A blade grinder produces spices of many different sizes, and I have no intention of using a mortar and pestle — on account of it being the 21st century, and due to my lack of confidence that they test the marble for (trace) radioactivity.

Does it make sense to use a burr grinder to crack spices into a uniform size? Will there be any surprises, such as cumin getting stuck in the "teeth"? In case it matters, I'd be using settings from a smallish ("5-6") to the largest ("14") coffee grind sizes.

To be clear, a burr grinder cannot be (easily) cleaned. (The best one can do is to pass parboiled rice.) Hence you'd always be getting a bit of the taste of your last dish in your present one, but if you're cooking a large enough quantity, that's not a big deal, and it can even remove the monotony of repeating to the letter a recipe that you like. And in any case a blade grinder cannot be easily cleaned either (which leaves +1 for the mortar and pestle).

  • Note that there's some variants of bladed grinders that do have a fully removable section for cleaning, which can go in a dishwasher (which is even nicer than a mortar and pestle, cleaning-wise) Apr 18 at 5:25
  • I've never had a problem with blade grinders, chances are if you are getting uneven results you haven't ground it long enough or your grinder just isn't good. At the moment I'm using the blade grinder that came with my nutri-bullet and it gives excellent results.
    – GdD
    Apr 18 at 13:04
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    Mortars and pestles come in materials other than marble, if your concern is the marble itself. Apr 18 at 13:52
  • You could buy any number of pepper mills and dedicate each to a spice. I guess if you're all "21st century" you should find electrified ones made with plastic that will break in 5-10 years (or 3 days after the warranty if they are programmed carefully) rather than prior century hand-powered ones that will live longer than you will.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 18 at 13:55
  • @Ecnerwal That's a good point. I'm not thumbing my nose at age-old techs. I simply don't want to use them purely out of nostalgia if a modern solution will do a better job with less pain. I asked a separate question (cooking.stackexchange.com/q/128119/85398) if you'd care to clarify.
    – Sam7919
    Apr 18 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


A good-quality burr grinder will yield a more even grind than a blade grinder. That's why coffee people like them, after all. I'm not sure why an uneven grind would be a problem for you as long as everything's ground fine enough (for that matter I'm not sure why using something invented in a different century would be a problem for you), so I wouldn't necessarily say that it "makes sense", but if you're just asking "will it produce a more uniform grind" the answer is yes. And I can't think of any spices which are as oily and resistant to flowing as coffee grounds (maybe nutmeg, but of course you're not going to be grinding whole nutmegs in a repurposed coffee grinder), so I don't think you'll have issues with things getting stuck.

  • You just clarified why some spices are sold not just in "whole" or in "ground" formats, but also in "pieces". This accomplishes the best of both worlds. They remain fresher in whole parts, and they can be ground by machine (or by mortar & pestle) rather than by hand.
    – Sam7919
    Apr 18 at 13:18

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