Although you can mix batters and knead bread dough by hand, these tasks are much more efficient with an electric mixer. Some handheld mixers don't have enough power to knead thick doughs and churn through large batches of cookie and cake batter. Plus, you have to hold them the whole time which can result in some serious hand and arm fatigue. If you're looking for a better way to mix and whip through your recipes, you may want to clear some counter space and invest in a stand mixer.
We purchased and tested a dozen of the best stand mixers currently on the market to see which mixers were worth the investment. In our testing Lab, each mixer was judged based on its ability to whip cream, mix cookie dough, and knead a loaf of bread dough. Several of the mixers were also tested by our independent product testers in their home kitchen for a realistic home use evaluation. Not only did we judge each mixer based on how well it performed each task, but also the mixing capacity, design of the machine, any additional features, and the value of the mixer for the current price. Then we compiled everything into our best stand mixer picks, ready to mix up whatever you're cooking.
KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
Easily handles dense doughs
Heavy-duty bowl with handle
Impressive array of optional attachments
Wire whip is not dishwasher safe
When someone says they have a stand mixer, they're most likely talking about a KitchenAid and probably even this model. This machine has an iconic stand mixer design that's both attractive and streamlined, making it easy on the eyes and easy to operate. Not too big, not too small, this 10-speed mixer can mix a double batch of cookie dough and whip smaller amounts of liquid with ease. No matter what the task, our tester said this machine "proved its worth."
Our Lab tested this machine with whipped cream, cookie dough, and whole wheat bread dough to see just how well it performed. The heavy cream transformed into whipped in less than three minutes, while the cookie dough came together quickly with the help of the rubber-edged paddle attachment. Our tester was especially satisfied with how well it incorporated all of the ingredients without needing to scrape down the bowl, which can quickly add time to how long it takes to prepare a dough. While a single batch of cookie dough mixes nicely in the 5-quart bowl, our tester suggests not mixing more than a double batch at a time.
The test bread dough mixed well on a lower speed, but ultimately needed a few minutes of kneading by hand to finish developing the gluten. We did notice the machine tends to shake a little more with thicker and chunkier mixes, but not enough to overheat or cause concern that the mixer was in distress. After all, it's a 23-pound machine, so it's relatively stable and would probably take more ingredients than the bowl can even handle to throw it off.
It might not have all the integrated bells and whistles of some of our other picks, but it makes up for that in attachments and market dominance. There are at least 15 different attachments for this machine, including a grater, grain mill, juicer, pasta maker, spiralizer, ravioli press, ice cream maker, and more. (Although keep in mind, they're all sold separately.) Since the brand is so popular, there are also third-party attachments and accessories available.
You can get this mixer in a wide variety of colors to match or accent your kitchen décor, and the tilt-head makes it easy to switch from the paddle to the dough hook, add ingredients, or scrape the bowl. "Considering the power, quality, and longevity of this brand, plus available attachments, I would say this is a good value for the price," said our Lab tester. KitchenAid offers a 1-year limited warranty on this item, as well as service options after the warranty has expired.
Price at time of publish: $350
Number of Speeds: 10 | Power: 325 watts | Bowl Volume: 5 quarts | Warranty: 1 year limited | Attachments: Beater, dough hook, wire whip, plastic pouring shield
"No matter what the task, we could just set up the machine and stand back and watch it." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Stand Mixer
Folding setting for delicate mixing
Lightweight for easy moving and storage
Bowl lacks a handle
Moves across counter with heavier doughs
This affordable stand mixer has the same planetary mixing action as popular high-end mixers, so your cake batters will be smooth, and your whipped cream will be fluffy. There are six speeds plus a special fold setting for gentle mixing. The 3.5-quart mixing bowl is large enough for most traditional home baking recipes, and the nonslip suction feet keep the 11-pound machine stable as it works. The mixer head tilts up for easy access to the bowl and locks down in use, so it won’t bounce when mixing thick batters and doughs.
