How to Grind Flax Seed

Flax seed is high in omega-3 fats and fiber. People often add flax to cereals and smoothies for an extra boost of fiber and nutrients. Those who avoid eggs may use ground flax seed mixed with water as an egg replacer in baking. Chewing flax seeds isn't enough to break them up, but grinding flax seed allows your body to absorb the nutrients, as whole seeds can simply pass through your body. While you can find ground flax seed in the store, it is far less expensive to purchase whole seeds and grind flax seed at home. Pre-ground seeds also spoil more quickly than whole flax seeds.


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    Use a flax mill. A flax mill is a specially designed electric appliance similar to a coffee grinder that is used specifically for grinding flax seed. This is a good option if you want to avoid getting flax seed in your coffee grinder or blender, but it is a bit pricier. Simply plug in the mill, add the amount of seeds you want, and turn it on! If there is confusion about this process, refer to the directions specifically for your mill.[1]
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    Try a coffee grinder. This is the best choice for those of us who don’t want to buy an entirely separate appliance for grinding flax seeds, but also want the best results. Coffee grinders are made to thoroughly blend small, oily beans, making them perfect for grinding small, oily flax seeds. Measure out the amount of seeds you want, and pour them into the grinder. Adjust the settings to the finest grind, and then turn it on. It should only take 10-15 seconds to get the seeds refined to a small, evenly ground meal.[2]
    • Be sure to thoroughly clean your coffee grinder before and after use if you also use it for coffee. Otherwise, you run a flavor cross-contamination risk.
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    Try using a spice mill. If you’re not afraid of a bit of elbow grease, a spice mill is a great option for grinding flax seed. It is a small appliance with a hand-wound blade/crank mechanism. That means that you are responsible for grinding the seeds, because it is not electric. Pour your flax seeds into the mill, and if you have the option adjust the setting to ‘finely ground’. Then, crank away! It may take a few minutes, but your flax seeds should be ground perfectly.
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    Use a food processor. Food processors can be used to grind flax seeds, but because of their typically large size it is difficult to grind the seeds very small and takes a long time. Pour your flax seeds into the food processor, and adjust the settings accordingly. Turn it on, and let it go; it may take several minutes to grind the flax seeds completely.[3]
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    Use a blender. Similar to a food processor, using a blender to grind flax seeds is not as effective as using a smaller appliance with a smaller bag. Use the smallest blender you have with a double blade, and pour in the flax seed you need for the day. Turn it on a medium or high speed and allow it to run for several minutes until all the flax seed is ground.
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    Use a pepper mill. That’s right; use one of those fancy pepper-grinders you sometimes see in nice restaurants to grind your flax seed. This option is best for grinding only small portions of seeds at a time, as it is a time-consuming process. Fill your pepper mill with flax seed, and then twist the head or crank at the top to grind the seed. The amount you will get out of it is not exact, so refrain from using a pepper mill when you need very specific amounts of flax seeds.
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    Use a mortar and pestle. Go old school and use a very traditional tool, the mortar and pestle, to grind your flax seed. This isn’t the easiest option, but it will give you the best results. Pour your flaxseeds into the mortar, and use a combination of bashing and muddling to grind them finely. Bashing involves hitting the seeds with the pestle to break them down, while muddling is the process of grinding them finer and finer by moving the pestle in concentric circles.[4]


  • Ground flax seeds can go rancid quickly due to the oils in the seeds. If you grind more flax seed than you need, store the extra ground seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve them. When grinding flax, store extra in an airtight, opaque container.
  • Whole flax seeds will keep at room temperature for up to 1 year, but you may want to replace them every few months for the most freshness.
  • You can use golden or brown flax seed interchangeably in baking or cooking. The seeds taste the same and offer the same nutritional benefits, regardless of color. Some cooks prefer the golden seeds since the lighter color is less visible in baked goods.
  • For the best price, buy whole flax seed from the bulk section at a health or specialty foods store. You may find it packaged in the baking section for a higher price.

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Categories: Nuts and Seeds