Skip to content


Definition of Molcajete

It is a mortar made of stone, widely used in Mexico. It is a stump with three short legs, used to crush or grind ingredients for Mexican recipes. With this instrument spices, vegetables and grains are crushed or martaja for seasoning dishes or for the preparation of sauces.

With the help of a cylinder of the same material, known as temolote or tejolote, the ingredients are ground. This traditional instrument of Mexican cuisine has gained great popularity and is used in many other Latin American countries and the world.

Although there are imitations or molcajetes made of cement, the original is made of volcanic stone with three short legs. The preparations are unlimited and its use is similar to that of a metate, but the latter is limited to grinding corn, while the molcajete can be used to grind different ingredients.


In Mexico and other parts of Latin America it is known by different names. Among them are:

● Mortar

● Mollicaxtli

● Texolotl

● Pilón

ORIGIN OF Molcajete

It is a term from Nahuatl which combines two meanings molli which is sauce and caxitl which is cajete, from pre-Hispanic times. Its meaning would be “cajete for sauce”. It also comes from the Nahuatl temolcaxitl, “cajete de piedra para el mole”

On the other hand, according to the RAE, the term molcajete means “bowl” and comes from the word mulcazitl. There are other hypotheses about the origin of this word. It could be said that the most accepted is that it comes from the Náhuatl mollocaxtli, which means concave stone for sauce.

The origin is Mesoamerican, although many cultures around the world have used this instrument for their preparations of recipes with ingredients that require grinding.


In Mexico, specifically in Mascota, Jalisco, there is a Molcajete with Guinness record, because it is the largest in the world.