how to use a spice grinder

Grinding spices at home comes with a range of benefits compared to purchasing pre-ground spices in the store. Freshly ground spices are significantly more flavourful, and they can also help save you money and enhance your overall cooking abilities.

Fortunately, using manual and electric grinders at home can be quite simple if you know what you are doing. This article will teach you how to use a spice grinder so you can start improving your recipes today.

How to Use Your Spice Grinder

We have provided separate detailed instructions on using a manual and an electric spice grinder to make it clear and simple.

How Do You Use a Manual Spice Grinder?

manual grinding devices

The most traditional type of manual device used to grind spices is a mortar and pestle. While a mortar and pestle can be fairly adaptable and sturdy, a real spice grinder will give you a more consistent grind in a shorter period of time. These instructions are for more modern types of burr grinders. They are often similar to a pepper mill but can also be larger and feature a rotating handle.

Step 1: Put the Spices in the Grinder

Unscrew or open the spice compartment and add the spices you want to grind. Ensure not to overfill the compartment, or you could have issues grinding. Replace the lid.

If you are using a spice grinder that is designed like a pepper grinder, remember that the tighter you screw the cap back on, the finer your ground spices will be.

Step 2: Twist the Mill or Handle

Once the lid is secure, start turning the handle or twisting the mill. Twist several times to begin grinding your whole spices.

If you are using a mill style spice grinder, you can save yourself some time and simply hold the grinder over your dish or mixing bowl, so it adds the spices to your recipe in real-time.

Step 3: Adjust the Grind Consistency

After you make a few rotations, we recommend checking the grind consistency to ensure it is correct. If your grind is too fine or too coarse, adjust accordingly.

With a pepper grinder style device, this is particularly important. If you want a finer grind, tighten the cap. If you want a coarser grind, loosen the twist on the cap.

Step 4: Continue Twisting Until Complete

Continue turning the handle or twisting the mill until all of your spices have been ground. You might need to empty the spice compartment depending on the type of spice grinder you’re using. Either way, your freshly ground spices should be ready to use.

How Do You Use an Electric Spice Grinder?

You may be familiar with the most common electric spice grinder, also known as a coffee bean grinder. These electric spice grinders are great for grinding spice into any texture, from coarse to fine powders.

Pro Tip: Many spice grinders designed for grinding coffee can also be used for grinding spices. However, we recommend you have a coffee grinder dedicated to coffee beans specifically because the oils on the coffee beans will most likely penetrate your spices and give them a coffee flavour.

Step 1: Put the Spices in the Grinder

Open the spice compartment, typically located on the top of the device, and add the spices you want to grind. Don’t overfill the compartment. Otherwise, you will likely get an inconsistent grind or clog the blades. Replace the lid.

Step 2: Press Down and Hold the Lid in Place

Firmly hold the lid in place and press the power button. Many electric spice grinders feature lid-activated power. If your specific spice grinder has it, press down on the lid, and the blades inside the device will start to spin. Take care to keep the device upright the entire time you grind spices.

Step 3: Grind Until You Reach the Ideal Consistency

Continue pressing the power button until you reach the desired consistency. Check every few seconds to make sure you are on track. You will want to hold the power button down for longer for fine powders. To achieve a more consistent powder or grind overall, you may even want to gently shake the compartment during the grinding process.

Step 4: Remove and Use the Ground Spices

Once the desired grind consistency is achieved, remove your freshly ground spice from the compartment and use however you like. Often, the easiest way to empty the compartment is to flip the jar upside down. Make sure you have a bowl or plate underneath to catch the finished product. Place any excess spices in an airtight container.

Additional Spice Grinder Considerations

Is Using a Spice Grinder Worth It?

Aside from being easy and fast, spice grinders offer several benefits for cooking delicious foods. Of course, being easy and fast is often enough of a reason for many people. Here are some other benefits of owning a spice grinder.


Depending on the size of your spice grinder, you should be able to grind both large and small spices, including cinnamon sticks. Such versatility opens up a wide range of new recipe ideas.

Custom-Made Blends

With a spice grinder, you will be able to easily make your own spice mixes. You can even use different spices simultaneously to help reduce prep time. If you choose to store a small amount of spices, having a signature blend on hand can also significantly shorten your overall prep time in the kitchen.

Better Flavour

A few pinches of freshly ground spices can add more flavour than the same amount of dried pre-ground spices. This is particularly obvious with potent spices like pre-ground coriander. In fact, with most recipes, it will be quite obvious whether you used dried or freshly ground spices.

Ease of Cleaning

Whether you own a manual or electric grinder, cleaning this appliance is also quick and straightforward. Routine maintenance should only take a few seconds, and when done regularly, you can avoid a deep cleaning for quite some time.

What Can You Put in a Spice Grinder?

Having a spice grinder may sound great. But what can you put in a spice grinder? Let’s take a look.

You can put small quantities of whole spices, hard spices, dry spices, and dry herbs. Some spice grinders can even grind fresh herbs and spices and other wet ingredients like fresh garlic.

Spice grinders can grind:

  • Dry spices
  • Cumin seeds
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Sugar
  • Coffee beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

What Spices Will You Grind First?

Whether you choose to utilise an electric or manual grinder, milling your own fresh herbs and spices is incredibly simple, takes only a few moments, and helps add a significant amount of flavour to your recipes. After learning about the grinding process and how to use a spice grinder, whole spices won’t stand a chance in your kitchen.

Do you think owning a mini grinder dedicated to spices is worth it? Considering the added flavour alone, we certainly do. Trust us, and your taste buds will thank you.

Do you own a spice grinder at home? And what do you regularly use it for? Let us know what is your go-to spice in the comments below.

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