Freshly ground pepper goes well with many delicious dishes, both traditional or vegetarian. Used to spice a wide range of foods, pepper is without a doubt at its most flavorful when it’s fresh, thus why pepper mills are so widespread. Many of those who try freshly ground pepper understand immediately just how better pepper can be this way rather than the pre-packaged spices most people generally use.
Because pepper loses its flavor when packaged already ground, experienced cooks always prefer to grind it themselves. To do that on the go, you need a pepper mill of sorts, a small tool that you can operate with relative ease and which you can store pretty much anywhere. It should be said, however, that pepper mills can differ quite a lot from one another in terms of size, design, and overall efficiency. To give you a general idea of what the market has to offer, we put together a list of the ten best pepper mills out there for you to look at.
Best Pepper Mills – Reviews
10Peugeot Paris Chef u’Select
Featuring a high-quality brushed stainless steel finish, the Peugeot Paris Chef u’Select is a premium grade pepper mill made in France. Equipped with two rows of helix-shaped teeth that uniformly grind and hold the peppercorns, it aims to release the unique flavor and aroma of each peppercorn by cracking it before grinding. Resistant to corrosion and damage, it comes with a special outer coating that protects the steel. Thanks to its adjustable ring with 6 different settings, you get to choose the coarseness of your grind which can go from powder fine to coarse.
9UMIKAkitchen SYNCHKG 087844 Kitchen Pepper Mill
Featuring a sublime oak finish, this pepper mill from UMIKAkitchen is a professional grade tool that comes equipped with adjustable grinding settings. Easy to operate and refill, this grinder is designed with a rust-proof ceramic grinding mechanism without any plastic. Equipped with a stainless steel nut on the top of the grinder, it can be turned and adjusted to change the consistency and texture of pepper required – this can either be from a coarse consistency to a fine powder.
8OXO Good Grips Lily Pepper Mill
Uniquely crafted with an elegant, modern design, the OXO Good Grips Lily Pepper Mill is known for its high quality, durability, and performance. Made from a single piece of beechwood, this seamless pepper mill is resistant to corrosion and helps in releasing the aromatic flavors and natural oils from peppercorns before cracking and grinding. Tall and slim, this grinder can hold up to 48 grams of pepper at a time. Featuring a contoured knob at the top, it allows easy grinding with a comfortable grip. Equipped with a tab on the top of the grinder, it can be adjusted to change the consistency of pepper from coarse to fine.
7Fletchers’ Mill Federal Pepper Mill
Easy to operate and refill, the Fletchers’ Mill Federal Pepper Mill is an ideal grinding tool that is designed for amateur cooks as well as professionals. Thanks to its specially designed lock and grind mechanism, it gives the user complete control while ensuring you get a perfect consistency. Crafted to provide various levels of fineness, this device first crushes the peppercorns, releasing its aromas and flavors and then ground to the selected consistency. Featuring a pop-out system, it is easy to clean and refill whenever necessary. Made from premium quality wood and metal, it is durable, light in weight and extremely classy.
6Zassenhaus Speyer Dark Stained Beech Pepper Mill
Constructed with 100% high-quality solid beech wood, the Zassenhaus Speyer Dark Stained Beech Pepper Mill sports a 100-year-old design with a CeraPlus German ceramic grinding mechanism. Resistant to corrosion and harder than carbon steel, it offers durability and reliability and is high performing. Featuring 6 grinding selections, it can grind peppercorns from a coarse consistency to powder fine while ensuring the natural aroma and flavors are retained. Easy to operate yet unlike newer pepper mills, this one requires that you turn the crank for grinding purposes.
5Pepper Mill Imports Atlas Pepper Mill
Made with an all-metal copper construction, this Atlas Pepper Mill from Pepper Mill Imports is a heavy-duty, durable item that features a strong steel grinding mechanism. Crafted to grind pepper as per your liking, it aims at enhancing the natural flavor and aroma of your peppercorns, providing you with flavorful ground pepper as often as you wish. The grinding mechanism comes with an adjustable setting that allows you to grind fine to coarse pepper. Thanks to its flanged base, it provides optimum stability and is stylish enough to be placed on any tabletop or buffet.
4Olde Thompson Hotel Wood Pepper Mill
The Olde Thompson Hotel Wood Pepper Mill is a 17-inch grinding tool made with high-quality walnut stained wood. Adjustable with various settings, it features a carbon steel grinding mechanism that can grind coarse to fine textures by simply turning the nut on the top of the grinder. Highly recommended by popular hotels and restaurants all across the globe, it is ideal for home and professional use. Sleek, stylish, and durable, it will enhance your tabletop, while giving you fragrant, well-ground pepper for your meals at all times.
3Cole & Mason Capstan Wood Pepper Grinder
Featuring a premium grade precision mechanism made from high-quality machine cut carbon steel, the Cole & Mason Capstan Wood Pepper Grinder provides a smooth and easy turn. Designed with a metal knob on the top, select and adjust the consistency of pepper you would like, which would include coarse granules to a powdery consistency. Tall and sleek, this pepper grinder is crafted with an all wood design with superior weight and balance. Stylish, durable, and high performing, this grinding device will give your dinner table that special touch of elegance many modern kitchens require.
