The 9 Absolute Best Uses For Your Electric Hand Mixer

Electric hand mixers are often (wrongly) pigeonholed into being used for baking — and only baking. You bust it out when you're making cookie dough or mixing cake batter, and assume that's all it's good for. But it's actually an extremely versatile kitchen appliance that you can utilize in a multitude of ways you've probably never even considered. And if you have an electric hand mixer but don't really bake at all, then you can definitely get your money's worth by employing it for some cooking and meal prepping instead.

We've compiled a list of the absolute best uses for your electric hand mixer. Keep reading for some kitchen hacks that might make your life easier, and justify the fancy hand mixer you bought on impulse at Target that one time you decided to make chocolate chip cookies, then never used again. Trust us — this tool has got so much potential.

Shredding chicken

If you're making any kind of dish that requires shredded chicken, the recipe instructions likely call for you to put the cooked meat on a plate and shred it with two forks. Using an electric hand mixer instead will change your life. The ideal technique is to place the chicken in a bowl that's big and deep, then insert the hand mixer's whisks or beaters, and mix on the low setting (a high speed might create a mealy texture or potentially spew sauce everywhere, if there is sauce on the chicken) for about a minute (via Southern Living). You will never want to waste your time and arm strength pulling chicken apart with forks ever again.

This method of shredding with an electric hand mixer yields the perfect texture for chicken salad, among many other meals. It can even be used for shredding pork for carnitas too. The bottom line — if you want a restaurant-quality meat shred, your electric hand mixer is the way to go.

Making mayonnaise

Homemade mayonnaise is delicious and surprisingly easy to whip up. Mayonnaise is essentially oil, egg, and some type of acid emulsified, but the ingredients need to be combined very carefully and meticulously. Mix the room temperature egg with the acid (vinegar, lemon juice, etc.) with some water, salt, and garlic, then gradually add in the oil to the blades while the mixer is running (get the fine-tuned details with this recipe from Chic Eats). Because you can gradually pour in the oil and have control over the amount you're adding in, even if you need to stop the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl every once in a while as you emulsify, the electric hand mixer is the ideal mayo-making tool. As such, we'd recommend opting to use it instead of an immersion blender or food processor when making mayonnaise.

There are a lot of incentives for making mayo at home rather than buying it in a jar. The extremely popular Whole 30 program touts homemade mayo so you can avoid ingredients you are not supposed to consume on the plan, like sugar or soybean oil. Made-from-scratch mayo might expire a little sooner due to the lack of preservatives, but if you're someone who eats mayonnaise pretty regularly, it's worth giving it a go.

Mashing potatoes

If you've got an old school potato masher that's taking up space in your kitchen drawer or counter canister, you might be happy to know there is an easier way to get mashed potatoes onto your dinner table — using an appliance you've got stored away with the baking stuff.

According to The Spruce Eats, an electric hand mixer is ideal for whipping potatoes that have been boiled, resulting in the perfect mashed potatoes. As you're using your electric hand mixer to mash the potatoes, you can gradually add in the milk, butter, cream, or whatever other key ingredients are involved in your favorite mashed potato recipe.

This tip will save you time with the actual mashing, and it will also eliminate the time you would have spent scraping potato off a handheld manual masher. Just be sure to keep the mixer on low — obviously, no one wants hot potatoes splattered all over the kitchen. That would definitely put a damper on dinner.

Making meringue

An electric hand mixer works well for when you are incorporating air into egg whites (via Hunker) which, when combined with sugar, yields meringue, a favorite fluffy topping for various desserts, from Key lime pie to banana pudding.

The whisk attachments on electric hand mixers are often recommended for achieving the perfect meringue. When you're mixing the concoction, you'll get "soft peaks" that ultimately turn to "stiff peaks," resulting in that delicious, airy bakery staple. The soft peak stage is when the egg whites become opaque and start to make waves. This gives way to the stiff peak stage, which occurs when the consistency of the mixture becomes more like butter and the peaks stick up and stay firm, and that's when you know you're in the finishing stages of making meringue. The electric hand mixer is the best way to slowly create this whipped topping.

