Wikipedia defines a Hand Blender or Immersion/Stick/Wand Blender as:
” … a kitchen blade grinder used to blend ingredients or purée food in the container in which they are being prepared … A stick blender comprises an electric motor driving rotating cutting blades at the end of a shaft which can be immersed in the food being blended, inside a housing which can be held by hand.”
The two important points here are:
- a hand blender is used held in your hand, and
- is immersed in the ingredients in the container where they are being prepared.
They are small, convenient, easy to use, and easy to clean appliances with many cooking uses.
What is a hand blender used for?
A hand blender can be used for:
- pureéing hot liquids like soups or gravies
- making sauces e.g. pasta, pesto, cheese, hollandaise, applesauce
- blending meal left-overs for baby food
- beating eggs
- blending hummus
- mixing liquid batters such as pancakes and waffles
- whipping cream
- making homemade mayonnaise
- blending smoothies using frozen ingredients (stronger blades can blend ice for a smoothie)
- making milkshakes
- making salsa and other small chopping jobs (with add-on chopper accessory)
Hand Blender vs Hand Mixer
What is the difference between a hand blender and a hand mixer?
A hand blender chops and pureés foods but a hand mixer only mixes ingredients.
Mixer beaters (right) are meant for mixing ingredients whereas a hand blender blade (left) is small, sharp and rotates at much higher speeds in order to liquify ingredients.
A hand blender with the right attachments can be used for most of the jobs that a hand mixer does but not vice versa.
Hand Blender vs Personal vs Countertop
So, why would you choose a hand blender over personal/countertop blenders?
Advantages of hand blenders over larger blenders:
- Hot liquids – hand blenders handle hot liquids better because their the motors are above the hot liquid. Only the blade is immersed. Personal and countertop blenders have motors below the liquid. A seal normally protects the motor. Because this seal can be damaged by the hot liquid can drip down into the power base where it can cause damage to the motor or other electronic parts.
- Cleaning – wash the blade under the tap in the kitchen sink. This is the only part that requires cleaning. Most hand blenders have a detachable blade unit that is dishwasher safe.
- Size – due to the smaller size of a hand blender there is more room on your countertop for meal preparation. A hand blender saves valuable cupboard storage space due to its small size. Most hand blenders will fit in a drawer.
- Power – hand blenders for the home use less power (100 – 250 watts) compared to the larger personal and countertop units (600 watts and up) thereby saving electricity costs
- Cost – although there are expensive hand blenders available on the market, generally hand blenders cost less than personal and countertop units.
Disadvantages of hand blenders over larger blenders:
- Size – although an advantage in certain cases, the small size is a disadvantage when it comes to making large quantities of anything. A hand blender takes much longer to make several small batches than a countertop blender to make one large batch.
- Power – is needed in addition to size in order to blend large quantities of hard, whole food items.
- Mess – blending with a hand blender raises the potential of creating a mess. The blade must remain immersed whenever the unit is on. If you pull the hand blender out of a liquid mixture while the blade is still spinning, well, you can imagine what a mess you can make of your kitchen and yourself in a hurry. I call it the “splatter factor”. And what would happen if the liquid mixture is a hot soup?
- In short, immersion blenders are small, less expensive, easier to clean and excel at blending hot foods like soups, pureés, and sauces. But, when it comes to quantity and power this is where personal and countertop units start to shine.
Best Hand Blender – Top Pick
KitchenAid KHB2561 5-Speed Hand Blender
The KitchenAid KHB2561 5-Speed is my top pick for the best small kitchen hand blender.
Its 5-speed dial distinguishes this hand blender from the others and gives it more versatility than single or 2-speed models. Different blades are available including the S-blade for blending, the multi-purpose blade for crushing ice and a frother/beater blade for frothing milk. Change all of the twist on-off bell blade assemblies without tools.
The package includes a whisk and a chopper attachment. It has a 5-foot long power cord giving it a large work area. A convenient 4-cup (1 L) BPA pitcher and a storage container accessory organizer are included.
Click the image below to learn more on Amazon about this great little immersion blender.
Need deeper reach? A 13″ blending arm is available on the KitchenAid KHB2571 model hand blender.
Want to find more choices? Click the following link to read my page, Immersion Blender Reviews.
What Is A Hand Blender – Bonus Recipes
Thanks for staying and reading down this far. Here’s a couple of great recipes you can make using your favorite hand blender.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
INGREDIENTS (6 to 7, 1-Cup Servings)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and cut in quarters
- 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1⁄8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 10 cups chopped broccoli, stems and florets
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1. Place the onion and celery in the chopper attachment bowl of the KitchenAid® Hand Blender. Secure the chopper to the hand blender. Chop on low speed 4 for 5 seconds or until finely chopped. Set aside.
2. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add onions and celery. Sauté until vegetables are soft and begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in garlic, dried and fresh thyme, parsley, salt and the peppers for 1 minute until fragrant.
4. Add broccoli and potatoes, stir to combine.
5. Pour in milk, half and half and chicken stock, bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
6. Remove from heat. Attach the multipurpose bell blade assembly to the blending rod and blend soup at speed 2, rotating blender within the stockpot to pureé to a smooth consistency.
7. Add shredded cheese and stir until fully incorporated and melted.
Cinnamon Almond Coffee
INGREDIENTS (Serves 2, 1½ Cups Coffee and ¼ Cup whipped cream each)
- 3 cups freshly brewed coffee
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 teaspoons powdered sugar
- Combine the whipping cream through powdered sugar in the BPA-free pitcher of the KitchenAid® 5-Speed Hand Blender. Attach the frother/beater bell blade assembly and froth on speed 4 until thickened.
- Pour coffee into two tall mugs and top each with 1/4 cup cinnamon whipped cream.
- Garnish with 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon if desired.
Do you have any hand blender recipes you’d like to share? Post them below in the comments section. Or, if you have any comments or questions about hand blenders, please feel free to post them below.