What Is A Hand Blender?

What Is A Hand Blender?

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.”

Introduction

The two important points here are:

  1. a hand blender is used held in your hand, and
  2. 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.

What Is A Hand Blender? - Hand Blender Blades
Hand Blender Blades
What Is A Hand Blender? - Hand Mixer Beaters
Hand Mixer Beaters

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?

What Is A Blender? - Types of Blender

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.
    • What Is A Hand Blender? - Blender MessMess – 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.

    What Is A Hand Blender? - KitchenAid KHB2561 5-Speed Immersion Blender

                   (Contour Silver)          (KHB2571)

    Need deeper reach? A 13″ blending arm is available on the KitchenAid KHB2571 model hand blender.

    Click the link to read more about the KitchenAid KHB2561 5-Speed Hand Blender.


    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
    • What Is A Hand Blender - Cheddar Broccoli Soup1 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

    DIRECTIONS

    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

    What Is A Hand Blender? - 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

     

  • DIRECTIONS

  • 1. 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.
    2. Pour coffee into two tall mugs and top each with 1/4 cup cinnamon whipped cream.
    Garnish with 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon if desired.Enjoy.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.

2 Replies to “What Is A Hand Blender?”

  1. I LOVE my kitchenaid hand blender! I have been wondering if I can use it like a handheld mixer though. I saw you had a section on it, I want your opinion though! Do you think I could use my handheld to mix cake batter? I want to make a small batch of cupcakes and don’t want to pull out my big kitchenaid, so I’m curious to know if the hand blender would work. Have you tried it? Do you think it would get the same smooth consistency? I absolutely love using my hand help blender for making mashed potatoes, it makes them so creamy, and it doesn’t hurt my hand! Also, your broccoli cheddar soup looks so yummy! I really hate thyme though, do you think it would still taste great if I omitted that? Thanks so much!

    1. Rachel Annie,

      The simple answer to mixing cake batter with a hand blender instead of a mixer is yes, you can. The more complicated answer is that there is a trick to it.

      You will still have to hand mix or whisk the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. If you have a hand blender with a whisk attachment, like the KitchenAid KHB2561 5-speed hand blender, then you can use the immersion blender with the whisk attachment to mix the wet ingredients. Read my Immersion Blenders Review page for more information on this hand blender.

      Then add 3 to 4 heaping tablespoons of dry mixture into the wet mixture and mix using the immersion blender. Mix until the ingredients are smooth, no lumps. Continue adding 1 tablespoon of dry ingredients at a time and blending until all of the dry and wet ingredients are thoroughly mixed into a consistent, smooth batter.

      It is not a good idea to try to use a hand mixer as a hand blender though, unless you have a separate attachment. The beaters are designed to mix, not to emulsify ingredients. Also, imagine the mess if you try to blend hot soup with the uncovered beaters. Yuck and Ouch! Lol.

      Enjoy.

      Ed

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