2OXO Pepper Grinder
Unlike most pepper mills out there, the OXO Pepper Grinder comes pre-filled with good quality peppercorns and is ready to use. Featuring a corrosion resistant grinding mechanism made from high-quality ceramic, it helps release the natural oils, flavors, and aromas of the peppercorns. With an easy to use grinder setting, it can be adjusted from coarse to fine by a simple slider. Thanks to its transparent body made from clear acrylic, it is easy to indicate when it is time for the grinder to be refilled. Not just that but the grinder is also considered one of the most maneuverable out there on account of its ingenious design.
1OXO Good Grips Lewis Pepper Mill
The OXO Good Grips Lewis Pepper Mill is an easy-to-use, lightweight, portable grinding device. Featuring a long arm that rotates surprisingly smooth, it makes grinding easy and effortless. Equipped with a high-quality ceramic grinding mechanism, it can be easily adjusted to grind peppercorns from a coarse consistency to a fine, powdery texture. Thanks to its large-sized knob at the top of the rotatable arm, it makes it easy to grip and turn and is resistant to slipping. It also comes with a transparent door that enables easy visibility of the number of peppercorns remaining, so that you can refill it when necessary.
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What To Look For In A Pepper Mill
Even though you shouldn’t have too many issues finding a decent pepper mill if you go looking, the chances that you’ll get a really good one are kind of small given how diverse the offer is and how many such mills the market has to offer. What you want instead is to first find out what characteristics best recommend a pepper mill so that you’ll know precisely what to look for when buying one. For starters, you should understand that pepper mills differ from one another on account of their design and particularities. To be more precise, here is what the perfect pepper mill should look like:
The first thing to consider when buying a pepper mill is how sturdy it is and how comfortable it is when you’re gripping it. Given that you will have to hold it rather tightly when using it, you want one that’s just as easy to use as it is easy to hold. Bear in mind that top-heavy versions are rather difficult to hold which makes them prone to tipping over and losing all of their contents. A decent pepper mill should possess non-slip grips paired with an ergonomic design to prevent any accidental slips.
Another thing you want to consider is how easily it can grind out fresh pepper when needed. With manual mills, in particular, the idea is to produce a lot of ground pepper in a timely fashion. With an electric version, you might be forced to wait up to a whole minute to barely get enough pepper for a small pot of food. In this respect, manual mills with a decent crank are preferable to an electric model for practical reasons.
It isn’t just the cranking that should worry you but the actual grinding as well. In principle, a decent pepper mill must be easy to operate regardless of what grinding mechanisms it employs, especially if it’s an electric version. Manual models are widespread because people can crank them up for as long as they need in order to grind not just pepper but other similar spices, a versatility that electric models sometimes do not have. However, for people who for one reason or another cannot operate the manual grinder, an electric grinder might be the thing to choose.
You also want to ensure that the mill can be easily filled with peppercorns or any other spice source of your choosing. It is common for these devices to have small openings that enable users to safely insert the peppercorns in a quick fashion. Having said that, let us point out that electric mills usually require that you remove the battery pack in order to fuel the mill with whatever spices you want it to grind. Other than that, try to get a mill with a big enough chamber for the peppercorns so that you won’t have to constantly replenish it.
The grinding mechanism needs to be equally efficient and reliable regardless of the type of pepper you need it to grind. If possible, try to avoid grinding mechanisms made of softer materials like nylon, because these mechanisms are more prone to breaking down. Instead, try to get a pepper mill with a ceramic grinder or even steel if you don’t mind the extra weight. A good pepper mill should possess a grinding mechanism that will process other spices as well as pepper.
Keep in mind that you may not always buy the same type of pepper, nor will you have the certainty that each batch enjoys the same texture and rigidity. This means that a lesser pepper mill might not be able to grind specific types of pepper, whether it’s too hard or too soft. The ability to produce consistent grinds is specific to high-end, quality pepper mills, which is why you need to read up on as many reviews as you can before committing to a purchase.
- The Design – Some people prefer pepper mills that don’t just work well but mills that also possess certain aesthetic attributes. If you’re conscious about a pepper mill’s design, then perhaps you should get one that you can easily replace when needed, or several that you can rotate on a regular basis. Seeing how many people prefer to grind pepper straight at the table, it kind of makes sense for the pepper mill to be pretty to look at.
- The Operation – With most traditional pepper mills being manually operated, people have come to expect newer versions to possess the same mechanisms. Not many people understand that new, high-end pepper mills can also be battery-operated and retain their compact form. You can also go for a rechargeable model, one that you can use without putting any effort into it. Such a pepper mill might not even be too expensive provided that you scout the market thoroughly.
- The Versatility – People often want pepper mills that they can repurpose on a moment’s notice. In other words, many are those who buy pepper mills that can be used to grind a lot more than just pepper. You will find that many of the good ones also handle other spices or even salt, just as long as the texture of the spices isn’t that much different. Keep in mind that pepper mills with metal grinding mechanisms are prone to certain issues if you use them to grind salt.