Who doesn’t love cookies? There aren’t many things that can beat the smell of cookies fresh out of the oven. Whether you bake often or occasionally, you’ll probably find that a hand mixer makes mixing dough considerably easier. Using a mixer also typically results in better, more even mixing, and most hand mixers are relatively affordable. In this article, we’ll look at some of the things to consider before buying a hand mixer, and we’ll also take you through our top five picks for hand mixers for cookie dough.
Things to Think About Before Selecting a Hand Mixer
If you spend any amount of time in the kitchen, a good hand mixer is probably going to become your best friend. Mixing thicker doughs by hand requires a lot of effort, and using a spoon alone often doesn’t give you the uniformly-mixed dough that you need for top-notch cookies.
In this section, we’ll look at what it takes to make a great cookie dough. We’ll also discuss some of the things to look for when shopping for a hand mixer.
What Makes a Good Dough?
The quality of your cookie dough depends almost as much on consistency as it does on ingredients. As you probably know, many cookie dough recipes require you to cream, beat, and whisk different ingredients before combining all of them. If you’ve ever thrown all of your cookie ingredients into a bowl at once and mixed them, you might have noticed that the cookies didn’t turn out as well as before.
This is because consistency of all ingredients matters. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you follow the directions in your specific recipe, but there are some rules of thumb that apply to just about every cookie dough recipe. For instance, softening butter before baking is almost always a good idea. This makes it much easier to cream or beat. Colder butter often breaks off in clumps, and it’s nearly impossible to blend uniformly with other ingredients.
Many recipes ask you to cream in all dry ingredients except flour. Creaming creates tiny air bubbles throughout the dough. In this stage, the dough mixture will usually lighten up in color and appear to increase in volume.
Sometimes, in an effort to ensure that everything is thoroughly mixed, a baker will overmix the dough at the creaming stage. It’s extremely important to make sure that you don’t overmix (which can be easy to do with an electric mixer) — doing so will get rid of the air bubbles, resulting in cookies that are overly dense.
Similarly, most cookie recipes want eggs and vanilla to be beaten into the mix. Some want you to whip the egg first. Both of these steps introduce a little more air to the mixture. It may seem like an insignificant thing, but this tiny bit of air goes a long way toward producing cookies that have just the perfect density.
Most dough recipes call for flour to be beaten in last. This can prove to be somewhat challenging toward the end — flour thickens the dough, and it can challenge your mixer. If your hand mixer starts to strain, you risk burning out the motor if you continue to use it. With some recipes, it’s advisable to turn to a wooden spoon to mix in the last of the flour.
Choosing Your Hand Mixer
Now that we’ve been over what it takes to make a good cookie dough, let’s take a look at how to choose an electric hand mixer. The right mixer can help elevate your baking game to the next level. Best of all, most of these mixers aren’t even very expensive.
- Power and Speeds
Raw power isn’t necessarily the most important thing to think about when purchasing a hand mixer — if you need something truly high-powered, you might want to invest in a stand mixer. However, it’s always better to have too much power than not enough. Most hand mixers have about 200 to 250 watts of power, but some high-powered models have up to 350 watts.
You probably aren’t spending all of your time in the kitchen mixing at top speed, though. That’s where different speeds come in. Many hand mixers have five speeds, but it isn’t unusual to see a six-speed model.
One thing to think about here is how the speeds are switched. Most modern hand mixers allow you to change speeds with one hand. However, some have the eject function built in — if you push too hard when changing speeds, it can result in the attachments being ejected.
Another thing to think about is a turbo function. Again, this is something seen on most hand mixers, but some very low-priced mixers might not have this. A turbo function is usually controlled by pressing a button, and it gives the mixer a burst of increased power.
Some mixers have what is essentially a smart turbo feature. You don’t see this feature all that often, but it makes the mixer automatically speed up as needed. It can make operation easier, but it isn’t an absolute must-have for many people.
Speed and power are important to consider when buying, but they aren’t the only important thing. Included attachments are also something you need to consider. When thinking about mixing cookie dough, beaters are the most vital attachments to consider.
Some bakers prefer beaters without centers. These beaters look different than traditional beaters, and they do have some advantages. If you’ve ever tried to mix thick dough with traditional beaters, you know that they can quickly become clogged. These newer, centerless beaters don’t clog as easily, but they can sometimes be flimsy. Before you make a purchase, it’s a good idea to read reviews — buyers will often complain of overly flimsy eaters, especially if the hand mixer in question is somewhat expensive.
Traditional beaters, on the other hand, may clog more easily, but they tend to be more durable and resist bending. With any type of beater (and any type of metal mixer attachment), it’s important to make sure the coating is high-quality. Very cheap attachments often have coatings that can chip, which leads to rust and corrosion.
Depending on your baking needs, you might also prefer a mixer that comes with other attachments. If you frequently bake bread or pizza dough, you might prefer a mixer that comes with dough hooks — these attachments effectively knead bread. Some mixers also come with a whisk attachment, which makes beating eggs or making whipped cream especially easy.
In the crowded hand mixer market, manufacturers often have to do something to stand out. As a result, many mixers have some type of added-on convenience feature. Some have a snap-on case to hold attachments. Others have swiveling cords to reduce tangles. And still others are designed to rest securely on your countertop or on the edge of a bowl. These features may not be absolutely essential, but they can still go a long way toward making the baking process easy and streamlined.
