I treat baking as a competitive sport. I need my cookies to be flawless. I require perfection from my pies. I am not happy unless my cakes come out supremely moist with an excellent crumb. But I could never quite achieve all these things until I traded in my wooden spoon and whisk for an electric hand mixer. The best hand mixer doesn’t just seamlessly transform flour, eggs, sugar, and fat into ultra-luxe cake batters and superlative cookie doughs—it also makes baking a hell of a lot easier. I no longer exhaust my wrist while whipping cream, and now I can actually make meringue.
Do you need a hand mixer?
The short answer is no. Not having a hand mixer—or any electric mixer—won’t stop you from baking, but it may restrict your repertoire. “There’s so much you can bake without an electric mixer, including cakes, cookies, pies, brownies, even laminated pastry,” says BA contributor Sarah Jampel. “And if you typically use vegetable oil or coconut oil instead of butter because you’re vegan or dairy free, you’ll get around fairly easily without one.”
For recipes that call for whipping egg whites or creaming butter and sugar, though, you’ll want this specific kitchen tool, since it’ll be difficult to achieve good results by hand. “Recipes where the texture relies heavily on aeration—like sponge cakes or pavlova—are off the table without a mixer,” Jampel explains. And for things like marshmallows, yeasted breads, and kneaded doughs, even a hand mixer probably won’t cut it. You’ll need a stand mixer, a kitchen appliance with a powerful motor that can run for an extended period without burning out. (If you’re in the market for one, read our picks for the best stand mixers on the market.)
Jampel adds, “There’s also something to be said for accessibility—electric mixers may make it possible for people who don’t necessarily have the strength or dexterity to mix or stir for long periods of time to continue baking.”
Why is the KitchenAid cordless hand mixer my top pick for the best hand mixer?
As a left-handed baker, my KitchenAid hand mixer has many perks, but what I really love about it is that it’s completely cordless. I received it as a gift last year (note to all with bakers in their lives) and these days, I can’t imagine cooking without it. It has seven different speeds for all the stirring, mixing, and whipping I’ll ever need. And since it has its own built-in battery, I can take it out of the cabinet and use it, sans outlet, anywhere I please.
Not only am I a leftie, but also my kitchen has only one outlet, located to the right of the counter. Less than ideal. But thanks to my cordless hand mixer, I no longer have to battle with an annoying wire or position my body at an uncomfortable angle to use it. The fact that you don’t need an outlet to power it up and that you can use it anywhere in the kitchen (or outside of the kitchen—you do you) is a perk for both lefties and righties alike.