Have you ever been in the kitchen baking a big batch of brownies that include chopped walnuts and realize all you have are whole ones? Well, I have, and the extra effort to get out a cutting board and chop all that up is entirely unappealing. However, one glance in the corner of the kitchen and the thought occurred to me, “why not just use your coffee grinder?”. Boom! Just like that, my coffee grinder became my go-to for chopping and grinding nuts. When in a pinch, this method is a great way to grind nuts.
How Will Doing This Affect the Coffee Grinder?
The answer to this is yes and no. Your coffee grinder was made to do just that, grind coffee. Coffee beans are dry and do not leave behind hard-to-clean residue. However, nuts contain moisture and oils, creating a residue that will build up over time.
Essentially, it isn’t a good idea to constantly use your coffee grinder to grind up nuts, as it is not specifically for this purpose. Over time, those healthy oils you get from consuming nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and more, will build up in your coffee grinder and ultimately render it useless.
Plus, cleaning all of the tiny spaces and grooves of your coffee grinder as often as you would need will become an annoying and time-consuming task.
Will Doing This Affect the Taste of My Coffee?
Remember how I just said those nuts leave oils behind in your grinder? Those oils will undoubtedly produce a “nutty” flavor in your coffee beans. Just like we cook with different oils (i.e., olive oil, sesame seed oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil) to produce different flavors in our food, this same concept will apply to your coffee.
Suppose you don’t want the tedious task of thoroughly cleaning every little crevice in that coffee grinder each time you use it to grind up nuts and having different notes of nuttiness in your coffee. In that case, you may rethink using that grinder for anything other than java.
Grinding Nuts in a Coffee Grinder Properly
First of all, you need to consider the texture of the nuts that you desire. Do you want coarsely chopped or fine? Do you want to mill your almond or rice flour? Sometimes your coffee grinder, if set to a delicate grind setting, will make your nuts more of a nut butter rather than a fine grind. On the flip side, a more coarse grind may leave you with an uneven texture, as some of the oils on the inside cause there to not be a consistent turnaround within the machine.
One way to ensure that you are getting precisely what you need is to grind the desired nuts a small amount at a time. Grinding a small amount will ensure you get a more consistent texture.
Is There an Alternative Way to Grind Nuts?
There are many great products out there, aside from a coffee grinder, that are inexpensive and do not take up a lot of valuable kitchen space!
The Nutribullet (or other like-items) is honestly one of the best multi-use products available. If you want a blender that can grind up just about anything, this is your tool. From experience (with my seven-year-old machine), this is a highly durable product and will last a long time with lots of uses. The Nutribullet comes with a milling blade to make those ultra-fine cuts of nuts or turn them into nut butter.
Small Food Processor
A typical food processor can take up a ton of that valuable countertop or cabinet space. However, there are some great options for mini food processors that will allow you to control better how coarse or fine you want your nuts chopped.
These small kitchen gems allow you to pulse and chop your nuts into any size needed. Plus, a small food processor is great for chopping other kitchen items without having to get out an oversized bulky item or even risk cutting your fingers on accident.
Nut & Spice Grinder
Because there is a tool for anything in the kitchen, if chopping nuts or grinding your spices is something you plan on regularly doing, it would be wise to go ahead and purchase one of these for your kitchen.
Chop Them Yourself…
Chopping nuts myself is most certainly my LEAST favorite option on this list. Nevertheless, chopping up your nuts is an option. With this method, you can ensure that you have the consistency that you want.
Pros & Cons
- Coffee grinders are great to use in a pinch and usually readily available.
- Coffee grinders are inexpensive and easily replaceable.
- It can be a pain to clean all of the oil residues from nuts with high oil content.
- It may not be as consistent in milling or chopping as other kitchen tools.
- Coffee grinders can be used with small amounts of tree nuts.
Best Things to Use Chopped Nuts With
After all this talk about chopping up nuts, I cannot help but think about all of the yummy foods that taste so much better with some chopped walnuts, pistachios, or peanuts on top! The list below is some of the BEST recipes to use with some of nature’s most tasty morsels.
There are two kinds of people in this world, those who like brownies with walnuts and those who do not. Guess which side of the fence I lean? Walnuts inside an ooey, gooey, warm, and chocolatey piece of heaven are absolutely the way to go! One of my favorite recipes is from the New York Times cooking website. Click the link here to get started cooking a batch for yourself!
Want a healthy option for breakfast? A yogurt parfait with some coarsely chopped walnuts and granola is a tasty and healthy option to start your day. Try this recipe:
- 1 cup of Greek vanilla yogurt
- ½ cup of freshly sliced strawberries and blueberries
- Sprinkle some granola and chopped pistachios on top
Perfect as a Salad Topper
Summer salads are my absolute favorite. But any salad can be made better by adding the texture of some chopped nuts. Even better, try chopping those walnuts and candying them in a saucepan for additional flavor and texture for a salad topper.
Coffee grinders are handy tools that can even grind nuts. In fact, it can even be used to grind spices or grind peppercorns, with the usual caveats, of course. Ultimately, it’s your choice whether you’ll use your coffee grinder for something other than coffee. Just remember—it might just affect the taste of your coffee. But if it’ll taste like ground nuts, why not?!