How to use a hand blender
3 guides: How to use it; What kitchen tasks it does; What food it makes.
recipes, and recommendations for the best hand blenders or attachments you need to make the different types of food.
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Use your hand blender to save time, money, and get creative !
If you have chosen to buy the right hand blender for you – then, like us, you will be using it every day to save time, money, and get creative !
When we started out, we researched first what a hand blender actually is, and found all the useful, time saving, waste-reducing, better cooking, healthier, safer, space saving, convenience reasons we should all have one…so we’re convinced ! We use it every day – it’s so handy we proabably use it several times a day !
We bought a family member the cheap entry level Russell Hobbs one so we use that when with them, but without a chopping bowl we’re limited to soups and purées. We inherited a great Braun home hand blender set ( a mid-range one ) in our Spanish island home for half the year. And… for when we’re on the houseboat in Amsterdam for part of the year, we bought ourselves a top Bamix model to use there. So we’re covered wherever we are, with at least one stick blender to use. Phew !
Now it’s time to show you how its best to operate it, and what to use it for. So Jump straight to any of our 5 sections below.
How to use a hand blender
9 simple steps !
STEP 1: Always follow the supplier’s instructions
…for power outlets used, for battery charging (cordless models)how to wash, maintain, blending quantities, blending time, food that your blender will and won’t blend.
STEP 2: Keep the power off at critical times
…turn it off / unplug it BEFORE you attach or detach any parts. Also take it off the power before you wash it. You’ll want to wash the blender leg and blade but not all blenders have detachable legs. Most do, but the Bamix doesnt ( it’s the little blades that come off instead . So, start as you mean to go on, and get into a good habit. I do it the same way every time…
i. take it off the stand
ii. add my blade / leg
iii. plug it in
iv. use it
v. unplug it
vi. rinse it
vii. put it back on it’s stand
STEP 3: Make sure you have the correct attachment / accessory
…for the job in hand. Have a look at all the jobs it can possibly do below.
STEP 4: Know when to turn the power on
…check your instructions manual to see if you should turn power on before it enters the food, or after ( if your blender cuts ice, it’s often better to start the power after placing the blade on the ice.) If you have a cordless hand blender then make sure the batteries are charged up.
STEP 5: Use the right blending container
…make sure the container has enough room so that the food doesn’t splash over the top! For hand blending, a narrow container is also much better than a wide one. For small quantitues, I like to use a small jar or small jug with a wide opening at the top. Tilt the container and pull up the blender and down to try to create that vortex action where you get the food make a vortex as it travels around and then in under the blade.
STEP 6: Don’t put the blender into boiling food on the stove !
…unless the manufacturer says you can. If I put a basic plastic one in for example, it will melt it ! That doesn’t mean that you can put any metal blender legs into boiling food – so read the manufacturer’s guide. It’s also about safety, so how your hand blender manages splashing is important. With a Bamix, you can put it in boiling food in a pan, and ice cold liquid in a crystal glass !
STEP 7: Move it about a bit !
Hold it at a slight angle and off the bottom of the container, move it around a bit through the food until you get the desired consistency. (Don’t forget, you can also move the container, and not just the blender, so that you can smooth out all the lumps.) Check how long you should blend for before taking a break – the higher the power and speeds ( rpm) you have then the longer you can usually keep the blender on. Some tasks just take a matter of seconds, others maybe 20-30 seconds.
STEP 8: Treat it carefully, don’t bang it about !
When you’re done, whilst holding it over the container / jug, tap the shaft on your other hand to get excess food off. Don’t ever tap the shaft on the container as that can be bad for the blender. So, get in the better habit of tapping gently on your other fingers. Bamix recommend that because their shaft contains the electronics to drive the blade of course. Makes sense to treat it gently !
STEP 9: Wash the blender end / the blade parts immediately
…for easy washing tips, see our blog on how to clean a hand blender next.
22 cooking, baking, & snack making tasks a hand blender can do.
Here’s an exhaustive list of tasks, using the terms you will see the manufacturers and suppliers using to market hand blenders (in alphabetical order). Under each term, we explain what it means… i.e. what task it does and how.
You will find that some terms overlap in meaning, and that kitchen tool manufacturers and cultures can use these terms a little differently. The action (verb) and the end result (noun) can also be the same … which is also confusing! We hope this helps clear a lot up.
