Le Creuset Pepper Mill in Oyster
Credit: Bed Bath & Beyond

The Best Pepper Grinders for Fresh and Flavorful Ground Spices

Put that pre-ground pepper back on the shelf, the Peugeot Pepper Mill is the way to go.
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Peppers grinders are arguably one of the most important tools to have in your kitchen. After all, nearly every recipe calls for salt and pepper, and you probably use it every time you cook. That's why selecting an effective spice grinder—and not just a plastic one from the grocery store—is so integral for everyday cooking.

Knowing which pepper grinder to select can be confusing. There are so many choices and price points to consider: Do you opt for the standard wooden mill or select the stainless steel one that's comfortable to hold and easy to turn? 

To narrow down the options, we've rounded up the best pepper grinders for everyday use, from wooden classics to automated electric grinders. Overall, the classic Peugeot 9-Inch Pepper Mill outranked the rest for its versatility, sleek design and two-stage grinding system that produces fresh, flavorful ground pepper. Read on for more of our favorite grinders, and find out why these handy gadgets mean we'll never buy pre-ground pepper again. 

Our Top Picks

Credit: Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Best Overall: Peugeot Paris u'Select 9-Inch Pepper Mill

View at Williams Sonoma ($70)

Pros: This professional-quality pepper grinder lets you pick from six coarseness settings, which gives the user more control over the intensity of flavor and freshness.

Cons: This grinder is specifically designed for peppercorns, so it shouldn't be used for other types of spices. 

Thanks to its special design, this grinder from Peugeot cracks each peppercorn without crushing it, helping to maintain maximum flavor in every piece.

Made from beechwood sourced from French forests, this gadget has a sleek, iconic design. It utilizes a stainless steel inner body for its two-stage pepper grinding mechanism that cracks each peppercorn first before grinding. Users can choose from six grind sizes to reach their desired coarseness by turning the ring at the bottom of the mill. For best results, Peugeot recommends only filling the grinder with dry, hard, whole peppercorns that are 1/4-inch or less in diameter.    

  • Grind settings: 6
  • Material: Wood body with stainless steel grind system
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Value: Modetro Salt and Pepper Shakers with Silicone Stand

View at Amazon ($19)

Pros: This large-capacity set holds extra salt and pepper so you can go longer between refills. The two pieces come with a handy base for increased organization at an affordable price.

Cons: Larger capacity bottles means spices have more time to sit in between uses, which could result in a decrease of freshness. 

Keep all your salt and pepper in one place with this set, complete with a silicone standing base that ensures organization in the kitchen. The grinding mechanism, which sits on the top of each mill, can be adjusted to produce fine, medium, and coarse salt and pepper. Each individual grinder holds up to 3/4-cup of salt and pepper, so you can go longer between refills. Plus, the sealing lid locks in flavors and keeps salt and peppercorns fresher for longer. 

  • Grind settings: 3
  • Material: Ceramic grinder with stainless steel lid

Related: 25 Top-Rated Kitchen Products Under $25 Every Home Cook Should Own

Best Stainless Steel Pepper Grinder: OXO Accent Mess-Free Pepper Grinder

View at Oxo ($28)

Pros: Nonslip grips make this easy to hold and use, and a stainless steel lid helps lock in freshness.

Cons: Though this pepper grinder is simple and sleek, it isn't as stylish as some of the more decorative pieces on this list. 

As sleek as it is functional, this stainless steel pepper grinder from OXO is designed for ease of use. The soft, non-slip grip is comfortable to hold and effortless to turn.  You can easily switch between five different grind settings to achieve super fine and coarse textures alike. Unlike some of the wooden pepper grinders on this list, the clear body helps you see when it's time for a refill. The non-corrosive ceramic grinder won't absorb flavors or odors and you can seamlessly adjust it from fine to coarse grind in five settings. Plus, it comes with peppercorns to get you started. 

  • Grind settings: 5
  • Material: Ceramic grinder with stainless steel top

Best Electric Pepper Grinder: FinaMill Pepper Mill and Spice Grinder

View at Amazon ($45)

Pros: Interchangeable spice pods and a battery-operated base make this electric pepper grind one of the most functional and versatile we've used. 

Cons: Since this isn't a manual gadget, you'll need to replace the batteries every so often. 

FinaMill's battery-operated spice mills make grinding your own spices easy and fun. To use, fill one of the interchangeable pods with your desired whole spice, pop it into the body of the grinder, and press the button on top. The automatic gadget illuminates what you're seasoning with an LED light, and grinds your spices for as long as you hold the button down. To change spices, just press the pod to release. 

