Is there a kitchen in the land that doesn’t need a pepper mill? We don’t think so.
Pepper was once so valuable that wars were fought over it, and while, thankfully, you won’t have to fight for a serving of the precious spice today, it’s still an essential component of nearly every savory dish.
Picking a pepper mill, however, isn’t entirely straightforward. There’s a lot of choice out there and some pepper mills simply aren’t up to the task of grinding pepper effectively without breaking.
So, we decided to find the best mill (or mills) to help you in your quest for the perfect pepper mill. There’s no sneezing at our top picks!
Best Classic Pepper Mill | Peugeot 23485 Paris u’Select Pepper Mill
While it ought to also win a prize for the most ridiculous name for a pepper mill in history, this is an excellent choice if you like the traditional Italian-style pepper mill.
It comes in a variety of sizes (we recommend the 9-inch version for standard family use) so that you can always get a great grind.
You can also get a matching salt grinder in this range if you want to use it on the table for you and your family or guests.
Best Modern Pepper Mill | Cole & Mason Stainless Steel Derwent Pepper Mill
This is a super stylish pepper mill which looks at home in the kitchen of the future. The two-stage grinding process it utilizes really releases the flavor of the peppercorns too.
A lifetime warrant and stainless steel construction seals the deal for us. It’s awesome.
Best Electric Pepper Mill | Electric Gravity Pepper Grinder or Salt Mill
We wouldn’t spend a fortune on an electric mill because they always need replacing when the blades wear out. This mill is the perfect balance between function and value.
We love the ease of use of this model. The coarseness settings for your freshly ground pepper is also very intuitive.
We also like the fact that it can be turned over to handle salt too.
What You Need To Know Before Selecting The Best Pepper Mill For Your Family
It may look like a simple device but there’s quite a lot of complexity under the surface of a pepper mill.
Here are the important variables to take into account when choosing a pepper mill.
- The aesthetics: What will go best in your kitchen? The classic Italian pepper mill or a modern glass and chrome one? Taste matters and given that pepper mills aren’t all that expensive, you can always find something that’s right for your style.
- The capacity: Which is almost always the same as “the size”, though some mills are huge and still don’t take all that many peppercorns. While peppercorns do last for ages, it’s better to have fresh pepper than centuries old pepper too – think about how much use you’ll get out of it before you buy.
- The flexibility: You can turn some pepper mills into other forms of grinder when they’re not in use. This can be really handy though in our house, it’s irrelevant – there’s never a time when our pepper mill doesn’t have peppercorns in it.
- The potential longevity: Basically, the better engineered your grinder is, the longer it will last.
- Electric or hand cranked: Some chefs swear by electric pepper mills and others want to grind it themselves. We fall, mainly, into the latter camp but can agree that an electric pepper mill can come in really handy at times especially if you’ve only got one free hand at the time. You can also ensure a precise amount of pepper when using a top of the line electronic grinder – something which is much harder to do with a hand grinder.
- Ease of refill-ability: See through models make it easy to know when you need to refill them. We’d also suggest dissembling one before you buy it so you know how easy it is to refill.
Note: If your pepper grinder doesn’t appear sharp when you receive it, it’s probably because your peppercorns are a little moist. Place them in a bowl and throw them in a microwave for 20-30 seconds on full power and then stick them back in the grinder and try again.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your pepper mills – they’re all quite different and going astray could break the pepper mill or in some cases, even leave it rusting inside which is not healthy at all.
One thing everyone should know is that a salt grinder is not the same as a pepper grinder. Filling your grinder with salt is going to wreck it. There are some grinders which use a special ceramic blade that can handle both salt and pepper but most can’t. So, don’t do it.
Last Word on Pepper Mills
Only you can decide on the best mill for your family. There are endless options out there.
We recommend that you buy a quality pepper mill which will last a long time and that you love the look of!
For additional research on the best kitchen tools for the home cook don’t miss this: 50+ Best Kitchen Gadgets.