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How to Care for and Cure Your New Molcajete

Carved from porous lava rock, Molcajetes require a thorough cleaning and curing before using them for the first time. Here’s the best way to do it.

By Rachel Robey
Aug 15, 2022
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Molcajetes are unique among Cookware, in that they’re also just a beautiful design object that happens to be carved from hardened lava rock. The coarse surface of the volcanic rock expresses oils and flavors better—meaning better guac, seasoning blends, and  mole—and further assists in the grinding and pounding process.

Before you get to use it, though, there are a few essential steps to cleaning, curing, and seasoning your brand new Molcajete.

The Story Behind Our Molcajete

Molcajetes are pre-Hispanic mortar and pestles carved from volcanic basalt. Ours is produced in collaboration with Duplo Design, a Guadalajara, Mexico-based design firm founded by sisters Marcela and Tania Medina.

In designing our Molcajete, Duplo partnered with a craftsman family just outside of Guadalajara that hand-harvested the volcanic stone it’s constructed from. It’s directly descended from an ancestral Mesoamerican lineage, but is informed by Duplo’s modern design aesthetics and feedback from our chef partners to improve function for home and professional cooks.

How Do You Cure a Molcajete?

Before you use your Molcajete for the first time, it needs to be cleaned and cured, a process not dissimilar from seasoning Carbon Steel. This removes any stone dust or grit from the material’s surface, prevents it from being mixed into the food you’re preparing, and stops food from getting stuck in the volcanic stone’s large pores.

What You'll Need: 1 brush, 7 ounces raw white rice (about 1 cup), and 1.7 ounces kosher salt (about ⅓ cup).

Step 1: Clean Your Molcajete

Wash your Molcajete (mortar) with a stiff kitchen brush and water to remove any remaining stone dust and let it dry.

Step 2: Pulverize Half the Rice

Place half of the rice into the mortar. Using the tejolote (pestle), start grinding it in circular movements into the bowl of the Molcajete, until the rice is completely pulverized. You’ll notice that the rice powder will acquire a gray tone due to remaining stone dust.

Step 3: Pulverize the Salt

Remove the rice powder from your Molcajete with the help of the dry brush and pour in the salt. Start grinding again in circular movements for about 5 minutes, taking care to cover the entire concave area.

Step 4: Pulverize the Remaining Rice

Clean your Molcajete with the help of the brush and water, and use your remaining rice to repeat the instructions in Step 2.

Step 5: Give the Molcajete a Final Rinse

Once the rice powder no longer looks gray, wash your Molcajete once more with water, scrubbing with the brush to clean the porous surface thoroughly, then let dry.

How Do You Clean and Maintain a Molcajete?

While the curing process can seem complex, the good news is that you only have to do it one time. After that, there’s very little needed by way of cleaning and routine maintenance for your molcajete.

How to Clean Your Molcajete

First things first: don’t use soap. The scent and flavor will get trapped in the rock surface and get transferred to whatever you make.

The best and easiest way to clean a Molcajete is with water, especially from the spray nozzle on your kitchen sink. This will help dislodge any stuck bits. For extra tough messes, use a stiff kitchen brush and give it a scrub. Blot with a towel, drain upside down, and air dry. Do not clean your molcajete in the dishwasher.

How to Store Your Molcajete

Storing Molcajetes properly is super simple. Just make sure they’re completely dry before you put them away and you’re good to go. Where other Molcajetes typically feature three basalt legs that elevate the bowl, ours rests on a cork base to protect your counters and shelves from any scratching. Due to the construction, these are as beautiful displayed on your counter as they are useful.

Still Have Questions?

If you have any outstanding questions we didn’t address related to purchasing, using, cleaning, curing, or storing your new Molcajete, let us know. Our incredible customer service team is available to answer any questions you may have about our Molcajete (or anything else, for that matter).

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