What Is the Best Material for a Mortar and Pestle – The Answer Will Surprise You!

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For centuries, the mortar and pestle have been used for crushing and grinding herbs, spices, and other ingredients. While a mortar and pestle is essential for making certain dishes, what they are made of can vary greatly. So, what is the best material for a mortar and pestle?

The best material for a mortar and pestle can be marble, granite, or wood. Marble and granite are excellent choices because they are tough and smooth, which makes them perfect for grinding spices. Wood is also a good choice, but it should be hardwood.

This article will discuss the best materials for mortar and pestle. I will also talk about the safest materials to use and the type of mortar you can use for a pestle.

What Type of Mortar Do You Use for the Pestle?

Mortar and Pestle Set
Mortar and Pestle Set

You can use a deep round marble, granite, or wooden mortar for your pestle. The mortar should be deep enough, so the ingredients do not fly out when you grind them. A square or rectangular mortar is not ideal for a pestle. The ingredients will fall to the sides and not get crushed properly.

There are a few factors to consider when finding the best material for your mortar and pestle:


Your mortar and pestle size should be proportional to the number of ingredients you will use. A large mortar and pestle is ideal if you use it for large quantities or want to make a lot at once. A small mortar and pestle is better for smaller quantities or if you want to make a smaller batch. 

The size also depends on the type of ingredients you will be using. If you grind ingredients such as large chillies, you will need a larger mortar and pestle.


A light mortar and pestle may be more difficult to use and slip around more. A heavier mortar and pestle will be easier to use and won’t slip around when you grind the ingredients. It will be more difficult to transport, but it will be much more stable for heavy grinding. 


The material affects how well the mortar and pestle grind the ingredients. Some materials, like marble, are more porous and will absorb some of the flavors of the ingredients. Other materials, like granite, are denser and won’t absorb flavors too much. 

Wooden mortar and pestles can be made from various kinds of wood. The durability of the mortar and pestle is also affected by the material, so although wood is a popular choice, it may not last as long as other materials. It can also be difficult to clean. Wood may also stain if it’s not coated, so if you’re grinding ingredients like fresh turmeric, you may find it stains.   

Some materials, like granite, are very strong and will last many years. On the other hand, marble can break or chip more easily than granite. 


A smooth mortar and pestle will be easier to clean than a rough one. A smooth surface will also grind the ingredients more evenly. However, a rough surface will provide more friction, making it easier to grind your spices. 

It’s also worth noting that a smooth mortar and pestle will be much easier to clean than a rough set. 


A polished finish provides more friction, making it easier to grind the ingredients. It’s also easier to clean than a matte finish. However, a matte finish will absorb less of the flavors of the ingredients compared to a polished finish.


The color of the mortar and pestle doesn’t affect how it works, but it can be a factor in your decision. Some people prefer a white mortar and pestle because it’s easier to see the ingredients. Others prefer a dark mortar and pestle because it won’t show stains as easily. The style of your kitchen may influence this decision. 

Is Marble Mortar and Pestle Good?

Use Of Mortar And Pestle
Use Of Mortar And Pestle

Marble mortar and pestles are good for grinding and crushing spices and herbs. The non-porous nature of the marble allows for a fine grind, which is perfect for making pastes and pestos.

The smooth surface of the marble also makes it easy to clean. It also allows you to collect all the spice residue from the bottom of the mortar with ease. Marble is long-lasting and won’t chip or crack easily.

Is Marble or Granite Better for Mortar and Pestle?

Granite mortar and pestle
Granite mortar and pestle

Granite is better for a mortar and pestle because it is more durable. Granite is a harder material than marble, so it can withstand more pounding and grinding. It also doesn’t absorb flavors or odors as easily as marble, so your pesto will taste fresher, and your spices will be more potent.

Granite is denser than marble, so it won’t chip as easily. And since granite is a natural material, it provides a more rustic look to your kitchen. 

Marble is a softer material than granite, so it’s easier to create a smooth paste with it. Although marble is also more porous than granite, and, as such, can stain more easily, marble mortar and pestles are more stylish and elegant than their granite counterparts.

Are Wooden Mortar and Pestles Good?

Mortar and Pestle
Mortar and Pestle

A wooden mortar and pestle is not the best option because it can absorb the flavors and aromas of the ground spices, which can then be released into other foods. They are also porous, so they can be difficult to clean and may harbor bacteria. 

