Are Granite Mortar And Pestles Safe? [And How To Use]

Are you considering purchasing a granite mortar and pestle for your kitchen but aren't sure how safe they are for cooking? Well, you've come to the right place. We've done the research to provide you with everything you need to know about owning and operating a granite mortar and pestle.

Granite mortar and pestle sets are perfectly safe if they are properly cared for.

These tools must be properly cured and seasoned before use to ensure that they are sanitary and prevent stone fragments from mixing with whatever you're grinding.

So how do you cure and season a mortar and pestle? And how exactly do you use it? Keep reading to learn all about using a mortar and pestle safely and properly.

A granite mortar and pestle with spices ready for grinding, Are Granite Mortar And Pestles Safe? [And How To Use]

How To Tell If Your Granite Mortar And Pestle Is Safe To Use?

New mortar and pestles need to be seasoned before use. If you have an older one or bought a used one, it won't hurt to season it to be safe.

It's very difficult to tell the difference between an unseasoned and a seasoned mortar and pestle, so it's recommended to err on the side of caution.

Why Do You Need To Cure Your Mortar & Pestle?

Granite mortar and pestles need to be cured, so they don't create granite dust when used. The dust will mix with whatever you're grinding, and you could easily end up ingesting it. Consuming a lot of granite dust can make you ill and cause stomach upset and even blockages.

Gorilla Grip Granite Mortar And Pestle

Top view of stone mortar and pestle

This granite mortar and pestle set is available in multiple sizes to meet your needs. It's also available in two different color options to fit your preference.

Click here to see this mortar and pestle on Amazon.

How To Cure And Season A Mortar And Pestle?

Curing and seasoning your mortar and pestle is essential for safety, and it helps preserve the flavor of your ingredients. Here's a step-by-step guide on curing and seasoning a granite mortar and pestle:

  1. Start by giving it a good scrub in warm water only. Never use soap.
  2. Allow the mortar and pestle to air dry completely.
  3. Put a small amount of uncooked, dry rice into your mortar and grind until you have created fine dust.
  4. Repeat step three until you don't see any grit in the powder.
  5. Empty the mortar and scrub it and the pestle under warm water again.
  6. Allow them to air dry.
  7. Add your favorite spices, salt, and some fresh garlic to the mortar and crush it until you create a paste.
  8. Scrub with warm water and allow to air dry.
  9. Your mortar is ready for use.

Why Can't You Use Soap On A Granite Mortar And Pestle?

If you use soap on a granite mortar and pestle, the taste of the soap will soak into the porous surface and taint the flavor of your future grinds.

Never wash your granite mortar and pestle with soap or put it in a dishwasher. Only scrub it with plain warm water and allow it to air dry.

MR.SIGA Bamboo Scrub Brush

These scrub brushes are a great way to thoroughly clean your mortar and pestle after use. They'll be able to scrub all the nooks and crannies, making sure your mortar and pestle are clean even with warm water only.

Click here to see these scrub brushes on Amazon.

What Herbs To Use To Season A Mortar And Pestle?

You can use any type of herb you prefer, like basil, rosemary, or oregano. Traditionally, garlic, salt, and pepper are always used, and other spices are added based on the cook's tastes. Some people even add sugar for a touch of sweet flavor.

Why Season A Mortar And Pestle?

Seasoning a mortar and pestle will add flavor to future grinds, but it also serves another very important purpose.

Using garlic while seasoning protects your mortar and pestle and helps it perform better. It creates a smoother grind, fills pores, and provides an antimicrobial layer on the stone.

Viva Doria Pink Salt And Rainbow Peppercorn Set

This set includes a 12-ounce bag of rainbow peppercorns and a 2-pound bag of Himalayan pink salt. Plenty to season your mortar and pestle and for cooking.

Click here to check out this set on Amazon.

How To Use A Mortar And Pestle

Mortar and pastle with fresh herbs for cooking

Using a mortar and pestle is very easy, and with enough practice, it will become a piece of cake. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use a mortar and pestle:

  1. Start by selecting your spices and herbs and adding them to the mortar. The mortar should not be more than 1/3 full.
  2. Hold the mortar in one hand and grasp the pestle in the other.
  3. Use the pestle in a twisting motion or by crushing and grinding until your spices are the proper consistency.

ChefSofi Extra Large Granite Mortar And Pestle

This mortar and pestle set includes a large capacity 8-Inch mortar and two different size pestles for convenience. With plenty of space to grind up large batches of spices and herbs, this mortar and pestle is a great choice when you need to cook for large gatherings.

Click here to check out this mortar and pestle set on Amazon.

What Is The Safest Mortar And Pestle?

Granite, marble, and stainless steel are the safest options for mortar and pestles. Granite and marble work better than metal alternatives due to their naturally rough surfaces.

As long as you properly cure and season your stone mortar and pestle, they are perfectly safe.

What Kind Of Mortar And Pestle Lasts The Longest?

Natural stone mortar and pestle sets like granite and marble can last an incredibly long time. Metal sets wear down quicker, and porcelain or ceramic substitutes aren't as durable either. Professional chefs opt for mortar and pestle sets made from high-grade Thai granite.

SIPARUI Marble Mortar And Pestle Set

Herbal and alternative medicine

This marble mortar and pestle set is available in black and white. It has a 1-cup capacity and a deep bowl for grinding many herbs and spices.

Click here to check out this mortar and pestle set on Amazon.

Are Granite Mortar And Pestles Dishwasher Safe?

Yes, many brands now make dishwasher-safe mortar and pestles. However, it is still not recommended to run your granite mortar and pestle through the dishwasher.

Dishwashers can contain residual soap and food matter, so even if you run the mortar and pestle through a load without soap, there is still a chance of the stone picking up unwanted flavors.

Always hand wash your mortar and pestle with plain hot water and a good, clean scrub brush.

How Do You Care For A Granite Mortar And Pestle?

Make sure to store them in a manner that will prevent dust from accumulating inside, place a handtowel over them, or keep them in the original box.

Only wash with warm or hot water; never use soap or a dishwasher. You can season your set with garlic and herbs again as needed to keep it in good condition and improve its flavor.

What Can You Use Besides A Mortar And Pestle?

There are some alternatives that could help you out in a pinch if you don't already have a mortar and pestle. Many are household items that you may have around the house.

Food Processor

Black food processor and other accessories on it on a white countertop, How To Dice With A Kitchenaid Food Processor [In 4 Easy Steps!]

A food processor will make short work of most herbs and spices. These machines can handle wet and dry mixtures, but it is hard to control how coarse or fine your mixture will become.

Ninja Food Processor

This food processor can chop, shred, puree, and grind, making it a versatile tool for the kitchen. It will make short work of herbs and spices and create a fine seasoning mix.

Click here to take a look at this processor on Amazon.


Herb grinders are an excellent substitute for mortar and pestle. These can be found in both manual and motorized versions, and both will allow you to control the size of your grind. Grinders don't usually offer wet grinding capabilities.

COOL KNIGHT Electric Herb Grinder

This electric herb grinder set will make creating your custom seasoning a cinch. This set includes two herb grinders, making them ideal for large batches.

Click here to see these grinders on Amazon.

Rolling Pin

A rolling pin will crush most herbs, although it will require some work. They handle garlic and other soft plants well too.

In Conclusion

Now that you know all about mortar and pestle sets and how to care for them properly, you're ready to start shopping. Make sure you choose a material that works well for you, and don't forget to account for size too. Have fun and enjoy experimenting with spices.

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If your pepper grinder is acting up, read our article "Why Does My Pepper Grinder Squeak? [And How To Fix It]" to learn more.

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