Right along with organizing every closet in your house and virtual happy hours, baking has become one of the most popular pastimes of quarantine. Between banana bread, sourdough, and even sweet little matcha-avocado buns, the kitchen is even busier than usual. (Don’t talk to me about all the dishes I have in my sink right now.)
With baking habits put into overdrive, now is as good of a time as any to invest in a cooking tool that will do the hard work for you. When making the decision to upgrade, the first big question is really this: should you go for a stand mixer or a hand mixer?
Looking for a healthy banana bread recipe? We got you:
If you aren’t sure what the difference is, here’s a little baking 101: A stand mixer lives on the kitchen counter and typically comes with a beater, whisk, and dough hook. With a variety of attachments and impressive horsepower (so to speak) it can knead dough, whip cream, mix batter, beat eggs, shred cooked chicken breasts, and more—completely hands-free. Meanwhile, a hand mixer is hand-held and plugs into the wall, and with its beater and whisk attachments, can do some but not all of the things a stand mixer can. However, it’s much smaller than a stand mixer and thus is easier to store and use. The choice for which one to go for comes down to: how often you bake, how much room you have in the kitchen, and how much you’re willing to spend.
Whether you’re spending around $50 for a hand mixer or a couple hundred for a stand mixer, you still want to make sure it’s worth it, right? For a quick poll, I asked several healthy chefs, RDs, and other pros I know who love to bake what the best mixer for baking is. On the stand mixer front, everyone had the same exact favorite. And in terms of hand mixers, there were two stand outs. Check ’em all out below:
Keep reading to check out the best mixers for baking, according to cooking pros:
1. KITCHENAID TILT-HEAD STAND MIXER ($219)
Yes, it’s a splurge, but if you’re looking to invest in a stand mixer, this is the gold standard. Both Chef Jenny Dorsey and Mia Rigden, the hosts of Well+Good’s show Alt-Baking Bootcamp, say they use this KitchenAid model at home. Registered dietitian and The Foodie Dietitian blogger Kara Lydon, RD, has it in her kitchen, too. “I’m obsessed with my KitchenAid stand mixer,” she says. “It’s easy to use and makes baking cookies during this time of comfort food-seeking a breeze.” Lydon also says that if you buy some of the add-on attachments, you can also use it to churn homemade ice-cream ($89.99) and spiralize veggies ($68.99).
2. KITCHENAID ELECTRIC HAND MIXER ($47.26)
If you’re looking to buy a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer, KitchenAid comes out on top once again. Not only does Chef Dorsey love it, so does Well+Good’s senior food and health editor, Jessie Van Amburg. “I love to bake, but my apartment in New York has zero counter or storage space for a full-on stand mixer,” she says. “So my KitchenAid electric hand mixer is a perfect compromise. I can still whip eggs and beat together batter, without having to devote a whole shelf to it.” She says hers has lasted five years (and counting!) and works just as perfectly as the day she took it out of the box.
3. SUNBEAM ELECTRIC HAND MIXER ($49.99)
Lydon’s favorite hand mixer is by Sunbeam: simple, reliable, and effective. “It’s super old and still works like a charm,” she says. “I love using my hand mixer for making cake batter, icings, and whipped cream.”
Whichever one you go with, these babies can help take our baking to the next level. In fact, don’t be surprised if you start using it so much that your other cooking tools start getting jeals. (Still love you, air fryer!)