How to season a mortar & pestle

Written by cynthia measom
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to season a mortar & pestle
Know what a mortar and pestle is made of before buying it. (Stone mortar isolated image by Supertrooper from

For those who enjoy the art of cooking, a mortar and pestle is often a staple in the kitchen. Instead of using a food processor, many cooks reach for the mortar and pestle as a way to grind up grains, herbs and other foods to release their natural oils and enhance their flavour. Before using these particular tools for the first time, it is important to season them to avoid any unwanted flavours, deter sticking and smooth what might be an excessively rough grinding surface.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Water
  • Stiff cleaning brush
  • 1/3 cup of uncooked rice
  • 4 peeled cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Clean the mortar and pestle under running water with a stiff cleaning brush. Allow to air dry.

  2. 2

    Place 1/3 cup of uncooked rice in the mortar and grind it into the surface with the pestle until the rice is pulverised. The colour of the pulverised rice should be white once you finish grinding it. Discard the rice.

  3. 3

    Place four peeled cloves of garlic and a teaspoon each of cumin, kosher salt and pepper into the mortar.

  4. 4

    Grind the ingredients into the surface of the mortar with the pestle until all the ingredients are pulverised together. Discard the ingredients.

  5. 5

    Rinse the mortar and pestle under running water. Allow to air dry before storing.

Tips and warnings

  • Mortar and pestle sets that are labelled "pre-seasoned" do not need to be seasoned.
  • Seasoning is a one-time process. Once you do it, you won't need to repeat it.
  • Before buying a mortar and pestle, make sure you know the material from which it is made. Those made from basalt or other natural stones make the best ones. Yet, some vendors sell mortar and pestles made from inferior materials that are painted to look like basalt. These inferior materials often will leave sand or dust when used and contaminate your food.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.