Image: an entry level Bamix immersion blender, blending in the 1 L beaker that comes included
Not all hand blenders are equal
It´s important to remember that not all hand blenders will perform all techniques or produce all the foods shown below. Even if they say they do, the performance (hence the results) will also vary. Value for money is something you need to consider carefully when buying your hand blender. And, it depends on if you want a jack of all trades and master of none !
Not all hand blenders can have all attachments
So it’s good to check the list below and prioritise what’s important to you before you buy your hand held blender, or before buying more attachments. Not all hand blenders have separate attachments that you can keep adding after the initial hand blender purchase. You should be able to however with some Braun and Kenwood models, and with all Bamix blenders.
This means to introduce air into, usually by beating or whisking and usually a term referring to beating eggs.
Stirring something rapidly to make a smooth mixture. Traditionally a whisk, a spoon, a spatula, or manual hand mixer is used to beat.
mixing or combining ingredients together to make a nice uniform, smooth mixture. When blended, the mix of ingredients makes a new unique flavour. Traditionally would use a spoon or whisk or mixer for this.
To chop from fine or small, to rough or big we would traditionally use a knife. With the hand blender this is usually done by the blade in a chopper bowl.
Make a mixture creamy (eg creaming butter or a sugar & butter mix for baking). Traditionally would use the back of a wooden spoon or electric mixer to do this.
To crush food into a smaller form.. starting with bruising, flattened, battering, and finally into pastes, crumbs or even powders/dust! See pulverinzing for the heavier crushing. Usually a knife or a mortar & pestle (and a lot of elbow grease!) would do this job. Ice is also a big crushing job. If you need this then be careful to check your blender has a good reputation for crushing ice before trying.
Obvious I hope… cutting into pieces like with a knife. I find this term just a duplicate for chopping!
To mix some things so very thoroughly that it becomes one emulsion. Its not easy to do because its usually with two very different ingredients that don’t like to combine well, e.g. oil and vinegar for a salad dressing.
Made by agitating a liquid. Its different to frothing right! A froth can be called a foam bit a foam isn’t usually called a froth! The foam bubbles are smaller than in a froth. An alternative way of foaming milk is to introduce an injection of hot steam into it.
Usually refers to frothing milk to produce a lighter liquid with a kind of foam on top. You can also froth by shaking milk in a closed jar then microwave for about 20seconds! Its lighter, more bubbly, than a foam and can make the milk ‘feel’ a little sweeter!
Cuts a solid food into little pieces. Usually grating is made by rubbing a solid food against a grating instrument.
e.g. for meats, nuts or spices etc …Usually a food processor is used to grind all sorts of ingredients. Otherwise, you could have specialised tool such as a pepper mill for peppercorns, coffee grinder for coffee beans, spice grinder, meat grinder etc etc!
Gosh this one took bit of research! In general terms this means the process of making things similar or uniform, so in terms of food it’s is a technique used to reduce particle sizes in a way that it creates more efficient and higher quality emulsions and dispersions. Honestly who homogenises!!! It seems that chemists and chefs do. Homogenizing means blending with such high shear forces that the big fat globules are broken up into many much smaller ones. So this is pretty specialist territory and it seems to be the commercial immersion blenders that have a a high speed blender to produce enough shear to homogenise ( whats to shear…. another blog post is needed for that perhaps!).
Not all blenders can do this but some of the more powerful or those with food processor attachments can boast making bread dough.
As it sounds, it means turning a sold into a liquid, or purée. Specialist liquidisers are also sold for this purpose. In the UK the counter top jug style blender is often called a liquidiser.
We don’t think this is the brewing beer kind of mashing. ore likely its potatoes and vegetable and fruit mashing. a good old manual potato masher is an alternative but the hand blender attachments that act as a masher make much smoother potato worms !
Where the food is chopped into tiny pieces much smaller than chopping or dicing. A meat grinder or food processor is often used to mince food.
Its a term we are used to using for preparing baking mixtures. hand held electric hand mixers ( you know the kind with the two whisks attached) have traditionally been the tool to use. Food processors and hand blenders can also do the job. So for mixing i would say its to do lighter things like egg mixing, you’ll need a strong one to mix heavy batters and doughs.
Meaning to reduce a food to powder or dust. The Bamix powder disk is amazing at this task reducing cinnamon sticks, avocado stones, chocolate to powder! This is usually by crushing, pounding, or grinding and traditionally the manual tools would have been a mortar & pestle, or a micro grater ( the kind you would use for nutmeg perhaps), a hand cranked (coffee) bean grinder, or at a push… a rolling pin!
