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How to Grind Spices, Herbs or Seasonings

Many recipes call for grinding spices or herbs before or after mixing them together. What if you don’t have (or want) a dedicated grinder?

Mortar and Pestle

One common option is a mortar and pestle. This timeless piece of kitchenware can be used for crushing small amounts of herbs or spices, and even double as the mixing bowl for most popcorn seasoning recipes. It can also be used for making pesto and even guacamole!

Mortar and Pestle, generally less than $10

A mortar and pestle is simple, inexpensive and dishwasher-safe.

Coffee Grinder

If you’re a coffee aficionado, you likely have a coffee grinder available. I don’t recommend using a burr grinder(generally, you add the beans to the top, and ground coffee is deposited in a chute below the grinding apparatus), as the herbs and spices are much smaller than coffee beans, and the flavors will intermingle (coffee flavored popcorn?  I might have to try that . . )  But if you have a simple blade-type grinder, you will find this a great convenience. The inside of most blade grinders are stainless steel, and should clean up easily too.

Krups GX4100 Grinder, usually under $25
A blade grinder can be used for spices and herbs

Spoon and Bowl

Finally, if you’re halfway through the recipe, and need to grind the mixture, try a spoon. Spread the spices across a large plate or shallow bowl, and use the back of a silverware or stainless-steel soup spoon or serving spoon. Use a rolling motion with your thumb firmly in the bowl of the spoon. It can get a bit messy, but you should be able to grind just about any herb or spice.

And think about the mortar and pestle . . . You never know what you might need it for next!

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