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Food & Drink: The Best Hand Mixers for Brownies, Cookies, and Whipped Cream

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Let's just get this out of the way: The best mixer of all is really a stand mixer. But they're bulky and expensive. Finding the best hand mixer is useful back up plan. Maybe you live in a tiny apartment and have a limited budget (same) but still get the urge to make brownies and cookies from scratch. Or maybe you don't need to beat eggs for a family of nine. Hand mixers are less of an investment than their stationary cousins. They're helpful gadgets for tiny kitchens with limited counter space or simply for use with smaller bowls. We tested more than a dozen leading hand mixers to find out which one is truly the best. Read on for our top picks. For details about the testing process and what to look for in a hand mixer, scroll to the bottom of the page.

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Table of Contents

Best hand mixer overall

Best affordable hand mixer

How we tested the hand mixers

Factors we evaluated

Other hand mixers we tested

The takeaway

Best hand mixer overall: Breville Handy Mix Scraper

  The Best Hand Mixers for Brownies, Cookies, and Whipped Cream © Provided by Epicurious

Breville Handy Mix Scraper

$170.00, Amazon

The Breville was the only hand mixer that could cream butter and sugar in a reasonable amount of time (under five minutes). It was also the quietest machine as its 240-watt motor is designed for near-silent operation at both high and low speeds. Another nice feature: Its beaters are coated in rubber so they neither scrape nor make a clanging sound when they hit the sides of the bowl.

This electric hand mixer has more features than its competitors, including a screen that shows speed level and a digital count-up clock (you know when a recipe says to beat the butter and sugar for three to five minutes and you just sort of fudge it? No more). The Breville also came with the greatest number of attachments: regular beaters, two different whisks, and a dough hook. The machine has a plastic storage container that attaches to the body of the mixer for storing the extra attachments—a huge bonus since lots of mixers come with small accessories that are easy to lose. It even has a light that automatically turns on when you mix, illuminating your mixing bowl as you work—a largely unnecessary feature that was, if nothing else, amusing.

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The Breville has nine speeds, all noticeably different from one another. It mixes at both low and high speeds effectively. Changing speed is easy thanks to a scrollable thumb wheel. At high speeds the mixer remains steady and doesn't drag your hand around the bowl. It even has the ability to sense the specific attachment you're using (whisk, beater, hook) and calibrates its speed settings to fit the specific task. The Breville is on the heavy side—it weighs 4 pounds—and holding it up can be a little tiring after extended use. However, the body of the machine rests against the edge of a standard mixing bowl easily, effectively relieving that burden.

Our previous (now discontinued, though not entirely unavailable) winner the Krups Hand Mixer had all of these features, minus three: It doesn't come with multiple whisk attachments, it cannot automatically adjust speed depending on the attachment, and it doesn't have a light to illuminate your bowl. We don't think these three additional features make the Breville worth selecting over the inexpensive Krups—especially since hand mixers are a less-expensive alternative to stand mixers and therefore shouldn't necessarily be a splurge item. But because it is discontinued the Krups isn't a reliable enough find to recommend. And the Breville, though more expensive, is extremely effective and has features that go above and beyond any other model we tested.

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Best affordable hand mixer: Braun Multimix

There’s a lot to like about the Braun Multimix. It’s sleek and powerful while still easy-to-handle, and its precise speed controls and intuitive handling make it a pleasure to use. Though it doesn’t have the extra pizazz of the Breville—like the coated scraper beaters or the built in timer—the Braun Multimix is a superbly-designed hand mixer.

The Braun could handle stiff cookie dough with ease without exhausting the tester’s arm strength (or the Braun’s motor). That’s partially due to the mixer’s design: the weight of the motor is positioned directly above the beaters so that the weight is distributed into the bowl and not your hand. The rotating speed control dial allows for precise adjustments with a tweak of the thumb, making it easy to engage a slow start and avoid accidental splattering.

While there’s no balloon whisk attachment as there is with the Breville, the multi whisk beater attachment does a fine job at creaming butter and frothing up egg whites. And for heavy duty kneading jobs, the set also includes a pair of dough hooks. All of the accessories snap in easily, and eject with a push of a button.

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Overall, we liked the Braun for its power, design, and at affordability (less than $80).

  The Best Hand Mixers for Brownies, Cookies, and Whipped Cream © Provided by Epicurious

Braun Multimix Hand Mixer

$73.00, Amazon

How we tested the hand mixers

We performed two rounds of testing. In the first round we whipped egg whites to see how the mixers held up to the task and how easy and comfortable they were to use. Then we made salted-butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. We looked at how well the mixers creamed butter and sugar together, incorporated eggs and dry ingredients like flour and baking powder, and finally blended in oatmeal and chocolate chunks.

Every mixer we tested was able to whip egg whites. But creaming butter and sugar together for cookies? Not so much. Only our top choice yielded a coherent, airy batter similar to what you'd get from a stand mixer. Some mixers struggled more than others with blending the oatmeal and chocolate chips into the cookie batter. We wanted a mixer that could handle all of these tasks with relative ease.

Factors we evaluated

How many speeds does the hand mixer have?

The mixers we tested had a range of three to 10 speed options. More important than the number of speeds, though, is the discernible differences between them and if a mixer can effectively operate both slowly and quickly (many mixers had a bunch of speed settings but didn't actually seem to operate at notably different speeds). We also looked at how easy it was to switch between speed settings. Some mixers switch speeds with a lever while others have a scrolling wheel or button to press. We found that some of the scrolling buttons actually made it too easy to switch from a high to low speed, skipping by mid-range options.

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How steady is the mixer?