We tested this 300-watt machine in our Lab, and also sent a machine to one of our testers to use in their home kitchen. Our home tester found it easily whipped up cream and mixed a smooth batter, with some help from scraping the bowl down. Mixing dough stretched the capacity of the machine a little, but it still mixed a smooth dough that our tester was satisfied with.
In the Lab, our whipped cream test yielded stiff peaks in less than two minutes and fully doubled the volume of the cream. The cookie dough also came together quickly without needing to scrape down the bowl or making any adjustments to the recipe. The machine struggled a little more when it came to mixing bread dough, but was able to combine the ingredients and get the dough started before getting mixed by hand. "The shape of the dough hook actually helps the mixer to incorporate dry ingredients from the edges of the bowl," said our tester.
Our testers noted that the suction cups kept the machine perfectly stable while whipping light ingredients like cream and anchored the gently-shaking machine while mixing denser cookie dough. But heavy doughs like bread dough were more than the suction base could handle, unable to hold the shaking machine in place while mixing. The motor makes noise while mixing but doesn't overheat at any point, even while mixing the bread dough. For a budget-friendly stand mixer, this machine will appeal to those looking to get cooking without a big investment, but you may outgrow it quickly.
Price at time of publish: $100
Number of Speeds: 6 | Power: 300 watts | Bowl Volume: 3.5 quarts | Warranty: 1 year | Attachments: Beater/paddle, dough hook, wire whip
"Along with the small size comes light weight, making it easy to move when you need to store it—it’s even light enough to carry one-handed." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best for Small Spaces
KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
Plenty of power for small batches
Great color selection
One of the quietest models tested
Some attachments not interchangeable with other models
Included bowl doesn't have a handle
This smaller mixer from KitchenAid is 25 percent lighter and has a 20 percent smaller footprint than the company’s classic Artisan mixer, but has the same iconic design. The tilt-head feature makes it easy to access the bowl or change out compatible attachments, and the head locks in place to make sure the beaters keep in close contact for even mixing. Not only is the body of the machine a little smaller, but the bowl has a more compact 3.5-quart volume. It comes equipped with 10 mixing speeds and three attachments—a coated flat beater, coated dough hook, and a wire whip.
Even though the 250-watt machine is smaller and lighter than the rest of KitchenAid's mixers, it still managed to perform exceptionally well in our Lab tests. While whipping cream, our tester noticed that it was one of the quietest stand mixers we tested—although it did get incrementally louder with the thicker cookie dough and heavier bread dough we mixed, which is to be expected. The mini mixer managed to whip cream in half the time that it took the larger 5-quart Artisan model, and efficiently beat together a boxed cookie dough in less than a minute. It was also able to get a single loaf of bread dough ingredients mixed together thoroughly before turning the dough out to finish kneading it by hand.
While this particular KitchenAid is still pricey, it's worth it for those who want a machine that can easily last decades with proper care. Given that it's smaller, it's ideal for bakers who are only interested in baking single batches of treats or for those who have limited kitchen space and need to make the most of it. You have the choice of at least 10 color options to easily coordinate with your existing kitchen design or add a pop of color to a drab countertop.
Price at time of publish: $380
Number of Speeds: 10 | Power: 250 watts | Bowl Volume: 3.5 quarts | Warranty: 1 year | Attachments: Beater/paddle, dough hook, wire whip
"The bowl twists in and out for ease of disassembly for cleaning. The paddle attachment came with a rubber edge to scrape the bowl, which helps in mixing. The equipment that the mixer comes with and the ability to purchase even more attachments make it beneficial for its price."
Wolf Gourmet WGSM100S High-Performance Stand Mixer
7-quart bowl offers lots of space
Can handle both large and small quantities
Large, industrial style
Known for high-end kitchen appliances, Wolf created this stand mixer that marries quality, design, and performance that will wow anyone looking to splurge on a top-notch stand mixer. The mixer is constructed of brushed stainless steel for a professional, modern look with the stature of a much larger appliance. It's equipped with a 7-quart bowl and 500-watt motor that is powerful enough to knead thick bread doughs, and it comes with a flat beater, dough hook, whisk, and splatter shield. Additional food processing accessories can attach to the tilt head and are sold separately.
