Best 10 Pepper Mills
As Of July 2022
We did the
Savour Your Food’s Flavours With The Best Pepper Mills
Are you looking to get the best out of your pepper? The top kitchen tools, amongst kitchen scales and chopping boards, to invest in are pepper mills. Every pro chef will tell you that pepper freshly ground provides the best flavours. And the best way to grind it painlessly is with a grinder, whether it is manual or uses AA batteries.
Add it to your cookware collection and you can finally say goodbye to the tasteless powdered spices. You can grind more than just pepper! Think of the coarse sea salt sitting in your storage cabinet. Or other spices you would like to use, like cumin and oregano.
Because choosing the best option from the vast selection of pepper mills requires a little more insight into what matters, our buying guide is here to fill all the gaps. From the price ranges to expect as you shop to the grinder working mechanisms and types of pepper mills.
What is a Pepper Mill?
Whole peppercorns require a little extra grinding for that finer grind you need to cook with. This is where a pepper mill comes in. They are grinding containers you use for crushing peppercorns. With most models, you fill the container with corns of pepper, close and twist the knob to grind the spices. Yes, you can use a mortar, but pepper mills are less strenuous and allow you to fine-tune the fineness of the spice to your liking.
Why do you need a Pepper Mill?
For many who prefer any convenience in the kitchen, having to grab grounded spices rather than spending a minute more grinding pepper sounds like the best way to go about your meals. But, here’s why you need to invest in a grinder:
Enjoy Flavourful Food
Fresh spices, including pepper, provide a tangy taste than the powdery supermarket counterparts. Once the pepper has been ground and packed, they lose much of its flavour. You do not have to deal with bland spiced foods when using fresh pepper.
While the powdery pepper is cheaper than the peppercorns, you end up spending more money on it in the long run. Remember that the fresh pepper is spicier, meaning you will use less of it to get the desired level of flavour than you would with the powdery option. As you chase that flavour with the powder pepper, you will be running out of pepper sooner than you expect and make more purchases.
What to look for when buying a Pepper Mill
With the many pepper grinder choices, choosing the best one can be a tad bit overwhelming. So here's what you need to pay close attention to:
The most common mill materials are wood, metal, acrylic and plastic. Wood is pretty durable, especially if you are a clumsy cook. Or you have young ones and are worried they might drop the mill. But it is hard to clean.
Another durable option is the metallic mills made from aluminium, copper, steel and other metals. These will also enhance your kitchen aesthetics, but they are heavier and prone to rust if not well cared for.
Plastic is cheaper than metal and wooden mills and very much simpler to maintain. Nevertheless, they are brittle and might crack over time. Also, the plastic options come in various colours, and some manufacturers incorporate steel in the design for a sleek look.
2. Grinding Mechanism
This comes in four material types, stainless steel, carbon steel, ceramic and acrylic. The latter is less inferior and far less durable than the previous types. It should be your last resort if you are working on a budget and don’t mind replacing the mill a few months down the line. It also lacks consistency. The former types will deliver consistent results, but ceramic tends to be more delicate than steel.
3. Electric vs Manual
A manual mill might have a knob or a crack, while with electric or battery-powered models, you just have to push the start button, and it grinds the pepper for you. For those with hand issues or who don't want to struggle with the repetitive grinding motion, an electric mill would be a great choice. Although some electric versions have different grind settings, you might still be compromising on consistency.
4. Adjustable Coarseness
A mill worth its salt allows you to adjust the grind's coarseness. With this, you can always choose how fine you want the pepper to meet different meal requirements.
It all depends on how busy your kitchen is. Are you a home cook with a small to medium-sized household, or are you cooking in bulk regularly? Naturally, the more you cook, the larger the capacity you need. But, if yours is a small home run kitchen for regular home meals, a small or medium-sized mill is perfect. It ensures your whole peppercorns won't sit in the mill longer than they should and be victims of oxidation.
6. Ease of Refilling
Mills with a large opening make it easy for you to refill peppercorns without making a mess. The narrower the opening, the harder and longer it will take to refill.
Apart from the size of the opening, look at the refilling mechanism and see which one works better for you. Some mills have a chute that you pop open on the side and refill without removing the mill's head. Others have a screw-off design where you have to remove its head completely for the refill. There are also mills you have to turn upside down because the grinding mechanism is at the top and the refilling feature is at the bottom.
Why is freshly ground pepper better than pre-ground pepper?
Pre-ground pepper is pretty convenient, but in paying for this, you are sacrificing the quality. Once ground, the oxidation process begins, ultimately affecting the potency of the spice. You usually have no idea how far along the oxidation process the pre-ground pepper you are picking is. The longer it has been packaged, the weaker its potency. And, the less potent the pepper is, the more you need to use.
That's why grinding your fresh batch of pepper whenever you need it is a culinary trick every spice aficionado knows. And you do not have to break a sweat with pestle and mortar, thanks to the widely available pepper grinders. With pepper freshly ground, you can finally stop using stale spices and save some money while at it.
How much should you spend on a Pepper Mill?
Pepper mills are very affordable, ranging from affordable models of just £9 to £50 for the expensive ones. Regardless of the low price point, some of these models will have an extra accessory, like a cleaning brush. Others come as a set of two grinders.
The pricier models are mostly from renowned brands and could still be manual grinders with the same features as affordable models. The design could also set them apart, with the more expensive models having a more aesthetic look. As you consider the best budget point, think of features that models on either side of the scale provide.
Grab your apron and get a fresh batch of whole peppercorns! It is time to unlock your culinary skills with the best pepper mills. Every meal is an opportunity to use fresh spices. Grind them to your preferred perfection by changing the coarseness of the grind in all our hand-picked options. Plus, with our buying guide, you will know what exactly to watch out for! Ready to level up your cooking?