The Best Wood Mortar and Pestle and How to Choose One

There are many options available when using a wood mortar and pestle for grinding herbs and nuts. After using one of the best wood mortar and pestle for the last ten years, we can confidently help you select a great one to keep your kitchen running smoothly. 

In particular, using a wooden mortar and pestle may take some getting used to if you are accustomed to chopping everything by hand or in a food processor. So forget about using those awkward manual tools like knives and hand grinders; it is time to upgrade and buy yourself a wooden pestle and mortar.

There are certain kitchen tools that will make your life easier and your meals taste better, among these are

manual nut choppers, mortars, hand fish scalers, and so many others.

No time to read the article? Check out the top 3 wood mortar and pestle ideas here:

Remember that wooden mortar and pestle care are not the same as marble. Keep in mind that a wooden mortar and pestle is not dishwasher safe but they are easy to clean, so you will need to spend some extra time and effort maintaining it. But don’t worry; we will show you how to make your life much easier with an excellent wooden mortar and pestle.

The Top 6 Wooden Mortar and Pestles

#1 BeldiNest Olive Wood

BeldiNest Olive Wood Flat Top Mortar and Pestle | Garlic Smasher Molcajete
  • Hand carved in Tunisia Medium Flat Mortar and Pestle gift idea
  • Light wipe with olive oil to restore the wood to its original luster
  • Made out of Mediterranean olive wood Compare to Berard
  • Care: Light wipe with olive oil to restore the wood to its original luster Do not put in the dish washer (hand wash only)
  • Outer Diameter (OD) 5" ; Inner Diameter (ID) 3"

You will get compliments on this wood mortar and pestle from everyone who visits your kitchen! Having a hand-carved piece of art that can handle the task of being the best wood mortar and pestle that you own is no easy feat. We love the color of this olive wood mortar and pestle; you can tell that it comes from Mediterranean olive wood.

The olive wood pestle and mortar is a versatile tool for any kitchen. You can use it to make spice mixes, sauces, or even medicinal purposes- some patients prefer crushing their medicines with food before taking them straight up! The flat side of this durable utensil makes an excellent chopper. At the same time, its rounded shape ensures that you have more surface area when grinding spices into a meal to increase flavor profiles without sacrificing consistency.

We love this pestle and mortar because of its natural wood finish, which adds a rustic touch to your kitchen.

Since it is carved straight from a Mediterranean olive tree, you must dry it with a towel immediately. Don’t let it sit on a dishrack while wet; it might get moldy.

Dimensions:  5.5 inches X 1 3/8 inches

What We Like

  • The grain of the wood is one of a kind.
  • The wooden pestle has a design with ergonomics at the forefront. (your hand won’t tire out while holding this pestle)

What We Don’t Like

  • Know that there is a slight price difference between this wooden mortar and pestle and some others. However, they carve this one from a Mediterranean olive tree.

#2 Imusa Wood Mortar with Pestle

Imusa Mortar with Pestle Kitchen Essentials, Jumbo, Natural
  • Made of Wood
  • Natural & Authentic Design
  • Easy to Clean
  • Can be used to Grind or Crush
  • Ideal for Spices, Herbs, garlic, and More. Easy to use and handle

We love how this wood mortar and pestle come in two sizes; whether you have a small or large kitchen, one of them should be perfect for you. However, be aware that the word “jumbo” is a little bit misleading. A wooden mortar and pestle can get moldy if you add wet ingredients. The large wooden mortar and pestle will hold about 1.5 cups – 2 cups.

It’s an entirely rigid wood mortar and pestle; even the bottom is wood.

Dimensions: Large wooden mortar and pestle: 3.54 inches x 3.35 inches x 8.27 inches

What We Like

  • It’s easy to hand wash and wipe clean.
  • The wooden pestle is sturdy and feels good in the hand.
  • The traditional wooden looks are excellent on a counter.

