How to Grind Cloves By Hand

When one wants to go about grinding whole cloves, they’ll usually make use of coffee grinders (if a spice grinder is not obtainable at the time).

Having established that you could grind whole cloves by hand, then I’ll be taking you through other processes of grinding your cloves with your hands other than using a mortar and a pestle.

Here’s a quick list of 6 different ways and processes to grind cloves by hand

  • Use Double Cutting Boards
  • You can use a Knife and a Cutting Board
  • Grind with a Coffee Mug and a Cutting Board
  • You can grind with a Ziploc Bag and an Object (a blunt object)
  • A Microplane Grater is effective
  • Use two Sauce Pans

Let’s see the detailed ways in using each of these processes of grinding cloves by hand.

Using Double Cutting Boards for your cloves

How to Grind Cloves By Hand

You definitely know what a cutting board is, so I wouldn’t waste time explaining what it is. How do you grind your cloves (whole cloves) using double cutting boards? It’s a quick process really.

  • Place your cloves on the first cutting board, then place the other cutting board over it like you are covering it.
  • After this, you can now begin to smash on top of the second cutting board or chopping board as you may please call it, using your fists.
  • The smashing with your fists helps in grinding the cloves as is the purpose of this writing.

You might find it hard to do the smashing, but trust me; it’s worth it because, in the long run, you’ll end up with a smooth result (maybe not as smooth as you may like it), but definitely smooth.


  • The equipment required to carry through this process are regular kitchen utensils. I mean, who doesn’t have at least a cutting board in their kitchen.
  • It is a quick one, although it might be a bit time consuming for someone who is slow about the smashing; perhaps they are doing it at intervals, but ordinarily, I can assure you that it is a quick process.


  • Whilst it is a quick one, the process of smashing with your fist seems to be energy-sapping as it causes you to put many efforts into seeing that the cloves become smooth

As you save up to get a spice grinder, you will surely need to get some spices ground. What then would you resolve to use pending the time that you will eventually purchase one? Here’s a lifesaver… you should try it out!

A Knife and a Cutting Board for your cloves

How to Grind Cloves By Hand

Making use of a knife (a Chef’s knife) would also work in pulverizing your whole cloves.

  • Simply place your knife over the cloves already placed on the cutting board with the blade lying flat on them (make sure that the sharp end of the knife is facing away from you)
  • Using your fist, press the knife’s blade down on the cloves, you could as well smash your hands down unto the side of the knife’s blade (the blunt side). However, simply pressing down the knife over the cloves should do.
  • In addition, you should note that you are not restricted to making use of the popular Chef’s Knife.
  • If a Butcher Knife is what you have, you can always make use of it as it would help achieve the same result a Chef Knife would achieve. Succinctly, make do with what you have!

About the process? It is the same process as when using a Chef’s Knife. Simply follow the same steps as prescribed above


  • It helps you have smooth ground cloves as is the aim
  • The tools involved (knife and cutting board) are not hard to find – they are what you already have in your kitchen
  • It is time-saving – it’s got a quick process. Plus, you don’t have much to do; just place the cloves on the cutting board and smash them with your knife


  • If not careful enough with the knife, you may end up hurting yourself with it

You don’t have the spice grinders yet? You’re not thinking of getting them soon? Why not make use of this since you’ve no other option. Except you’ll be making use of whole cloves in your dishes

A Coffee Mug and a Cutting Board

How to Grind Cloves By Hand

Another method to grind your whole cloves is by making use of a Coffee Mug and a Cutting board.

Trust me; this is also a perfect substitute when you do not have a spice grinder, a coffee grinder, or even a mortar and pestle as it will also help you achieve the same end result.

Meanwhile, it is important to note that this method works best for your soft ingredients (ingredients such as garlic, chilies, herbs, etc.)

  • What you need to do is cut your cloves into thin slices
  • Then making use of the underside of your mug, smash the ingredients till they are perfect for your use.
  • The heavier the mug you use, the better your end result.


  • You do not have to stress trying to find the required implements, they are what you have already (the cutting board and the Coffee mug)
  • You do not need to put much effort; effortlessly, you would achieve your desired result


  • It is advised that you adopt this method for soft ingredients alone as the hard ones could leave you with a broken Coffee Mug; you wouldn’t want to drink Coffee from your hands, would you?

Grinding your cloves through this method is quite easy as the other methods; you could decide to use this if it is what resonates with you.

However, you should bear in mind that it should only be used for soft ingredients. Why not try it out? You’ll see the results for yourself.

A Ziploc Bag and an Object (a blunt object)

Adopting this technique (a Ziploc bag and a blunt object) to pulverize your whole cloves is as well recommended.