Replaces mixing substances in a circular action, replaces a spoon or spatula. A blender at low speeds will carry out a stirring action.
Think ‘tearing to shreds’ To shred means to push food through a narrow opening of different widths and depths ( like a slicer) to make long, narrow strips.
22. whipping or whisking
For preparing food for baking or serving. A whip is basically a large version or a whisk, or a balloon shaped wire whisk. The whisk is the teardrop shaped one. What does it replace? Well to whip or whisk, a fork that was traditionally used to beat / mix ingredients and incorporate air into them. (used to make dressings , sauces, creams, eggs)
How to know which hand blender, or attachment to use ?
In our list of 25 foods below, we have put them into groups, and given our recommendations of hand blenders that will do those jobs well.
What food will your hand blender help you make ?
If you already have a hand blender, do follow the manufacturer’s instructions. They will be specific about the names they give to their attachments and how to use them. Of course they will all want to tout that they can do as many tasks as possible… but how well they do it is another question.
Image: The ultralight, well priced Braun MQ 523 Baby is best for making baby food.
A chopper , also known as chopping bowl, can be used to chop, shred or mince small quantities. Use it for vegetables, meats, nuts, spices or herbs. Some are more powerful than others with spices, hard nuts or coffee beans, fibrous vegetables and meat or fish with bone.
I couldn’t have a hand blender without the chopping bowl attachment ! I think I use that attachment most.
The braun Baby hand blender ( the same stick is called the MQ523 in some countries ) is the lightest of all the Braun ranges, so it’s perfect for new mums, whose arms are tired enough from holding the baby.
Making nice fine food is easy too with the pulse button ( which you also get on the Braun Vario series hand blenders ). This button is used to mix more delicately some soft ingredients like boiled egg or onions, or mix more gently wet ingredients into solid – milk into a nut butter for example.
Food processing bowl
Whilst the chopping bowl can in effect act like a mini-processor, you’ll find that some immersion blenders like the MQ9087x cross the line into the food processing world with added accessories that can make them do the job of a larger countertop food processing set up, but usually with smaller sized bowls. As well as checking if you need your hand blender to do these tasks, it’s also important to look at the size and weight of these accessories incase storage or counter-top space is an issue for you.
If you want to cover it all in one go, the higher end Sage All In One, and the Braun MQ 9 series, Kitchenaid 5 speed and the Bamix Superbox all come with accessories including a chopper container and a food processor to dice, slice and grate. You can also find more recommendations covering all levels and prices in our top 15 post here.
What food can a hand blender make ?
I use my blender for so many little things right in a glass tumbler, a beaker, or a pan, for part or complete cooking or baking jobs. But… I’m more of a researcher and avid user, than a recipe writer or film maker per se as it’s way out of our comfort zone ! However, we did it, we started…see below.
I use my blender for so many little things right in a glass tumbler, a beaker, or a pan, for part or complete cooking or baking jobs.
Here’s some recipes for my favourite foods from soups, sauces, dips and more.
I use my blender so much but am not great at taking pictures as I go, so bit by bit I’ll get the recipes to you.
I’m more of a researcher and avid user, than a recipe writer or film maker per se as it’s way out of our comfort zone !
However, we did it, we started…see our first video below.
It’s so super easy to make egg whites for a meringue with a hand blender – just 10 seconds ( or less ) and you have them !
Image: Me using my hand blender to beat egg whites… it’s fool proof, and done in a flash !
Usually I don’t whip up egg whites because in the past it didn’t go well the old manual whisk way. I remember having to do things like making sure the bowl was ultra dry, then wiping lemon around it, and it still wasn’t 100% successful.
Honestly, I do like to do things in a jiffy… but I’m not anywhere near my comfort zone in front of the camera here ! Especially when camera man Paul is watching and directing me to stay in the shot all the time. Hmmm, cheeky commentary added by Paul !
Over 25 familiar foods that you can make with a hand blender
plus… recommendations on which hand blenders will do the job for you
I hope you will be surprised and delighted with the list below, and I’m sure there are many more things that you can make all these with this super all in one kitchen gadget.
You may not want to cook all these, and your hand blender choice, along with the attachments you have, may also dictate which ones you can make. I’ve put them into 9 groups and detailed the best hand blenders to do these jobs
Image: The Kitchenaid 5 speed immersion blender making salsa
The most common use of a hand blender we would say. to the extent that people think this is what the hand blender was made for in the first place. So, it goes without saying that you don’t have to spend much on any simple hand blender to make a nice creamy soup. The Russell Hobbs we recommend is our favourite in the UK, or in the USA and Canada, the Cuisinart or Kitchenaid 2 speed models.