We purchased two of these mixers and sent one to our home tester, as well as tested it side-by-side with the other mixers on this list in our Lab. Both our home and Lab testers found that this machine performed incredibly well on all of the tasks they put to it. Whipped cream was consistently whipped all the way to the bottom of the bowl and easily doubled in volume.
Soft doughs and batters mixed effortlessly, and when kneading thicker bread dough, the machine hardly flinched. Our Lab tester noted that the machine was able to mix a batch of bread dough to full elasticity without additional kneading by hand, which several other machines weren't able to accomplish.
Unique features that help this mixer stand out from the rest include a patent-pending bowl lift that allows you to adjust the height of the mixing bowl with just a turn of the bowl's handle and a pulse option for gentle mixing. If you go with this mixer, you'll want to make sure you have enough counter space and cabinet clearance, and you have a dedicated place to store it since it's a little more difficult to move at almost 30 pounds and measures approximately 18 inches tall by 18 inches deep.
Price at time of publish: $1,000
Number of Speeds: Variable | Power: 500 watts | Bowl Volume: 7 quarts | Warranty: 5 years | Attachments: Beater/paddle, dough hook, wire whip, splash shield
"The Wolf Gourmet High-Performance Stand Mixer lives up to its reputation as a high-end mixer, handling sticky doughs and both large and small quantities, and never wobbling on the counter." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
KitchenAid Pro Line Series 7-Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer
All metal fittings
Great for larger and smaller baking projects
Same attractive classic stand mixer design
Fewer color options
When you find yourself working on more significant projects, it might be time to upgrade to the KitchenAid 7-Quart Pro Line with its larger bowl capacity and a bit more power. Instead of the tilt-head design, this professional model holds the mixing bowl on arms that are raised and lowered around the mixing attachment with a handle on the side of the machine.
Our testers in the Lab noted that the larger bowl size and 1.3-horsepower motor would make it easy to mix a double batch of cookie dough, or more, even with the addition of chunky ingredients like walnuts. The large balloon whisk attachment more than doubled the volume of the whipped cream, aerating 1 cup of cream to 2.25 cups with ease. Larger batches of bread dough can fit into the bowl, but you'll still need a bowl scraper to scrape the sides down while mixing.
Our tester also noted that it can be a little difficult to seat the bowl into the mixer's lift arms properly. The bowl's 3-point connection does have a small learning curve. To get a secure fit, first make sure the bowl is correctly set on the two arm pins, then firmly push the back of the bowl down onto the metal tab to lock it in place. After a little practice putting the bowl on and taking it off, you'll likely get used to how it feels when it's properly secured.
While not available in as many colors as some of the smaller models, the Pro Line still comes in the most popular colors (black, silver, red) that match almost any kitchen. This model sports all-metal fixtures and gears inside, instead of the plastic ones found on lower-end models. As with all KitchenAid stand mixers, the attachment hub on the machine’s front will accommodate any attachments from other models.
Price at time of publish: $679
Number of Speeds: 10 | Power: 1.3-horsepower (Max 500 watts) | Bowl Volume: 7 quarts | Warranty: 5 years | Attachments: Beater/paddle, dough hook, wire whip
"Avid bakers would love this, [but the] average home cook should pass. Small jobs can be done, but I wouldn't necessarily use it for only a cup of whipped cream."
SMEG Retro Style 5 Qt. Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
Mid-century design and color options
Attachments for versatility
Powerful motor for dense mixes
Controls on top of mixer
Loud while operating
The classic KitchenAid stand mixer design might be iconic, but the SMEG Retro-Style stand mixer is downright stylish. Available in a palette of pastel and retro hues that coordinate with the other mid-century-styled appliances SMEG produces. Clearly meant to be a fixture on your countertop, these Italian stand mixers are not only attractive but powerful, with a 600-watt motor and a 5-quart bowl capacity.
