In a world filled with kitchen appliances, many valuable kitchen tools get swept under the radar. Don't let an immersion blender be one of them! This one handheld blender can take the place of an electric whisk mixer, a mini food processor, and a standard blender - and takes no more space in your drawer than a couple of spoons. Keep reading to learn what an immersion blender is and why your kitchen will benefit from this tool!
What Is An Immersion Blender?
An immersion blender - also called a hand blender, speed hand blender, or stick blender - is a kitchen appliance that consists of a motor and a long metal shaft with stainless steel blades on the end, surrounded by a blade guard. Most models require an electrical outlet, although there are many styles of cordless immersion blenders available. Immersion blenders are designed to be placed directly into the pot or container holding the items you want to blend.
Immersion Blender Versus Countertop Blender
The primary difference between an immersion blender and a countertop blender is what you do with the ingredients that you need to blend. A countertop blender includes a large jar that sits on a motorized base that spins the blades. In order to use it, you need to fill the jar with the ingredients.
An immersion blender, on the other hand, doesn't include any sort of jar or canister. Instead, you place the stick blender directly into the pot or jar that is already holding the ingredients.
In short, you bring the immersion blender to the food, and you bring the food to the countertop blender.
Benefits Of An Immersion Blender
Stick blenders make for easy cleanup in two ways. First, there's no need to dirty up another dish! For example, if you need to puree a hot soup, you can place your immersion blender directly into the pot. You don't need to transfer those hot ingredients into the jar of a traditional blender and then wash up the blender jar afterwards. Secondly, cleaning a hand blender is as easy as detaching the blender wand and rinsing the attachment and the blender blades under running water.
Immersion blenders are incredibly convenient to use. They're handheld and easy to maneuver, which makes them perfect for blending directly in pots, bowls, or containers. There's no need to transfer hot liquids or ingredients to a separate blender.
Since there is no blender jar to fill, you can use your handheld immersion blender to tackle whole pots of food easily! You are not limited by the jar capacity unless you are using a blending jar. On the other end of the spectrum, there's also no quantity of food that is too small. Traditional blenders often struggle to thoroughly blend small amounts of food. A hand blender, however, can easily handle small batches of salad dressing or chopping a handful of nuts.
An immersion blender doesn't take much space in a drawer and takes absolutely zero real estate on your kitchen counter.
If you are short on electrical outlets in your kitchen or would rather not be tethered by a cord, no problem! Many manufacturers offer a cordless immersion blender model. These blenders feature a rechargeable battery and give you the freedom to move about your cooking space easily.
Just like your regular blender, many immersion blender models have variable speed settings. Low-speed settings are perfect for liquid uses, such as frothing milk or mixing batters. Higher speed settings can turn vegetable chunks into pureed soups, fibrous vegetables into creamy smoothies, and hard nuts into delicious nut butters.
Hand blenders come standard with a food processor attachment. However, there are multiple attachments available to switch out and expand its use! Try a whisk attachment, and you can put your electric mixer to rest. Use a chopper attachment for mincing vegetables or crushing ice.
While immersion blenders are excellent for blending and pureeing, they might not be suitable for tasks that require more complex processing, such as chopping, slicing, or grating. For these tasks, you'd need separate kitchen appliances.
Immersion blenders can create splatters and messes, especially when blending at high speeds or when working with thin liquids. This can make cleanup more time-consuming, as you'll need to wipe down surfaces and possibly even yourself.
Risk of Scratching Cookware
If you're blending in a pot or container with a non-stick or delicate surface, the metal blades of the immersion blender could potentially scratch or damage the coating.
While immersion blenders are generally quieter than countertop blenders, they can still produce a noticeable amount of noise, which might be disruptive in a quiet kitchen environment.
Some immersion blenders can struggle with high heat. If you're blending hot soups or sauces, the heat can affect the blender's motor, or there could be splattering due to the release of steam.
If you use the immersion blender for an extended period, the motor can heat up, potentially leading to overheating. This might require you to pause and let the blender cool down before continuing.
Drawbacks Of an Immersion Blender
If you are using an immersion blending jar, then you could be limited to capacity. Immersion blenders are generally designed for small to medium-sized batches. If you're working with a large quantity of ingredients, you might need to blend in multiple batches, which can be time-consuming and less efficient. You can also try to blend the ingredients directly in a pot or a bowl.
Compared to countertop blenders or food processors, immersion blenders often have less powerful motors. This can make it challenging to blend tougher or larger pieces of ingredients, resulting in uneven blending or even damage to the blender's motor over time.
