The mortar and pestle is an ancient tool used to grind and mix plant materials into powders or paste. In fact, the first known use of a mortar and pestle dates back to around 3500 BC in what is now Syria. While some may think this tool was invented by the Mayans, they actually borrowed it from the more ancient inhabitants of their region.

In fact, many culinary traditions throughout the world have their own version of this tool that's been passed down through generations. The earliest known versions were made from stone with a wooden pestle but over time these materials were replaced by materials such as marble or copper. This allowed for better grinding power even though you can still purchase traditional stone varieties if desired.

Modern day variations come in various sizes starting at about six inches tall all the way up to three feet high depending on your needs. You can also find them made from materials like stainless steel or cast iron that are stronger than wood or plastic but not quite as strong as stone or marble. However, these materials last longer without wearing out so they're a good choice if you plan on using your mortar regularly for cooking spices and seasonings.

If you're looking for a new mortar and pestle set for your kitchen, there are several important factors to consider before making a purchase including size, material strength, durability, ease of use, and price range depending on how often you'll be using it.

How We Choose

We looked at a variety of factors when choosing the best Mexican mortar and pestle, including material, weight, size, shape, design features, ease of use and price. We also read through hundreds of customer reviews to get real-life experiences from people who were actually using these products.

We only considered brands that met our standards for quality and offered good value for money. We also made sure to choose a range of options so you can find one that suits your needs and budget.

Genuine Handmade Mexican Mortar and Pestle

The Molcajete Mortar is a great choice for anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of a traditional mortar and pestle without having to go through all the hassle of actually crushing up their herbs and spices.

This set comes with everything you need to get started, including an authentic-looking volcanic rock mortar bowl and a wooden pestle that's been hand-carved in Mexico. The wooden handle has been treated with an oil finish to prevent it from cracking or splitting, while the metal head on the pestle ensures that it doesn't slip around when you're using it.

The molcajete (machucador) also comes with easy-to-follow instructions on how to cure your new mortar so that it retains its shape and color over time. This will help ensure that your purchase lasts for years rather than just months or weeks.

OUTASIGHT Molcajete Mortar and Pestle

The Molcajete is a must-have for any Mexican home. This authentic Mexican mortar and pestle makes it easy to make traditional mole sauce and other delicious dishes.

The Molcajete comes with detailed instructions, so you can get started making your favorite recipes right away. The lava rock used to make this mortar and pestle is naturally porous, so it's important to follow the preparation guide and cure the surface before using it for the first time.

This product is made from natural materials, so each piece will be unique - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't expect some imperfections or small cracks in the rock.

Granite Mexican Molcajetes Mortar and Pestle

The Pepe Nero granite pestle and mortar set is a great option for anyone looking to add some flair to their kitchen. The set comes with a large, sturdy mortar bowl that sits on your countertop without wobbling, while the black granite pestle has a wide head for easy use.

The pestle also features two cup capacity, making it easy to get started grinding spices or herbs right away. The non-porous material doesn't absorb any of the ingredients you're adding so you get full flavor in your dishes.

We love that this set comes with three free super-handy accessories - an avocado slicer, garlic peeler, and spatula - which makes it easy to make delicious guacamole or other dips and salads right away.

Carved from Natural Granite Mortar and Pestle

The Priority Chef Large Mortar and Pestle Set is a great choice for anyone looking to make large batches of guacamole or pesto. This set comes with a 2-cup capacity bowl and a 6.5-inch pestle that can be used together or separately, making it easy to crush garlic or herbs without having to transfer between bowls.

The non-slip base ensures that the bowl stays put even when you're working with some serious volume of ingredients. The granite stone material used in this set means it's sturdy enough to leave out on display, but will also protect your counter from any possible scratches.

This set is made in China, but considering its price point, we think the quality here is pretty good for what you're getting.

Mexican Mortar And Pestle FAQs

A good mortar and pestle can be an essential part of your kitchen tools, but with all the different types, brands, and materials out there it's tough to know which one is best for you.

