What's the best pepper mill?
November 28, 2018 12:12 PM   Subscribe

I need a decent pepper mill. I've had two in my life and they've both been terrible at grinding pepper. I was thinking I would just give up on freshly ground pepper but then realized a sample size of two is probably not comprehensive. Do you have a really good pepper mill? Tell me which one it is.
posted by something something to Food & Drink (43 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
I know of two types of really good pepper mills:

- Pepper mills made by Peugeot.
- this Ikea pepper mill.

I use the second one pretty much every day and it's never disappointed me in any way.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:18 PM on November 28, 2018 [6 favorites]


I've had this Zassenhaus salt and pepper set for about thirteen years and I love them.
posted by gauche at 12:21 PM on November 28, 2018


The Unicorn Magnum will unleash a torrent of pepper with the most gentle twist of its silky-smooth mechanism, if that's what you're after (I love this mill).
posted by uncleozzy at 12:23 PM on November 28, 2018 [12 favorites]


I've never heard of "Cole & Mason" other than this, but they make my favorite pepper mill.
posted by Betelgeuse at 12:23 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


I use this Kyocera adjustable mill, and it's fantastic.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 12:24 PM on November 28, 2018


I can second Betelgeuse's Cole&Mason mill as being fine for me.
posted by solitary dancer at 12:27 PM on November 28, 2018


Honestly ? I buy the $4 pre-filled grinder from Trader Joes, and refill it. We've had it over 3 years. Only time I replaced it was because it fell off the counter and cracked.
posted by k5.user at 12:28 PM on November 28, 2018 [8 favorites]


I have a Williams Bounds 12" pepper mill. It's great.
posted by slogger at 12:30 PM on November 28, 2018


I have a Peugeot Pepper Mill. I find it mediocre. It's solid and well built, but the mechanism to adjust the grind is the same mechanism to unscrew for filling and it's on the top. I find that the grind constantly changes just from grabbing the pepper mill and using it.
posted by Jacob G at 12:31 PM on November 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


I was just about to post the same thing as k5.user ; I have a Trader Joe's peppermill and replace it every year or two. In the meanwhile, I refill it with black peppercorns from the Indian grocery on my block, which are more affordable than most other offerings and taste exactly the same.
posted by tapir-whorf at 12:31 PM on November 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure of they are available where you are but Mr Dudley peppercorns have a lifetime guarantee and are quite good in my experience.
posted by smoke at 12:33 PM on November 28, 2018


I am also a Peugeot peppermill owner who is underwhelmed. I think there's a dead spot between adjusting the grind and opening it for refill and mine always seems to migrate there and stop working at inopportune times.
posted by snaw at 12:35 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have a Peugeot Pepper Mill. I find it mediocre. It's solid and well built, but the mechanism to adjust the grind is the same mechanism to unscrew for filling and it's on the top.

I haven't had my Peugeot pepper mills too long so I can't speak to longevity, but the ones I have separate the filling knob (which is at the top) from the grinding adjustment mechanism (which is at the bottom, indicated in Roman numerals).
posted by andrewesque at 12:39 PM on November 28, 2018


This is the one I use for cooking. It's not pretty, maybe not something you'd want on the table, but in the kitchen it's great. Grinds the shit out of pepper very quickly and very easy to fill.

Edit: It's the Unicorn that has been suggested up thread.
posted by bondcliff at 12:40 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Seconding the Unicorn Magnum. Got the paired salt and pepper grinders as a wedding present nine years ago, use them daily and heavily, still going strong.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 12:42 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


I own a Peugeot and it’s great. They’re fantastic and last forever. I know folks who have passed mills onto children.

But, for the sake of askme completion, the lyn Webber moulin is insane, beautiful, works very well, and has a price tag to match. I have used them briefly, and other lyn Weber products more frequently.
posted by furnace.heart at 12:43 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm very loyal to the disposable Trader Joe's pepper mill too! It works great.
posted by cakelite at 12:46 PM on November 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


I have the IKEA pepper mill linked above and I am very happy with it.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:51 PM on November 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


Thirding bondcliff and Pandora Kouti, the unicorn magnum plus I have is great. I've had it for years and bought it after seeing it in an episode of Good Eats (I think).
posted by DJWeezy at 1:00 PM on November 28, 2018


Another vote on the pile for the IKEA pepper grinder. Mine has been going 5+ years now and I use a *lot* of pepper.
posted by halation at 1:11 PM on November 28, 2018


I have this one handed Unicorn brand pepper mill the internet tells me is discontinued. It has a lifetime warranty. My first one was stolen. I... can’t believe it was discontinued. It’s the one thing I would save in a fire.
posted by jbenben at 1:14 PM on November 28, 2018


I love my Vic Firth pepper mill, though they were bought by Fletchers' Mill and I don't know if the new ones are still the same. It looks the same as mine, though.
posted by lazuli at 1:14 PM on November 28, 2018


I personally use the Unicorn Magnum (which I believe was the Cook's Illustrated editors' choice a few years ago although it has now been supplanted by the Cole & Mason) but I also wanted to toss the PepperMate into the ring as a contender. It's the one the Barefoot Contessa has used on her show for years. It has a clip-on compartment on the bottom that catches extra pepper (handy if you're grinding a bunch so you can measure out a teaspoon or two, and you can leave any extra in there for when you need a pinch later) and depending on your grip strength you might prefer the shape and placement of the side handle.
posted by bcwinters at 1:15 PM on November 28, 2018


I’ve had several Pugeots and they’ve all been mediocre. I’ve always heard nothing but good about the Unicorn Magnum and wanted one for a long time but since discovering the wonders of the cheap ass built-in grinder on grocery store peppercorn bottles, I kind of feel like why bother.
posted by HotToddy at 1:18 PM on November 28, 2018


