How to Grind Weed Without a Grinder?

8 min read
How to grind weed without a grinder
Listen to this article:

You just arrived at the beach with your favorite strain and rolling papers in hand. You reach for a nug and realize you forgot to pack a grinder. This is a very common situation that you’ve probably found yourself in more than once before. While it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have an herb grinder, it is a nuisance and you won’t get the same high quality burn you’re used to. We’re going to break down how to grind weed without a grinder so when you find yourself in this situation again (and you will), you’ll be ready to get creative and show off a few stoner hacks and a homemade grinder that your smoking buddies will love.

Do you need to grind weed?

Yes! There’s a reason that a weed grinder is a key piece of every pothead’s tool set. Cannabis flowers grow and are sold in large clumps called buds or nugs. These nugs need to be broken up to create a rollable and packable smoking material that burns well (no one likes a joint that keeps going out). Weed grinders are designed to easily break down large buds into fine, uniform pieces. This allows for a greater surface area, improved aeration, and a much more balanced distribution of heat when the cannabis is lit. Ultimately, grinding weed well gives smokers a flavorful, efficient, and smooth burning experience that you can’t achieve otherwise. If you don’t own a weed grinder just yet, you’ll want to get one asap, but in the meantime you’ll need to figure out how to grind up weed without a grinder. Additional benefits of using a grinder include:

  • The ability to easily separate and collect kief
  • No sticky fingers
  • Preventing bong and pipe bowls from clogging
  • An easier time cleaning glassware
  • Reducing over burning and wasting material
  • An extra smooth burn
  • More efficient release of terpenes and cannabinoids

How to grind weed without a grinder

Coffee grinder

An easy alternative to a grinder can be found in the kitchen. Electric coffee grinders work great on cannabis too and are just too tempting when it comes to creating the perfect wake and bake. The downside of the coffee grinder method is that it can be really annoying to clean, however it’s great at grinding weed if you need to grind a lot of material at once and requires little to no effort. Not a coffee drinker? A cleaned black pepper grinder or a blender works too! Start by cleaning out any residual coffee and dump in your cannabis flower. Don’t over pack or tightly pack the coffee grinder. Leave a lot of space for the device to do its magic. Adjust the settings on the coffee grinder to make sure your weed doesn’t become an unsmokable pile of dust or fine powder. Grind little by little and check your flower often. When the consistency is to your liking, empty it out and give it another clean. If not, you might have a little extra kick to your next morning coffee.

Scissors and a shot glass

It might sound a little weird but hear us out. Grab an empty shot glass or small cup, add a nug and start cutting away with sharp scissors. Unlike when cutting on a flat, solid surface or chopping board, the shot glass holds the flower in place without the use of your hands so it’s easy to chop up. A shot glass is just the right size so that you’ll have enough room to open and close the scissors, but still not have to mess with your nug bouncing around. The best part is everyone has sharp scissors and at least one shot glass around, so it’s a great option when you’re at a house party.


The most obvious method is to grab a sharp knife and start chopping up your bud. Use the sharpest knife in the kitchen so it slices through even the stickiest resin-loaded nugs. If all you have is a dull pocket knife, choose another technique from this list to avoid the headache and cleanup.

Cheese grater

If you’re all out of ideas and are on your last resort, try grating large nugs with a cheese grater. Just like when grating cheese, this DIY grinder can make a giant mess if you get too crazy. All we ask is that you wash it well afterwards or your mom’s famous cacio e pepe may end up with a secret ingredient.

Mortar and pestle

Get your witchcraft on and go old school with a classic mortar and pestle. Back in the day, apothecaries would use this tool to quickly mix up ingredients to create medications such as tinctures and tonics. Today, people might have a set sitting in their kitchen cupboard to crush nuts, grind whole spices, smash garlic or ginger, and release flavors. It’s often much faster to use than a knife and works great on dry herb. Just put your nug in the mortar (the bowl) and use the pestle to crush and grind. This method works best if you’re not using sticky and wet weed since it will smash and clump together instead of break into pieces.

Pill bottle

Something most people have in the bathroom cupboard are prescription pill bottles. If you’re confused and asking yourself how to make a grinder out of an empty pill bottle, we’ve got you! For this improvised grinder, which is more of a DIY shaker, you’ll also need to find a small coin or two (nickels or quarters work the best). Wash your coins well to get rid of any germs and dry it off completely before starting. Add one or two weed buds into the prescription pill bottle. Be sure not to pack the bottle too full and allow enough space for the coin and buds to move around. Drop in one or two coins and secure the top. Now it’s time for the fun part! Shake the container hard for about 20 to 30 seconds and check to see the progress. If the bud isn’t broken up enough yet, continue shaking in 20 second intervals until you see that your smoking material is small enough.

