A molcajete is necessary to prepare salsas, make pesto or curry paste, grind herbs, or make guacamole!
Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, if you’re looking for a quality molcajete to help achieve that authentic Mexican flavor to your culinary cuisine, you’ll want to check out this review.
I have taken an in-depth look at the top picks molcajetes on the market and broken down all their features and benefits—from the material, design, performance, etc.
11 Best Molcajete Picks You Should Buy
Through the different Molcajete reviews in this article, I have covered everything you need to know before purchasing.
So, let’s dive in and closely examine these incredible molcajetes!
What I like
- Perfect for grinding and crushing
- Reasonable pricing
- Large capacity
- Unpolished, smooth interior
As a frugal yet wise buyer, the price of the Vasconia Granite Molcajete is reasonable, considering its durability and authentic feel.
This 4-cup size mortar and pestle provide a LARGE CAPACITY—perfect for grinding grains, herbs, and whole spices and creating salsa, curry paste, and guacamole.
While a short pestle might be more portable and easier to handle, it might not be the greatest option for individuals who need to crush more batches or larger ingredients.
Its large mortar doesn’t slip around, and it stays put. The decent size and weight of its pestle provide a better grip strength.
Size: 8.8 x 9.2 x 13 inches | Capacity: 4 cups | Weight: 7.05 pounds | Material: Stone | Current Price: $29.99
What I like
- Non-scratch bottom
- Large capacity mortar
- Heavy-duty grinding pestle
- Long pestle
What I don’t like
- Might be too heavy for some
This product features a heavy-duty grinding pestle that crushes and mashes ingredients effortlessly.
The mortar and pestle are 100% natural and non-porous granite, making it ultra-durable.
What I like about this product is its scratch-resistant and nonslip bottom.
Although its base is heavy, it helps keep it in place and resist slipping and sliding—even while crushing tough ingredients.
The Price is also reasonable for all the benefits this granite molcajete offers.
Size: 8.95 x 8.82 x 7.97 inches | Capacity: 4 cups | Weight: 10.96 pounds | Material: Granite | Current Price: $31.55
What I like
- Long and nonslip pestle
- Durable and sturdy
- High-quality granite material
This granite mortar and pestle are made with an unpolished interior to allow for flexible control over the grinding of the ingredients while preserving their natural flavors.
The pestle has a secure grip that keeps it from slipping when crushing or grinding.
Its pestle has a wide head and a rounded bottom to prevent ingredients from popping out of the mortar; no need for an unnecessary silicone lid.
One of the must-have gadgets in your kitchen is the molcajete from Chefsofi—a reliable company for high-quality and durable kitchen products.
This guarantees an excellent investment in a durable instrument that will last.
Size: 6 x 6 x 6 inches | Capacity: 2 cups | Weight: 7.05 pounds | Material: Granite | Current Price: $38.99
What I like
- Can be used as a serving piece
- Easy to use
What I don’t like
- Smaller capacity compared to other mortars
If you’re worried about the heaviness of your molcajete, this is a great option.
The mortar’s lightweight and 6-inch top diameter is the perfect size for convenience and makes it simpler to smash herbs and spices.
Despite its small capacity, finding this molcajete is like discovering a hidden gem because a simple granite mortar and pestle are hard to come by at an affordable price.
This mortar and pestle set features a non-porous surface that prevents the absorption of scents.
Size: 3.9 x 6.7 x 6.7 inches | Capacity: 2 cups | Weight: 5.28 pounds | Material: Granite | Current Price: $27.18
What I like
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Affordable price point
- Reversible for other ingredients
- Doubles as a serving piece
The IKEA Adelsten Mortar and Pestle’s weight and durability are crucial for its versatility and make it simple.
The mortar’s bowl is made of marble and has the ridged surface required for crushing tough ingredients or whole spices.
Beyond dry spices, this versatile set efficiently performs common mortar-and-pestle tasks like making pesto, guacamole, salsa, or curry paste.
Because it is reversible, you may flip it over to reveal a shallow basin for pulverizing and grinding a few tablespoons of substances, like cumin, black pepper, or sesame seeds.
Size: 3.94 x 3.94 x 4.72 inches | Capacity: 0.75 cups | Weight: 6 pounds | Material: Marble | Current Price: $19.99
What I like
- Large mortar size
- Textured grinding surface
- Porous rock substance lets you grind spices
Only a few manufacturers offer a large-capacity mortar containing up to 5 cups or a large batch of ingredients or materials. Additionally, this one is made with a very textured lava rock, which is difficult to find.
This porous rock is an abrasive substance that offers a perfect surface for grinding spices, including pepper skins, seeds, and other difficult-to-grind substances.
This mortar and pestle set includes an instructional guide on how to cure or season your new molcajete.