While this mixer is a little more expensive than the KitchenAid Artisan 5-quart stand mixer, it tackled all of the tests we put it to with the same level of performance, if not a little better. The SMEG stand mixer whipped cream in under a minute, and then brought a boxed cookie dough together in about a third of the time that it took the comparable KitchenAid model to perform the same task. We assume that might have something to do with the more powerful motor that it's equipped with.
But there were some drawbacks in the side-by-side comparison as well. Our tester mentioned that the powerful motor made a decent amount of noise while the mixer was in use, which got more bothersome at higher speeds. Additionally, the controls for this mixer are on the top of the machine instead of the side, which might not be an issue for some people, but could be awkward for others.
Like the KitchenAid stand mixers, the SMEG stand mixer comes with a hub on the front and a line-up of attachments, including several pasta cutters, grinder, and slicer attachments. An ice cream freezer bowl is also available.
Price at time of publish: $540
Number of Speeds: 10 | Power: 600 watts | Bowl Volume: 4.8 liters | Warranty: 1 year limited | Attachments: Beater/paddle, dough hook, wire whip, pouring shield
"The design says not to use the dough hook above speed 2," mentioned our Smeg tester, which is a good general rule to follow regardless of which stand mixer you decide to buy. While none of the mixers on this list overheated when mixing bread dough, you'll want to pay attention to the sounds your mixer makes with heavier doughs, if the attachments seem to be struggling to move smoothly, and whether or not your machine is heating up while working.
The KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer is our top pick for its iconic design and powerful performance, and it more than proved itself in our tests. But the SMEG Retro-Style Stand Mixer with Stainless Steel Bowl is for those looking for a super-stylish appliance that'll perform as well as the the classic KitchenAid.
How We Tested
Each of the 12 stand mixers we tested in our Lab was put to the same rigorous tests. We timed how long it took the mixers to make a single batch of whipped cream, testing the efficiency of the whip attachment and the machine's ability to handle smaller-volume mixes. We also tested the final volume of the whipped cream once it reached stiff peaks to evaluate how much air the whip attachment was able to incorporate into the cream while whipping. Next, each mixer tackled a cookie dough to see how quickly it would come together, and if it needed any help while mixing by scraping down the bowl. Finally, we mixed a batch of bread dough to see how the mixers performed under high stress with the dough hook attachment.
During and after testing, our writers and testers submitted feedback on each machine, including insights on the stand mixer's performance during the tests, as well as the design and additional features, the size and weight of the machines, and the real value of the mixer for the price.
Other Options We Tested
- Cuisinart 5.5-Quart Stand Mixer: Previously Runner-up to Best Overall, but when tested side-by-side with the rest of the stand mixers on this list, the mixer performed well in the whipping and beating tests. The bread dough kneading test stretched this machine to its limits, which could be expected given that it's a lower-priced machine, but could be a disappointment for bakers looking to do a little of everything.
- Hamilton Beach Classic Stand and Hand Mixer: Previously Best for Beginners, this machine seems like a good idea in theory, but in practice didn't live up to our tester's expectations. As a stand mixer, it was nearly inoperable, but it performed slightly better as a hand mixer. Ultimately, given the price point, our testers agreed that users would be best served to buy a quality hand mixer instead of this combination mixer.
- Amazon Basics Multispeed Stand Mixer: This stand mixer costs just shy of $100 and performed basic tasks fine during testing, but can't handle the stress of mixing thicker ingredients nearly as well as the other mixers on our list. While it was able to whip cream efficiently, it began to shake when mixing cookie dough and struggled even more while mixing bread dough. While it seems like a nice price for a stand mixer, it might be worth it to invest in a tougher hand mixer instead.
- Dash Stand Mixer: Dash has quickly become popular for making miniature kitchen appliances that are fun to use and take up very little space. This stand mixer is certainly cute, but it was unable to complete all of our tests. The stand mixer was able to whip most of the cream in the bowl, but not all of it, and didn't seem to have enough room to mix a single batch of cookie dough. Mixing bread dough was impossible. Even for whipping cream, our testers didn't think the machine was worth the price.