What We Don’t Like

  • The jumbo size is not as large as you would expect.
  • It may slide around since the entire mortar is wood, but it’s easy to hold steady.
  • The manufacturer does not list the kind of wood.
Best wood mortar and pestle

#3 Home Basics Bamboo Mortar and Pestle

Home Basics Bamboo Mortar and Pestle, (Natural) / Perfect Grinder for Herbs, Garlic, and Pills | Mortar and Pestle Small, Kitchen Essentials Usage
  • DESIGNED FOR OPTIMAL GRINDING AND CRUSHING: This mortar and pestle set is perfect for grinding and crushing herbs and seasonings to unlock their savory scent and full flavor. Pound garlic into paste and grind whole spices into powders effortlessly and it even works great on pills as well
  • MADE FROM STURDY BAMBOO: The set is made from eco-friendly bamboo, with a smooth finish throughout. The pestle is crafted with unpolished ends for optimal mashing and crushing.
  • EASY TO USE: This pestle and mortar is very simple to use, simply put the items in the mortar and hit them firmly with a pestle until they become mud or broken. The ergonomic design of this mortar & pestle makes it comfortable to hold, and its smooth surface won't hurt your hands after you are using it for a long period of time
  • HAS A SIMPLE DESIGN: This small mortar and pestle has a simple design that provides beautiful elegance to a contemporary kitchen
  • DEDICATED CUSTOMER SERVICE WITH SATISFACTION GUARANTEED: We are dedicated to providing you with the best customer experience. Should anything about your purchase make you unhappy, please feel free to contact us and we are happy to help!

A bamboo mortar and pestle make a beautiful addition to your kitchen tools. A good idea for a bamboo mortar and pestle is to dedicate it to one task. Perhaps you only used to crush dried garlic and chili. Remember that a bamboo pestle is much lighter than a stone pestle. The lightweight feeling of the bamboo pestle means that you will have to put more muscle into crushing your ingredients.

Some people even like to use it for grinding up pills. However, if you use this bamboo mortar and pestle for tablets, please dedicate it to; buy only that one purpose.

Dimensions: 4.5 inches x 4.75 inches

What We Like

  • Easy to clean with soap and water.
  • Excellent value for the money, buy it as a second mortar and pestle for specific recipes.
  • Excellent for any dried herbs.

What We Don’t Like

  • A bamboo mortar and pestle will retain the odors of whatever you mash.
  • Not versatile like a stone mortar and pestle. You cannot mash guacamole or other wet ingredients.
  • It will become moldy if you do not completely dry it after each use.

#4 Ironwood Gourmet Olmec Mortar and Pestle, Acacia Wood

Ironwood Gourmet Olmec Mortar and Pestle, Acacia Wood
  • ONE-OF-A-KIND: Made from gorgeous acacia wood, known for its unique and natural contrasting patterns. This means every bowl is one of a kind, and just as individual as the person who owns it.
  • PERFECT POWDERS AND PASTE: Extremely effective at reducing herbs, spices, and nuts to powders or pastes,
  • UNIQUE DESIGN: Built in the pre-Columbian style, this mortar and pestle are sure to add charm to any kitchen.
  • EASY MAINTENANCE: All you need to do is wash with warm, soapy water and air dry.
  • MEASUREMENTS: Weighs 1 pound and has dimensions of 5.75 x 5.75 x 3 inches.

Behind the Ironwood brand is a woodworker and restauranteur. No matter what brand you get, wooden mortar and pestles just look amazing on the counter. This Ironwood Gourmet Olmec Mortar and Pestle is one of the best because it is large enough to make pastes, grind spices, or mash nuts. However, it’s not too large that it takes up a lot of counter space. Although this wooden mortar and pestle are not the largest ones on our list, it is the perfect size for various tasks in the kitchen.

A great feature of this wooden mortar and pestle is the acacia wood, which gives it a natural appearance that will complement any kitchen decor. The Ironwood Gourmet Olmec Mortar and Pestle is also easy to clean with just a quick wipe down, but it will hold odors. So if you use it for mashing intense things like garlic, you may want to dedicate this wooden pestle and mortar for specific tasks.

Dimensions: 3.25 inches x 6 inches

What We Like

  • The wooden pestle has a wide end, necessary for grinding herbs.
  • The base of the wooden mortar is wide enough to get mashed and grind.
  • There is no toxic substance coating it.

