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Buying mortar and pestle

Mortar and pestle, or molcajete and tejolote, as they call them, are used frequently in Mexican cuisine.


Adding a mortar and pestle, or molcajete and tejolote, is a wonderful way to incorporate simplicity, flavor and ambience into your kitchen as well as your meals. If you enjoy Mexican cuisine or just want to take advantage of fresh foods, consider adding this easy to use kitchen tool. Don’t let its simplicity fool you. For the best results, you’ll need to know what to look for when buying a Molcajete. This is another one of those items where one size does not fit all.

What to look for when buying a mortar and pestle

Here are a few things to consider before buying a molcajete and tejolote or mortar and pestle set.

Price – The price can vary, depending on the material from which the molcajete and tejolote are made and the size you choose. Molcajete sets typically range from $10 to $60.

Construction – A molcajete and tejolote set can be made from a variety of substances. Traditionally, they are made from volcanic stone but can also be made from granite, stainless steel, glass and ceramic as well as other materials. Some of these materials stain easily so are not recommended for frequent use. The key to choosing the construction material is to think about the importance of durability and frequency of use.

Dimensions/Capacity – If you plan to use this manual grinding set on a daily basis, you may not need a large capacity molcajete, or bowl. If your goal is to grind items in bulk, the larger bowl may be your better option. The three compared below range from 3/4 cup to 4 cups.

Weight – While heavier mortar and pestle sets tend to be more durable and authentic, they can literally be a pain to move. If you have arthritis or other problems lifting 10 pounds, you may want to choose a light-weight version.

Product Care – Depending on the material your molcajete set is made from, you may have a bit of extra work to do in order to clean and maintain your grinder set. For instance, you may need to season the set before initial use or may need to clean it by hand rather than use the dishwasher.

Extras – Some manufacturers may include a recipe book, care booklet, or storage pouch to help you maintain the integrity of your grinding set.

Comparison chart of features and consumer performance ratings


Vasconia Granite

RSVP Endurance
Authentic Molcajete




Volcanic Stone

Stainless Steel


7.1 x 7.1 x 3.5 inches
4 Cup

3 x 3 x 3 inches
3/4 Cup

4.1 x 4.1 x 2.4 inches
1 Cup


10 pounds

13 pounds

1.2 pounds

Dishwasher safe





Recipes & Care booklet

Non-Woven Protection Pouch

In order to get authentic flavor or take advantage of fresh ingredients, sometimes you need to use traditional tools and food preparation methods. When it comes to grinding nuts, seeds, herbs and spices on a daily basis, you just can’t beat a molcajete and tejolote set.

However, if you buy in bulk to save money, you may have a significant amount of grinding to do. In this case, you may prefer to save the wear and tear on your muscles and joints by using an electric grinder.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of what to look for when shopping for a molcajete set or manual grinder.

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