Even after conditioning/seasoning one can expect microscopic chips from using a mortar and pestle.

Intuitively it seems that a metallic M&P would be more inclined to shed not so healthy chips, in contrast to a combination of a hard mortar (granite) and a (food safe) soft pestle (wood) whose chips are non toxic.

  • 1
    ... except for the fact that a steel M&P does a terrible job of grinding anything.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 20, 2019 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


A granite mortar and granite pestle; this combination will do everything.

The granite is hard and dense and will not chip under regular usage.

You need to remember that the mortar and pestle must be harder than what you need to grind.

Serious Eats Mortars and Pestles is a good read.


I use Coors ceramic mortar and pestles. I bought my last one on the mid 1980's. It's never given me any trouble. The company got renamed at some point. It's now CoorsTek out of Golden Colorado, USA. Easy to find online.

They have a sturdy, tough construction, and are used in laboratories worldwide. The key feature I like about these sets is that the pestle curve matches the mortar curve through a wide range of angles. That increases the efficiency of grinding. I've looked at Marble, granite and lava units over the years, and have seldom come across a pestle that's a decent fit for the mortar. That flaw causes frustration and an irregular grind.

Maybe some day I'll find a better pair, but it's been over 30 years now.

  • 1
    I have used one for 15 years to grind medications, works perfectly. I believe they are "tabular alumina" ( a ceramic). Aug 20, 2019 at 20:02
  • 1
    Generally they're just very high-temp white porcelain. I also have one, and can recommend them if you can find one.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 20, 2019 at 20:11
  • er, correction, sometimes they're porcelain. The Coors ones are a special high-alumina clay.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 20, 2019 at 20:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.