Can You Use an Immersion Blender in Place of a Jar Blender?

We answer the question if they are interchangeable.

An immersion blender (aka stick blender or hand blender) is a handy tool for pureeing soups right in the pot and will also work for a multitude of other blending jobs. We love how light and compact they are and how much easier they are to clean than jar blenders. The test kitchen's top-rated model is the Braun Multiquick 5 Hand Blender (about $60), pictured below.

Aside from pureeing soups, an immersion blender will work well for most Cook's Country recipes for sauces and marinades that call for a jar blender, such as for the sauce in Flank Steak in Adobo or for the marinade in Green Goddess Roast Chicken. Our winning hand blender also made perfectly acceptable kale smoothies (though they were not as smooth as smoothies made in our winning jar blender).

But what about recipes where the blender is used to incorporate air into the mix, something jar blenders excel at? To find out, we made two such recipes: Orange Chocolate Mousse and Milk Chocolate No-Churn Ice Cream. The resulting mousse and ice cream were a bit more dense but still acceptable.

Jar blenders do have one big advantage: power. Immersion blenders are typically less powerful than jar blenders and may not completely break down ingredients such as fibrous thyme sprigs or kale, almonds for almond butter, or ice for frozen drinks.

Additionally, keep in mind that if you use the immersion blender in one of our recipes that calls for a jar blender, you'll need to immerse the blender into a container large enough to hold a little more than the entire volume of ingredients. Also, pay special attention to the visual cues given in the recipe, as you may need to adjust the timing to reach the proper consistency.

THE BOTTOM LINE:  Nine times out of 10, an immersion blender is a convenient substitute for a jar blender in our recipes. As with any change you make to a recipe, you'll need to exercise some discretion and pay extra attention to visual cues rather than times given.

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