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This useful kitchen tool is known by three different names. The official name is “pastry blender," for the job it was originally designed to perform. Other names you may hear it referred to are “dough blender” and “pastry cutter" (although these are technically inaccurate). What can a pastry blender do? It can cut butter into pastry dough, mix biscuits (like Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits) or cookie dough, smash up ground beef into pieces in a hot pan, mash cooked potatoes, and even help make good guacamole. It can mix a streusel topping, chop whole canned plum tomatoes into smaller pieces for a spaghetti sauce, dice boiled eggs for an egg salad, and blend the ingredients for hummus.
As you can see, this is a great tool to have in the kitchen whether you’re a beginner home cook or a pro. It can replace some of the work done by food processors or electric mixers, which is helpful if the power ever goes out or if more than one person is cooking at the same time.
Here are the best choices for pastry blenders in a variety of categories to help fit your needs.
Best Overall: Spring Chef Stainless Steel Dough Blender
This dough blender is getting a lot of buzz, and with good reason! Made by Spring Chef, a small but growing company in Dallas, Texas, it’s been manufactured to be used by both professional and home cooks. Five sturdy stainless steel blades make easy work of your kitchen tasks, and the rubber handle has enough "give" to make it more comfortable for use than a stainless steel or plastic handle. This size is perfect if you have small or medium-sized hands.
This dough blender has a lifetime warranty, is dishwasher safe, and is a great tool to have for all levels of cooks.
Best Budget: Betty Crocker Dough Blender
If you use a dough blender once in a rare while, this works well on pastries or other fairly light jobs. The five blades are sturdy enough for pastry-making or mashing in small batches, and the plastic handle gives a good hold for small or medium-sized hands. This dough blender would be great to have in the kitchen if you have children—it’s small enough for them to use without being overwhelming, and they love learning how it works. It is dishwasher safe and easy to store.
Best for Pasta Dough: Gorilla Grip Pastry Dough Blender and Butter Cutter
Most of the recipes you’ll find online for homemade pasta dough advise using a food processor or an electric mixer, but if you have an interest in authentic foods made by the original method, making pasta by hand is truly rewarding. You start by making a well in the center of the flour and putting eggs into it, and then gradually adding the flour to the eggs by stirring in an outward-reaching circle. Then you begin the process of blending the dough into a ball—and this is where this tool can help. Instead of using your own hand power, the dough blender does the job.
Built of stainless steel with a rubber handle, this dough blender’s five blades are heavy enough to handle tough jobs. Added bonus: It's available in eight different colors! It is dishwasher safe, too.
Best with Wooden Handle: Williams Sonoma Olivewood Pastry Blender
This classic stainless steel five-bladed pastry blender with a beautiful olivewood handle is available exclusively at Williams Sonoma. The shape is slightly more rectangular than the majority of other dough and pastry blenders while also having enough of a rounded edge to be able to rock through dough and scrape the edges of the bowl, making it very effective in allocating the strength of your hand to the work being done. The olivewood handle will age well, and it gives this tool the feeling of being an heirloom piece.
It’s slightly larger than the usual medium-size dough blender, making it suitable for all hand sizes. It is hand wash only.
Best Large: Spring Chef Large Dough Blender
This is the larger size of our recommended “best overall” dough blender, with all the same features. It’s manufactured for either the professional or the home cook, has five strong stainless steel blades, features a comfortable rubber handle, is dishwasher safe, and has a lifetime warranty. This larger-sized dough blender has two benefits: It can be used for larger batches of dough, and it can be used by people with large hands much more comfortably than the standard size tool.
Best Set: Spring Chef Dough Blender and Pastry Cutter Set
The Spring Chef dough blender and bench scraper are here together in this very useful set. Each tool is manufactured to the high Spring Chef-standard, with sturdy stainless steel blades that make the work easy and rubber handles for ease of use. The bench scraper has inch measurements for your use along the beveled edge of the blade and an ergonomically designed handle.
The set comes with a lifetime warranty and is dishwasher safe.
Best with Wire Blades: Fox Run Wire Pastry Blender
Wire blade pastry blenders are best used for small batches of quick breads or doughs where the ingredients aren’t too challenging or difficult to blend. This one has five strong stainless steel wires with a wooden handle. The design includes a stainless steel thumb rest on one side of the handle, which allows the user to increase the level of strength being applied to the dough. The size of this dough blender is slightly larger than the average, which makes it suitable for all hand sizes, including large.
It should be hand washed for longer life.
Best for Easy Cleaning: Prepworks by Progressive Blade Pastry Blender with Integrated Cleaning Tab
This pastry blender is a bit of an outlier. With six stainless steel blades and a red ergonomic plastic handle, it’s more rounded in shape than most pastry blenders. What makes it stand out is an added part: a built-in cleaning tab that can be used to remove any dough stuck between the blades while working. The design is fairly compact, working well with most pastry doughs. It's safe for cleaning in your dishwasher.
You can't go wrong with the Spring Chef Stainless Steel Dough Blender (view at Amazon). It's suitable for home cooks and pros, and it's offered in a larger size (view at Amazon) for those making big batches of dough. If you’re looking for a keepsake item that’s hardworking and beautiful for your kitchen, the Williams Sonoma Olivewood Pastry Blender (view at Williams Sonoma) is a perfect choice—and it would also make a great gift for any cook in your life!
What to Look for in a Pastry Blender
The blades or wires of most pastry blenders are made of stainless steel, which prevents rusting, and we recommend steering clear of other materials. The handles are made of wood(s), plastic(s), and rubber—it comes down to your preference. Plastic and rubber will most likely be dishwasher safe if ease of cleaning is important to you. Wooden handles tend to make the pastry blender look more authentic with an heirloom-like feel (making them a nice gift) and have the potential of lasting much longer.
Most pastry blenders on the market today have blades instead of wires, which create a more adaptable tool. Wire blades are better suited for smaller batches and doughs that aren't challenging. Comparing the thickness of blades can help you decide which pastry blender will work best for the jobs you generally do in the kitchen.
The standard-size pastry blender is suitable for small- or medium-sized hands and small or medium-sized jobs. If you’re working in larger batches or have larger hands, choose a larger model. Look at the size of the handle, too, because even in similarly sized models, the handle can be differently sized—and check the shape of the handle, which can be round, square, or ergonomically designed.
Are pasty blenders sharp?
It depends on whether the blenders are made with wires or blades. Wires are good for less difficult dough (quick breads, for example) and are not quite as sharp. A blender with blades will be sharp but perhaps not as sharp as your chef's knife. Still, it's best to handle it with care.
What is the benefit of using a pastry blender to make a pie crust?
Using a pastry blender keeps your hands cleaner, and it also doesn't add as much heat to the ingredients as your warm hands might. But the most important reason is that pastry blender helps to evenly incorporate the fat into the dough, ensuring a lighter, flakier pie crust.
What's the best way to take care of pastry blenders?
Regardless of how you wash them, you'll want to handle them with care because they tend to be sharp. Follow the instructions recommended by the manufacturer; some can go in the dishwasher, and others, often those with wooden handles, require handwashing.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Karen Resta is a writer specializing in food culture and history, cooking, pastries, and restaurants. She's also a former pastry chef and has traveled to Budapest, Kyiv, and Paris during their Fashion Weeks as a photographer and writer, always finding the best authentic pastries along the way. She now spends a lot of her free time baking at home and recommends quality within your given budget. Having the right tools available and knowing how to use them well (it can take practice, like anything else) makes all the difference, and she curated this list with that in mind.