The Best Meat Tenderizers

No one wants to eat a tough piece of meat. Each bite takes so long to chew, and by the time you get through your meal, you might have a sore jaw to deal with. Ouch. There's definitely a better way to prepare your meat so that everyone can easily chew it. You just need a meat tenderizer. Also known as a meat mallet, you can use this kitchen tool to pound your meat before you cook it. As you do this, the teeth on the mallet will break down the connective fibers and muscle tissue of the meat. This process can take a piece of meat from tough to tender, so it's totally worth the time. If you're ready to serve tender meat to your family, here are a few of the best meat tenderizers you can buy.

KitchenAid Textured Aluminum Meat Tenderize

Pound to Perfection

You can use this classic meat tenderizer on all sorts of different cuts of meat, making it a versatile addition to your kitchen.
Best Overall

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You’ll love what this meat tenderizer can do for your meat. With the textured side, you can pound your meat and make it more tender. The spikes are sharp and strong, so they easily cut through connective tissues. The other side is smooth. You can use this to make your meat thinner. It’s perfect for steaks and cutlets.

Both sides are made from aluminum. This metal is lightweight and strong. It’s also easy to clean, so you can keep your tenderizer in tip-top shape. When it’s dry, you can use the hole in the handle to hang it up. This way you won’t accidentally grab the sharp side when you’re reaching into the drawer.

Pros

  • Two different sides, so it’s useful for several types of meat
  • Ergonomic handle design that’s easy to grip and hold without causing your hand to ache
  • Aluminum construction so it’s light enough to easily handle but strong enough to get the job done

Cons

  • The teeth are a bit on the short side, so it won’t work well on thick cuts of steak without a lot of work on your part. It’s better for thinner cuts

Jaccard 48-Blade Meat Tenderizer

Super Sharp

You'll get your meat tenderized in no time with this 48-blade meat tenderizer.
Best Handheld

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Most meat tenderizers are designed to be held in one hand and pounded down on your meat. This takes quite a bit of hand and arm strength. But, this meat tenderizer is different. It’s meant to be placed on the meat and pushed down. It still requires some elbow grease, but it doesn’t require quite as much strength. And, with this method, you’re also less likely to over-pound and end up with mushy meat.

As you push it down, the needles go into the meat and help break up tissues. These needles are made from strong stainless steel for which meat is no match. You’ll quickly have it tender and ready to cook, and you won’t believe how tender the meat will be.

Pros

  • Don’t have to swing and pound a meat mallet with this design
  • 48 super sharp needles are going into your meat each time you push it down, so you won’t have to use it as many times on each side
  • Comfortable grip on the handle so it’s easier to hold

Cons

  • It can be a little intimidating to wash something with 48 super sharp needles poking out. You can’t rush the washing process, so give yourself a little time, especially at first.

OXO Good Grips Meat Tenderizer

Get a Grip

Your hand won't slip and slide on the handle of this meat tenderizer, so you can safely pound your meat.
Best Grip

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Your hands will thank you for going with this meat tenderizer. The soft handle is super comfortable to hold and features a non-slip design. This way, you can safely use it even if your hands are wet. You won’t have to worry about this tool flying out of your hands and hitting anything (or anyone).

While the grip is great, it’s not the only feature this meat tenderizer has going for it. The head is at the perfect angle to maximize impact and ensure your meat gets tender. You’ll find a textured side and a smooth side, giving you options when you prepare your meat. When you’re finished, you can put this in the dishwasher. Clean up will be a breeze.

Pros

  • Teeth are pyramid-shaped to quickly break through connective tissues and tough fibers
  • Head is at an angle instead of being straight on, which means you won’t have to swing as hard to get the job done
  • Sturdy design so you can use this meat tenderizer for years to come

Cons

  • The handle is a little short, so you won’t have a lot of space to work with for gripping.

TenderPro Kitchen Tool for Tenderizing

Space-Saving Design

This small meat tenderizer is easy to use, and you don't have to take it apart to clean it.
Most Compact

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If you don’t tenderize your meat often, you might not want to have a cumbersome tool around that you only pull out a couple of times a year, but thanks to the space-saving design of this meat tenderizer, it’ll take up less space so that it’s easier to store. The stainless steel needles are laid out in a circular formation, and the handle rises straight up above them. It’s very sleek.

To use it, you position this tool over your meat and simply push down. This motion sends the needles into your meat, helping to make it more tender. Since the needles are close together, this tool has a narrow focal point. You can easily get a precise application across your entire piece of meat without having sections that are over tenderized. You can use this to tenderize a variety of cuts of meat, too, so it’ll be a handy tool for your kitchen.

Pros

  • Easy to store since it’s fairly narrow and compact
  • Ergonomic handle that’s comfortable to hold
  • Pokes holes that your seasoning and marinade can fill to help make your meals more flavorful

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a side for flattening your meat, like other styles of tenderizers do

AOWOTO Meat Tenderizer Tool

Let Gravity Help

This inexpensive meat tenderizer is designed to harness the power of gravity so you don't have to swing as hard.
Best on a Budget

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Newsflash: you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy tender meat. This budget-friendly meat tenderizer will help make your steaks juicy and your chicken tender. The tips of the teeth are sharp, so they have no trouble breaking down tough fibers. It’s also very strong and sturdy, so you can use your muscles without worrying about breaking this tool.

This tenderizer is made from a rust-proof material, so you won’t see any unsightly rust developing over time. The rubber handle is soft and plenty long so you can get a comfortable grip on it. The handle and head create a unique balance that really lets gravity do a lot of the work. You won’t have to swing it as hard as some other tools, and it’ll still get your meat nice and tender.

Pros

  • Double-sided head for all of your tenderizing needs
  • Can be used comfortably by right- and left-handed cooks
  • Soft rubber section on the handle that’s easy to grip
  • Doesn’t cost a lot of money, so you can give tenderizing a try without a large investment

Cons

  • The design of the spikes makes it a little hard to get the meat off, so cleaning takes a bit of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of meat can you tenderize?

You can use your new meat tenderizer on many different types of meat. Steak is the classic example, but it’s definitely not the only one. You can use this tool to make your chicken, pork, venison, and lamb tender and easier to eat. It also makes a good tool to crack crabs, crush garlic, and turn peppermint into tiny pieces. It’s a versatile addition to any kitchen.

Do I just hit my meat all over to tenderize it with a meat tenderizer?

While you do want to ensure you get the entire surface of your meat tenderized, you don’t want to randomly strike it with your tool. Instead, be methodical: follow a consistent direction as you move across the meat. Thinner parts of the meat may only take one or two hits, while thicker areas will require more. Just keep an eye on it as you go, and don’t over pound your meat.