15 Creative Ways To Grind Herbs Without a Grinder

Being caught without your trusty electric grinder when you're away from home and in need of grinding some herb can be quite a predicament. Whether you're at a friend's house, a party, or simply on the go, there are alternative methods available to grind your herb. This article explores a variety of manual, mechanical, and electric options to suit your needs. But first, let's discuss some common scenarios where you might find yourself without your grinder. 

Scenarios Where You May Need To Grind Herb Without a Herb Grinder

Related Article: What Are The Benefits of Grinding Herbs?


A Quick Note 

How To Grind Weed Without a Grinder

These unorthodox ways to grind herbs often require the use of materials found in most households, or small things you can bring with you. But an electric herb grinder is always best for ensuring that herb is perfectly ground for smoking.

Often times, these alternative ways can make a mess, take more time, or can accidentally grind your herbs too much.

Of course, some methods will work better than others, and methods such as using a bottle/plastic container and a coin and grinding with your hands may work, but only as a last resort. 

Related Article: How Long Should You Really Grind Your Herb


To Grind or Not to Grind: Is Hand Grinding Your Herb a Good Idea?

Hand grinding herb is an ancient tradition, often seen as a ceremonial practice by many herb enthusiasts. The act of manually breaking down the buds provides a tactile experience that fosters a sense of connection to the plant. Users can feel the stickiness and texture of the herb, and the process releases an aroma that many find appealing. It's a personal ritual that allows users to forge a deeper bond with the herb.

Indeed, hand grinding has its drawbacks. It can be messy, particularly with sticky herb, and may lead to product loss if not handled carefully. Furthermore, it's a more time-consuming process compared to using a grinder. For individuals who prioritize convenience and efficiency, a grinder may be the preferable option.

Does Grinding Weaken Your Herbs?

Dispelling the myth that grinding weakens the potency of herbs is important for users. Contrary to popular belief, grinding your herbs does not diminish their potency; in fact, it can enhance it. By increasing the surface area of the herb, grinding facilitates a more efficient release of its active compounds during consumption.

The misconception that grinding weakens herbs often arises from the visible loss of herb pollen – the concentrated resin – during the grinding process. While some pollen may adhere to the grinder, this loss is minimal and does not significantly impact the overall potency of the herb.

In reality, grinding your herbs can actually boost their potency by exposing more of their essential oils – the resin-producing glands – to heat. This enables a more thorough extraction of their beneficial compounds, resulting in a potentially stronger effect. Thus, contrary to the myth, grinding your herbs has the potential to increase their potency rather than diminish it.

How to Properly Grind

Grinding herbs properly can significantly improve the culinary experience. Here's a beginner-friendly guide:

  1. Remove any stems from your herbs. Stems don't grind well and can affect the texture of your final product.
  2. Place the herbs in the grinder. Ensure not to overcrowd the grinder to achieve a uniform grind.
  3. Close the grinder and rotate the lid a few times. The number of rotations depends on your preference and the grinder type.
  4. Check the consistency of the grind. If it's too coarse, continue grinding until you achieve the desired texture.
  5. Once satisfied with the consistency, tap the grinder gently to remove any residue stuck to it.


    Grinding your herbs properly can lead to a better overall experience. It ensures a more uniform texture, enhances flavor, and maximizes the effectiveness of the product. However, it's essential to note that the ideal grind may vary depending on individual preferences and the intended method of use.

    Pre-Grinding Prep: Should Stems Be Removed First?

    Before grinding your herbs, it's essential to remove any stems. While they may contain small amounts of flavor, stems are generally tough and can negatively affect the texture of your final product.

    Moreover, stems don't grind well. They often remain as large, hard pieces amidst your finely ground herbs. This can lead to an uneven texture when cooking with herb butter or incorporating herb pollen into your recipes.

    Therefore, taking the time to remove stems before grinding can significantly improve the quality of your culinary creations. It results in a smoother texture, a more even distribution of flavor, and an overall better experience. So next time you're preparing to grind your herbs, be sure to remove the stems first.

    How to Grind Sticky Buds

    Using a grinder can potentially enhance the potency of your herb-infused products. This is because a grinder can achieve a finer consistency compared to hand grinding. A finer grind increases the surface area of your herbs, allowing for more efficient extraction of their beneficial compounds.

    This doesn't necessarily mean that your herb-infused products will be more potent, but it does mean that you might extract more flavor and aroma from the herbs. Additionally, because the extraction process is more thorough, you might find that the flavors linger longer in your finished products.

