Deb Sokolowski
Deb Sokolowski

How to Pick a Peppermill

With the overwhelming selection of pepper and salt mills on the market today, how does one begin to pick a peppermill that is the right one? Good question, I say.  Here are a few things you might want to ask yourself to help your search.

First, is this peppermill for yourself, or is it a gift?

If the peppermill and salt mill is for yourself, it’s pretty straightforward.

  • Are you an avid cook?
  • Do you entertain family and friends at the dinner table?

Chances are you know what you like. You know what you are looking for, either a single peppermill, a combination mill or a set,  and you know what you want to spend. But, here are some considerations…

Antique Peppermill and saltmill and free stopper from spalted grapevine
Spalted Grapevine Peppermill Set & Matching Stopper

Do you envision this as a peppermill set for the kitchen or dining room?

 If you are using the mill in the kitchen as you cook, you should pick a peppermill with wood that will contrast and stand out on your kitchen countertops. Think of it as jewelry on a plain dress or a colorful pillow on a dark brown sofa. The peppermill should pop in your kitchen because, let’s face it, it signals to everyone that you are a serious cook who knows what you are doing!

Exotic woods such as marblewood, jobillo, purple heart, curly narra, black and white ebony, and even local, ebonized wood are all excellent choices for show-stopping mills. 

Marblewood Salt Shaker and Pepper mill set by Ted Sokolowski
Marblewood Peppermill Set
Curly Narra Salt Mill and Peppermill by Ted Sokolowski
Curly Narra Peppermill Set
Detail of Black & White Ebony Salt Mill and Peppermill by Ted Sokolowski
Black & White Ebony w Pepper Inlay
Combination Salt Shaker Peppermills by Ted Sokolowski made in the USA
Combination Peppermill & Salt Shaker

Pick a Peppermill for your kitchen...

Is your kitchen warm and cozy, like a tray of freshly baked cinnamon buns? Do you have a farmhouse feel in your kitchen, or are you into retro or even steampunk? The antique peppermill and saltmill collection may be just what your heart desires. In that case, pick a peppermill with wood that appeals to your eye. But one word of caution, trying to match your set to the wood on your table is a no-no… it’s like choosing a painting to match your couch. You want your peppermill set to stand out on the table, not blend into it.

Pick a Peppermill for your dining room...

The antique peppermill collection is also an excellent choice for the dining room since there will be no shortage of conversation as your guests turn the grinder handle to pepper their food.  The matching salt mill filled with Cherry smoked sea salt (my favorite) will treat your guests to a new, unique taste that they will be asking you about for some time. For more conversation starters, pick a peppermill with metal inlay or peppercorn and salt inlay and watch your guests try to figure out how the artist accomplished these delightful little accents.

Wenge Salt Shaker and Pepper mill set by Ted Sokolowski
Antique Peppermill from Wenge w/ Copper Inlay
Sea Salts & Mixed or Black Peppercorns
Cherry Smoked Sea Salt 2nd from Top
Cherry Burl inlaid pepper and salt set 4 inch peppermill and saltmill
Cherry Burl 4" Salt & Pepper Mills with Pepper & Salt Inlay

If you always wanted your celebrations to feel like your guests are dining in a five-star restaurant, then go for the 10-inch peppermill or taller and pepper their food “Maitre-de” style. They will feel like royalty!

12" Traditional Peppermill in Curly Maple Ebonized by Ted Sokolowski
Ebonized Curly Maple 12" Mill
12" Traditional Peppermill in Bocote by Ted Sokolowski
12" Bocote Peppermil
Reference of 12" and 10" cherry burl salt and peppermills with salt and peppercorn inlay by Ted Sokolowski
Cherry Burl 12"Peppermill
14" and 10" cherry burl Salt and Peppermills with salt and peppercorn inlay by Ted Sokolowski
Inlaid Cherry Burl Pepper/Saltmill Set

Pick a Peppermill as a gift...

If the peppermill and salt mill is a gift, you have made an excellent choice, no matter which peppermill set you choose. This is a gift that will be touched several times every day, and your thoughtfulness in selecting a set will be remembered for years to come. If you don’t know the recepient’s personal style, as is so often the case, pick a peppermill and salt mill in exotic wood. A bright red or black mill will go with any décor. Answering the same questions as you would for yourself in picking a peppermill will help narrow down your search.

For gift-giving, some of our most popular wood choices are cocobolo and bocote, and our most popular styles are the antique peppermill and mini mill sets. You really can’t go wrong with such a unique set, and it does go with any décor or color scheme.

Cocobolo 3 Salt Shaker and Pepper mill set by Ted Sokolowski
8" Antique Peppermill - Cocobolo
Mini Salt and Pepper mill set - Bocote
4" Mini Mills - Bocote

I hope this small tutorial has helped in your search for a great peppermill and salt mill. Using unique peppermill and salt mills can make for some exciting accents in your décor,  your cooking and your dinner conversations.

Happy grinding!

Jobillo 4" Traditional Salt and Peppermill set
4" Traditional Mills in Jobillo
Spalted Maple 4" Traditional Salt and Peppermill set
4" Traditional Mills in Spalted Maple
Purple Heart 4" Traditional Salt and Peppermill set
4" Traditional Mills in Purple Heart

Special Order Peppermills

Because all of Ted’s pepper and salt mills are turned one-at-a-time on the lathe, each have a unique  wood grain design. If you see a mill that is available for sale, it is the exact mill you will receive upon ordering. If you like the style of a mill that has been sold, please call or email and Ted can custom make one for you from a similar piece of wood or even from a small section of a beloved tree from your backyard!

Deb Sokolowski

Deb Sokolowski

Deb is a graphic designer and an avid cook with an awesome peppermill collection she loves showing off. She is Ted's wife and has been helping customers at craft shows choose a peppermill for the last 21 years.

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