Size: 8.5 x 5.2 x 8.5 inches | Capacity: 5 cups | Weight: 8.2 pounds | Material: Volcanic stone | Current Price: $50.62
What I like
- Good herbs and oil emulsifier
- Authentic marble set
- Slip-resistant bottom
I like how the marble design adds a touch of sophistication and luxury to my countertop and many Mexican restaurants—even for a cooking show or food vlogs.
Constructed with thick walls and a base which makes it more durable despite its marble components.
The combination of its unfinished interior and the wide and heavy pestle make herb and spice grinding quicker.
While white marble is a popular design, it is prone to staining.
This spice grinder requires more time and effort to maintain. (But don’t worry, I have included in the later section how to maintain your molcajetes)
Size: 4.64 x 2.36 x 2.95 inches | Capacity: 2 cups | Weight: 7.7 pounds | Material: Marble | Current Price: $21.29
What I like
- Attractive minimalist appearance
- Bonus accessories
- Long pestle
- Polished exterior
If you don’t like the sharp corners of the unpolished molcajetes, then Culinary Couture’s mortar and pestle might be just one for you.
Culinary Couture is one of the top-notch brands in creating the best molcajetes in ergonomic design and excellent performance.
Its beautifully designed and polished exterior makes it the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys cooking. Its rustic yet minimalist exterior design makes it look great as a serving piece.
Furthermore, various valuable accessories — a silicone scraper (archaeology), a wooden spoon, and a silicone mat — are included when you purchase this molcajete.
Size: 5.9 x 5.9 x 3.9 inches | Capacity: 2 cups | Weight: 7.58 pounds | Material: Granite | Current Price: $22.99
What I like
- Firm and effortless grip
- Best for spices and herbs
- Less messy than other molcajete options
This small pestle and mortar is sturdy, balanced, and made entirely of tough granite. It can resist the pounding and grinding required to get the maximum flavor from herbs and spices.
Your herbs will be fine because of the unpolished interior of this molcajete and the pestle’s tip. Due to its lack of porosity, granite won’t absorb spices or oils.
Your spices and essential oils will maintain their authentic flavor and potency when you use this kitchen mortar and pestle set.
Despite its small mortar size, this device is a useful complement to smaller kitchens.
Size: 6.18 x 5.67 x 14.37 inches | Capacity: 1 cup | Weight: 4.08 pounds | Material: Granite | Current Price: $22.46
What I like
- Scratch resistant pad
- Easy to use
- Has a bonus avocado tool freebie
What I don’t like
- Heavier compared to other mortars
This granite molcajete is built with a mortar up to 8-inch top diameter for facilitating food preparation without constantly refilling ingredients.
Additionally, this mortar and pestle have an unpolished and authentic granite design. Its massive weight is essential for its heavy-duty use.
This kitchen utensil also features a felt pad under each foot for easing anti-slip or scratching concerns.
Indeed, the pestle is also equipped with a specific grip function and oval pestle head to perform most tasks as a spice grinder.
Size: 16.1 x 12.1 x 5.5 inches | Capacity: 3.5 cups | Weight: 11.23 pounds | Material: Granite | Current Price: $29.97
What I like
- Most dishwasher-friendly option
- Break resistant
- Best used as a serving piece
What I don’t like
- Less durable
- No pestle included
This plastic molcajete serves many of the same purposes as a granite molcajete.
So, I have included the Winco Molcajete Salsa Bowl in this review as an alternative option for people wanting a Molcajete because of its traditional aesthetics.
Among the many advantages of this alternative is its lightweight size, toughness, ease of cleaning (it is dishwasher-friendly), versatility, and affordability.
This opens up the possibility of decision and the ability to consider several choices.
Size: 8.63 x 8.63 x 4 inches | Capacity: 2 cups | Weight: 1.2 pounds | Material: Plastic | Current Price: $21.25
Quick Comparisons Of Top Molcajetes Available In The Market
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Molcajete
Based on firsthand experience, it’s important to check these factors when buying a mortar and pestle because they can affect the product’s functionality, durability, and safety.
It can help ensure you choose the one that fits all your needs and is a good value.
Similar to picking the Best Mandoline, there are also several factors to consider in buying the best mortar and pestle. Let’s quickly go over each of them.
A larger size may be ideal if you use it to grind large quantities of ingredients.
However, a SMALLER SIZE may be more appropriate if you only plan to use it for small batches of ingredients, like grinding spices or sesame seeds, or to crush pills for your furbabies.
Molcajetes come in different sizes, and you should consider your intended use before purchasing.
Mortar and pestle come in round, oval, or rectangular shapes. When looking for the perfect shape, it is important to consider the depth and width of the mortar’s bowl.
The shape of the molcajete can affect the angle and pressure at which ingredients are ground.