What We Don’t Like

  • There was an unusual sheen on the item.
  • The wood coloring may look different than what you see in the photos. Variation is normal for handmade products; each product has a unique design.

#5 FRESCORR Gourmet Wooden Mortar and Pestle 

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As a lover of cooking and spices, I was excited to try out the Best Wood Mortar and Pestle. You will notice how beautiful it is – the acacia wood has unique and natural contrasting patterns, making it a stunning addition to any kitchen. I was also impressed with its effectiveness at reducing herbs, spices, and nuts to powders or pastes. The design is unique and pre-Columbian, giving it an extra charm. It’s also functional, with a non-skid base that provides stability and prevents slipping. It’s lightweight compared to other mortars and pestles, making it easy to use. The polished surface is easy to clean – I washed it with a wet cloth and air-dried it. I’m thrilled with this product and recommend it to anyone who loves cooking and spices!

Dimensions: 3.25 inches x 2.5 Inches

What We Like

  • The non-skid base is a nice touch.
  • The wooden pestle has a broad tip that helps you grind any spice or tea.
  • There are no toxic polishes on the wood; you get raw hardwood mortar and pestle.
  • The wooden mortar has a wide but shallow bowl, great for grinding herbs.

What We Don’t Like

  • It can split at the seams if you don’t care for the wooden pestle and mortar.

#6 Naturally Med Olive Wood Rustic Mortar and Pestle

Naturally Med - Olive Wood Rustic Mortar and Pestle - 4.7 inch
  • Handmade from Mediterranean olive wood
  • Rustic style
  • A very hard wood, great for grinding herbs and spices
  • Approx. diameter 4.7 inches, height varies

We love our handmade Mediterranean olive wood mortar and pestle. You are getting a beautiful raw olive wood. This piece of artwork will become an essential kitchen tool while looking great on your counter. Be aware that each wood mortar and pestle is unique, and there may be differences and flaws from one to the other.

Keep in mind that the inside wooden mortar bowl has some end grain wood with a rough feel. Having a more uneven surface inside the bowl will help you grind the herbs, spices, dried mushrooms, and tea. So do not look at this as a downside; instead, embrace it and know that your flavors will shine.

If you take tons of food photos for Instagram, this olive wood mortar and pestle will be the shining star!

Dimensions: 4.75 inches x 4.75 inches x 4 inches (however, since they are hand made the size will vary)

What We Like

  • Easy to clean and care for, just rub the olive wood with olive oil every few months.
  • It is a solid and heavy-duty wooden pestle and mortar.

What We Don’t Like

  • You may have to clean up the edges; some mortars have jagged edges.
  • Some users report that shards of wood flake off while they are grinding.
  • It’s a little bit small but will work perfectly for small meals.

A Few Things to Consider Before Buying A Wood Mortar and Pestle

  • Wood may retain odors.  Odor retention is a good thing for some cuisines, but for others, it is not.
  • Many Puerto Ricans use a wooden mortar and pestle, and the flavors left behind help add layers of depth to anything you use it for. If you are using it for creating a variety of different cuisines, then you may not want Indian spices in your Mexican food and vice versa.
  • Wood has the potential to grow mold. As long as you keep your wood mortar and pestle out on a counter, it will have time to air out. If you seal up your wooden mortar and pestle in an air-tight container, then mold may grow on the surface.
  • Many wooden mortar and pestles don’t have the stone ones’ rough texture. The rough surface is what helps with the grinding and pulverizing.

The Different Types of Wooden Mortar and Pestles

  • Bamboo is a fantastic eco-friendly nontoxic material for mortar and pestle. Bamboo is grass and is more porous than hardwood, so you must be clean your bamboo mortar and pestle after each use. Otherwise, you will
  • Olive wood is a hardwood mortar, and pestle is a popular Mediterranean hardwood that makes a great wood mortar and pestle. Olive wood has small to medium pores and also accepts finishing oils well. So you can quickly seal your olive wood pestle and mortar.
  • Acacia wood, another hardwood mortar and pestle, is typical for kitchen tools because of its natural water-resistant properties. The acacia wood mortar and pestles clean up easily with soap and water.
  • Maple wood is an excellent choice for a non-porous hardwood mortar and pestle. Olive wood often is a bit “prettier,” but maple wood will make a superb mortar!