Whipping cream

If you haven't had homemade whipped cream, stop everything and think about what you're doing with your life. All you need is some high quality heavy whipping cream, a little sugar, and some patience with your electric hand mixer. Whipped cream from a can or Cool Whip will be a distant memory once you make it yourself.

There are a few strategies to keep in mind when you're whipping cream with an electric hand mixer. According to Martha Stewart, in addition to using very cold cream, it's also wise to chill the whiskers or beaters as well as the (ideally metal) bowl you plan to whip in, to really get the most delicious and voluminous whipped cream. Stewart's website also suggests setting the mixer to its medium speed and being careful not to beat for too long, or the cream will start to yield a texture that's closer to butter.

Sprucing up canned frosting

Making a cake or sugar cookies at home but don't have the time, ingredients, and/or energy for homemade frosting? There's no shame in the canned frosting game, since gradually incorporating a ton of powdered sugar with butter or cream cheese can be very monotonous and time-consuming (and sometimes, we still just want to enjoy the combination of corn syrup and other ingredients we can't pronounce for nostalgic purposes).

But you'll be relieved to know that you can make store-bought icing potentially taste even better, and look more like you made it from scratch, with the use of an electric hand mixer. The density of the canned frosting can be alleviated and fluffed up by simply transferring it into a large bowl, then aerating it with a hand mixer. If you want to level up your frosting game even more, you can also mix in some homemade whipped cream (not the canister kind), or softened butter, if you really want to get wild (via All Recipes).

Stirring nut butters

Okay, we talk a big game about life-changing kitchen hacks around here, but this one will truly elevate the quality of your food consumption. You know how when you buy (or make) all natural nut butters, the oil rises to the top? And it can take an act of God to stir it back in with the actual nut part of the nut butter? Sometimes so much of the top liquid spills out every time you go to eat it, that by the bottom of the jar, the nut butter is very dry and hard to scoop out smoothly. Enter: the electric hand mixer. 

The peanut butter enthusiasts at Crazy Richard's explain that the easiest way to stir the oil in natural peanut butter is to insert just one of the beaters of an electric hand mixer into the jar. Then hold the jar very steady, and mix on low until the peanut butter's oil has been reincorporated. They also recommend placing a paper towel underneath the peanut butter to catch any spillage. Nut butters are yours to enjoy to their full potential now.

Emulsifying homemade sauces and salad dressings

There are a lot of options when it comes to combining ingredients for sauces, dips, marinades, and dressings. Is there even one right way to combine? The answer might depend on the ingredients. If most of the components are liquid, you can take a few routes. You can whisk everything together by hand, use a food processor, or even seal everything in a jar and vigorously shake it. And if you want to emulsify and truly blend the ingredients, the hand mixer is a very safe bet, too. 

The food experts at Bon Appetit deem it their go-to appliance for whipping up various creams and emulsifying salad dressing to perfection. The beaters or whisks of the mixer serve as a conduit to both blend the liquids and further chop any herbs so the flavors in the recipe truly meld. Savory sauces and dressings are yet another reason why you shouldn't resign your electric hand mixer solely to the realm of baking. 

Mixing cookie dough or cake batter

While baking isn't the only use for your electric hand mixer, it's certainly a good one. If you've ever made cookies or cakes from scratch, you know that creaming together butter and sugar is often an essential part of the process. Not surprisingly, an electric hand mixer is a great tool for that. It's also good for the next step, which is usually adding in egg and vanilla. Combining wet ingredients for cake batter? The electric hand mixer is your friend there, too. 

Hand mixers are especially good for making dough. Using larger stand mixers can run the risk of overworking the dough, but since electric hand mixers are easier to control, you can avoid that problem. They're also easier to cart around, if you're going to be baking on the go. If you are going to prepare cookie dough with an electric hand mixer, it's best to ensure the wattage is between 175 to 220 watts, so it's got enough power.