Hand mixers can be incredibly useful in the kitchen – they use the power of electricity and complex gears to ensure that you can get a wonderfully well-whipped and well-prepared finish to your food every time. That’s wonderful, but the problem is that not everyone might be in the position to have one of their own.
If you don’t have one in your kitchen, but you think you might benefit from one, don’t worry! There are plenty of tools that you can use instead. At the end of the day, hand mixers didn’t exist for a long time before they were invented – people used alternative tools back then, and you can too!
7 Best Hand Mixer Substitutes
The best substitute for a hand mixer is a whisk. The only real difference between hand mixers and whisks is that hand mixers take less effort to use, drawing power from mains electricity rather than the muscles in your arm.
This means that to get the same finishes, you simply need to put more effort in with a whisk than you would with a hand mixer. This is perfectly doable and typically involves taking more time rather than beating more vigorously.
When using a whisk, there’s one thing to bear in mind – the motion for an effective pass. The whisk should pass around the outside edge of your bowl, forming a ‘0’ shape. Next, the whisk should pass a figure-eight through what you’re mixing. Continue alternating between making these two shapes in the bowl, and your ingredients will be perfectly mixed before you know it.
Your hands might be a surprising thing to see on this list, but there’s a reason that humans evolved such useful tools on the ends of our arms – they’re infinitely changeable and manipulatable so that you can change them to suit any use case that you may need them for.
The thing that hands are best for, though, is kneading dough. The reason for this is that it’s entirely possible to over-knead bread dough, leading to a tough, chewy final product. To avoid this, many chefs recommend kneading with your hands when possible. Kneading can be a very therapeutic action, and we’d recommend looking up some visual references of different kneading methods. That way, you’ll be sure to do it well and get the most benefit, both for your bread and for yourself.
A spatula isn’t the ideal utensil for some use cases of the hand mixer, but it’s a spectacularly good way to incorporate ingredients quickly, roughly, and effectively. Adding as many things to your mixing bowl at once as you can is a tricky feat for a hand mixer to handle. Impressively, though, the blade of a spatula will help you cut through different powders and pastes to reach the base of a bowl easily. Using this ‘cutting’ motion, you can fold and mix different ingredients together easily, leading to a homogenous dough or batter very quickly.
The disadvantage of a spatula is that it is too flat and flexible to whip air into a mixture. This means that, for example, you can’t use a spatula to beat air into food. Instead, a spatula will burst bubbles as you stir, forcing them out of the mixture. This can lead to a dense end product, and is the reason why the term ‘fold’ is used instead of ‘mix’ or another equivalent – ‘folding’ implies mixing while trying to maintain the bubbles within the mixture.
Food processors can be great alternatives to hand mixers! They can work really well to bring air into cream or egg whites, as well as being able to knead the dough, too. The thing to bear in mind, though, is that food processors generally aren’t as powerful as hand or stand mixers – especially when solid items such as dough are concerned. Before trying to use your food processor to knead the dough, be sure to check that it’s powerful enough to withstand the toughness of the dough you’re kneading.
A blender is a wonderful way to beat liquid ingredients together! It’s typically more powerful than a food processor, meaning that it has the power to blend whatever you put in there. The difference between a blender and a food processor, though, is that a blender will attempt to reduce whatever you put in it to liquid.
This isn’t great for bread dough, for example, though it works wonderfully if you’re trying to create a thick cheesecake batter or even basic cake batter, which can be exceptionally thick.
A fork can be a really handy alternative to a whisk when you’re only trying to mix small amounts of the liquids that you’re mixing. The reason for this is that the gaps between the tines of the fork function in the same way as the gaps between the wires of a whisk – they incorporate air into the mixture, and break up different bodies of liquid.
This means that a fork could be a handy option for bringing together two liquids that aren’t mixed – such as olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make a vinaigrette. This isn’t too handy for a large number of things, but it can be handy if you’re really in a jam.
Eggbeaters are something that isn’t used too much nowadays, but they can be brilliantly helpful when you don’t have a hand mixer. They use a system of gears to ensure that the beating arms turn quicker than you crank the handle, ensuring that you can mix different items together easily.
Eggbeaters are, essentially, the original, non-electric version of a hand mixer. This means that while they’re exceptionally good are almost all the jobs of a hand mixer, they can fall down in certain elements. Namely – they aren’t too great at mixing together large volumes of ingredients all at once, as they’re typically quite small, and liable to get stuck with an especially thick batter.
We hope that this list of substitutes will be able to help you find the best tool for the job in your kitchen – happy cooking!