What to Look for When Buying a Stand Mixer
With all of the possibilities in mind, one of the very first decisions you should make when looking for a stand mixer is what you think you’ll be making with your mixer. Consider how often you’ll be using it and how versatile you’d like it to be. That information will help you decide what features will fit your needs best and quickly help you narrow down your options.
Smaller bowl sizes range from about 4.5- to 5.5-quart capacities. If you’re a casual baker or plan on only using your mixer occasionally, a smaller bowl size will accommodate most of your needs. For example, you can comfortably mix a half sheet cake’s worth of batter, two loaves of banana bread, three dozen cupcakes, or a couple dozen 2.5-inch chocolate chip cookies in a 5-quart bowl.
If you’re planning on making larger recipes, heftier doughs, or plan on using your mixer often for a variety of projects, consider stepping your bowl size up to a 6- to 8-quart mixing bowl. But keep in mind that larger bowls may actually make it harder to tackle smaller projects. You may be able to whip up 7 pounds of buttercream in one go, but you’re less likely to be able to whip half a cup of cream.
Note that many mixers advertise the bowl size by how many cups of flour they can hold. This can be misleading, as the bowls may hold the specified amount of flour, but they may not be able to mix a recipe of the same volume without making a mess or overwhelming the machine. It’s safe to assume a slightly lower capacity than advertised.
Like the bowl size, you’ll want to scale the power of your stand mixer to the volume and type of projects you’ll be using it for. The minimum recommended wattage is 250 watts, but some mixers boast up to 1000 watts. If you plan on mixing and whipping up lighter cake batters and liquids that don’t require a long mixing time, a lower wattage machine will get the job done.
If you’re interested in working with thicker cookie doughs and larger volume foods, a 325-watt motor or greater will give your project the power it needs. If your goal is to regularly work with heavier doughs (bagels, pretzels, large batches of bread), the more power the better. You should shoot for a machine with a minimum of 6qt capacity that provides at least 500 watts of power. However, keep in mind that even with a powerful mixer, you may still need to finish kneading bread dough by hand.
Also, like bowl size, the advertised wattage can be misleading. While a mixer may claim to have a 500-watt motor, it may take more energy to operate the machine than a comparable stand mixer with the same wattage, giving less power directly to the bowl. It’s best to use this factor as a general guideline while weighing the value of the other features.
Controls and Settings
Mixer controls range from dials and knobs to buttons, as well as the speed control lever-style found on the KitchenAid. Whatever controls your stand mixer has, they should be easy to understand and operate.
Stand mixers tend to have anywhere between three and 12 speed settings. Low, medium, and high speeds are fundamental, but the more speed settings you have, the wider the range of control over the recipe you have. Also, look for a machine that has a slow start or “stir” setting to begin mixing. This will help avoid liquid or flour flying out of the bowl when you turn the mixer on, and it can be used when working with especially delicate mixes.
Some machines are equipped with an internal timer and an auto-shutoff function (also called overload protection). While not an essential control, the benefit of setting the machine and turning your attention to another task (and being able to trust that it will turn off when the time is completed) is certainly an advantage.
If you decide to go with a tilt-head style mixer, you’ll want to make sure that the tilt-head locks while in the mixing position. This keeps the mixing head from jumping around with the machine on and ruining your recipe or damaging the machine itself. While the stand mixer head should lock for mixing, some also have a lock function in the open position as well. This is less necessary, and some reviewers even see it as a drawback if it takes two hands to unlock or is difficult to use.
While stand mixers certainly don’t come cheap, there are options for a quality machine in almost every price range. And unlike other appliances, you can generally rest assured that you’re getting what you pay for. Starting with more economical machines in the $100 to $200 range, you can find quality with very few compromises.
