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Spice Grinder - which is best?

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).

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  1. 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. 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. 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

          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. 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

            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

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

            2. 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. 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

                  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. 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

                    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

                      Oh, what a good idea for cleaning it.

                      1. re: escondido123

                        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

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

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


                      1. 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. 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.