Most bakers are likely already aware that in the world of kitchen appliances, electric mixers typically fall into two categories: hand and stand. The former is the more effective and utterly hands-free option. These are mixers without a fixed base, necessitating maneuvering the appliance around the mixing bowl.
Regardless of the type of electric mixer you own, I’m confident that we can all agree that these machines are a lifesaver. There are not many recipes in which electric mixers are unnecessary. With your trusted mixer, you can bid farewell to the time-consuming, arm-aching process of whipping and mixing.
If you are one of those individuals who does not already own an electric mixer… What are you doing here? I’m sure some bakers enjoy the accomplishment that comes with manual mixing. Still, for most of us, the benefits of having a perfectly blended batter or dough at the touch of a button outweigh this by a significant margin.
Want a mixer immediately? Here are a few of my favorite inexpensive mixers available for Amazon PRIME shipping! What happens if you don’t have time to deliver a brand-new mixer? There are alternatives, although achieving a perfectly blended batter will be more difficult (and time-consuming).
Electric hand mixer substitutes
Manual or electric alternatives to electric hand mixers will be your only viable options. Here are my recommendations for the best options in both categories.
You will likely rely on good old-fashioned arm power without an electric mixer to achieve the best results. Here are a few tools that may be of assistance to you.
Best For: Light batters and meringue
A handheld whisk is one of the best alternatives to hand mixers available. It will help whip eggs, mix light batters, and any other recipe that calls for air to be incorporated into the mixture.
If you can keep whisking for an extended period, you will likely find that a whisk is practical for thoroughly combining your ingredients. If you desire those picture-perfect meringue peaks, you must work up a sweat and whisk for a while.
Whisks are ideal for lighter batters, such as Chiffon cake or Genoise sponge, but will struggle with thicker batters, such as cookie dough, which will clog the whisk.
A Wooden Spoon
Best For: Thick batters
If you intend to bake a cake with a naturally thicker batter, such as a carrot or pound cake, a whisk will likely not suffice. Most likely, the batter will become entangled in the whisk’s wires and clog all the gaps. In addition to causing a mess, removing the stuck batter from the whisk is a nightmare.
Now is the time to grab your wooden spoon and get to work. With a wooden spoon, you will have greater control and be able to fold the mixture quickly.
Best For: incorporating/folding delicately and icing
When a little more finesse is required, a silicone spatula will be of great assistance. It is the original inspiration for a stand mixer’s flex edge beater, which is ideal for scraping every last bit of mixture from the bowl, but it’s also great for gently combining ingredients.
The spatula is ineffective at making a cake from beginning to end. Silicone is too flexible and incapable of whipping air, so it will likely be used with a whisk or wooden spoon to fold in any meringue or gently combine the final ingredients.
The spatula is ideal for folding in meringue, making sheet cakes, Swiss rolls, angel cakes, and other delicate tasks.
Best For: Kneading dough
Okay, so this is probably a no-brainer, but if kneading dough with an electric mixer has become the norm, you may have forgotten that people once kneaded the dough by hand. Weird, right?
By hand, it takes approximately 25 minutes to achieve the perfect kneading, whereas a good stand mixer can complete the process in less than 10 minutes. A stand mixer does better kneading dough than most home bakers, so it’s not just a time saver. Numerous bakers’ over-flour the dough to compensate for its stickiness, frequently compromising the final product’s texture.
Finding the proper kneading technique is a bit of an art, and a good technique will help develop the gluten stands in the dough, thereby contributing to the creation of bread with a light and open structure. An excellent video will help you perfect your hand-kneading technique if you want to brush up on your skills.
A few additional kitchen appliances could serve as an alternative to an electric mixer and spare you the manual labor of the tools above.
Best For: Cake batter, cheesecake (cream cheese)
In an emergency, both your stand blender and immersion blender can come in handy for baking. It is effective at combining all the liquid ingredients, but it will not incorporate much air into the batter, so the final product may not have the desired texture.
Using a blender, combine the eggs, melted butter, and sugar until the mixture is pale. Pour the liquid mixture into a bowl and begin incorporating the dry ingredients. You could mix the entire batter in the blender, but because blenders are so powerful, you risk overmixing. If you overmix the flour, you will create too much gluten, and the cake’s texture will be unpleasant.
Using a blender is quick and straightforward, but the cake’s texture will be compromised. It is also suitable for making cheesecake batter. The following video demonstrates how to make a simple sponge cake using a blender.
Best for: Kneading dough, whipping cream
Yes, it is possible to knead dough in a food processor, as I’m sure you’re probably thinking. This is the most efficient method of kneading dough and can be completed in approximately 90 seconds. Don’t believe me? Babish demonstrates the effectiveness of these machines for kneading dough.
All you need to do is combine the ingredients and knead the dough until it is elastic. You will need a food processor with sufficient strength to handle the toughness of the dough.
Additionally, the food processor is excellent for whipping cream. Before I acquired an electric hand mixer, I used my tiny food processor to whip cream. I had to do it in batches, which is not the most efficient method, but the cream was whipped in seconds. Be careful not to overmix and curdle the cream.
Use your spoon and make quick circles in the batter, incorporating air into the mix. To whip a mixture, use a whisk or fork, hold the bowl as for beating, and make really fast circles to get as much air into the mixture as possible.
The answer is yes – for many recipes it can. Most cake and cookie dough batters as well as frosting or cream can be done with either a hand mixer or stand mixer like the recipes below.
Some cooks like to use an immersion blender to mix eggs and batters or to whip cream. While this can be convenient and easy, a hand mixer will also do the job; it has the added bonus of whipping in a bit more air, so you get a fluffier end product.
Using a blender to mix cake batter can save the day if you don’t have a hand mixer available. But you can’t simply throw all the ingredients into the blender and let it rip. You risk over-mixing the batter and activating too much gluten.
Hand mixers are great for quickly mixing smaller, lighter batches and are more compact and portable, but stand mixers are best for long mixing times and large or heavy mixtures. Stand mixers also generally offer more versatility with a wider range of attachments and accessories and offer hands-free mixing.
Just wipe down the outside of the mixer with a damp sponge or cloth, scrubbing gently to remove any stuck-on bits. Make sure the sponge isn’t too wet—you don’t want to send water into the motor, as this can cause the hand mixer to malfunction. Note: Never submerge your mixer in water. This can ruin the motor for good.
Mixers have been used in baking and cooking for years because they act as an extra hand in the kitchen. This kitchen device uses a mechanism with gears that rotate beaters which is what is used to automate repetitive actions like stirring food or whisking liquids.
Add milk and any additional flavours/ingredients, and mix in by stirring/mashing with a spoon, fork, or even a hand mixer. Optional: Pour mixture into a jar or shaker cup, seal it with a lid, and give it good shake!
While hand blenders, as the name suggests, are great for blending and puréeing foods, hand mixers are meant for other jobs like mixing cake batter or kneading dough. Whether or not you need both depends on what tasks you need these appliances for.
What is your favorite alternative to mixers?
There are numerous alternatives to electric hand mixers, some more efficient than others. A spatula and a wooden spoon help mix cake batters, but they will not incorporate much air. A handheld whisk will make all the difference when whipping up meringues or whipped cream but be prepared to work up a sweat.
Electric alternatives such as a blender or food processor can also work well if you are in a pinch and need to bake a cake, but a hand mixer will produce the best results for any baking.
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