Credit card

No knife or scissors, no problem. Reach for your wallet and use a credit card. Credit cards are made to be durable and sturdy, plus they have a decent cutting edge. Clean off your card well with an alcohol wipe before getting to work. The credit card method uses the same technique as a knife. Set the bud on a hard, flat surface and start chopping away. After smoking, don’t forget to clean off your credit card or you may get a few stares at the grocery store. There’s no way around it. The card will be super sticky to the touch (enough to clog up the credit card reader) and will definitely stink of marijuana.

DIY grinder

When thinking about how to grind weed without a grinder, the first thing that comes to mind is probably how to make a homemade grinder from scratch. There are a few different ways to do this, but it takes a lot of time and materials to build. Most dispensaries or online smoke shops have cheap grinders for under $10, so you’re better off just buying an actual grinder that’s made specifically for the purpose of slicing and dicing weed. If you absolutely must get crafty, find a circular jar or can (preferably a metal one) like a tobacco can. Carefully punch small holes in the top and bottom of the can making sure that the holes don’t line up. Insert nails or screws in the holes. The nails should be short enough that it doesn’t hit the lid or bottom of the can and the holes need to be smaller than the screws for a tight fit. That’s it!

Use your fingers

If you don’t have any of the above devices around and are still figuring out how to grind your weed without a grinder, stick with the most obvious method, using your fingers! Be warned that you’ll definitely get sticky and the grind won’t be the best, but using your fingers to grind weed does work when you’re in a pinch. Set up a rolling tray under your work space to collect any material that falls and keep waste to a minimum. Crush up the nug between your thumb, index, and middle finger, while making your other hand into a bowl shape to hold it in place. Let the small pieces fall onto the rolling tray. If any large pieces fall through, pick it up again and give it a second go. A simple finger grind is fine for herb that’s very dry and crumbly, but can be a mess with resounus and wet weed since it will want to stick together.

How to grind weed without a grinder 2

Grinders for sale

Not ready to make your own grinder from scratch? It’s time to get yourself a proper grinder. We’ve got a huge selection of grinders ranging from top-of-the-line automatic grinders to cheap herb grinders that won’t hurt your wallet. If you’re not willing to learn how to grind up weed without a grinder and prefer doing things the easy way, check out a few of these absolute must-haves:

  • Best auto grinder - The Banana Brother’s Otto Grinder is on the pricier side, but totally worth splurging on if you smoke on the regular. It even automatically fills your cones in just seconds! Designed with aerospace engineered milling plates and smart milling technology with built-in AI, this automatic grinder has extra sharp teeth and quality parts that will last a very long time. Drop in some flower in the top compartment, add a pre-rolled cone into the bottom, and press the power button. That’s it! Charge it up with the USB cable and it’s ready to grind on the go.
  • Best portable grinder - Always smoking while out and about? Try the V-Syndicate Grinder Card that fits right into your wallet or pocket. Available in two designs, this non-stick grinder card is quick to use and gives a nice, even grind that you can’t get with your fingers. Simply scratch your nug along the cutting edges like a cheese grinder and watch it break apart. Slip it back into the protective sleeve so you don’t get your wallet sticky and give it a quick wash when you get home. The slim design is ultra portable and convenient, plus it grinds better than those cheap acrylic two-piece grinders.
  • Best large grinder - For a classy grinder that will match your home decor, choose the Marley Natural Large Wood Grinder. This large grinder has a 76mm diameter that can handle large loads. It also produces two grind sizes depending if you want fine or medium sized pieces. Made out of sustainably sourced black walnut wood with a gorgeous grain, this 4-piece grinder is a beautiful statement piece that you’ll want to show off. It also features a hidden metal scraper tool that fits into the bottom, a kief screen, a magnetic closure, and a transparent shatter-proof polycarbonate window so you can see how much you’ve got at all times. Pair it with the matching Marley Natural Spoon Pipe made from the same black walnut wood and heat-resistant borosilicate glass to complete the look.
  • Best cheap grinder - When it comes to herb grinders, you don’t want to go too cheap or risk having to buy another one when it breaks. The Revolver Grinder is less than $15, but is crafted from heavy duty materials that will stand up to stubborn sticky buds. Choose from the three or four-piece style in either classic silver or rainbow. Each herb grinder has sharp diamond-shaped teeth, a kief screen, and a mini scraper so you can add in potent trichomes when your joint needs a pick-me-up. The cool grinder resembles a loaded revolver chamber complete with six golden bullets that’s locked and loaded for a uniform grind.

Now that you know how to grind up weed without a grinder, you’re ready for the next time you forget your herb grinder at home (just don’t forget the flower). For even more herb grinders and other smoking accessories visit our online headshop. You’ll get the best prices on heady glass bongs, water pipes, bubblers, vape pens, e-rigs, ashtrays, rolling papers, dab rigs, dab tools, rolling trays, and more!

Also in Everything 420 Blog