There’s usually a limit to how hard you can smash your mug on your ingredient to achieve the best of result because it could end up breaking.

You wouldn’t want to subsequently take your early morning coffee from your hands, hence, the need for an object that is blunter to achieve the desired result.

For somewhat hard spices, in place of a coffee mug, you could make use of a rolling pin, a cast iron, or a skillet.

You might be wondering what job the Ziploc bag does – here it is; to avoid everything being a total mess and losing a large portion of your ingredient, making use of a Ziploc bag would be perfect.

  • Simply put your dry ingredients in the Ziploc bag (zip it up afterward)
  • Thereafter get grinding making use of any of the objects suggested above (rolling pin, cast iron, or a skillet).
  • You grind by smashing any of those objects on your dry ingredients already put in a Ziploc bag.

Soon afterward, you’ll achieve the desired result.


  • You could use objects other than a Coffee mug to do the grinding
  • The Ziploc bag helps to circumvent your ingredients from messing up the whole place; it also helps eschew the loss of a large portion of the ingredients
  • You do not need to exert much effort


  • There is no disadvantage to this method – it’s seamlessly perfect!

Of all the other methods earlier suggested, this is the best as it guarantees the safety of your ingredients in the Ziplock bag.

Through other methods, you could lose a percentage of your ingredients, but with this, your ingredients are surely safe.

A Microplane Grater to grind cloves

In grinding cloves, the role of a Microplane grater cannot be overemphasized. Like the other processes listed above, making use of a Microplane grater when you don’t have the conventional spice grinders or coffee grinders is a lifesaver.

As the name suggests, the Microplane grater would be used in grating your whole cloves. Not limited to cloves alone, it could also be used in grating a wide range of other spices.

To make use of a Microplane grater for your cloves, one who is conversant with the use of the tool sure knows the process yet. However, I’ll go through the process for those who do not know how to go about it.

  • Ensure the grater is held upright on the handle with one of your hands (whichever of them is comfortable for you)
  • Pick your whole cloves one after the other or in twos and glide them over the metallic part of it (the part with the holes)

That’s all! It’s a quick one right? Absolutely it is!


  • As opposed to spice grinders, coffee grinders, the storage of a Microplane grater is no big deal as it could be easily tossed into your dishwasher, and then in your kitchen drawer (for those who have a small or overcrowded kitchen)
  • Unlike other methods, this one is not strength-sapping, as grating doesn’t require any extra effort
  • It is timely in that you do not have to spend much time grating. In minutes, you’ll be done
  • In case you didn’t have it before now, you could purchase it as it costs less compared to a spice grinder
  • It could also be used in grating other ingredients regardless


  • If not careful, you could end up hurting your fingertips. Hence, you are advised to grate gently and slowly.
  • Making use of the Microplane grater, you might not be able to get much of your desired result. Speaking of the texture (it might not be as smooth as you would want it to be)
  • Seeing that it requires less of your effort, would it not be good to make use of this? Simply leverage what you already have.
  • If you do not have this too, you could purchase one by placing an order on Amazon as it costs even less

Two Sauce Pans

The last on my list which is also applicable when it comes to grinding cloves is making use of two saucepans. There’s absolutely no need to worry as you already have saucepans at home.

  • To grind your whole cloves, you’ll need the saucepans in two different sizes (one has to be bigger / larger than the other).
  • Simply place your whole cloves in the bigger saucepan, and then the smaller one comes on top like you are arranging your pots in themselves.
  • After placing the smaller saucepan on it, apply enough pressure to help grind the whole cloves – the pressure quality you put determines how well your outcome will be. The pressure is what you need to achieve your aim which is to have a smooth ground clove.


  • The required tools for this method are within your reach… You definitely have saucepans in your kitchen
  • It helps you achieve your goal for using it – you get your whole cloves to be smooth


You would have to apply much pressure to achieve your end result, thus, might consume a bit of your strength

Having gone through how to make use of your saucepans in grinding your cloves, you might want to try it out as you do not have other means to achieving the ground cloves. why not give it a trial now!

Final Words

When it comes to certain needs like food processors and machines in general for your use at home, you might not always be buoyant enough to get them, except you want to incur debts. Hence, the need for life hacks. In this case, I’ll call them kitchen life hacks.

All of the processes mentioned above are proven ways to substitute for your processors or mortar and pestle.

However, if you’ve got more impeccable solutions; hacks that have saved you when a recipe required grinders or a mortar and a pestle but you didn’t have one, simply help others by sharing with us in the comments section below.

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