If a kitchen gadget makes it easier to prepare a fast, nutritious breakfast or to recharge after a workout, it wins a spot in our cupboards! A nutritious smoothie can rejuvenate dull skin, boost antioxidants, and ward off the sniffles, but preparing one in a blender or mixer can be a total pain. After all, why go through all the hassle of disassembling and cleaning a big mixer to make one smoothie? Cue the hand blender.

What is a hand blender?

With hand blenders, also called immersion or stick blenders, the blender’s blades are the end of a hand-held stick. In a countertop mixer, the motor is housed in the large stand that sits on your counter taking up lots of space. In a hand blender, the motor goes in the handle at the top. Hand blenders can be cordless and battery powered, or they can plug into a wall socket.

How much does an immersion blender cost?

You won’t have to break open your piggy bank if you want to take a hand blender for a spin. Prices range from $15 for a two-speed model to $40 and up for models with multiple speeds and attachments. Top of the line models typically go for $80 to $140, but if you're only going to use it to make smoothies, they're overkill.

How do you use a hand blender to make a smoothie?

An immersion blender smoothie whips up in no time. Put all of your ingredients in a tall glass but don’t fill it more than two-thirds full. When you immerse the blender's blades in the liquid and fire it up, it will incorporate air into the mixture, which will expand. Leave room or you’ll wind up with a huge mess on your kitchen counter.

Not all immersion blenders have the power to blend large chunks of ice, so break them up before adding them to your smoothie. When you put the hand blender into your glass, move it to the bottom and make sure that the liquid fully covers the blades. Start at the lowest setting to avoid spills and then crank it up by notches.

Watch until the smoothie reaches your desired thickness and then turn off the blender. If it’s too thick, add more juice. If it's too thin, add banana slices, yogurt, or more ice.

Does a hand blender have other uses?

A hand blender’s uses include shakes, purees, soups, and even scrambled eggs. Basically, anything liquid is fair game if it’s not too chunky. Hand blenders with more power and higher watts can handle salsa, nut butter, and pesto too. If you're concerned that your ingredients might be too much for your blender, chop or break them up before adding them to the glass or pan.

A hand blender can be used in a pot or pan as long as the blades don't touch the bottom and are fully covered. They work well with soups because soups are cooked in a deep pan, and the liquid won't splatter. Avoid using a hand blender in a shallow pot unless you feel like cleaning the soup off your stove, backsplash, and counter.

How do you clean a hand blender?

The shaft on many hand blenders can pop right in the dishwasher when you’re done using it. However, putting blades in the dishwasher can dull them. Instead, blend a mixture of soap and water in a glass and then rinse and let the blades air dry.

It couldn’t be easier to use a hand blender, which means that healthy breakfasts, delicious immersion blender shakes, and more goodies are in your future. When it's this easy, your favorite smoothie won't ever make you late for work again!

About the Author

Writer experienced in the health/wellness space.