A low-quality hand mixer is hard to control and often flies around the bowl, making your hand feel like it's griping a small mechanical bull. We wanted a firm mixer that's easy to hold steady and doesn't vibrate or move around too much while in use, especially at high speeds.

How comfortable is the mixer to hold?

Is the mixer heavy? Whipping egg whites and incorporating dense dry ingredients into a batter requires a surprising amount of arm strength. We wanted a light and comfortable option that didn't sacrifice quality or efficiency. We did take into consideration that a heavier hand mixer can get the job done faster than a less powerful and lighter one, eliminating some work for your arms.

What attachments does the mixer come with?

Stainless steel balloon whisks, wire beaters, bread dough hooks—the more options the better. We gave extra points to anything with a storage compartment to hold the attachments together in the cabinet. Dishwasher safe attachments are also a plus.

  The Best Hand Mixers for Brownies, Cookies, and Whipped Cream © Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Judy Mancini

Other hand mixers we tested

Though it couldn't measure up to more expensive models, the Hamilton Beach 5-Speed Hand Mixer delivered for something that is truly a budget tool ($38). Its beaters might have strained ever so slightly against the oatmeal cookie dough, but it had a powerful motor, was comfortable to hold, and intuitive to use.

We liked the Cuisinart Power Advantage Handheld Mixer in a past test thanks to its wide speed range (nine), easy push-button functionality, and storage case for attachments. It loses out to the Braun as our less expensive pick here thanks to the Braun's better performance in the cookie dough test.

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The VonShef hand mixer is only $20 and, while it whipped egg whites just fine, didn't measure up when creaming butter and sugar. It is steady, not too loud, and features five distinct speeds—unexpected for something at such a low price point. And at 2.95 pounds it's also lighter than the Cuisinart and the Breville, coming in at 2.95 pounds.

The KitchenAid 5-speed hand mixer ($40) performs at a similar level to the Cuisinart and VonShef models. It is heavier than the latter and lacks the whisk and dough hooks that both others have.

The $90 Dualit 4-speed hand mixer has a high-for-a-hand-mixer price tag and looks quite sleek. However, its chrome exterior means that it appears messy immediately—not a good idea for a machine you'll use for baking with flour, sugar, and eggs. It also feels excessively heavy. It has a retractable cord—a good idea in theory, except that the cord isn't long enough. It's frustrating to use the machine because you have to find countertop space right by an outlet or else lose maneuverability.

The Black & Decker Hand mixer ($17) also only comes with standard beaters. It's loud, doesn't handle slow speeds well, and the speed is hard to change incrementally because its lever moves quickly between settings. There isn't much difference between speed settings, and it shakes unsteadily with blades that scrape loudly against the bottom of the bowl.

The Vremi 3-Speed Hand Mixer ($14) is lightweight, but it doesn't come with whisk or bread attachments. It only has three (unlabeled) speed settings. There isn't much difference between its speed settings, and it is loud and unsteady.

The Smeg Hand Mixer ($180) is beautiful, and has a nice LED timer display, but the beaters clanged together in use, making an extremely loud and unpleasant sound. Pair that with a price tag inching up towards what you'd pay for a KitchenAid stand mixer and we can't endorse this one.

To Macaroon or Macaron?

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The Cuisinart Evolutionx Cordless Hand Mixer ($80) was surprisingly powerful for a cordless design. It also had a nice snap on storage case. However, we weren't crazy about the control interface and found that the buttons were at times unresponsive.

The takeaway

If you're looking a space-saving alternative to a stand mixer the Breville Handy Mix will be an effective choice for a bit less money. The Braun Multimix will do most of what the Breville can for a little less than half the cost.

6 Ways to Use a Hand Mixer

If you've been whisking everything manually, a hand mixer will seriously improve your cooking experience. Here's what we do with our hand mixers.

1. Whip Eggs

The hand mixers we tested all performed well when it came to this task. Whipped egg whites for cakes, cocktails, and meringues will work well when you use your hand mixer.

2. Shred Chicken

This seems wild, but if you're in a hurry to shred a large quantity of chicken for tacos or sandwiches, you can simply place it in a high-sided mixing bowl and run your hand mixer over it for a few seconds. Boom. Superbly, evenly shredded chicken with minimal effort.

3. Make Mashed Potatoes

Making mashed potatoes with a hand mixer is not our preferred method (the best mashed potatoes are made with a food mill; more on that here). Again, though, if you're a beginner cook and want to limit the amount of tools you own, it works just fine. Just be sure not to overmix or you'll risk gluey texture.

4. Make Meatballs

This use of a hand mixer might surprise you, but this tool actually is really effective at evenly blending all the ingredients in your meatballs (and it keeps your hands clean).

5. Froth Milk

Want a delicious, frothy café au lait? You could get a designated milk frother, but the hand mixer does this job well too.

6. Make Whipped Cream

Store-bought whipped cream just doesn't compare to the homemade stuff. All you need is a cup of heavy cream, two tablespoons of confectioner's sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix for four to five minutes and watch it turn into a fresh, luscious whipped cream dream.

Watch Now: Epicurious Video.

To Macaroon or Macaron? .
Why is this macaroon different from all other macarons?Ah, the age-old question of macaroon vs. macaron—and one that’s especially top-of-mind during Passover, when macaroons (or are they macarons…) are served left and right. It’s a confusing distinction because the two confections actually have a lot in common. Their spelling differs by a single “o,” they’re both members of the cookie family, they’re both gluten-free, and neither contains the flour verboten during the seven- or eight-day holiday. If you compare recipes for the two, you’ll notice that the ingredients are actually pretty similar.

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