Making your own sauces and spices at home can be a fun hobby that also saves you money. It's not just about flavor either! There are many health benefits from grinding your own spices as well. Fortunately there are several types of mortars and pestles made from different materials that will suit any budget. We've created this guide to help you find the best mortar and pestle for your needs!

What Is A Mexican Mortar And Pestle Called?

A traditional mortar and pestle is referred to as a molcajete in Spanish, though you'll often hear them called Mexican mortars even though they're used throughout Central America. These bowls are made of fired clay and have a concave bottom that allows the pestle to rest securely on the bowl's base.

In Mexico, you might also find a metate, which looks similar to a flat stone mortar. Metates are traditionally used by indigenous peoples such as the Mayans, Toltecs, and Aztecs; however, it's also common for modern Mexicans to use molcajetes or other mortars made from ceramic or marble instead of stone.

What Is The Difference Between A Molcajete And A Mortar And Pestle?

The traditional Mexican molcajete is a carved stone bowl with a base and pestle, used to grind spices and herbs. They come in various sizes, but the most popular is the family-size bowl, which can hold about 3 quarts of ingredients. Mortars are smaller bowls that hold just a few tablespoons of ingredients at a time; they're often made from ceramic or metal. A pestle is traditionally made of wood, but plastic ones are becoming more common.

A molcajete has many benefits over mortars: It allows you to see exactly what you're blending so there's less chance for mistakes; it doesn't require electricity; and it doesn't get as hot as metal bowls. However, using one may feel awkward at first, especially if you're not accustomed to cooking with mortar and pestle. Many people find it easier to use an electric blender after getting some practice with the traditional tools first.

How Can You Tell If A Molcajete Is Real?

Authentic Mexican molcajetes are made with volcanic rock and have a rough, porous surface that absorbs the flavors of your ingredients as you blend them. If you look closely, you'll see tiny holes in the stone. This porous quality also makes it easier to clean (a little warm water will do). Look for the words lava rocks or pumice on the packaging to confirm that it's real stone.

You can spot a fake by looking at its non-porous finish and smooth sides. These may appear similar to real volcanic rock at first glance, but they won't have the same authentic flavor or texture when blended. You won't be able to find these fakes online either – all reputable retailers carry authentic molcajetes only.

What Is The Pestle Called In A Molcajete?

In a traditional Mexican molcajete, the pestle is called a machota and is made of wood. It fits into the bowl at an angle so you can push down on it as you grind your spices or blend your salsa. You can also use a metal potato masher if you don't have a machota but they are hard to find and very expensive if you do.

The name comes from the ancient Mayan word “мoxeht” which means to pound or crush because that's what the Mayans did when they ground their spices in clay bowls with stone pestles. In modern times, people often refer to these bowls as Mexican mortar and pestle sets but technically speaking, that's not correct even though most cooks use them for blending and pounding in much the same way their ancestors did thousands of years ago.

If you're looking for an authentic Mexican molcajete mortar and pestle set, we recommend checking out Agua Traditions brand on Amazon . They make high-quality authentic Mexican products including machotas made from genuine tree branches that look great alongside your traditional clay bowl. Plus, unlike many other brands we saw online, all their products are 100% handcrafted by artisans in Mexico using non-toxic materials so you can feel good about giving this gift as well as using it yourself every day!

Do You Wash A Molcajete?

Yes. A molcajete is made up of porous materials that can absorb bacteria over time, so it's important to clean yours regularly. Use warm, soapy water and a sponge or dishcloth to remove any food deposits and achieve a thorough cleaning. You may also want to add some white vinegar to your cleaning solution; this will help bring the shine back to your molcajete's finish by removing any mineral buildup. Be sure to dry your molcajete thoroughly after washing, as excess moisture inside the bowl can lead to cracking.

