There are two main types of blenders, the traditional countertop blender and the immersion, or stick, blender. Here’s what you need to know.
The countertop blender has a pitcher with spinning blades in the bottom that mounts onto a motorized base. More powerful and with more settings than immersion blenders, they can blend, mix, puree, grind, chop and even crush ice. If you cook often with vegetable purees or you love frozen drinks and smoothies, you’ll definitely want a countertop blender. Their reputation of being difficult to clean is a myth. Here’s how to clean a blender with ease.
The immersion blender is also called a handheld or stick blender. Some celebrity chefs affectionately call the gadget a boat motor, which it does resemble in some ways! Compact and portable, the immersion blender is ready to blend right in the soup pot, measuring cup or other food vessel. The tool is easy to clean, too, with a wand attachment that detaches from the motor with the push of a button for easy cleaning.
Immersion blenders work best with thin liquids and soft ingredients, such as salad dressings and sauces. (Find 40 recipes using it right here.) While they can’t blend up frozen fruit for a smoothie or carrots for a puree, immersion blenders are quite useful. Their small size means they can be tucked into a drawer when not in use. You can use them to blend up hot foods, like soups and gravies, right in the pan, rather than messily having to transfer a hot liquid into a countertop blender.
Which Type of Blender Is Right for You?
Which blender you choose depends on your kitchen needs. If you find that you don’t work with frozen or hard ingredients often, the immersion blender is a space-saving gadget that can work in ways a countertop blender can’t. Likewise, if you would rather have a larger appliance that can do more, you might prefer to get just a countertop blender.
If you have space and room in the budget, both blenders are nice to have. Think about your cooking style before making your purchase. And once you do, here’s how to keep all your small kitchen appliances sparkling.
Our Best Blending Tips
Add liquids first.
Placing liquids in the blender first helps get things moving. This technique gives you faster blending results.
While it’s tempting to go full speed ahead with a high power setting when you blend, this could result in an uneven blend of ingredients. Instead, start at the lowest setting and work your way up.
If the blades get hung up on an item, hit the pulse button a couple of times to help dislodge it, then blend away. When using an immersion blender, it works best if there’s enough liquid in the container to immersion blender up and down if using a small container, or in circles for large containers.