Can You Grind Peppercorns in a Coffee Grinder? And Why It’s Your Best Option!

You use your coffee grinder to prepare fresh, tasty coffee, and this is a must-have kitchen appliance if you care about the taste of your coffee and aren’t satisfied with pre-ground beans.

Most people assume that the coffee grinder is a one-trick pony. But it’s not!

Contrary to popular belief, a coffee grinder has multiple uses in the household. A coffee grinder is an extremely useful appliance because it can be used to grind spices like peppercorns too.

In this post, we will see- can you grind peppercorns in a coffee grinder?

Keep reading to find out more!

Can you use a coffee grinder to grind peppercorns?

Let’s cut straight to the chase!

Yes, you can use a coffee grinder to grind peppercorns. The coffee grinder efficiently pulverizes dry peppercorns. A coffee grinder works the same way as an electric pepper grinder, but it has an advantage because it heats up the peppercorns while it grinds them.

Compared to other grinders, burr coffee grinders use less friction, preserving more of the natural pepper flavor.

As a result, the peppercorns release more flavor during the grinding process. Grinding the peppercorns with a coffee grinder instead of an electric grinder improves the overall flavors of the pepper.

Brown wrinkled peppercorns on a white background to help answer - can you grind peppercorns in a coffee grinder?

So, how do you grind the peppercorns?

Time to dig into the nitty-gritty details.

To grind peppercorns in a coffee grinder, you need to clean the grinder of all coffee remnants. Then fill up the grinder with the amount of peppercorn you want to grind. Adjust the grind setting on your grinder to your desired coarseness. Lastly, do another thorough clean to get rid of excess peppercorn leftovers!

First, you must clean the coffee bean grinder properly to remove any remaining coffee powder. This step is essential because it removes the coffee flavor and prevents cross-contamination of the pepper.

Next, you place your desired quantity of peppercorns into the machine and start grinding. Change the grind setting so that your peppercorns will be the size you want. Larger numbers are more coarse and smaller numbers are more fine.

The only drawback to using the coffee grinder for peppercorns is that you need to perform a deep clean-up afterward. If the pepper powder remains in the grinder, you’ll end up with spicy pepper-flavored coffee!

Can you grind peppercorns in a food processor?

What about food processors?

Yes, you can grind peppercorns in your food processor if it’s powerful enough. Not all food processors can perform this action.

To get the best results and a fine grind, you need to follow a certain procedure.

Place a large quantity of peppercorns into the food processor. You have to pulse the peppercorns at even intervals to ensure the peppercorn powder consistency is the same throughout.

When grinding peppercorns with a food processor, you need to monitor the process because over-grinding the peppercorns removes a lot of the flavor. Some cheaper food processors won’t grind small peppercorns properly, resulting in uneven texture. Make sure to read the food processor’s instruction manual and to ensure your model can be used to grind spices.

As you may have gathered, using a food processor is a lot more complicated than using a coffee grinder to grind peppercorns.

Shiny silver food processor on a white counter top

How to grind black pepper without a grinder?

If you’re in a pickle, there are still solutions.

If you don’t have a grinder, you can use a mortar and pestle to grind peppercorns into a fine powder. This is the old-fashioned way to grind spices, but the disadvantage is that you can only grind small amounts at a time. You can also use a skillet and a small heavy pot to grind coarse, cracked pepper.

Place about 2 to 3 teaspoons of peppercorns into the mortar. Use the flat end of the pestle to grind and crush your peppercorns. This process requires a bit of muscle and force. Work in circular motions and grind for approximately 2 minutes to create a fine powder.

There’s also another way to grind peppercorns using a skillet and a small heavy pot. It’s an unconventional method and may result in uneven texture, but it works in a pinch!

Put your peppercorns into a skillet or frying pan. Then grab a heavy smaller pot or saucepan and starts crushing the peppercorns using the bottom of the pan. You need to apply a lot of pressure.

The result is a cracked pepper, so the pepper powder will be coarse- unlike machine-ground peppercorn. But this method still grinds the peppercorns and brings out their flavors enough for you to season your meals.

Plus, some people like coarsely cracked pepper- so you may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome!

