The 4 Best Meat Tenderizers

For more flavorful, tender meat, the best meat tenderizers quickly transform any cut. Meat tenderizers typically come in three forms — mallets, blades, and powdered (or seasoning) tenderizers. To help you choose the type that best suits your cooking style, let's walk through what you need to know.

  • Mallet tenderizers are used like a hammer with a long handle and a textured head to pound meat and are typically made of aluminum or stainless steel, sometimes with a nonstick coating. If the mallet head has a smooth side, this type can also flatten meat for evener or thinner pieces.
  • Blade tenderizers are handheld devices, typically plastic (look for ABS plastic for food safety and durability), with dozens of stainless steel blades or needles that puncture meat to tenderize. This option can be a bit easier to maneuver for some home cooks than the mallet.
  • Powdered or seasoning tenderizers are simply sprinkled over meat to help break down tough fibers with salt and active enzymes, often bromelain, which is typically found in pineapple and breaks down tougher meat fibers.

I've included one crank-powered tenderizer that's a close cousin of the blade tenderizer. It can also cube meat and is great for high-volume needs, especially for major events where you're entertaining for family and friends.

Check out my highly-rated picks below, all of which will undoubtedly help make your meat more tender.