Again, take into consideration how often you’ll be using your stand mixer and the types of projects you’d like to undertake. The more you’re planning on doing, the more important it is to invest in a higher-rated machine. For this investment, it’s best to buy the highest quality stand mixer you can afford.
Overall Size and Weight
Counter space is almost always at a premium, so adding another appliance to your workspace can be a struggle. Measure to see how much space you can dedicate to storing your machine on your countertop, with attention given to clearance under your cabinets. Machines come in a variety of heights for just such purposes.
If storing your stand mixer on the counter isn’t an option, you might want to look at machines that are more compact and lightweight for easy storage in a cabinet or on a shelf. Generally speaking, the weight of a machine is one of the features of a stand mixer. Machines over 20 pounds may be uncomfortable to move around, but that weight also provides stability so your machine is less likely to creep or walk across the counter while mixing.
Color and Design
While functionality is usually the main concern with most stand mixers, having a color selection available is one of the more exciting choices when buying a new machine. Even the more affordable models are typically offered in a limited palette of silver, black, white, red, or blue. If you’re looking for a wider range of colors, KitchenAid offers over 30 choices for the Artisan 5-quart model.
Since your stand mixer will likely be a fixture on your countertop for years to come, choose a model you like looking at. Clean and contemporary, modern brushed steel, or classic and colorful are all options to consider when looking for a piece to accent your kitchen.
Warranties for most machines vary from one to three years, which isn’t a long time for such an expensive machine. Luckily, most stand mixers are built to last. If taken care of and not pushed beyond their limits, stand mixers tend to last for years (even decades!) without needing repair.
As always, refer to your user manual for guidelines specific to your machine, but also pay attention to any visible or audible signs of struggle your mixer may have while in use and work within its capacity.
Types of Stand Mixers
The majority of home-use countertop stand mixers are tilt-head models. The bowl is attached at the base of the machine, and the mixing attachments are secured at the top of the machine, lifting in and out of the bowl with a simple tilt of the head. Switching mixing attachments without removing the bowl is a breeze, and since you can push the head back, the bowl is more accessible when you need to add or remove ingredients or scrape the sides.
Bowl-lift mixers are typically higher-grade and professional or commercial-level machines. The bowl snaps into the side arms and the back of the machine and is lifted into place with a lever on the side. These mixers are on the larger end of the size spectrum and typically a little heavier and more stable. They pack a more powerful punch, handling tougher doughs and mixing projects easier than their smaller and lighter counterparts.
There are only a few options for this style mixer on the market, but those who use them swear by them. The motor of this mixer is in the base of the machine, underneath the bowl. The mixing attachments are secured inside at the base of the bowl, leaving the top of the bowl completely unobstructed. This is incredibly useful for recipes requiring multiple additions, and it provides a clear view of the action while working.
For the most effective and consistent mixing, look for a machine with planetary mixing action. On this kind of machine, the mixing attachment spins on its axis while also rotating around the circumference of the bowl (exactly like the Earth spinning on its axis around the sun). This motion helps reach the ingredients at the edge of the bowl.
Stationary mixers typically have two beaters that spin in place, while the bowl spins beneath them. This motion is less effective at mixing all of the ingredients, so stopping the machine to scrape down the sides and incorporate elements by hand is usually necessary.
When people say they have a stand mixer, they’re likely talking about a KitchenAid. The brand name is nearly synonymous with the machine at this point, which isn’t entirely surprising since it’s the original. Fans of the machine love the interchangeable attachments compatible with almost every style of mixer KitchenAid makes. From the compact mini mixer appropriate for tiny apartments, all the way up to the commercial mixers used in professional kitchens, KitchenAid has a stand mixer to suit almost every need. While usually a higher-priced mixer, the quality is undisputed. Most big-box retailers frequently offer discounts on these in-demand mixers several times a year, or for certain colors.
Cuisinart has stepped up its appliance game over the last couple of decades, branching out from its original core food processor line to higher-quality kitchen appliances like stand mixers, juicers, bread machines, and home countertop ice cream makers. Cuisinart products are known for being reliable without breaking the bank. The designs are unfussy, with contemporary brushed stainless steel features for a consistent look across the company’s wide range of products.