Our Top Picks
The right hand mixer for you might look different than the best mixer for your neighbor. In this section, we’ll take you through five great options.
Braun is a company known for its reliable German engineering, and this mixer has some surprise features that make it stand out from the competition. It’s made with SmartMix technology, an innovation that effectively takes the mixer’s weight out of your hand and directs it into the mixing bowl. It does this via use of an in-line motor. As a result, this mixer requires about half the mixing effort of other mixers.
If you do more baking than just cookies, you might find this mixer especially appealing. You get attachments for beating and whisking, and included dough hook attachments are great for homemade pizza night. There’s also a chopper attachment with a two-cup capacity. And at 350 watts of power, this quality Braun mixer is more powerful than much of the competition.
- SmartMix technology makes it easier to use, which is ideal for those who bake a lot or who have mobility issues
- 350 watts of power makes it stronger than much of the competition
- Beater, whisk, dough hook, and chopper attachments make it extremely versatile
- One-handed control operation makes it easy to adjust as needed while mixing
- Some users have complained that the SmartMix feature makes it feel off balance
- It can be somewhat difficult to clean
This mixer’s 220 watts of power might not be the highest on the list, but we think it has several features that make it especially suited to mixing cookie dough. The most important feature is the automatic feedback feature. This means that the mixer will automatically add a burst of power when needed. Since cookie dough is often thick, this feature is likely to come in handy.
The self-cleaning beaters have no center posts, so there’s less chance of dough getting stuck and slowing down the mixing process. This mixer also has a couple of especially useful convenience features — there’s a heel rest that lets it rest on the counter and a swivel cord that makes it comfortable to use right-handed or left-handed.
- Automatic feedback makes it a great choice for mixing thick dough
- Specially-designed beaters won’t clog up
- Convenience features make it easy to use
- Despite all of its features, it’s pretty affordable
- You don’t get as many attachments as you do with some mixers
- Some users have said it feels unbalanced and is difficult to use
VonShef may not enjoy the same brand reputation as some mixers on this list, but we think this is a solid and affordable little mixer. It has 250 watts of power, making it ready for just about any kitchen task. And if you like to bake more than just cookies, you’ll probably appreciate the variety of attachments: you get beaters, dough hooks, and a whisk.
This mixer has five different speeds, and there’s also a turbo button that gives you a boost of power when you need it. And if you like interesting colors, you might really like this mixer — it comes in red, blue, black, and cream.
- Five speeds with a turbo option lets you mix just about anything
- Easy-to-clean design minimizes your time in the kitchen
- Included attachments are great for making cookies, creating pizza dough, or even whipping cream
- This is also one of the more affordable options on the list
- Some buyers have said that the included beaters are somewhat flimsy
- Even the lowest speed is fairly fast
If you’re looking for a sleek, durable mixer from Austria’s Mueller company, this 250-watt mixer might be a good option. Like many mixers on the list, this one is designed to successfully mix a variety of thick dough types. It comes with four chrome-plated attachments — you get two beaters and two dough hooks. This mixer also comes with a quality Snap-On storage case, which makes it a great choice if you need to transport it somewhere.
With this mixer, you also get several speed options. It has five different speeds, and each speed can be used with the included turbo button. The turbo simply adds a power boost when needed. It’s worth noting that, like some other mixers on the list, many users have noted that even the slowest speed is fairly fast.
- Chrome-plated attachments are sturdier than some included on the list
- Five speeds with optional turbo mode give you plenty of options when it comes to mixing speed
- Slim, sleek design is aesthetically appealing and easy to store
- 250 watts of power make it one of the more powerful options on our list
- The eject button is the same button you use to change speeds, so it’s possible to accidentally eject attachments when changing speeds
- All speeds on this mixer are fairly fast, which may not be ideal for everyone
Five-speed seems to be the norm in the world of electric hand mixers. But if you want a broader range of speeds, this mixer from the well-known Hamilton Beach brand might be right for you. This mixer has 250 watts of peak power, and you can choose from six speeds. The QuickBurst button works much like the turbo button on other mixers — it gives you a burst of extra speed when you need it.
This mixer also has a few convenience features that set it apart. One is a bowl rest — this is a little groove in the mixer body that lets it rest on the edge of the bowl. If the beaters drip, this helps contain any mess to the bowl. You also get a snap-on case that stores your attachments — two beaters and a whisk. If you’ve ever known the frustration of losing a beater, this case is probably a welcome feature.
- This mixer’s six speeds are an advantage over the commonly-offered five speeds
- Bowl-rest feature and snap-on case are two useful convenience features not always found with mixers
- The manufacturer is well-known and well-respected
- Included traditional beaters are somewhat more sturdy than centerless self-cleaning beaters
- Some people might not like the included traditional beaters, which are more prone to clogging with thicker dough
- Some buyers have said that the attachments are prone to rust
We personally think that you can’t really go wrong with any of the mixers on our list. Each one has its merits, and each is also equipped to handle the rigors of mixing cookie dough. As a bonus, all of these are also relatively affordable. Before you buy, it’s a good idea to think about the type of cookie dough you typically make (as well as what else you bake — many hand mixers are good for a range of kitchen tasks). Consider each option carefully and choose the right one for you. Happy baking!