You already know that an immersion blender makes quick work of puréeing soup in its pot and makes smoothies right in your cup, and you may have heard what a great job it does making homemade mayonnaise, but those tasks are only a small sample of this appliance’s strengths, say Chowhounds.

“Whenever a recipe calls for using the food processor or the blender but you know that the amount of ingredients is just not enough or worth hauling out the heavy machinery for, I use my immersion blender,” says ttoommyy. “I just toss all my ingredients in a tall, narrow plastic container and I have pesto without having to clean out the food processor and then haul it back to the closet where it lives.”

chowser braises meat with root vegetables, then lifts the meat out and uses an immersion blender to purée the softened vegetables and liquid for a thick sauce. A few pulses with an immersion blender can thicken a soup or sauce without puréeing the whole thing, notes mels. “I use it to purée canned tomatoes when I am making my spaghetti sauce,” says roxlet. “I just open the can, and purée them right in the can. A quick rinse of the machine when I am done, and no having to wash the blender.”

“Any time you want to smooth something without taking it out of the vessel it’s in, an immersion blender is the answer,” says sushigirlie. Lumps in your gravy or pudding? A quick whiz with an immersion blender will smooth it out and let you get on with the cooking.

More uses: making quick salsas, dips, and hummus; whipping custard pie fillings; smoothing out jam or preserves for baking or sauces; emulsifying salad dressings.

Finally, hounds offer this essential advice: Never turn on an immersion blender until it is submerged in whatever you will be blending, and always turn it off before lifting it out of the container, or you—and your kitchen—will be wearing the soup du jour.

Discuss: First Immersion Blender. What to do?

See more articles