How To Season A Wooden Mortar And Pestle [Inc. Maintenance Care]?

Mortar and pestle are must-have kitchen tools up until now. They're not just decorative but can also be used for various tasks. Since food is involved, maintaining cleanliness is a must.

If you own this kitchen tool, you may wonder how to properly season them before using it. We did the leg work to bring you the answer. Let's dive right in!

To properly season a wooden mortar and pestle, follow these steps:

  1. Scrub with soap and water.
  2. Use white rice in cleaning.
  3. Clean them with a lemon.
  4. Rub them with food-grade wax.

Keep reading as we elaborate on these steps in greater detail. We'll also discuss some tips on how you can maintain them. Let's get this started!

How To Properly Season A Wooden Mortar And Pestle

Fresh herbs inside a wooden mortar and pestle bowl on a wooden plank table with knotholes and nails. The herbs have multiple colors and textures. The bowl has a swirl pattern and is surrounded by piles of additional fresh herbs. - How To Season A Wooden Mortar And Pestle [Inc. Maintenance Care]

Since olden times, people have used mortar and pestle to grind and crush ingredients into fine pastes or powders. It consists of a bowl with a heavy bottom and a heavy, elongated masher. The pestle's end can be either flat or rounded.

It's possible to find tiny wood splinters or particles on the surface of a wooden mortar and pestle. If you know how to season them properly, then you will not end up eating your food with leftover particles.

Consider the following steps on how to cure a wooden mortar and pestle properly:

1. Scrub With Soap And Water

Use water, mild soap, and a soft brush to scrub your mortar and pestle. Make sure to scrub them all over and rinse them thoroughly. Use a paper towel or cloth to dry the mortar and pestle thoroughly.

After completely drying it, store it with good airflow overnight.

2. Use White Rice In Cleaning

Pour white rice, just enough to cover the bottom of the mortar. Use your pestle to pound the rice into the wooden mortar in a circular motion. Proceed if the color of the rice stays white.

However, repeat the grinding process using a new batch of rice if it has taken the mortar's color. Wipe away any debris using a piece of paper towel.

3. Clean With A Lemon

To ensure that your kitchen tool is completely clean, you can use a half lemon with a pinch of coarse salt. Wipe them thoroughly with your wooden mortar and pestle.

Wipe them clean and wait for them to dry thoroughly.

4. Rub Them With Food-Grade Wax

The last step is to make sure that there is a barrier between the food and the wood. Wipe some food-grade mineral oil, such as vegetable and olive oil, all over while pressing the oil into the wood.

Then, wipe them and let them dry.

See this food-grade mineral oil on Amazon.

Maintenance Care For A Wooden Mortar And Pestle

Olive wood mortar and pestle

Various mortar and pestles are available in the market, which comes in all sizes and materials. You can find this tool in granite, marble, wood, bamboo, ceramic, glass, and metal.

Wood is the most commonly used in making mortar and pestle because it's lighter than the other materials.

If you choose a mortar and pestle made of wood or bamboo, the first thing to do after buying a brand-new one is to season it. You can do it by wiping the tool with food-grade oils so the wood particles will not mix with your food.

To keep the mortar and pestle looking new and shiny, oil it whenever you notice it starting to look a little worn down.

Maintaining the surface of your mortar and pestle is very important to avoid contamination when preparing foods. Always remember to clean them before and after use.

If taken care of, it will last long before you need to replace them.

Advantage Of Using Mortar And Pestle

High angle view of natural aromatic herbs like dill, thyme, oregano and rosemary on wooden mortar and over dark brown wooden table. Predominant colors are brown and green. Even if technology has changed our kitchen, there is still a good reason to use this old-school kitchen tool. Here are some reasons why:


To get the most flavor out of spices and herbs, you must put mortar and pestle on your kitchen tools list. They are perfect for releasing aromas and flavors if grounded.

Spices are better when grounded and smashed rather than just cut with a knife.


It gives the consistency you want to achieve. Most of the new electronic kitchen tools are very tricky to use. But, using this tool, you can easily manipulate ingredients with control.

Saves Money

Mortar and pestle are very practical tools. Aside from its uses, it is way cheaper than buying electronic kitchen wares with the same purpose as this tool.

You can buy a mortar and pestle at a low cost, but you'll be able to use it for a lifetime if properly cared for.

Saves Time

The use of these tools will save not only your money but also your time.

Although they take most of your time to prepare ingredients when you use electronic ones, you will have no problem when it comes to cleaning. There will be no sharp blades and small parts to wash.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Mortar And Pestle

Already decided on buying a mortar and pestle for your kitchen? Here is a list of things to consider before purchasing one:


Before buying, know where you will use them. If you're planning to use them only for grinding up spices and small ingredients, go for smaller mortar sizes.

The pestle, on the other hand, should have a broad bottom. This ensures that the ingredients will be adequately ground and not just pushed around the mortar.


Mortar and pestle are made of different materials, including wood, granite, marble, glass, and metal. The best and most effective materials are those with rough and abrasive interiors.


It is a must to season most types of mortar and pestle. Some types need to be cured overnight before you can use them. So, if you're the type that doesn't want to wait longer, then choose one that doesn't need seasoning.


This traditional kitchen tool is undeniably decorative and stylish. They're not just handy in the kitchen but also add up a little spice when displayed on a countertop.

Depending on your style preference and the vibe of your kitchen, choose a mortar and pestle that will suit your liking and needs.

What Type Of Mortar And Pestle Is The Best?

Now that we know the advantages of your kitchen and food preparation, it's time to choose the best mortar and pestle, depending on the use to meet your needs.

Thai Granite Mortar And Pestle

Close-up of different types of peppers being crushed in a mortar with a granite pestle.

The Thai mortar and pestle is a heavy hitter and arguably the most flexible kind of large mortar and pestle you can have.

Their parts are made of rock-solid granite, which makes them able to grind and smash even the toughest chili skins and fibrous roots you'll throw on them.

Because of their slightly abrasive surfaces from not being polished, the inside of the mortar bowl and the pestle head is best for grinding any spices.

They are also perfect to use if you want to achieve the consistency of your favorite Thai curry paste.

Its only disadvantage is that the material is heavy, which will exert more force and make your arms feel tired.

See this granite mortar and pestle on Amazon.

Italian Marble With Wooden Pestle

Vintage mortar and pestle

This type of mortar and pestle is a must-have in your kitchen if you're a pasta fan. They are perfect for making pesto and other similar sauces.

Its wooden pestle, commonly made of olive wood, is large and round, providing a lot of surface area to shear the oil.

The only drawback is that the marble bowl is highly prone to stain. It is also a bit heavy, but not as much as granite.

See this marble mortar and wooden pestle set on Amazon.

Small, Single-Ingredient Mortar And Pestle

Marble mortar and pestle isolated on white background close-up

Consider a small mortar and pestle if you don't make curry pastes and pesto sauce. They are best used when grinding whole spices into powder.

Click here to see this mortar and pestle on Amazon.

To Wrap Up

Whether used frequently or occasionally, a mortar and pestle can last very long with proper maintenance. The best way to ensure it is thoroughly clean is to keep it shiny and new-looking.

Made it to the end? Check out these related articles below:

Why Does My Pepper Grinder Squeak? [And How To Fix It]

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have A Food Processor? [22 Alternatives]

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