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I bought my first spice grinder in my late 20s. I had decided to start making my own masala chai mix at home and needed a simple grinder. I also made coffee occasionally and didn’t want to spring for a burr grinder, but wanted to be able to grind my coffee decently at home. The Hamilton Beach Fresh-Grind Coffee Grinder was exactly what I needed at the time—I used it maybe twice a month and it lasted for as long as I needed it.
For most, a spice grinder isn’t a kitchen necessity, but if you’re getting to the point where you think you need one, you’ll find your life far easier with it. When shopping for a spice grinder, it’s important to take inventory of what you’ll want to make. Are you planning on making chai weekly? Do you plan to make a small batch of garam masala once in a while? Are you dipping your toe into grinding your coffee beans fresh every morning and not ready to spring for a burr grinder?
Whatever you're looking for, here are the best spice grinders we trust, based on our experience, reviews, and specs.
Best Overall: Cuisinart Spice and Nut Grinder
What We Love: Large capacity, multiuse, removable airtight storage
What We Don't Love: Pricey
Between its powerful motor and its sharp, durable stainless steel blades, the Cuisinart Spice and Nut Grinder can be counted on to grind nuts, cloves, and even whole cinnamon sticks quickly and painlessly.
Holding up to 3 ounces or 0.5-cup of spices, this has a larger capacity than many others on this list and its design makes it incredibly simple to use. You just press down on the lid until your spices are properly ground. It also offers a storage vessel for freshly ground spices if you remove the grinding lid and replace it with the airtight lid until you’re ready to use whatever you ground.
The removable lid and grinder are both safe on the top rack of the dishwasher, and if you choose to store this on your counter, it takes up very little space. In other words, a winner all around.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 5.4 x 5.3 x 9 inches | Capacity: 0.5 cup
Best Budget: Hamilton Beach Fresh-Grind Coffee Grinder
What We Love: Doesn’t take up much space, sharp blade, discreet cord storage
What We Don't Love: Discolors easily
This little machine is a great entry-level spice grinder at a budget-friendly price. If you’re dipping your toe into the world of freshly ground spices, this is a great option as far as size and function. It’s fast, quieter than many other models, and has a hidden cord storage option to make this diminutive model even smaller. It can also grind up to 9 tablespoons of spices or coffee beans at once.
One of the bigger cons, though, is the detachable compartment is plastic, not stainless steel. That plastic can quickly become discolored. It also only comes with a one-year warranty.
Dimensions (DxWxH): 3.7 x 3.5 x 7 inches | Capacity: 9 tablespoons
Best Manual: Cilio by Frieling Goliath Natural Granite Mortar and Pestle Set
What We Love: Effective, versatile, beautiful on your counter
What We Don't Love: Pricey
Electric spice grinders offer speed and power. That said, a mortar and pestle can’t be beaten for smaller grind jobs like a few peppercorns or for something like pesto. And, believe it or not, a mortar and pestle can offer even more versatility, as you’re the power source. It can be used for wet and dry ingredients, for everything from muddling to mixing.
This mortar and pestle are both cut from one piece of granite, so there's no chance it'll come apart at the seam. Able to handle up to a full cup of ingredients, this Cilio set's large capacity is balanced by its sturdiness. Its rough interior helps with the grinding process, and it’s simpler to clean than electric grinders, as it just takes a quick hand wash. Keep in mind that at 11 pounds, it is quite heavy.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 7.9 x 7.5 x 8.7 inches | Capacity: 1 cup
Related: The Best Mortar and Pestle Sets
Best Multipurpose: Olrid Cordless Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder
What We Love: Cordless, long-lasting, USB charger
What We Don't Love: Too large for some
This grinder is unique in that it grinds grains and makes grinding dry herbs easy. And there haven’t been many huge advances in spice grinder technology lately, as far as we know, but the Olrid Cordless Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder is definitely cutting-edge in its class.