A shallower and wider bowl may require more pressure to grind ingredients evenly, while a deeper and narrower bowl may require less pressure but more precision in grinding.
The shape affects how ingredients grind and mix, so choose a shape that best suits your needs.
A heavy molcajete provides stability and prevents slipping, but it may be challenging to move around.
The weight VARIES according to its size. A larger mortar-and-pestle will naturally be heavier than a smaller one.
Ideally, the weight of the mortar and pestle should be manageable for you or the person using it.
If it is too heavy, it may be difficult to use for an extended period or for those with physical limitations.
Weight is an important part of the checklist as it helps control the grinding process and ensure precision when working with delicate or expensive ingredients without wasting any product.
Molcajetes are traditionally made of volcanic rock—such as basalt, granite, lava rock, or stone—which is porous and durable.
However, some molcajetes are made of wood, marble, or ceramic.
Wooden pestles are much more lightweight and easy to handle, though they are usually less effective than stone mortars.
A ceramic molcajete is typically made from clay or other materials fired at high temperatures.
Avoid mortars with glossy, smooth bowls because they lack the abrasive properties to properly shear and ground food.
Consider the material’s durability, quality, and ease of maintenance before purchasing.
5. Easy to Clean
An easy-to-clean molcajete is one with a smooth interior and few crevices. A great molcajete made from high-quality material should be easy to clean with hot water and mild detergent.
A pure granite Mortar and Pestle is not often dishwasher safe, so a hand wash is recommended.
It is also important to avoid abrasive tools or cleaners that can scratch the surface of the molcajete, as this can make it more difficult to clean in the future.
Remember that a cheaper molcajete may not be as durable or as high-quality as a more expensive one. So consider your budget before making a purchase.
Considering the Price when purchasing any kitchen tools, as a frugal yet wise buyer, is one way to ensure that I get the best value for my money, and I have invested in a great tool that will last for years.
A Complete User Manual for the Best Molcajete
This manual will provide all the information you need to use your molcajete safely and effectively.
You’ll learn about important safety information, how to season and care, and more helpful tips for keeping your molcajete in good condition.
How to Use
To properly use a molcajete, first make sure to wash it thoroughly with hot water. Then, season the molcajete (seasoning the molcajete will be in the next section).
Next, add your ingredients, using the pestle to grind and crush them into a desired texture. You can add a pinch of salt to the ingredients to help grind.
Finally, serve your creation. You can serve it directly from the molcajete, which looks impressive and keeps the food warm for longer.
How to Season and Maintain
Seasoning and maintaining a molcajete not only help improve the flavor and authenticity of your dishes but also ensures the food’s durability, hygiene, and sustainability.
Seasoning a molcajete ensures the food is not contaminated and the surface is ready for use.
- Clean it with water and a brush to remove debris or loose stone.
- Grind a handful of uncooked rice or rock salt into the molcajete until it becomes a fine powder.
- Add a few garlic cloves and grind them into a paste.
- Rinse with warm water and let it air dry completely before using it.
On the other hand, maintaining a molcajete helps prolong its lifespan and ensure that it retains its natural flavor-enhancing properties.
- Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures, such as sudden changes in heat or cold, as this can cause it to crack or break.
- Try seasoning it again if the mortar-and-pestle develops a strong odor or taste. Avoid using scented soaps or detergents, which will alter the flavor of your creations.
- Avoid using acidic or oily ingredients in your molcajete, which can damage its porosity. Although technically, you can use it for small pieces of cooked meat. But, using and choosing the Best Manual Meat Grinder for the meat mill (grinding) is preferable.
- Do not grind sharp or hard ingredients, such as coffee beans or seeds, as this can cause the surface to break.
- Avoid stacking it with other kitchen tools or heavy items, which can damage the porous volcanic rock surface.
How to Clean
Regular and proper cleaning helps extend the lifespan and prevent our mortal and pestle sets’ damage or wear and tear.
When cleaning the interior of the molcajete, these several methods can be effective:
Some molcajetes can be easily cleaned with warm water and soap.
Use a soft-bristled kitchen brush or sponge to gently scrub the interior surface, careful not to damage the porous texture.
Salt and Lemon
Another popular method for cleaning a molcajete involves rubbing the interior surface with coarse salt and lemon juice.
This can help remove stubborn stains and odors from the remaining food while disinfecting the surface.
A paste from baking soda and water paste can also clean a molcajete.
Apply the paste to the interior using a silicone scraper and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush or sponge.
FAQs Related To Molcajete
There are answers to some frequently asked questions about molcajetes.
Yes, stainless steel mortar and pestle sets work well for grinding and crushing tough spices, herbs, and other ingredients.
Stainless steel is a durable and non-reactive material that won’t absorb flavors and odors from the ingredients.
It is also easy to clean and maintain.
