The Kitchen Tool That Will Elevate Your Meals
When recipes tell you to "season with salt and freshly ground black pepper,” the “freshly ground” part is important. Whole peppercorns contain volatile oils that are released when the peppercorn is cracked. Like coffee beans, the oils dissipate quickly, so the flavor decreases over time.
For the freshest taste and aroma, we recommend a pepper mill. A pepper mill, also referred to as a pepper grinder, works by grinding peppercorns through burrs to create fragments. It allows you to grind peppercorns to order, as well as to choose your grind size from fine to coarse. A mill lets you bring the most fragrant, peppery kick to dishes like Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin or Pepper-Maple-Glazed Pork Chops.
Which pepper grinder is the best?
In the Good Housekeeping Institute's Kitchen Appliance Lab, we put 10 pepper mills to the test. We used more than 4 1/2 cups of peppercorns to fill each to their maximum capacity. We compared their performance by controlling the amount of time we ground on the fine setting, medium setting and coarse setting. We weighed the output of each setting to help gauge how long it would take to season foods and measure for recipes. We then tested whether the grinder could return to the fine setting with ease, or if the coarse grounds got stuck and made the adjustment difficult. Our tests yielded 36 grams of ground pepper—a lot when you consider that 1/2 gram would likely be quite generous on your morning eggs!
We also considered the weight of the grinder itself, the ease of operation and whether the grind sizes were preset or manually selected. Our recommendations include manual and electric picks as well as some new grinding styles. Here are the best pepper mills and grinders you can buy in 2021:
- Best Overall Pepper Grinder: OXO Good Grips Contoured Mess-Free Pepper Grinder
- Best Manual Pepper Mill: Peugeot Paris u’Select Pepper Mill
- Best Electric Pepper Mill: Cuisinart Rechargeable Salt, Pepper and Spice Mill
- Largest Capacity Pepper Mill: Unicorn Mills 9-Inch Magnum Plus Pepper Mill
- Best One-Handed Pepper Grinder: Dreamfarm Ortwo
- Best Pepper Grinder for Grinding Large Batches Quickly: OXO Good Grips Radial Pepper Grinder
- Best Ergonomic Pepper Grinder: Kuhn Rikon Essential Adjustable Ratchet Grinder
The best picks for freshly ground black pepper.