Tips For Using An Immersion Blender
Use A Large Enough Container
You need to allow enough space in the jar or pot for the ingredients to move around as you use the blending wand. Otherwise, you will be dealing with splatters! You also need to make sure that the ingredients are deep enough that the blades are fully submerged.
This means that your container should only be filled about 2/3rds of the way with ingredients. It also means that if you'll be blending a small amount of food, you'll need to use a tall and narrow container to ensure that the ingredients are deep enough for the blades.
Keep Blades Below The Surface
An immersion blender works best if the blades are kept below the surface of the ingredients. Not only does this reduce splatters, but it also ensures an even and smooth consistency.
Move Blades Properly
The immersion blender will be moving the blades, but you're in charge of moving the blender arm! There are some tricks to this. If you want a completely smooth texture, hold the immersion blender at a slight angle and slowly move the blender around the container. If you want the ingredients to remain somewhat chunky, blend for a few seconds in one spot, then move the blender to another spot and blend again. If you're making whipped cream or aerating egg whites, move the blender around quickly in the container.
On an immersion blender with variable speed control, always start at the slowest speed setting first and increase as needed. This will avoid splatters.
Immersion blenders are super easy to clean - unless you let the food particles harden before you wash them! It's hard to scrub off stubborn food pieces from the blade guard. But if you rinse off the blade end right after using it, it's a cinch to clean!
What Can You Make Using An Immersion Blender
Smoothies and Shakes: Blend together a variety of fruits like bananas, berries, and mangoes, along with yogurt, milk, or juice, to create delicious and nutritious smoothies and shakes. Depending on the immersion blender, you can even make delicious smoothies using frozen fruit or vegetables.
Soups and Sauces: Immersion blenders are a game-changer for soups. After cooking your soup ingredients, you can use the blender directly in the pot to achieve a smooth and consistent texture. This is especially handy for creamy soups like tomato soup or butternut squash soup. Similarly, create sauces like marinara or Alfredo by blending cooked tomatoes, herbs, and cream.
Salsas and Dips: Make vibrant salsas by blending tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro to your preferred consistency. For dips like guacamole or hummus, blend avocados or chickpeas with spices, herbs, and lemon juice.
Salad Dressings: Immersion blenders are excellent for emulsifying ingredients in salad dressings. Combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, and other flavorings for your own homemade dressings.
Baby Food: Create nutritious baby food by blending steamed or boiled fruits and vegetables like carrots, peas, and apples. This ensures a smooth texture suitable for babies.
Mayonnaise: Making homemade mayonnaise from scratch is a breeze with an immersion blender. Blend eggs, oil, vinegar, and seasonings until a thick, creamy mayo forms.
Pancake and Waffle Batter: Achieve a lump-free batter by blending your pancake or waffle ingredients together, resulting in light and fluffy breakfast treats.
Whipped Cream: Blend heavy cream with sugar until soft peaks form, resulting in homemade whipped cream to top desserts and beverages.
Mashed Potatoes: Use the immersion blender to create velvety mashed potatoes by blending boiled potatoes with butter, milk, and seasoning.
Cauliflower Rice: Blend cooked cauliflower until it reaches a rice-like consistency, perfect for a low-carb alternative to rice.
Smooth Sauces: Achieve a silky-smooth texture in sauces like tomato sauce, cheese sauce, and gravy by using the immersion blender directly in the cooking pot.
Cocktails: Blend ingredients like fresh fruits, ice, and alcohol to create consistent and well-mixed cocktails.
Pesto: Combine fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil for a flavorful homemade pesto sauce.
Nut Butters: While immersion blenders may not be as powerful as dedicated nut butter machines, they can help you make small batches of nut butters by blending roasted nuts with a bit of oil until smooth.
Fruit Compotes: Blend cooked fruits like berries or stone fruits with sweeteners to make delicious fruit compotes for topping desserts or breakfast items.
Whipped Potatoes: Create fluffy whipped potatoes by blending boiled potatoes with butter, cream, and seasonings, resulting in a light and airy side dish.
Dressings and Marinades: Blend herbs, spices, oil, vinegar, and other ingredients for flavorful dressings and marinades that evenly coat your dishes.
Sauces for Desserts: Make fruit sauces by blending cooked fruits with sweeteners, adding a burst of flavor to desserts like ice cream, cheesecakes, and pancakes.
Batters for Baking: Prepare batters for muffins, cakes, and quick breads with your immersion blender, ensuring a consistent mixture.
Hot Chocolate: Blend melted chocolate, milk, and other ingredients to create a rich and velvety homemade hot chocolate.
Fluffy Eggs: With an immersion blender, you can make lighter and fluffier scrambled eggs than ever.