What’s the best way to grind peppercorns?

What should you do when faced with a large quantity of green, red, and black peppercorns in front of you?

The best way to grind whole peppercorns into powder is to use a coffee grinder. Although a traditional electric or manual pepper mill is a useful tool, the blades cannot grind as much peppercorn into fine powder as a coffee grinder.

Both electric and manual pepper mills are useful, but not as efficient as a coffee grinder.

The manual pepper mill uses two gears to grind the peppercorns as you twist the mill. This takes a long time because you have to keep twisting to get very small amounts of ground pepper out.

Using an electric pepper mill is slightly easier. You must use a pushbutton to operate an electric pepper mill. The button triggers a small motor to start grinding. The disadvantage is that you always need to have batteries on hand. Once they run out, you can’t grind pepper.

A burr coffee grinder filled with coffee beans

Here’s why the coffee grinder is better:

The burr grinder works by grinding spices or coffee beans between two abrasive flat rings. In some cases, you can select grind settings – closer or further apart, depending on how fine you need to grind the spices.

Using a coffee grinder to grind the peppercorns makes them extra flavorful, and you’ll be able to taste the difference between freshly ground pepper versus store-bought bagged spices.

However, the second-best way to get the most flavor out of peppercorns is to grind them manually using the mortar and pestle.

This method gives you control over how coarse or fine your pepper becomes. If you prefer coarsely cracked pepper for steak spice rubs, you can grind for about a minute or less. However, you can keep going for 2 to 3 minutes for a finely milled pepper texture.

Surprisingly, the traditional electric or manual pepper mill isn’t the best choice, and if you want to save time, the coffee grinder is the number one tool for the job.

Can you use a coffee grinder to grind spices?

So peppercorns can be ground with a coffee grinder, but what about other spices?

Yes, you can use a coffee grinder to grind spices since the coffee grinder has powerful burrs which can break down spices into powders. Spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom (and lots more) can easily be ground into a fine powder so you can use them when cooking.

The traditional electric or manual spice grinder has a built-in blade that only grinds small batches of spices. In comparison, the coffee grinder uses burrs to grind, and therefore you can grind larger quantities of your spices at once.

Peppercorns, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and more are very strong spices. So they can easily seep into other foods you grind and ruin the flavors. It’s important to do an in-depth cleaning of your coffee grinder after grinding strong spices.

Up-close image of cinnamon sticks and one star anise in the bottom right corner

Using a coffee grinder to create your own fine powder spice blends at home is your best option because you save money, and you can also grind fresh spices right when you need them most.

There’s nothing quite like freshly ground pepper or chili powder to spice up your dish!

What else can you grind in a coffee grinder?

You can use a coffee grinder to grind other foods besides coffee.

It’s best to use the coffee grinder to pulverize dry foods and spices only. If you add in oily or wet ingredients, they will become pasty and clog the machine.

Here are the top dry foods you can grind with a coffee grinder:

  • All kinds of spices (i.e., cinnamon, nutmeg)
  • Vanilla beans
  • Chili pepper flakes
  • Oatmeal
  • Grains for different types of flour
  • Seeds like flax
  • Lavender flowers
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Sugar
  • Dry herbs
  • Herbs and dry plants for tea
  • Whole and chopped nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc.
  • Parmesan cheese

Your coffee grinder probably has three settings: fine, medium, and coarse. Some grinders even give you complete control over how coarse or fine the grind is.

Therefore, you need to consider how finely you want to grind each spice.

For example, with dry herbs like tarragon or rosemary, a coarser grind retains more flavor. Chili and other dry, hot peppers should also be coarsely ground to keep some seeds intact. This keeps the pepper really spicy.

Conclusion: Can you grind peppercorns and spices in the coffee grinder?

You know the answer by now!

Yes, you can grind peppercorns and spices in the coffee grinder as long as you clean your grinder thoroughly after each use to prevent flavor cross-contamination.

There’s no reason not to use the coffee grinder for other purposes besides coffee beans since it can replace various expensive appliances and save you money.

You can pulverize many common spices, herbs, nuts, grains, and even parmesan in the coffee grinder. That’s what makes this small kitchen appliance so versatile and handy!

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