It's also crucial that you don't use harsh cleaners on your molcajete, especially anything with ammonia or bleach in it. These products will damage the porous stone quickly and could even pit it permanently if used regularly. If you have an antique or very well-used Mexican mortar and pestle, consider having it restored by a professional ceramics restorer for optimal care and longevity.

How Do You Clean A Molcajete For The First Time?

The best way to clean a molcajete for the first time is to use hot, soapy water and a sponge. The porous nature of volcanic rock means that it can absorb odors as well as stains, so be sure to rinse your molcajete thoroughly after cleaning. You may also choose to season your new molcajete by rubbing it with oil or lard; however, some experts warn against this method because the fat can absorb into the porous stone and either burn or create an unpleasant flavor in your food.

To prepare your new Mexican mortar for use, you'll want to remove any excess grit or dust from its surface and interior. To do this, fill your molcajete about halfway with water and vigorously shake it back and forth until the water inside has cleared. After emptying out the contents of your mortar bowl, repeat this process one more time until no additional debris comes out with the water. You can also run a damp cloth along the exterior of your stone mortar if you don't have access to tap water (just be careful not to let any part of your bowl touch the sides).

Why Cant You Use Soap On A Molcajete?

Most soap can damage a molcajete, especially in the long term. Depending on the type of soap, ingredients may include water and/or chemically-based additives that can wear down your stone mortar bowl over time. While you're probably going to want to give it a thorough cleaning after making a batch of guacamole or salsa, plain tap water and a clean kitchen towel are all you need most of the time. If you find yourself with persistent gunk build-up – say after making multiple batches of hot chocolate – consider using gentle soap sparingly, as needed. As always when working with tools, test first in an inconspicuous area to make sure no damage is done.

What To Look For When Buying A Molcajete?

The most important thing to consider when buying a molcajete is the material it's made from. Traditionally, these Mexican stone mortars are made of basalt rock, which is volcanic in origin and very hard-wearing. However, they're also commonly produced from slate stone, which some argue isn't as durable as basalt.

For this reason, it might be worth spending a little extra for a good quality basalt molcajete if you plan on using your mortar regularly. The other advantage of choosing a good quality basalt model is that the porous nature of the material helps to keep your spices fragrant by absorbing their oils without soaking them up completely.

A high-quality solid base is another essential feature you should look out for when buying a molcajete. This not only offers extra stability while you're using it but also contributes to its longevity by keeping it firmly planted on your kitchen surface throughout use.

How Do I Buy A Good Molcajete?

As with many kitchen tools, it can be tricky to find the right one. When buying a traditional Mexican molcajete, you'll want to look for sturdiness and a heavy base. It should feel solid in your hand without being unwieldy. The stone bowl should be made from basalt volcanic rock (the same material used for Mexican tortillas), as this type of stone won't absorb odors and is easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher. Finally, make sure there's adequate room around the pestle when you're pounding away so that you don't lose any spices!

If you'd rather not have a large stone bowl taking up space on your countertop, an electric spice/nut grinder will come in handy; just keep in mind that they may lack some of the oomph needed to properly crush spices.

What Kind Of Stone Is Molcajete?

Molcajete is the Spanish word for a lava stone bowl. These bowls were formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago and have weathered the test of time. Most molcajetes are made from basalt, which has a reputation for being one of the sturdiest materials on earth.

The porous nature of lava stones make them perfect for serving as mortar and pestle replacements in your kitchen's spice drawer, too. The rough texture can hold plenty of ingredients to create delicious sauces and side dishes.


The best Mexican mortar and pestle is one that is made from durable materials and has an ergonomic shape that makes grinding spices easy and effortless. Look for one with a non-slip base to prevent it from moving around while in use, as well as a secure lid to keep the spices fresh after you are done grinding them. Additionally, make sure that it comes with instructions on how to properly clean and maintain it so that it will last for many years of frequent use. Ultimately, the best Mexican mortar and pestle should have all of these features combined together in order to achieve the perfect blend of flavor every time!

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