We love that this grinder comes with three interchangeable spice pods, so you can easily swap out different spices between each use.  

  • Grind settings: Variable
  • Material: Ceramic grinder with plastic body
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Splurge: MENU Bottle Grinder with Steel Lid Set of 2

View at Amazon ($95)

Pros: Though these stylish pieces come with a higher price tag, their strong ceramic grinder can accommodate much more than just peppercorns. Use them to grind nuts, seeds, and other dried spices.

Cons: This stylish set is the most expensive on our list. 

Thanks to the unique design, these salt and pepper mills look like fancy olive oil cruets rather than spice shakers. If you're looking for grinders that'll match the minimalist, modern aesthetic, the MENU bottle grinders hit all the right notes. Sleek and functional, the two-piece ceramic set is complete with a solid handle and a grinder located at the top so salt and pepper won't spill onto the table. To operate the mills, simply turn the base, with the grind settings at the top. The strong ceramic grinder can accommodate much more than just peppercorns, and they can easily grind grains, nuts, and other dried whole spices like cumin and coriander. Plus, it's easy to recognize which is which, thanks to the dark grey and white colors. 

  • Grind settings: 4
  • Material: Silicone and plastic body with wood lid and ceramic grinder

Related: These Single-Origin Spices Transformed My Pantry, and I'll Never Cook with Anything Else

Credit: Courtesy of Bed, Bath & Beyond

Best Design: Le Creuset Pepper Mill

View at Bed Bath and Beyond ($40)

Pros: This elegant pepper mill is functional and attractive. With a strong ceramic inner-grinder, it's offered in an array of Le Creuset's classic colors. 

Cons: A smaller spice cavity means you'll have to refill this grinder more frequently than some others.

Le Creuset is known for crafting products that pop, and this pepper mill is no different. The lightweight, high-gloss ceramic grinder is functional yet stylish, complete with a metal knob to adjust the settings and a corrosive-resistant grinder. It's available in a number of bright colors like cerise, Caribbean, flame, and Marseille, plus more traditional hues like black and white. Match to your decor, or simply choose a color that'll make any kitchen come alive. 

To control grind size, simply turn the metal knob to achieve anything from super fine to coarse. 

  • Grind settings: Variable
  • Material: Plastic body with ceramic grinder

Conclusion

Peugeot's streamlined and classic aesthetic makes for an elegant addition to any kitchen or dining table. The ceramic grinder cracks pepper without crushing it, helping to increase flavor and preserve freshness. If you're looking for the best pepper grinder to add to your collection of kitchen tools, you can't go wrong with a Peugeot Paris pepper mill.

Factors to Consider

Pepper mills should be easy to use, fill, hold, and clean. They should be fast and lightweight, and should be an easy gadget to reach for during any cooking project. Before selecting a pepper mill, it's important to assess the material it's made from and the different grind sizes it offers. Most of all, a quality pepper mill should produce consistent, fresh spices no matter how often you use it.

Material

What some people may not realize is that selecting the right material for the grinding mechanism is more important than selecting the material of the body. Some pepper mills come with wood bodies, while others are plastic or glass. Body material is a matter of preference. Wooden pepper mills are classic and make an elegant addition to any table, but pepper mills with glass bodies allow you to more easily see when you'll need to refill it.

The best-quality pepper mills come with ceramic grinders because they are strong, durable, and don't absorb the flavor of the spices. That way, pepper gets cracked rather than crushed, and flavor and freshness are preserved.

Grind Size

Before selecting a pepper grinder, make sure that it allows you to control the coarseness of the ground spices. Some grinders have a variable mechanism that you turn, while others have multiple set coarseness options to choose from. Either way, choosing grind sizes offers more versatility, especially if you intend on using the grinder with other whole spices like coriander or cumin.

The Research

For this piece, our editors relied on their personal culinary experience to determine what's needed in a spice grinder and what characteristics make up an efficient one. We performed competitive research and assessed a variety of different brands and price points. We focused on selecting products that are functional, versatile, and durable, while being aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-use.

Our Expertise

Amy Schulman is a writer and editor who focuses on making informed, thoughtful shopping recommendations for publications like Real Simple, Travel & Leisure, Chowhound, and Thrillist. She utilizes her personal cooking experience to scour the internet to find the best gadgets that help home cooks elevate their culinary skills.

This piece was updated by Laura Denby, a professional chef and food writer with years of experience cooking in home kitchens as a caterer and private chef. Laura relies on her professional culinary experience and culinary school degree to select products that are efficient, functional, and versatile. You can find more of her product reviews on Food & Wine, Real Simple, Allrecipes, and Southern Living.