How to Use a Hand Mixer

A hand mixer is a great kitchen tool that doesn’t take up much space, is conveniently portable and can be useful for whipping together recipes with small, light ingredients or recipes made in small batches. If you have a hand mixer, or you are considering purchasing one, read this guide to learn how to use it as you make your next kitchen creation. 

KitchenAid® hand mixers are great for mixing, kneading and whipping and come in a variety of styles with a range of speeds to suit your cooking and baking needs.

Person using KitchenAid® hand mixer over bowl of batter Person using KitchenAid® hand mixer over bowl of batter

A Guide to Using a Hand Mixer

A hand mixer is an electric handheld mixing tool with two removable metal beaters and variable speeds. Some hand mixers also have attachments, such as a whisk. Get to know how to use your mixer and what it can be used for in order to make the most of this handy, compact appliance.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

Tools and supplies:
  • Ingredients 

  • Necessary pots, pans and mixing bowls

  • Hand mixer

  • Attachments (may vary depending on recipe)

  • Electrical outlet

  • Flexible spatula

Person using KitchenAid® hand mixer and reading instructions

Step 1: Read instructions

A good first step before using any appliance is to read the instructions or owner’s manual. Especially if you are new to using a hand mixer, take a moment to learn about your particular model and its variable speeds and capabilities.

Person pressing button on KitchenAid® hand mixer

Step 2: Learn the parts of your mixer

Each hand mixer is going to be slightly different, but mixers typically have some similar components. Most hand mixers will have a power button, a button or buttons to control the speed, a power burst button and a button to release the attachments. Some hand mixers, such as this one from KitchenAid brand, will also have a button to automatically wind the cord for practical storage.

KitchenAid® hand mixer with attachments

Step 3: Identify the appropriate attachment

Hand mixers come with standard beaters and might also come with other attachments such as a whisk or dough hook. This hand mixer from KitchenAid brand comes equipped with a pro whisk attachment and dishwasher-safe beaters for easy clean-up. When using your hand mixer, determine which attachment will work best for your desired outcome. Always attach the accessories with the mixer turned off and unplugged.

Person using KitchenAid® hand mixer over bowl of batter

Step 4: Select the speed

Hand mixers will usually have various speeds. KitchenAid® hand mixers come with anywhere from five to nine speeds to suit your needs. Choose your speed based on the recipe. Start at a low speed and gradually increase until you have the hand mixer at the speed you need. To help determine the ideal beating time, observe the batter or dough and beat only until it has the desired appearance described in your recipe, such as “smooth and creamy.”

Person using KitchenAid® hand mixer over bowl of batter

Step 5: Mix

Once you have the correct attachment connected and you’ve chosen the appropriate speed, now it’s time to mix. Run the mixer around the edges of the bowl and through the center to be sure that everything is mixed well. Having a flexible spatula on hand can be useful for clearing the edges of the bowl as you mix. Be sure to switch the hand mixer off when adding ingredients to the bowl to avoid splatter.

Cordless KitchenAid® hand mixer

Step 6: Powering down

Once you are done mixing, turn the speed down to the lowest setting before powering your mixer off and unplugging it. Some hand mixers will conveniently restart at the lowest speed setting when they are powered back on regardless of the setting they were on when they were turned off.

KitchenAid® hand mixer and mixing bowl

Step 7: Cleaning

Hand mixers can be easily wiped down, and some have attachments that are dishwasher-safe. Once you have turned the mixer off and unplugged it, use the ejector button on the hand mixer to remove the attachments. If dishwasher-safe, place them in the top rack of your dishwasher. If you prefer to hand wash them, a little warm, soapy water is all you need. It’s best to clean the attachments as soon as you’re done using them to avoid stuck-on food. Clean the attachments and the hand mixer thoroughly, dry and put them away until it’s time to create again.

Cordless KitchenAid® hand mixer with cookie dough Cordless KitchenAid® hand mixer with cookie dough

What is a Hand Mixer Used For?

Hand mixers are a versatile tool that can be used for many different tasks in the kitchen. Some of the most common uses for the hand mixer include whipping mashed potatoes, making homemade frosting, mixing up a batch of your favorite baked goods such as these Hazelnut Lovers’ Cookies or whisking eggs. 

Because of their compact size, hand mixers can be used instead of stand mixers when you need to maneuver around the kitchen. Some hand mixers like the KitchenAid® Cordless 7 Speed Hand Mixer, offer even more convenience and flexibility with no cord keeping you from moving about your space. Both appliances are beneficial to have on hand in the kitchen.

Are Hand Mixers Good for Baking?

Hand mixers are great for baking because their versatility allows for mixing, whisking, whipping and beating all with the same tool. They can gently mix nuts into batter, cream butter and sugar together for cookies, or whip up light, fluffy frosting for cupcakes.

Hand mixers also allow you to mix in large pots or pans and directly in most containers without transferring to a stand mixer bowl. This can help streamline both your creating and cleanup process.

KitchenAid® hand mixer with attachments KitchenAid® hand mixer with attachments

How Do You Use Hand Mixer Attachments?

Common hand mixer attachments include a whisk, beaters, and a dough hook. Some hand mixers also include a blending rod for smoothies, dressings and more. The attachment you choose will depend on what you are trying to achieve. Typically, hand mixer attachments will connect to the mixer with ease and can be removed by pressing an ejector button.

For light and fluffy mixtures like whipped cream or meringue, choose the whisk hand mixer attachment. The standard beaters are best for something a little thicker like cookie dough, cupcake batter or mashing potatoes and avocados. A blending rod can make your hand mixer function like an immersion blender and the dough hook mixes and kneads yeast dough with ease, saving you both the time and effort of hand kneading. 

The KitchenAid® 9-Speed Hand Mixer comes with all of the accessories mentioned here to give you versatility and ease in your creating.

What Are the Hooks on a Hand Mixer for?

The hooks on a hand mixer are for yeast bread doughs. If kneading bread, you should only use the dough hooks and never the regular beaters. Refer to your owner’s manual for the proper speed for making bread, which can vary depending upon how many speeds your mixer model has.

Person using KitchenAid® cordless hand mixer Person using KitchenAid® cordless hand mixer

What Are the Speeds on a Hand Mixer?

Hand mixers come with various speed settings. Each speed setting has a different use. The slower speeds are great for keeping everything in the bowl without splatter and mixing dry ingredients, while the fastest speeds are best used for meringues, egg whites and mousse mixtures that require incorporating air.

Check your owner’s manual for specific uses for each speed setting on your hand mixer.

Is a Hand Mixer Worth It?

A hand mixer is worth it if you like to be able to maneuver around the kitchen while you cook or if you often make recipes that just require a quick mix. If you don’t have room for a stand mixer, a hand mixer has many of the same capabilities in a more compact size. However, for large, heavy batches that require long mixing times, you may want to consider a stand mixer as an additional tool to help unlock additional capabilities.

Shop KitchenAid® Hand Mixers

Nothing beats a hand mixer for common kitchen tasks and creative recipes alike, and KitchenAid brand offers multiple mixers to help with whipping, mixing, kneading and more. KitchenAid® hand mixers come in a variety of speeds with different accessory packages to suit  your cooking and baking needs.

Learn More About KitchenAid® Hand Mixers