Naturally Med - Olive Wood Rustic Mortar and Pestle - 4.7 inch. for Grinding Spices, Salsa, Herbs etc. Durable, Hardwearing. Handcrafted Tunisian Olive Wood.
  • Handmade from Mediterranean olive wood
  • Rustic style
  • A very hard wood, great for grinding herbs and spices
  • Approx. diameter 4.7 inches, height varies

A wooden mortar and pestle can develop a smooth surface with extended use, making it difficult to achieve a fine grind. You can oil the surface of the wood with a food-safe oil to help protect it and keep it from drying out. 

This will also help to keep the wood from absorbing flavors and aromas. A wooden mortar and pestle cannot be cleaned using soap and water. This is because the wood will absorb the soap over time and may start to crack.

Instead, clean a wooden mortar and pestle by rubbing it down with a dry, clean cloth after each use. If necessary, you can also lightly sand the surface of the wood with fine-grit sandpaper to remove any stubborn stains.

What Is the Safest Mortar and Pestle?

Mortar and Pestle
Mortar and Pestle

Granite is the safest material to use for a mortar and pestle, and marble is a close second. Granite is non-porous, so it won’t absorb flavors or odors from the food you’re grinding. It’s also very dense, so it won’t chip or scratch as easily as other materials. 

Marble is also non-porous and dense, but it’s slightly more likely to chip or scratch than granite. Granite is a harder rock than marble, which makes it a durable surface ideal for grinding spices. 

The only potential downside to using granite is that it can be difficult to clean if you don’t have the right tools. You need to use a stiff brush and non-abrasive cleaner to avoid damaging the surface.

What Is the Best Material for a Mortar and Pestle?

The best material for mortar and pestle is granite. Granite is a natural stone that is very strong and durable. It’s also non-porous, meaning it won’t absorb flavors or smells from the food being crushed. 

Gorilla Grip 100% Granite Slip Resistant Mortar and Pestle Set, Stone Guacamole Spice Grinder Bowls, Large Molcajete for Mexican Salsa Avocado Taco Mix Bowl, Kitchen Cooking Accessories, 1.5 Cup, Gray
  • BUILT GORILLA GRIP TOUGH: the last mortar and pestle you will ever buy, the Gorilla Grip Mortar and Pestle is ultra durable and built tough; featuring a heavy duty grinding pestle that crushes and mashes ingredients effortlessly, the mortar and pestle is ultra durable, and scratch resistant; its heavy base helps keep it in place and resist slipping and sliding, even while crushing the heaviest of ingredients
  • 100 PERCENT NATURAL GRANITE: Gorilla Grip granite is sourced from natural granite mines, then handcrafted with care; granite is cut, shaped and polished into the mortar and pestle; natural granite has been used for generations due to its natural durability and long lasting use; no more heavy mixers or food processors, this granite mortar and pestle takes the effort out of food prep while also helps release the natural flavors of the ingredients
  • GUACAMOLE, SPICES, NUTS, AND MORE: not just for guacamole, the mortar and pestle is a great option for nearly any ingredient; crush up spices and herbs; create homemade pesto by grinding up nuts and seeds; serve up fresh dips; even a great choice for homemade dressings and salsas; impress your entire guest list with the tastiest dishes ever
  • NON SCRATCH BOTTOM: even though the mortar and pestle is heavy duty, it resists scratching countertops and surfaces; it features an optional foam bottom underside that helps protect surfaces, while also helping to prevent slipping and sliding while you prep
  • LARGE CAPACITY MORTAR AND PESTLE IS A PERFECT GIFT: mortar and pestle comes in 3 sizes; large size measures 5.2” x 3.2”, weighs 3.9lbs, and holds up to 1.5 cups of ingredients; a perfect year round gift for anyone who enjoys cooking; beautifully designed so that it can be displayed on any countertop and add to the décor of the kitchen

Granite mortars and pestles are also very heavy, which makes them ideal for crushing hard ingredients like spices and nuts. 

Final Thoughts

The best material for a mortar and pestle will often depend on how you’re planning to use it, so if you’re planning on using spices and herbs that are tougher to grind, you’ll need to bear this in mind. On the other hand, if you care about aesthetics, marble or wood may be the best choices for you.