 6 kilos and with an 18 cm width, this granite set does not mess around. Ideal for those making large quantities of pastes, marinades, spice blends or even vats of hummus, it can withstand a lot of pounding. The weight does mean it’s very heavy to handle, so you’ll need two hands to pick it up.

The inside and pestle-end are unpolished for better grip, and its polished black granite exterior makes it a smart-looking serving bowl too. An investment for sure, but an excellent quality product for big families or party hosts.
No.10

World of FlavoursKitchenCraft Pestle and Mortar Set

KitchenCraft Pestle and Mortar Set Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£24.30
Reference price
£24.30

Stunning Olive Wood Worthy of Display

This stunning handcrafted olive wood set would look lovely in any kitchen as well as making for a special gift. The pestle head is nice and large, and although the mortar itself is not too wide, it’s deep enough to contain the contents without them jumping out.

Olive is less absorbent than other types of wood, but it will still be better suited to pesto or sauce making and for those who will really only use it for the same few flavour profiles – once you get a garlic clove or two in there, the aroma is there to stay! 

How to Season, Clean and Care for Your Pestle and Mortar

How to Season, Clean and Care for Your Pestle and Mortar
Depending on the material, your mortar and pestle will require a different cleaning process, and stone will need some preparation before its first use. Check out our guide below to ensure you prolong the life of your set and keep things hygienic.


  • Wood: Remove food debris and oil with kitchen roll, and then wipe clean with a damp cloth. Wood will absorb the taste of soap if you use washing up liquid, so stick to water, or rub with a cut lemon. You can also oil the wood to keep it in shape.

  • Ceramic: Simply wash as you would your dishes, with warm soapy water. Ceramic is also dishwasher safe, but make sure to check the product to be certain.

  • Granite/Marble: To prepare your stone mortar for use, add a handful of dry white rice to the bowl. Grind it into a powder, and discard. This will ensure any excess grit from the stone is removed. You can also use this method to clean – simply repeat the process until the rice powder is white. Otherwise, rinse it under the tap with warm water, and use a cut lemon to deodorise and sanitise.


Written and researched by Natasha Dziubajlo

Top 5 Mortar and Pestles

No. 1: Ezo HomeGranite Mortar and Pestle

No. 2: H&S Solid Granite Mortar and Pestle

No. 3: Jamie Oliver Granite Mortar and Pestle

No. 4: COSYLAND2 in 1 Pestle and Mortar Set

No. 5: Maison & White Ceramic Mortar and Pestle Set With Silicone

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The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
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