Just be aware to let the soup cool off from boiling point before you ever put a plastic stick blender leg into the pan. They have been known to melt, although someone reported they did that with the Russell Hobbs but it still worked, even if it looked a bit wonky ! At the more commercial level we use our Bamix multipurpose blade to blend, then the whisk blade to give it a lighter frothy creamy texture.
Sauces, purées, dressings, salsas, pestos and dips
The second most common use of a hand blender is to make these. Now you know why I use it so much ! For sauces, you just need the blender stick. You’ll probably think you don’t even need a blender to make gravy or jus, or most dips ( eg Hummus), but hey … it’s a life saver when the garvy goes lumpy ! The mighty mini hand blender gets you out of a lumpy gravy situation in a jiffy.
For salsas and pestos, a simple hand blender set with chopper will do just fine. We recommend you look at – Oxo Smart 4 in 1 set or the KitchenAid 3 speed.
Baby food vegetable or fruit purées, and desserts such as chocolate mousse, cheesecake or pumpkin pie filling
A brilliant model for potato and vegetable purées is the Masha 2x by Dash. We love that the blades are also plastic !
If you want to be able to chop a lot as well, an entry level 3 in 1 set where you can chop, mix and blend is what we would. One that does this particularly well, and at a very affordable price is the ultra light entry level Braun MultiQuick 5 Hand Blender (MQ523). Bamix also have a model to help with baby food, It’s a more expensive model but if you want a more commercial type immersion blender for all your family needs, then your go to blender has to be the Bamix Babyline .
Potato or cauliflower purée
We recommend you look at the specialist Masha 2x by Dash, or the Sage ControlGrip All in One ( a.k.a. Breville BSB530XL All in One Processing Station ) .
Smoothies, milkshakes, granites, juices and ice-cream
For a great 3 in 1 model entry level, we would go for the KitchenAid 3 speed , or the Breville BSB510XL. Braun MultiQuick range offers models with a specialist ice crushing jug – we recommend the MQ 5045 VARIO Aperitive.
Chips and crisps ( french fries ), and fancy potato dishes like ‘pommes anna’ or potato boulangère
For chip making etc, we recommend you look at Braun MultiQuick 9 (MQ9097 or MQ9087x), with it’s food processor with french fry and slicer attachments.
A great competitor to this immersion blender set for the rest (crisps etc) is the Breville All in one Processor with its variable slicer. It’s called Breville in the U.S. and Canada, and the same one is sold under the Sage brand name in the UK and Europe.
Pancakes, waffles, crepes, whipped cream, meringues, mincemeat, cakes, pies & biscuits
For the pancakes and light batter you couldn’t do better than with the Masha 2x by Dash. Or, go straight to the top of the Bamix range, and check out the Bamix Baking set, or the Superbox set.
Creams and mayonnaise, latte drinks
Well we’re a bit biassed here because we know how well the Bamix does this ! You don’t need top of the range however so we recommend you look at the Bamix Mono, Classic, or Deluxe models.
Paté , mince and burgers
We recommend you look at – Braun Vario 5 series with its pulse button for delicate mixing, the MQ 5077 Buffet is the one that comes with the food processor attachment you’ll need. The Bamix BBQ set also does the job in a big way ! If you don’t need all that the BBQ set does, then just get any model and buy the meat blade separately. We have the Bamix Swissline / Colourline and bought the inexpensive meat blade attachment as an add on to be able to mince up meat or fibrous veg like rhubarb.
By now, you probably know how much I ( Aoibheann ) love using my hand blender. Our daughter is living with us for the last 3 weeks and has already asked me… “is there anything you don’t use your hand blender for ” ahaha.
I’ve had a basic one from student days… which has been passed on to another student now. I replaced my dad’s old one with the best basic one now so he uses it regularly for blending his soups. I have a mid range 3 in 1 set kindly left by our landlord to use here on the island.
And, when we lived on the houseboat, Paul kindly gave me one of my favourite immersion blenders for my birthday. Shows how much I wanted this… I mean I have never before wanted a gadget or household item for my birthday before but I was ecstatic to get a Bamix Swissline to play with !
What hand blender do you have ? I’d love to know so please do comment below.
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