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Top Gadgets to Grind Fresh Spices and Dried Chiles

Preground spices are convenient, but their flavors fade fast. Cooking with freshly ground spices is a must, but producing a heap of cracked black peppercorns or grinding a custom spice rub requires the proper kitchen tools. We've gathered our favorite spice-grinding gadgets—they're worth the small investment to produce extraordinarily flavorful dishes.

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Top Gadgets to Grind Fresh Spices and Dried Chiles
Microplane Spice Grinder
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Highly Recommended
Microplane Spice Grinder

This grater is an effective new twist on an old-style grater with a slender, tightly curled, 5-inch-long grating surface that provides a good margin of safety for your fingertips. It also produced mounds of nutmeg in no time flat and can also be used for grating nuts and chocolate. Note: This configuration is a combination of the Microplane Home Series Fine Blade (model 44002) with a Microplane Slider Attachment (model 44057), each sold separately.

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$9.50
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Cole & Mason Derwent Gourmet Precision Pepper Mill
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Highly Recommended
Cole & Mason Derwent Gourmet Precision Pepper Mill

When it comes to grind quality, this mill is tops. It made grind selection a snap, with clear markings corresponding to grind size, and every one of its six fixed settings performed well. Its transparent acrylic body proved easy to load and grasp.

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$40.00
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Cuisinart Elite Collection 4-Cup Chopper/Grinder
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Highly Recommended
Cuisinart Elite Collection 4-Cup Chopper/Grinder

This processor had a sharp blade with great coverage. It turned out crisply cut vegetables and nuts and fluffy parsley. Its strong motor blended hummus and pesto with minimal scraping, and its small feeding tube allowed us to slowly add oil for fantastic mayonnaise.

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$59.95
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Frieling “Goliath” Mortar and Pestle Set
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Highly Recommended
Frieling “Goliath” Mortar and Pestle Set

The extra-tall sides of this heavy, stable granite mortar kept food from escaping and its rough interior quickly reduced hard peppercorns to dust. The large, heavy pestle was comfortable to hold and made grinding a breeze. 

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$49.95
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Microplane Classic Zester Grater
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Recommended
Microplane Classic Zester Grater

Breezed through all four tasks, producing piles of cheese, chocolate, zest, and ginger with minimal effort.

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$12.35
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Krups Fast-Touch Coffee Mill, Model 203
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Recommended
Krups Fast-Touch Coffee Mill, Model 203

The test kitchen's standard for grinding spices is an inexpensive blade-type electric coffee grinder (which we use for spices only, reserving a separate unit to grind coffee). This Krups model came out on top in our testing for fine-grinding all sorts of whole spices of varying hardness, density, shape, and oil content.

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$19.99
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Peugeot Daman u’Select Shaftless Pepper Mill
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Recommended
Peugeot Daman u’Select Shaftless Pepper Mill

This high-performing mill was fast and consistent, but if its peppercorn supply fell below 1 inch, output slowed. However, with no center shaft and a clever magnetized lid, this mill is a snap to refill. We would prefer that the grind-size adjuster click firmly into place: it can slip if you grab it during grinding.

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$75.00
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Trudeau Easy Grind 6½-Inch Pepper Mill
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Recommended
Trudeau Easy Grind 6½-Inch Pepper Mill

This inexpensive crank-style mill lived up to its name with an easy-to-grip handle that had us cranking out pepper at a rapid clip. A downside: The grind adjustment dial has no fixed grind sizes, making it hard to get just the right pepper size.

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$33.99
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All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.

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