An easily recognizable name in the kitchen appliance market, Hamilton Beach has a reputation for economically priced equipment that’s sturdy enough for regular home use. Its massive line of kitchen equipment is typically easy to operate, clean, and store. Most Hamilton Beach appliances can be found across a wide range of retailers, from local hardware and grocery stores to department stores and kitchen-specific outfitters.
Wolf appliances are typically the envy of very high-end kitchens, with the focus primarily on sleek and powerful ranges, cooktops, and ovens. The brand offers a few smaller kitchen appliances including a stand mixer, microwaves, and coffee systems with a focus on the same luxury offered by its larger kitchen appliances. You won’t find an exhaustive range of colors or matching hand tools with this line—what the company may lack in quantity, it more than makes up for with the highest-quality equipment.
Bosch is as much a technology company as it is an appliance company. It is known for large, high-tech household appliances like dishwashers, laundry machines, and refrigerators. The brand also brought the same engineering prowess to smaller equipment like coffee machines, stand mixers, and food processors. Sleek designs, with techy features, will delight someone looking for a more modern style.
"Smalterie Metallurgiche Emiliane Guastalla” is a mouthful, translating to “Metal Enamelling Plant from Guastalla Emilia”—SMEG for short. This Italian brand has been in existence and manufacturing kitchen appliances since 1948. These days, SMEG’s fashionable line of vintage and iconic appliances is unmistakable in retro and pastel colors that coordinate with each other in designer kitchens. All of those attractive design features are backed-up with heavy-duty construction, high-end power, and versatile attachments.
It would be surprising if you managed to whip up an entire cake without a puff of flour or a splash of cream hitting your mixer. Most mixers are very easy to clean, requiring little more than soapy water and a sponge, but try to wipe them down as soon as possible after using to avoid caked-on splatter. For a glossy finished machine, avoid the rough scrubber side of the sponge to keep from dulling the shine of your mixer. Consider a stainless steel cleaner or polish on stainless steel-finished machines to occasionally refresh their look.
Almost all mixing bowls are dishwasher safe, as well as some of the attachments. Mechanical attachments, like pasta sheeters, may need to be hand washed or simply wiped. Refer to the included user manuals for the recommended way to clean your equipment.
Nearly all stand mixers come with some version of a flat paddle, wire whisk, and dough hook attachment. Many also include a clear plastic splash/pouring shield attachment for the bowl.
KitchenAid is well-known for its line of attachments and accessories (sold separately) that are interchangeable across the entire line of mixers. These include pasta sheeters, meat grinders, juicers, spiralizers, food processors, a sausage stuffer, and an ice cream maker bowl—among others. The brand also offers designer bowl replacements and even third-party accessories given the popularity of the KitchenAid machines. If you want your stand mixer to be a multi-purpose workhorse, consider getting one that offers comparable accessories.
For the more ambitious baker, it’s nice to have a second mixing bowl and attachment set for projects that include mixing and whipping a variety of ingredients quickly so you don’t have to break to wash dishes in the middle of a complex recipe (like a delicate fickle mousse).
What can you make with a stand mixer?
A stand mixer is built to handle baking and mixing projects that would otherwise be difficult to do by hand. This includes whipping a large amount of liquid, creaming butter and sugar together, mixing a smooth dough, and incorporating ingredients that might be difficult to handle from extreme temperatures. Most stand mixers are equipped for whipping, beating, and kneading and can be used for both pastry and savory cooking projects.
Many stand mixers on the market these days come equipped with attachments, making them even more versatile. On top of mixing, machines like the KitchenAid, SMEG, and Wolf Gourmet make attachments that roll pasta, grate and slice produce, juice, grind meat, and even stuff sausages. Of course, the additional attachments come at an additional cost, but it may be worth it if you’re an adventurous cook.
How do you knead dough with a stand mixer, and for how long?
