A Tale of Two Blenders

Posted on March 31, 2014
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It’s Thursday night. I’ve just gotten home from a run and I really, really want a smoothie. I start pulling ingredients out of the fridge and setting up my blender, while I simultaneously think about what to have for dinner. I throw strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, a banana, some yogurt and a handful of ice cubes in, press the ‘start’ button and let it whirl. While the blade mixes up my giant fruit concoction, I decide that a big pot of soup sounds fabulous. I’m thinking a rich, creamy, healthy soup like the 30 Clove Garlic I love so much. But that means I have to wash out my blender, cook up my soup, and then blend it in batches once it’s finished cooking. If only there was a tool that I could blend my soup with while it’s still in the pot.

Wait! There is. It’s called an immersion blender. Maybe there is a happy ending to this story after all!

It seems like there are so many different kinds of blenders on the market right now, but really, there are only two that you should care about. One is the aforementioned immersion blender and the other is an upright blender, which is probably the tool that most of us are most familiar with. Both were created for the purpose of blending foods and liquids together, and some may argue that the only difference between the two styles is a matter of preference. But I beg to differ.

Immersion vs. Upright

Immersion blenders and upright blenders are not, in fact, used for the same tasks.

Upright blenders are typically used to blend ingredients into smoothies, salsas, purees, and yummy drinks. Most of the time, they’re used for cold processing and are great for mincing and chopping solid foods. Upright blenders run at very high speeds (up to 38,000 RPMs) for short periods of time.

If you want to use an upright blender for pureeing hot foods, it must be done in batches with the hot mixture filled only about halfway up the bowl. Filling an upright blender to the top with anything hot does not allow for heat to escape, therefore the contents can end up all over the kitchen and all over you. Ouch!

Immersion blenders are handheld blenders that look like a stick and are suitable for pureeing hot soups and stews while they’re still on the burner. They can also whip light batters and homemade frostings into fluffy shape. Or, if the recipe calls for it, they can be mounted to a pot and run for hours, since the blade rotates at a slower speed.

In Europe, the immersion blender is more popular than its upright counterpart. You’re more likely to see an immersion blender in most kitchens and you’re probably going to see it used for everything from smoothies to stews. This isn’t necessarily wrong, but it is inconvenient and the mixing process takes much longer.

We Americans aren’t a very patient bunch.

What Type of Blender Should You Get?

If you’re in the market for a new blender and still aren’t sure which kind you should get, make it easy and just think about what you will mainly be using it for. These two kitchen tools serve different purposes. Consider the best investment for your lifestyle. Are you a smooth(ie) operator or creamy soup connoisseur? Or both? You may find that you could benefit from having both blenders in your kitchen.

Rachael Moyte Rachael Moyte (67 Posts)

Rachael is a writer in Denver, Colorado with an affinity for food and all things food-related. In fact, she's a student at the Culinary School at The Art Institute of Colorado. When Rachael isn't writing or doing other foodie things, she enjoys reading, hooping, tattoos, dancing, learning about herbs and natural living, and spending time with friends and family.

1 Reply to "A Tale of Two Blenders"

  • Juicer vs. Food Processor vs. Blender: Which Should You Buy?
    June 4, 2014 (11:22 am)

    […] Before we get started on the pros and cons of owning a blender, it’s important to note that there are four kinds of blenders in the professional culinary world: food blenders, bar blenders, immersion blenders and smoothie blenders. For the home, we recommend investing in either an immersion or a food blender. Bar blenders and smoothie blenders are fantastic for each intended use, but these machines are typically limited in versatility. So unless you have a large amount of storage and counter-space in your home kitchen, we recommend sticking to a utilitarian blender, such as a food blender. Interested in what an immersion (also called a hand blender) can do for you? Check out this post on immersion vs upright blenders. […]

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