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Kitchen Tip: How to Use a Mortar and Pestle

Kitchen Tip: How to use a mortar and pestle from Go Gingham

If there’s one item I use almost daily in the kitchen, it’s my mortar and pestle. I didn’t even know what it was for when I first got it and it sat in my cupboard collecting dust until I tried to make salad dressing. Once I mashed that garlic with salt, that was my AHA! moment – so that’s what a mortar and pestle is used for!

While a mortar and pestle does have other uses – crushing or grinding spices – 99% of the time I use it for making a really nice and smooth garlic-y base.

Kitchen Tip: How to Use a Mortar and Pestle

This couldn’t be easier to do and if you have kids, they’ll love helping with this activity.

  1. Take 1 or 2 garlic cloves and peel them.
  2. Place garlic cloves in mortar and pestle.
  3. Add 1-teaspoon of kosher salt. (I like the kosher salt by Morton.)
  4. Mash garlic and sea salt together until you have a smooth paste. This takes about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Scoop out paste with a spoon to add to recipe.

Cleaning and maintenance…

There’s very little cleaning and maintenance required. (It’s like cooking with cast iron – another of my favorites in the kitchen!) Do a thorough job of scooping the paste out with a spoon and store the mortar and pestle in your cupboard. If you really want to clean it, just a little water and sponge, then dry.

Kitchen Tip: How to use a mortar and pestle from Go Gingham

This mashed garlic-y paste is the base for making salad dressings and marinades. Mix it with butter that’s room temperature and you’ve got garlic bread in your future. The possibilities are endless. You may also find that you don’t need to add additional salt to your cooking after adding this initial teaspoon. The flavor of the garlic and salt mixed together is heavenly. Plus, you can get a little aggression out while mashing.

While you can spend a lot of money on a mortar and pestle, I recently purchased a marble one for a friend at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It was a very reasonable price.

 Do you use a mortar and pestle? Does it help get your kitchen aggravation out?

Go Gingham related links:

Why I cook with dried beans – complete with money saving chart!
Very easy and tasty white bean dip
After school snacks that involve beans – and no small packages
How our freezer gets used – what I keep in our freezer and how I utilize the space
Homemade chocolate chip cookies – I swear these are almost health food!

5 thoughts on “Kitchen Tip: How to Use a Mortar and Pestle

    1. Emily, try it and see! With garlic and salt, you really can’t go wrong. I really like how tasty this makes my food and if you’d rather mash than mince, I say go for it! 🙂


  1. Sara – You’ve inspired me to finally by a mortar and pestle. I used one at a Thai cooking class awhile ago and loved it but I didn’t realize all the uses there are for this. I’ve been looking at one at Ikea that is super reasonable so will have to pick it up the next time I’m there. Thank you 🙂


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