wooden mortar

5 different mortars – which one is the best?

People often ask me which mortar is the best. Unfortunately, the answer is not that simple. First, it’s a matter of taste and second, each one has their own advantages and disadvantages.

It depends on what you want to crush in the mortar and in what quantity. Although I actually think that a mortar is never too big, but it can be too small.

Stone mortar (marble, granite)

Stone mortar marble mortar

Advantage: they are usually rather large and heavy, do not move around on the table and therefore from the spot. The pestle weight of the pestle helps you save strength. In addition, it is usually rough on the inside so that the spices are easier to grind.

Disadvantage: depending on the hardness of the stone, there can be abrasion which is then eaten together with the spices. Moreover, white marble changes it’s colour, especially when herbs are mortared. Because they are porous, they should only be washed with water.

Earthenware, ceramics-mortars


Advantage: they are usually roughened inside and have much less abrasion than the stone ones. They can also be easily cleaned with soap and water (even in the dishwasher if necessary, although I wouldn’t recommend it, because the detergent leaves behind its smell).

Disadvantage: spontaneously I can’t think of any, except maybe these may be coloured when you crush herbs or spices of an intense colour and, of course, they are fragile.


Cast iron-mortars

Cast iron-mortars

Advantage: like the stone ones they are heavy and rough on the inside, so crushing spices is easy and take little effort. They don’t take on the spices’ colour.

Disadvantage: they need some extra care. After washing them with hot water, they must be dried immediately and rubbed with a drop of oil, otherwise rust can form. In addition, there are certain reservations for using metal mortars with fresh herbs, because they oxidize faster.



wooden mortar

Advantage: they are usually very beautiful to look at, depending on what kind of wood is used. Even very large wooden mortars are available, where the whole body weight can be used.

Disadvantage: wood tends to give way and therefore demands more strength, they are also smooth on the inside. Moreover, wood discolours strongly and is also not completely odorless. They can only be cleaned with water.



Advantage: they can also be cleaned in the dishwasher (although I wouldn’t recommend this because the detergent leaves a smell behind) and they do not discolour.

Disadvantage: the inside is smooth which means that hard spices slide off. Fresh herbs oxidize faster.


The most important thing is that the pestle and the mortar fit together, it means the pestle must fit perfectly into the rounding of the mortar.

My recommendation: take different mortars in different sizes, materials and weights in your hands and decide which one suits you best. Of course, it’s also great to own several different mortars ?

What is your experience with mortars?



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