 5 Benefits Of Using A Wooden Mortar and Pestle

  • Add a layer of depth to your food by mashing various spices.
  • There is less clean-up. If you grind your food in a food processor instead of a mortar and pestle, then you will be faced with more dishes at the end.
  • Make your meals more healthy by adding fresh herbs and spices.
  • A wood mortar and pestle will look great on your counter.
  • Dedicate your wood mortar and pestle to one task. You can crush pills and easily add them to food. Or better yet, crush garlic and peppers.

4 Things To Look For In A Wooden Mortar and Pestle

  • Type of Wood: The type of wood you choose for a wood mortar and pestle will affect the color and longevity. Often the hardwoods are better for a mortar and pestle.
  • Length of Pestle Handle: You want a wood pestle handle that you can grasp. You will not pulverize your spices properly if it is too short.
  • Depth of the Bowl: The wood mortar bowl is best when it’s got some depth but with a broader base. Having this combination will allow you to see what you are pounding.
  • The heaviness of the Pestle Handle: If the pestle handle is heavy, then it will take less work to grind up your spices.

What is the Best Kind of Wood for a Mortar and Pestle?

If you don’t care about aesthetics, then maple wood is excellent for a mortar and pestle. However, olive wood has deeper tones with more unique patterns. It is up to you to select the material that suits your budget. If you are carving your mortar and pestle, just make sure you use wood with a good Janka hardness rating. In addition, you will just want to select a less porous wood so your bacteria don’t accumulate on the surface.

Does a Wooden Mortar and Pestle Work?

Yes, a wood mortar and pestle work well if you have a few select items that you want to crush and grind. However, if you have a wide variety of things you want to use, like, cardamom, garlic, ginger, chilis, avocados, and many combinations of hard and soft items, then go for the stone mortar and pestles. Sometimes a wooden pestle and mortar will hold flavors. Hence dedicate the mortar and pestle to specific flavor profiles; you don’t want the taste of chili peppers with your cinnamon and vanilla. A wood mortar and pestle allows you to crush fresh ingredients; you can add these to recipes for depth of flavor. Make sure to get a large wooden mortar and pestle if you are crushing more than a few tablespoons of ingredients.

Wood Mortar and Pestle Care

  • Wash the wood mortar and pestle with only soap and water.
  • Do not put a wooden mortar and pestle into the dishwasher.
  • Use an absorbent towel (either paper or cloth) to remove most water.
  • Take another dry towel and pat the entire wooden mortar and pestle down.
  • Let it air dry in a well-ventilated area.
  • Once it’s dry, rub it with olive oil or any other food-grade oil of your choice.

We have an entire article with more in-depth ideas on cleaning a mortar and pestle.

How Do You Seal a Wooden Mortar and Pestle?

First, wash your new wooden mortar and pestle with dish soap and water. Dry it off with a few paper towels, then air dry in a place that gets a lot of circulation. The next step is to rub it with olive oil or food-grade mineral oil. Doing this will seal any openings or minuscule holes in the wood. Usually, the pores in the wood are so tiny that you cannot see them with the naked eye.

Conclusion for the Best Wooden Mortar and Pestle

You can’t go wrong with a wooden mortar and pestle. However, if you want to buy one of these beautiful items, there are many options. A wood mortar and pestle will last for years with the proper care. The only downside is that you cannot clean it in the dishwasher, so plan to spend some extra time cleaning it by hand. Therefore, you may want to stick with a granite mortar and pestle.

The best wood mortar and pestle are just what you need for those home chefs who want to add some deep flavors to your recipes. We have been using one for over ten years now with no signs of wear or tear. And if it can take us this long without breaking, I’m sure it will be able to withstand any kitchen task that comes its way! So whether you want something small enough to travel with or big enough for cooking at home, our guide will help!