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Spice Grinder - which is best?

Dough Girl Aug 12, 2011 12:59 PM

I recently purchased some spices and a mortar and pestle. Some of the spice blends require a spice grinder. From what I understand, most of the coffee/spice grinders get poor reviews. Out of frustration, I've even tried a hammer! Which is best for less cost for home use? (i.e. under $50).

  1. elvisahmed Aug 12, 2011 01:37 PM

    A mortor and Pestle is the best way but if you don;t want to put in the muscle a blade type coffee grinder works fine IMO.

    1. sweetie Aug 12, 2011 01:40 PM

      Got this tip from another chowhounder.... haunt the discount electronics sites e.g

      I got a great quality burr grinder for a fraction of the cost..although I have to say that unless you are grinding large quantities of spices get yourself a good quality peppermill or medium quality blade grinder.
      BTW, the moderator is going to move your post, cause it is not Ontario specific

      1. d
        Dough Girl Aug 12, 2011 01:59 PM

        elvisahmed - I have tried with a mortar and pestle, but cannot get them ground up fine enough.

        sweetie- interesting tip, will check. I put Ontario because I wanted to make sure I could purchase it close by

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dough Girl
          elvisahmed Aug 12, 2011 04:33 PM

          Yeah I know what you mean by not getting it fine enough. As for other options I would just go with a blade type coffee grinder as they work out just fine. I got one for around 10$ from Walmart and it works just fine. If you don;t mind spending the extra $$ go for krups options mentioned here (I wouldn't cheap out on a coffee grinder but for spices I don't think it matters IMO)

        2. mlukan Aug 12, 2011 02:13 PM

          KRUPS FAST-TOUCH COFFEE MILL, MODEL 203 - Cooks illustrated tested 12 models and this came out on top. Its is only $20, I own one and it is the best. I found mine through Zellers but i'm sure you could find somewhere online to ship you one so you don't have to go on a search for the specific model.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mlukan
            blinknoodle Aug 14, 2011 02:43 PM

            I have this one, too, based on ATK's review. I bought mine at Bed Bath and Beyond for like $25 in Toronto.

            Personally, I had a mortar and pestle and had problems with coriander seeds. Now there is no problem! :)

            1. re: mlukan
              Jay F Aug 15, 2011 09:44 AM

              I have been using this one for 25 years with no problem.

            2. drongo Aug 12, 2011 04:16 PM

              I have the Cuisinart spice & nut grinder, which works well and fits your price constraint: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001...

              I haven't tried any others, so can't say "which is the best".

              1. o
                oldunc Aug 12, 2011 06:32 PM

                You might have better luck with the mortar and pestle if you add a little salt (assuming you can take it from somewhere else in the recipe. Some things are tough- the husks of coriander tend to persist, but do no harm in most dishes. Some stuff (annato and turmeric come to mind) are just about impossible- maybe by pounding with a really large pestle. But for most spices (and other things, like pesto) it will release far more flavor than chopping- by all means get all the practice with it you can- it does get easier. And the consistent, small size of commercially ground spices is usually not necessary , or even better. It is said (at least by one cookbook writer) that Thai women are so unfailingly cheerful largely because they use up all their aggression grinding their spices.

                1 Reply
                1. re: oldunc
                  atg106 Aug 15, 2011 12:10 PM

                  I second oldunc's comment as you probably need to add a little coarse salt to break up some spices. The flavors which come out of mortar and pestle versus a spice grinder is much more. Pepper flakes seem to burst with flavor when you grind them by hand for example.

                2. rosetown Aug 14, 2011 09:07 PM

                  I use a cheap electric whirly coffee grinder (easy to clean) - don't use an electric burr grinder - it's impossible to clean and prepare for use with different spices. IMO.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: rosetown
                    escondido123 Aug 15, 2011 10:25 AM

                    I too use a cheap whirly coffee grinder. They are much less than $50 or you can usually find them at thrift stores, like I did. When you want to clean it, just throw in a piece of bread, without crust. Toss the first out, do it again and toss the second out. Should be fine.

                    1. re: escondido123
                      Jay F Aug 15, 2011 10:30 AM

                      Oh, what a good idea for cleaning it.

                      1. re: escondido123
                        elvisahmed Aug 15, 2011 10:57 AM

                        Thanks for the tip as I used to clean the whole thing thoroughly with a moist paper towel and then dry it out later with a dry one.

                        1. re: elvisahmed
                          escondido123 Aug 15, 2011 12:24 PM

                          I keep a small brush to clean it too, when something gets stuck under the blade.

                    2. m
                      mmilas Jan 19, 2014 12:38 AM

                      I've tired several and the Krups is by far the best, its pretty much perfect.


                      1. c
                        CookingForReal Jan 20, 2014 02:53 AM

                        I've got a Krups coffee grinder, years ago I had a Cuisinart coffee grinder. I still use the Krups but I've found that for tricky spices - oily (like sesame or flax seed), or very fine (like thyme seed), or something like coriander which tends to shatter rather than grind to a powder in a coffee grinder - the Chef Pro Dry/Wet Grinder (its on Amazon) does a better job. Some things just aren't going to grind down to a dusty powder no matter what - again coriander seed is a case in point, but so is sichuan pepper corns - so I just sift the larger pieces out with a fine sieve.

                        1. e
                          emu48 Jan 20, 2014 03:48 AM

                          Krups coffee grinder. I keep a red one for spices and a brown one for coffee. They're very cheap on Amazon.com. And a Thai stone mortar for superfine grinding and quick small crushing jobs.

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