If you want a perfectly cooked, juicy steak, or even a properly made schnitzel, you will need to prepare your proteins correctly, and for that, you’ll need a meat tenderizer. Whether you want to pound out or perforate your proteins, this list has you covered. Here are the seven best meat tenderizers that will take your protein prep to the next level.
High End Pick
My pick for absolute best meat tenderizer.
My pick for the absolute best meat tenderizer under $20.
Jaccard is famous for making the original hand held meat tenderizer. The tool works kind of like an old fashioned self-inking stamp – just position the tenderizer on top of your protein and press down, letting the 48 stainless steel blades pierce your meat.
A pioneer in meat tenderizing, Jaccard’s hand held tool is perfect for breaking up fibers, rather than destroying them – as you might with a mallet – producing juicy and tender, rather than “mushy” steaks. I particularly like using this tool before applying a marinade, since the micro-perforations soak up the marinade and enhance the flavor of my final product.
And this is dishwasher safe, which is good because it might otherwise be a bit difficult to clean, considering all the small, closely packed blades. If you don’t have a dishwasher, this can be a little bit of a pain, but certainly not impossible to clean.
If you’re looking to flatten your protein – for chicken piccata or a schnitzel, for example – you’ll need to look elsewhere. This tool will perforate, but not flatten. For that, you’ll need to pick one of the mallets on this list.
If you’re looking for a mallet at a competitive price point that will flatten your protein, this tenderizer by TPFOON may be the item for you.
It’s a fairly standard mallet – flat on one end and textured on the other, and will work perfectly for pounding out milanesas and schnitzels. Plus, it’s made of commercial grade stainless steel – something I always like – and it’s dishwasher safe.
While this tool is great for flattening meats, the textured side will not be as effective in tenderizing, and certainly won’t create any actual perforations in your protein. For that, you’ll want a tenderizer with blades. There is also a small gap near the head of the mallet that can collect bits of food, but this washes away pretty easily.
At such an affordable price, this meat tenderizer is more than worth the money. It is sturdy, beautiful and balanced, and most importantly, it will get the job done.
This Keissco reversible meat tenderizer is pretty cool, and it feels great in my hand. It’s definitely solid, weighing in at nearly two pounds. Made from chrome-plated zinc, the Keissco tenderizer also looks amazing – the sheen and curve of the grip is not just ergonomic, but aesthetically pleasing. It definitely catches the eye.
Logistically, the Keissco reversible meat tenderizer is pretty straight forward. The head screws off and can be reversed, meaning this item works well for both flattening and actually perforating your proteins. While it has some small grooves that collect food, it is also completely dishwasher safe. The sharp spikes make it a truly multi-functional tool.
I have big hands though, and those sharp spikes can actually poke my grip a bit when I’m using the flat side, a definite design flaw. And although compact, you won’t get as much leverage as you might from a traditional, full-sized mallet. But that said, it doesn’t really take a lot of force to tenderize most meats – unless you plan on making a mess – so this last point shouldn’t be too big of a concern.
KitchenAid is not just for stand mixers – they also make rock solid meat tenderizers. This item is made from aluminum, so it’s both incredibly strong and super lightweight. The KitchenAid meat tenderizer is also double-sided – fairly standard for most mallets – with a flat side for pounding and a grooved side for tenderizing. But, like my critique of some of the other mallets on this list, the grooves aren’t really significant enough to actually pierce your protein, limiting the practical versatility of this tool.
What it lacks in adaptability this tool makes up for in durable construction. Like I said, it’s light, maybe even too light for people that prefer a little extra heft. The grip is soft and comfortable – it truly feels great – but the material unfortunately makes this item a no-go for the dishwasher.
Regardless, KitchenAid is still a kitchen standard synonymous with quality, and the current price for this meat tenderizer makes it impossible to go wrong.
This Remihof meat tenderizing mallet looks more like a battle weapon from Game of Thrones than a kitchen utensil. At the end of this multifunctional tool is a head with two grooved faces for tenderizing, one smooth face for flattening meats, and a full on crescent-shaped meat cleaver for breaking up and chopping through bone.
The Remihof is durable, with a long handle, great for leverage, made from chrome-plated zinc, and it’s dishwasher safe. To be accurate though, the Remihof tenderizer is really a three, rather than four-in-one tool, since two of the faces are grooved and thus redundant. And like my critique of other mallets, the grooved side will be less efficient in tenderizing than a tool that uses blades.
This Rösle stainless steel meat tenderizer is stunning. It’s made from 18/10, heavy duty stainless steel and features a satin finish, and it’s so tough that Rösle gives it a lifetime warranty.
The handle is 11-inches long, giving the person who wields this tool some serious leverage. The head of the tenderizer is double-sided, a fairly standard design feature, and it’s dishwasher safe. I really like the look and feel of this thing, despite the limited versatility that comes with most mallet-style tenderizers.
The Rösle meat tenderizer will cost you a little more than some of the other items on this list, but I think it’s worth it. If you’re looking for an upgrade or to improve your prep game, this professional-quality tool is the way to go.
A meat tenderizer unlike any other, The Sausage Maker High Steaks (pun intended) Roller Meat Tenderizing Tool effortlessly pierces even the toughest proteins without destroying structural integrity, resulting in the best steak you’ll ever cook.
This meat tenderizer by the Sausage Maker is unlike any other tool on this list. Not a mallet, nor a hand held press, this roller-style tool easily penetrates tough, fibrous muscle tissue with its sharp, stainless steel blades.
The Sausage Maker offers a three year warranty for this tenderizer, which, by the way, holds the sole distinction of being made in the United States. And it’s dishwasher safe, which is good, because trying to hand wash this thing is a nightmare.
I really like that the roller comes with a protective cover, also made from stainless steel, which makes for safe storage. This roller is, together with the Jaccard hand held tool, a true meat tenderizer, easily piercing protein fibers without destroying their structural integrity. Use this roller to perforate, prepare and marinate the best steak you’ve ever had!
The term “meat tenderizer” can actually refer to a variety of tools. When most people picture a meat tenderizer, they probably think of a mallet. These hammer-like tools typically have long handles that support a weighted head at the end, usually flat on at least one side, and perhaps with points on the other. These tools are great for flattening out cuts of veal or pieces of chicken, but they aren’t actually the best implement for getting a super tender, juicy steak.
For that, you’ll want a meat tenderizer that perforates, rather than flattens, your protein. These types of meat tenderizers usually employ sharp blades, or spikes, to create many, many small cuts in your meat. And this variety of tenderizer comes in a number of designs, from rollers to presses.