For one, it’s cordless and charges via a USB charger instead of requiring a wall plug. If you often find yourself needing to grind spices in places that don’t have power, you’re in luck. Each 3-hour charge gives you about 25 uses, and the battery power is prominently displayed, so you’re never surprised.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 3.5 x 3.5 x 7.4 inches | Capacity: 170 ml
Related: The Best Coffee Grinders
Most Quiet: Krups Vortex Electric Coffee and Spice Blade Grinder
What We Love: Quiet motor, grinds fast, user-friendly one-touch design
What We Don't Love: Plastic shows wear and tear
Thanks to some smart design elements, this grinder is effective, durable, and extremely quiet. It relies on Vortex Spin Technology (patent pending!) to pull the ingredients into the grinder, meaning there’s not as much rattling around in the removable dishwasher-safe stainless-steel grinding bowl.
This can grind in as little as 15 seconds, meaning that the noise won’t last long either. There’s also a dishwasher-safe storage lid in case you want to keep your freshly ground spices in the container until you’re ready for them. It also offers continuous grinding or pulse grinding, allowing you to customize your grind a bit more.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 4.3 x 4 x 8.5 inches | Capacity: 90 grams
Related: The Best Spice Racks
Best for Salt & Pepper: Latent Epicure Battery Operated Salt and Pepper Grinder Set
What We Love: Accessible, customizable grind size, comes with a tray
What We Don't Love: Needs batteries
Maybe you’re really just looking for a tabletop salt-and-pepper grinder, preferably one with a god capacity and easy grinding. If that's the case, we’ve got you.
The Latent Epicure Battery Operated Salt and Pepper Grinder Set is a favorite for a few reasons. First of all, we love that its stainless steel construction makes it both durable and sleek on the countertop. While battery-powered appliances are annoying when they lose power without batteries around, they are more accessible and easier. With these grinders, there’s one button to push, plus various coarseness options for whatever spices you put inside. The set comes with a tray, so you’re not littering pepper or salt pieces on your counter, and there’s a light so you can see exactly how much you’ve ground.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 4.4 x 3.1 x 8.6 inches | Capacity: 2 ounces each
Related: The Best Pepper Mills
If you want an electric grinder that can handle all your spices, the Cuisinart SG-10 Spice and Nut Grinder (view at Amazon) can do it all, plus help you make your morning coffee. To manually grind spices and maybe make the occasional batch of pesto or guacamole, the Cilio by Frieling Goliath Natural Granite Mortar and Pestle Set (view at Amazon) deserves a spot on your counter.
What to Look for When Buying a Spice Grinder
Some spice grinders are really just intended for coffee beans and dry spices. Some models can be used for nuts, dry herbs, and even fresh herbs. Think about all of your cooking and what you will need a grinder for. If you plan on grinding spices frequently, it might make sense to have a dedicated grinder. If not, you should look into a grinder that can be used in multiple ways.
Most spice grinders will be a little noisy, especially when you have hard spices like cardamom, cloves, or seeds. That said, some are designed with a quieter grind in mind. If you or anyone in your household can’t stand loud noises, consider a quieter option.
If you’re springing for an electric grinder, you should be able to expect it to grind the spices to a good consistency. There shouldn't be large pieces while others are dust. It should also stay consistent over time, even if the motor and blades start showing signs of wear and tear.
How do you clean a spice grinder?
Spice grinders should not be submerged in water, due to their electric parts. But, the good news is that cleaning it is still rather simple. Simply grind about 1/4 cup of white rice until it’s pulverized, which should take around a minute. This will catch any stray bits of spice left in the grinder and neutralize any remaining oils. Dump the rice dust into the trash or compost, then take a slightly damp cloth to the inside to wipe it clean.
Can you grind wet ingredients in a spice grinder?
Most grinders should not be used for wet ingredients unless the manufacturer specifies that they can be. For wet ingredients, consider a blender or food processor instead.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Christine Clark has been in the specialty food world since 2015, with bylines in Epicurious, AllRecipes, The Spruce Eats, Wine Enthusiast, and more. A devotee of homemade masala chai, she uses her spice grinder weekly for her fresh cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and more.
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