Last updated: 16/10/2022

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If there is one utensil that needs to be present in every kitchen, it is the pestle. After all, with it you can create spices, sauces and even drinks. But if you’ve ever tried to buy one, you know that the variety of options is so great that it gets confusing. Well, welcome to our post today.

Here you will find out what are the types of pestles, what criteria differentiate one from another and which is the best for each purpose. We will also give you a bonus with a list of the best pestles for sale.


  • The pestle is the perfect tool for making spices and even sauces, like pesto. In addition, you can grind nuts, mash and peel ingredients and prepare a caipirinha.
  • To choose the best one, it is important to know that there are different models and manufacturing materials.
  • Analyze the diameter and height of the pestle’s bowl, as well as some extra items such as spout and non-slip base that can make handling easier.

The Best Pestle: Our Picks

To help you in the process of choosing, we have put together in this section a diverse selection of pestles. You will be able to choose between large, small, round or cylindrical models, and with different manufacturing materials. Take a look:

Buying guide: all you need to know about the pestle

The pestle is a basic utensil for anyone who cooks. And you don’t even need to be a super chef to know that. But if you still have doubts about the pestle, don’t worry. Our Buying Guide will help you.

Mulher usando um pilão.

The pestle has many uses in the kitchen. (Source: Conscious Design/ Unsplash)

What is a pestle for?

The pestle is that kitchen utensil formed by a round or cylindrical bowl, and a punch. With this, you simply insert one or more ingredients and bang to create friction between the food and the pestle.

The result is a macerated, peeled, kneaded or ground mixture. It’s like a food processor, only manual.

For this reason, the pestle needs to be resistant to withstand the friction of the punch in the bowl and also have the design corresponding to the type of ingredient that will be worked in it.

Pilão com pimenta do reino.

The pestle is ideal for creating the most different types of spices. (Source: CorsadoArt/ Pixabay)

Today you will find a great diversity of pestle for sale. From the simplest and most basic ones, made with lighter and less durable materials, to the most sophisticated ones with resistant and robust materials.

The design also varies, and can be round, oval, high or low. Although the most common are made of wood and in cylindrical shape.

Did you know that the pestle originated in Africa?

It has been used for centuries for crushing, kneading, peeling and grinding food. But the original was very large, with the punch resembling a stick, almost the size of a person

What can you do with the pestle?

Although in the old days the pestle was even used to peel some ingredients, such as beans and corn, the fact is that nowadays, as we’ve already mentioned, this utensil is mostly used to prepare seasonings and sauces.

Among them, the most common is the mixture of crushed garlic with salt, which serves as the basis for seasoning a multitude of recipes, especially stews. But it is also possible to grind pepper, coriander and mustard seeds, for example, and to macerate aromatic herbs.

In addition, you can also use the pestle to grind nuts, walnuts and almonds, as well as many other spices. There are even those who use the pestle to mash softer ingredients and some moistened ones.

This is the case for those who use the utensil to prepare sauces and drinks, such as caipirinha. In the table below, you can see some suggestions of what to do with the pestle:

What to make in the pestle How to make
Garlic and salt Just grind the garlic cloves with the punch and then add the salt mixing them together
Pesto sauce Mash the basil leaves, the nuts and the garlic. Finish with salt and olive oil
Garam masala This Indian spice contains cumin, coriander seeds, cardamom and black pepper, as well as cinnamon and nutmeg. After grinding everything, toast it in a pan

How do you clean your pestle?

An important step in the conservation of the pestle – and to guarantee that the aromas and flavours of one recipe will not interfere in another – is to know how to clean this utensil. In addition, the correct cleaning of the pestle will prevent bacteria from proliferating.

Generally speaking, the first thing you should do when you’re done preparing food is to wash the pestle and mortar under running water. However, it’s a fact that the wooden pestle, besides being the most traditional, is the one that most keeps the smell and residues from previous preparations.

Pilão de madeira.

The wooden pestle deserves more attention when it comes to cleaning. (Source: Mrnjaav / Pixabay)

Therefore, in this type of pestle, it is worth strengthening the cleaning with a sponge moistened with warm water and detergent.

But, if still, you can not remove all the smell and dirt from the pestle, try leaving the utensil to soak in a solution of baking soda with water and then rinse. Finally, dry the pestle thoroughly with a cloth.

Purchase criteria: What to take into account when comparing types of pestle

When it comes to deciding between the various models of pestle, the ideal thing is that you know exactly the difference between one and another and which will be ideal for what you need to do in the kitchen. To help you in this process, we have selected the main criteria you should take into account. Take a look:

Manufacturing material

One of the most important aspects of a pestle is the material it is made from. As we have seen, the wooden pestle is the best known in Brazil.

However, to prevent it from breaking easily and splintering, it is important to choose a pestle made of solid wood, which is the most resistant. But if you want to innovate and invest in a pestle with another manufacturing material, check out the characteristics of some of them below:

  • Stone pestle: this is one of the best for grinding harder ingredients. In this category, you will be able to choose between granite, soapstone or marble pestles. The smell and taste of the products macerated in this type of pestle can remain for a longer time, just like in the wooden version;
  • Stainless steel, ceramic and porcelain pestles: The difference with pestles made of these three materials is that the flavor and aroma do not remain impregnated in the utensil;
  • Bamboo or plastic pestle: Lighter, these types of pestles are not so efficient to grind hard ingredients. Still, they can be very useful for mashing lemon for caipirinha or soft foods.


After choosing the best material of the pestle, check the diameter of the bowl. Pestle bowls can reach up to 20 cm in diameter. These are considered the largest and most recommended for those who will knead a larger amount of ingredients at once.

But if you only intend to grind a little bit of black pepper, for example, a pestle with a bowl of up to 10 cm will suffice.


Don’t think that all pestles are the same height. In fact, most are around 15 cm high. And the higher this measure is the better it is to avoid that the food placed there spills out of the bowl while you use the punch.

However, nowadays there are also models with different heights and some even with a much reduced height of 7 cm. In this case, the pestle will be more suitable for grinding soft ingredients that do not run the risk of flying through the air.


Also take into account some differentials that the pestle can offer. One of them is the non-slip base, which ensures stability so that you can use the pestle with greater precision.

Another highlight is the pestle whose bowl has a spout, which facilitates the removal of sauces, for example.


The pestle is an indispensable tool for anyone who cooks. Whether for making spices, sauces or even some drinks, the pestle is efficient, fast and still preserves flavours and aromas. However, depending on the type of preparation, it is necessary to analyse some aspects that differ between one model and another.

For example, to make a seasoning with many ingredients, the ideal is a pestle with a larger diameter. But if you are going to make a smaller preparation, the diameter, as well as the height, can also be reduced.

Remember that a pestle whose bowl is taller helps to avoid messy ingredients flying around. Finally, check if the pestle has differentials such as, for example, the spout in the bowl and the non-slip base.

(Featured image source: Octavian Dan/ Unsplash)