The popularity of immersion blenders has increased in recent years due to multiple factors. In order to create a perfect blend, immersion blenders are able to mix ingredients and liquids with ease and convenience, optimizing the amount of time that can be saved without sacrificing quality.
In case it’s your first time using an immersion blender, you’re probably asking yourself, can you use an immersion blender for hot soup?
Yes, you can, but there are warnings that you should consider when blending hot food. Some manufacturers have a warning label against blending hot foods due to overheating the motor or potentially causing injury from splatter. Therefore, it’s recommended to let your food cool down a bit before blending it.
In this article, I’m going to use hand blenders, immersion blenders and even stick blenders interchangeably.
How do immersion blenders work?
Take a look around your kitchen. You’ve got food processors, countertop blenders, and even traditional blenders. But have you ever wondered what immersion blenders are or what they do?
Immersion blenders are kitchen tools that blend soups, sauces, and even chunky liquids. It’s generally just a handheld device with a motor on one end and blender blades on the other. Unlike the traditional blender where you put food into a bowl with spinning blades at the bottom of the bowl, someone thought about doing it the opposite way.
The best way I would describe it is that it’s similar to a lawnmower. The motor is on the top end and the blades are at the bottom. These blades are basically dipped (hence the name immerse) into the soup and the blades spin to dice, mulch, and process the food inside the blades reach.
Unlike the motion of gliding over grass with a trimmer, the immersion blender has to be held above the section of soup and then dipped. You don’t move the blender until you’ve lifted it back up and move on to another part of the soup.
Immersion blenders usually have this small cup at the end that houses the blades. Everything within this cup is blended. Everything outside isn’t.
What are the dangers of using an immersion blender on hot food?
Manufacturers have explained that the heat coming from a hot bowl along with the motor spinning can heat up the motor even further, causing unnecessary added heat. This may damage the motor over time and you may have to replace the immersion blender sooner than you’d hope.
1. Hot splashing
While blending hot food is possible with an immersion blender, I’d highly advise you not do this. This isn’t your traditional blender where you place the food in and close the lid. In fact, there is no lid. You place the blender and its blades down into the soup and turn it on to start spinning.
When you are using an immersion blender, there is a chance that it could splatter hot liquid all over your body. This can cause some burns and injure yourself. When using an immersion blender on hot soup or other liquid, it’s important to be careful with how quickly you use it and where you place your hands.
There’s been countless reports and questions on how to avoid splashing when using an immersion blender. Be careful about using these blenders immediately after taking your pot out of the stove. The hot food could potentially burn you.
2. Motor overheating
Now, this doesn’t make too much sense to me at first, but the model we use had a warning overusing it in hot liquids may potentially overheat the motor.
Since the motor was on one end of the tool, I didn’t see how this was the case. However, I can imagine that perhaps the heat coming from the hot food (and it would have to be extremely hot) would travel up the hand blender and eventually add heat to an already powerful motor.
The company obviously is being a little overdramatic, but I can definitely see how this can gradually harm the blender over time.
UPDATE: After reaching out to the manufacturer (Kitchenaid contact site) about the motor overheating, The company explained to me that the motor is built with lubrication all over the spinning parts. The lubricant won’t fair well when heated to extreme temperatures and thus as you melt or burn away the lubricant, you create the risk of increasing the friction caused by spinning the blades.
3. It could melt the plastic
While the blade that goes into the hot soup is made of metal, it’s common to see the body made of plastic.
There have been several occurrences online which, to say the least of situations where a person’s immersion blender actually did melt.
4. The bowl could break
There’s always the potential (depending on the material of the bowl) to break. This is especially true if you were using a bowl made of glass, or perhaps a very thin or old plastic bowl.
If your food is exceptionally hot, this can actually make things even worst. Hot food can really mess with the integrity of the bowl. This means that it could weaken the bowl and potentially have it is prone to crack and even break.
This is why you should know your materials and use only bowls that can withstand hot temperatures.
Use a heatproof and break-proof bowl with your immersion blender. This will protect against any breakage.
How to safety immerse blend hot soup
I’ve listed a few of the most helpful tips I’ve personally come up with while using my own hand blender.
Let’s take a look at the following.
1. Let it cool a bit
This is probably going to be the most important part.
I know you might want to blend it while it’s piping hot, but in almost all cases, it’s not worth it.
Let the food settle and cool for just a bit. The more cooling time, the better. You can always pop it into the stove or oven microwave after turning it into the right texture.
2. Wear eye or face protection
If you do decide to go and blend a hot pot, I’d advise some sort of protection against the splashing.
You’ll want to focus on protecting your eyes and then your face as much as possible. Where some shades of you must and a face mask. Your eyes and face are a priority.
But if you have the opportunity to cover your body arms or legs then go for it.
When operating tools like this, it’s good to wear long sleeves and pants.
3. Don’t use a glass bowl
I’ve seen this issue once before. And it didn’t even take an immersion blender to completely shatter and make a mess of a hot meal.
A friend of mine in college decided it would be a great idea to scoop some boiling soup we made into a glass bowl.
Long story short, his hot soup ended up partially on his pants, and three rest on the carpet.
I’d recommend using heat-resistant bowls that are more durable than glass. Ceramic bowls are great and can withstand lots of heat. They also don’t scratch or crack that easily, so you’re good to go when blending.
But the best way is probably to use a bowl made of steel. Those things are not only heat resistant but are also shatterproof.
4. Use a high container
This is a nifty trick I’ve learned after my wife showed it to me. Using an immersion blender in a high bowl really helps because the splashes can’t get high enough to come out.
I just thought I’d throw this out there. So now I gave a dedicated bowl that’s higher than usual for immersion blending.
5. Start at a low speed
This is pretty obvious. Unfortunately, I was a novice at the time when I first got my blender. Fortunately, the stick blender you might find on the shelf today come featured with speed settings.
Place your immersion blender in and start at a low spin after a few seconds, you can ramp it up to medium and if you prefer, high.
Blending with a lower rotation helps initially break down the larger chunks and as they get smaller, you’ll need to up the speed up mince them even further.
Going fast into large chunks of food in a soup always ends up with a splash.
6. Make sure the soup covers the blades before switching them on
This is sometimes something I forget to do, especially when I’m in a hurry or anxious. I would unknowingly switch the blades on and then push them into the chunky soup.
Luckily for me, the high bowl really helps me out and causes minimum splash damage.
If you make sure that the blades are completely submerged inside the soup, then there is a likely chance that there will be no splatter at all.
Just follow the steps and take it slow.
The bottom line
When dealing with creating a smooth and consistent mixture, immersion blenders are the first choice for many chefs. They’re also highly capable machines that offer a variety of features including the “clog-proof” design, which means they’re able to withstand even thick sauces or syrup without clogging up.
Not only are immersion blenders convenient but they’re inexpensive as well – this is especially beneficial for consumers who don’t have much access to large sums of money.
With all these benefits, it is important to gain some knowledge and training on how to use one properly. While you can blend hot soups, it’s highly ill-advised that you do so.
Make sure you follow all the safety precautions to keep yourself and the people around you safe. This tool is not only a handy device for every kitchen, but it can also be quite dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
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