Previously . I’m still on the side of the Unicorn Magnum. Great grind adjustment, fast, and easy.
posted by advicepig at 1:31 PM on November 28, 2018


From advicepig's link, there's a comment linking to Serious Eat's pepper mill reviews, and they give the Fletchers' Mill one I linked top honors, so I guess that backs up that the Vic Firth ones are still great!
posted by lazuli at 1:38 PM on November 28, 2018


I bought this Cole & Mason pepper mill on America's Test Kitchen's recommendation. I used a 20% off coupon at Williams-Sonoma and felt like an idiot for spending $32 on a pepper mill, but that was two years ago, and I regret nothing. It's easy to fill, has several settings for coarseness, and is ridiculously easy to operate. I'm thisclose to getting a second one for other spices, especially since it seems the cost has gone down slightly from when I got it.
posted by PearlRose at 2:05 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have one of the Peugeot Mills with the grind selector on the bottom and it is streets and away the best grinder I've ever used.
posted by glitter at 2:08 PM on November 28, 2018


Like others, I find the Peugeot awful. It looks like they have very mixed reviews -- which suggests uneven quality control processes. What you really need is a mill with a grind mechanism that is all metal (which is why the Moulin is so good) -- or at least, where the grindy bits are metal while some of the enclosing pieces are plastic. This Kuhn Rikon grinder is the one I have and has lasted really well. The gears and grindy bits are metal, while the surrounding is plastic. It's the Serious Eats budget pick.
posted by OrangeDisk at 2:09 PM on November 28, 2018


My short Peugeot Pepper Mill is among the best modern ones I've used, assuming you don't think for a moment that you were intended to be able to "adjust" the coarseness. It works at one coarseness only, otherwise you're just using an improperly tightened peppermill. The very best ones I've ever used (and hoard) are that type of design, except much, much older, and usually taller. I imagine you'll be able to access my good ones at my estate sale - likely many years from now. Find some old folks with a pepper mill you admire and see if you can't get them to leave it to you when they pass on. That's basically how I got mine - handed down from past generations.
posted by some loser at 2:12 PM on November 28, 2018


Nthing the ikea mill, it’s fab.
posted by koahiatamadl at 2:40 PM on November 28, 2018


I should add that I have a Kuhn Rikon that the housing cracked on because I tried to close it when a peppercorn was preventing it from closing perfectly. It still works, but I have to hold it in a funny way to keep it together. It's not that vase one everyone likes, but it's made from the same weak plastic.
posted by advicepig at 2:40 PM on November 28, 2018


I bought my dad (a pepper enthusiast) a Peugeot per the Sweethome/Wirecutter recommendation. He loves it. You can adjust the grind on the bottom part. I opted for 7 inch tall instead of 9 because I like them better for aesthetic reasons.
posted by purple_bird at 2:41 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have this Fletchers’ Mill pepper mill and have been happy with it, although the capacity is pretty small. I’ve also used this OXO mill and, while not something you want to put out for a fancy dinner, it works great and the design is very practical.
posted by duien at 3:33 PM on November 28, 2018


Thumbs down Peugeot. That or Amazon “marketplace” sent me a refurbished POS.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:48 PM on November 28, 2018


I’ve also used this OXO mill and, while not something you want to put out for a fancy dinner, it works great and the design is very practical.

That's the one we have and it works well. The Moulin one linked above makes me drool, but there's no way I can justify that kind of coin for a pepper grinder.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:58 PM on November 28, 2018


Seconding (and, apparently, thirding) Trader Joe's pepper mills. Not only do I refill my existing ones, I will also buy their salt/pepper mills, swap out the clean grind attachment on an empty bottle and fill said empty bottle with whole spices from the Spice House. It's excellent for garam masala, coriander seed, long pepper, cardamom, cumin ... pretty much any spice that requires grinding, is durable, and cheaply replaced.
posted by myotahapea at 6:00 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Unicorn magnum if you like tons of pepper.
posted by booooooze at 6:05 PM on November 28, 2018


I also have the OXO grinder - I have the set actually. I’ve had them for a few years and they are adjustable, durable and work great.
posted by sm1tten at 6:17 PM on November 28, 2018


Another vote for the IKEA mill. I've had mine for over 15 years and it gets used a lot.
posted by chrispy at 8:30 PM on November 28, 2018


I have a Peugeot and hate it, that expensive thing. Along with what others have mentioned, it constantly leaves the table and the counter dirty as it releases pepper bits while at rest. If you’re shopping for a pepper mill in person, check for pepper crumbs and online, see if anyone complains about it. So annoying!
posted by vivzan at 10:00 AM on November 29, 2018


The OXO is my problematic one! I didn't want to bias the results by complaining about it in the original question. The reviews on Amazon reveal quite a number of people who are also frustrated so maybe their quality control is inconsistent.

I really want that Unicorn Magnum. I went to Trader Joe's today intending to pick up one there just to see how it worked, but somehow failed to think of it even once when I was in the store. I think this means I need to follow my heart.
posted by something something at 12:56 PM on November 29, 2018


The Unicorn Magnum mill looks pretty nice. I use a Trader Joe's pepper mill also, and I really like it because it's inexpensive, doesn't take up a lot of space, and the container is clear. I dunno if this is weird, but I really like being able to see the peppercorns inside, and I've found that I tend to use pepper more, just so I can see the pepper making process as the peppercorns are ground up. Their Rainbow Peppercorns are pretty. The handy size also makes it good to keep one at work or take on a picnic.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 11:24 PM on December 8, 2018


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