Most stand mixers come with a dough hook attachment that’s designed specifically for that machine. Most smaller dough recipes are written for stand mixers, and typically include directions for how long to mix doughs, and at what speed. Most doughs are mixed at lower speeds on a stand mixer to keep from damaging the gears and overworking the motor. The time spent mixing depends entirely on the dough, but there are a few signs you can look for to know when the dough has finished mixing.
Most doughs will be smooth and elastic when they’re mixed properly, which is a sign that the gluten in wheat-based doughs has developed. If you notice the dough pulling away from the sides of the bowl while mixing, or even slapping against the bowl, those are also good signs that the dough has properly developed.
How do you grease the bowl of a stand mixer?
When working with extra sticky products, like marshmallows or very wet dough, you can grease the bowl of a stand mixer in a couple of different ways. If you’re using the bowl to let a product rest before mixing or turning out, a non-stick spray like PAM should be enough to do the trick. For very sticky ingredients that are going to get worked a little bit, you’ll want a heavier-duty oil like canola, vegetable, neutral, or olive oil. For prolonged mixing, any oil that you use will eventually be incorporated into your ingredients, so take care not to over-grease or use an oil that will clash with the recipe you’re making.
If you’re concerned about a recipe being especially sticky, but don’t want to use any excess oil (which may ultimately make it even stickier), consider mixing your recipe, then using a plastic bowl scraper to get everything out of the bowl without too much hassle. The bowl scraper can also be greased to prevent your food from sticking while transferring it to its final destination.
Are KitchenAid stand mixer attachments and bowls interchangeable?
Most KitchenAid attachments that connect at the Power Hub at the top front of the mixer can be used on any KitchenAid model, including the Artisan Mini mixer. For attachments that require a little more power to operate efficiently, consider how much you’re going to use the attachment and how much power the mixer actually puts out. The Artisan mixers have less power than the Professional models, so be gentle when using the attachments, making sure not to overwork them.
Bowls and attachments like paddles, whisks, and dough hooks are generally specific to the style of KitchenAid mixer you have. Mixers with bowls that attach at the base of the machine will not work on the bowl-lift style mixers, and vice-versa. The mixing attachments that come with the machines are also scaled based on the size and style bowl the machine has, and are not easily swapped out between different models.
The one exception to these rules is the KitchenAid Ice Cream Bowl attachment, which can be used on all mixer models except the Artisan Mini 3.5-quart Mixer.
Can a stand mixer replace a food processor?
Not really, but sometimes in a pinch. Many foods and even liquids can be mixed in a food processor, but the mixing is done with a blade that breaks the ingredients down while blending them together. A stand mixer mashes the ingredients together to mix them while developing the gluten, aeration, and overall structure of the ingredients. A stand mixer may also keep the integrity of ingredients (like chocolate chips) intact while mixing where a food processor will generally blend everything together to the same consistency.
Food processors are able to slice, grate, and chop ingredients, where a stand mixer will need a food processor attachment to do the same tasks. While some doughs can be mixed in a heavy-duty food processor, most doughs are still best mixed in a stand mixer. If the majority of your kitchen needs revolve around prepping fruits, vegetables, and sauces, you should consider a food processor. If your needs are more baking and mixing-based, you should consider a stand or hand mixer.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is the author of the cookbook Make Ahead Bread and specializes in product reviews and kitchen gadgets so she knows a thing or two when it comes to stand mixers. In fact, she personally tested three of the mixers for this roundup.
This roundup was updated by Sharon Lehman, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who happily makes space for any gadget that makes cooking faster and easier. She specializes in small kitchen appliance testing and reviews for The Spruce Eats.
Jenny Kellerhals updated this roundup and wrote the accompanying buying guide. With over a decade as a pastry chef in NYC, Jenny has extensive experience with professional and home-grade mixers. Her favorite mixer on this list is the KitchenAid 7-quart stand mixer because of its larger capacity for mixing up wedding cakes, larger batches of frosting, and a boost of power for specialty doughs.