    So while using a grinder might not directly result in a more potent product, it can improve the overall quality of your herb-infused creations. It allows for a more complete extraction of beneficial compounds, which can enhance the flavor, aroma, and overall experience of your products.

    Is Finely Ground Herb Stronger?

    The fineness of the grind can impact the effectiveness of your herbs. A finer grind increases the surface area of your herbs, allowing for better extraction of flavors and nutrients. This means that more essential oils and flavors are released, potentially enhancing the taste and aroma of your dishes.

    However, grinding your herbs too finely can have drawbacks. It may lead to a faster infusion or extraction process, which might result in an overpowering flavor or aroma. Striking the right balance is crucial for achieving the desired culinary outcome.

    Therefore, while a finer grind can potentially intensify the flavor of your herbs, it's essential to avoid grinding them too finely. The ideal grind will vary depending on personal preference and the specific recipe or application.

    How to Grind Sticky Buds

    Grinding sticky herbs can pose a challenge, but the following tips can help:

    1. Chill your herbs: Putting your herbs in the freezer for 10-15 minutes can reduce stickiness and make them easier to grind.
    2. Keep your grinder clean: Regularly cleaning your grinder prevents sticky buildup that can clog it.
    3. Avoid overloading: Leaving space in your grinder prevents herbs from clumping together and causing blockages.

    These straightforward techniques can streamline the process of grinding sticky herbs, resulting in a more consistent texture, a cleaner grinder, and reduced waste.

    How Long Should You Grind Your Herbs?

    The ideal grinding duration varies based on personal preference and the grinder type. Typically, a few rotations should suffice to achieve a medium-fine texture.

    Excessive grinding of your herbs may yield a too fine texture, leading to quicker burning and harsher flavor. Conversely, insufficient grinding may result in larger pieces that burn unevenly. Aiming for a consistency akin to ground coffee is generally recommended for an optimal herb experience.

    Understanding the appropriate grinding duration can significantly improve the quality of your herb enjoyment. It promotes even burning, smoother inhalation, and effective utilization of the product. Hence, when grinding your herbs, remember: not too long, not too short – just right.

    Here Are Some Creative Ways To Grind Your Herbs Without a Herb Grinder

    The old-fashioned way with your hands. Herb has been around for a very long time, and the old-fashioned way involves using your hands to carefully pick apart the buds into smaller pieces, then whittle those down into smaller bits until they’re usable. If your herb is sticky, you’ll need to make sure not to compress it too much. If your herb is quite dry, be careful of losing product and making a mess.

    Coffee grinder 

    Most coffee grinders include a storage area where the beans are placed, and a collection tube. Place your herb loosely (don’t overwhelm the grinder.) Don’t use buds that are too small or too big as they may get stuck in the grinder and you may be unable to use them for coffee in the future, which can be a real hassle. You also need to be mindful when grinding with a coffee grinder, as herb and coffee beans are two very different things to grind.

    Mortar and Pestle 

    Ahhh, the good old manual classic way, if you’re able to make a grinding motion with your hand. A mortar and pestle are found in many kitchens. Some important tips to remember are to let the produce dry out for a few hours outside of a container before you grind it. It’ll make it a lot easier to break down. You also need to clean up before and after, and make sure you don’t grind the product down too hard as it may get messy.

    Pizza cutter

    Seems like a strange kitchen appliance to use, but if you’ve got a good blade, then pizza cutters can definitely be used to grind up herb. You’ll need to use a chopping board as the surface, so you don’t damage any other surfaces. First, hold one end of each bud and begin cutting the opposite end into small slices, running the cutter through the pile repetitively to make the herb into a fine powder. Again, wash before and after to avoid any surprises on your next pizza night.

    Knife and chopping board 

    This will take a lot of delicate work, but as long as you’re careful with your fingers, and you’ve let the product dry out for a few hours before cutting, it should work. Make sure you’ve got a non-serrated blade that’s as sharp as you can find. Make sure you don’t chop it too finely, and you’ll have smokable herb in no time.

    Cheese grater 

    By using the smaller openings of a cheese grater, you’ll get an idea of the consistency of the herb you use, but make sure you don’t shave off some skin while you’re at it. Again, wash thoroughly to get rid of any residue which can easily get stuck in the grater.