Applying enough pressure and circular motion to grind the ingredients evenly is important when using a stainless mortar and pestle.
Additionally, it is important to avoid overfilling the mortar to ensure ingredients are properly ground.
I use a light touch first and gradually increase as ingredients break down.
Yes, you can use a mortar and pestle to grind coffee beans. However, there may be more efficient or convenient methods than using a regular coffee grinder.
It is a traditional way of grinding coffee used by some coffee lovers today.
To use a mortar and pestle, place the coffee beans in the mortar and begin crushing them with the pestle head.
This process requires patience and elbow grease, as you must manually grind the beans into a fine powder.
A molcajete is a mortar, an evenly round bowl shape food processor designed to be used with a pestle to grind food ingredients.
A traditional molcajete is usually made from lava or basalt. These food processors can grind food and develop a seasoning over years of use since they are incredibly porous and coarse.
The porous and rough textured surface of the volcanic stone allows for more efficient grinding and mixing of ingredients, as well as retention of heat.
Additional sets of mortar and pestles are made of wood, marble, ceramic, and other types of solid stone.
A molcajete is a versatile tool that helps make various dishes. Here are some of them:
- Guacamole – a classic recipe made by smashing avocados, onion, garlic, lime juice, and salt.
- Salsa (Mexican cuisine) – a popular condiment mixing tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
- Mole – a traditional Mexican sauce made by grinding together various ingredients, such as dried chiles, nuts, seeds, spices, and chocolate.
- Herb and spice blends – grinding herbs and spices together in a molcajete can create flavorful spice blends and season meats, vegetables, and other dishes.
- Rub – a dry mixture of herbs and dry spices rubbed onto meat before cooking. Mixing the rub ingredients in a mortar and pestle can help to release their flavors.
- Garlic paste – crush garlic cloves in a molcajete to make a paste that can flavor marinades, sauces, and dressings.
- Pesto – making pesto or Italian sauce is done by grinding basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese in a mortar and pestle.
- Dips and spreads – use a molcajete to mix ingredients like roasted red peppers, feta cheese, and garlic to make a delicious dip or spread for bread or crackers.
This traditional Mexican object originated from Mesoamerica—now modern-day Mexico and Central America—six thousand years ago.
Molcajete is a Spanish word that refers to mortar and pestle. The name itself comes from the Aztec words meaning seasoning and bowl.
The Aztecs and Mayas first used it to grind corn and chiles for their famous mole sauce. They believed the molcajete had magical powers and believed in its ability to transform food into something special.
This was likely influenced by the abundant volcanic activity in the region, which provided a readily available source of basalt, the specific type of rock (geology) used in molcajetes.
The main difference between a molcajete and a usual mortar and pestle set is in the material they are made of.
A molcajete is a traditional Mexican tool used to grind and mix ingredients, similar to a mortar and pestle.
However, they are made of volcanic rock, while regular mortars can be made of various materials such as ceramic, stone, wood, or metal.
Molcajetes also often come with a tejolote—a pestle made of the same volcanic rock and have a distinctive shape that makes it easier to grind spices against the rough surface of the molcajete.
In contrast, regular mortars have a smoother interior or surface and may come with a pestle made of a different material.
A Recap of the Top Picks
Sure! Choosing the best molcajete is more difficult than simply choosing one because it includes a free wooden spoon.
To assist you in settling your choice before you make your final mortar-and-pestle purchase, here’s a quick overview of my top 3 recommendations!
The ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle is a great budget pick for a high-quality grinding tool without breaking the bank.
It’s made of solid granite, durable and heavy enough to grind even the toughest ingredients.
This modern mortar and pestle set can perform various tasks, including crushing herbs, spices, and nuts, grinding grains and seeds, and making guacamole and salsa.
This mortar and pestle is a great value pick for those who want a heavy-duty tool for a reasonable price.
The weight of the Gorilla Grip Mortar and Pestle provides more leverage and pressure compared to the lighter ones.
It helps break down the tough fibers of tougher ingredients and release the flavors.
This one is ideal if you don’t need your molcajete to be moved around.
Overall, the Vasconia Granite Molcajete is a great choice for those looking for a durable, versatile, and easy-to-use molcajete that can handle various ingredients and tasks—ideal for family gatherings and parties.
Although this product is not dishwasher safe, hand washing is easier because of its larger mortar size, which means less mess.
The entire thing has a classic, traditional design, and the smooth interior makes for an excellent grinding surface.
Grinding. Blending. Pulverizing—these are just three of the many tasks an excellent mortar and pestle excels at.
Picking the best molcajete is a wise investment for any kitchen. It is important to ensure the quality, safety, and efficiency of the grinding process, as well as the lifespan of the tool.
Most importantly, it can make our cooking more enjoyable and authentic, thus creating that delicioso Mexican cuisine.