    Paper bag and hammer 

    The paper bag will contains all your goods and serve as a non-stick surface, while the force of the hammer does the right job of breaking the buds into tiny particles. It is very useful to dry and cure the herb properly before doing this and use a strong surface like a strong kitchen bench.

    Coins In A Plastic Container 

    If you have some heavy coins, you can totally shake them with your product (not too much), close the lid of the container and shake hard. Check your progress every 20 seconds or so because you don’t want to have too powdery herb to use.

    Shot glasses and scissors

    The shot glass is for the product to go into, while the scissors are for... well, you know what to do. Just be careful about snipping the herb too much and making it fall out of the glass. You don’t want to lose half your herb.

    Credit cards

    You can actually use credit cards to slice dry herb with a solid surface. Just make sure the credit card is clean. It will smell like herb afterwards, so remember to thoroughly clean it.

    Black pepper grinder

    If you don’t have a herb grinder, just head to the kitchen. Empty your pepper grinder (save the corns for later) and load it up with buds. Grind away until it’s all nice and broken down, then pack it into a bowl or enjoy it.

    Make sure to clean out the grinder's interior before use. This will prevent any unwanted flavors from coming through when you use it!

    When utilizing a pepper grinder, be sure you're only using properly dried herb. Herb that is just slightly wet will quickly jam the grinding mechanism.


    As cool as it looks, this is probably a last resort, so really make sure other alternatives, such as plain old scissors, have been tried first.

    This is most effective with larger quantities of herb, so you'll want to be careful and switch it to the pulse setting where you can control when it blends and limit it to 10 seconds. Do it in short intervals until you get the desired texture.

    Clean out any stems and seeds before blending, as they'll cause issues for the blender's blades.

    A Mesh Colander and a Spice Bottle.

    This is a somewhat of a DIY herb grinder, but it will undoubtedly work. If you have a fine mesh colander or sieve in your kitchen, you can crush your herb using something hard like a spice bottle.

    You'll have all of the herb on one side and all of the herb on the other. The finer ground pushes out through the bottom, while also collecting a little bit of herb on top.

    Dry Sift With A Screen To Get Herb Pollen

    Drying sifting removes the trichomes from herb material. These minute glands hold a treasure trove of flavorful terpenes. To elevate your dish even higher, sprinkle this powder onto your favorite recipes.

    Equipment: A dry-sift box or fine mesh screen, ID or credit card, Gloves

    Directions: Put on your gloves. Place your plant material on the mesh screen. Gently shake the screen to agitate and dislodge the trichomes. Use your card to gather the fallen trichomes from the surface below.

    Make Your Own Herb Butter

    If you don't want to spend money on a grinder, but still want a stronger flavor, consider making your own herb butter. These delicious mixtures condense herbs into a savory and versatile spread for adding to dishes for an extra kick.

    Making herb butter takes longer than simply grinding herbs, but the effort is well worth it! See how below.

    Equipment: Unbleached Parchment paper, Scraping tool, Cooking pot, Wooden spoon


    Place the butter into the cooking pot over low heat until it melts. Add the herbs to the melted butter and let it cook for 30 minutes. 

        Related Article: Does Herbs Lose Potency After Grinding? | How To Retain Herb's Potency


        Bonus Tip: Invest In An Electric Herb Grinder

        Electric Weed Grinders - Alternative To Manual Grinders

        All these creative ways involve unorthodox items to break up your herbs when you’re caught unawares without your herb grinder. However, electric grinders are a great investment because they are usually portable and work way better than the alternative methods listed above.

        Mamba grinders are easy to take with you, and you can even pre-grind your herbs and keep it in the storage container of the electric grinder. They are hand-held, portable and a hit at parties. 

        It is really important to get that perfect, fluffy grind for optimal use and enjoyment of your herb product, and most of these creative ways can’t give you that. Electric grinders are really good to bring with you to social settings, and if it’s helpful, always have your herb placed next to the electric grinder, and then you’ll never forget to bring it.

        Related Article: Coffee Grinder Hacks to Get the Most Out of Grinding Your Herb

        Wrap Up

        These creative ways to grind herb probably include some methods you’ve never heard of, and they can be really good to use when you’re in a pickle and don’t have a traditional herb grinder. Having said that, some methods are sub-par to the normal grinder and you may have trouble with them if you’re out of practice.

        We hope you learned some cool and creative ways to grind herb in this blog post, but remember, electric herb grinders are always the best for grinding your herb to perfection.

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