Immersion blending hot soup - Family Guide Central

Immersion Blenders for Hot Soup: Manufacturer Guidelines

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 this article, I’m going to use hand blenders, immersion blenders, and even stick blenders interchangeably. 

Can you use an immersion blender for hot soup?

Certainly, an immersion blender can be used for hot soup, but caution is imperative. Most immersion blenders are designed to handle hot liquids. However, to mitigate any risk of injury from splattering and to ensure the longevity of your blender, heed the manufacturer’s warnings; often, they advise against blending steaming hot mixtures.

It’s pertinent to let the soup cool slightly, never filling the blending container more than halfway, allowing for the expansion of hot liquids that can occur during blending. Tilt the blender at an angle and blend with intermittent pulses, gradually increasing the immersion depth as the soup becomes smoother, which prevents creating a sudden whirlpool that might cause hot soup to splash out.

Also, remove the center cap from the lid of your container—if using a non-immersion blender—to allow steam to escape and prevent pressure buildup, covering this with a towel instead. Blending in batches and using a proper deep pot reduces the risks even further. Following these tips ensures a smooth, safe blending experience, leading to a perfectly pureed, warm soup ready to comfort and delight.

Breaking down what immersion blenders are and how they work?

  • Design Ergonomics: Immersion blenders are purposed for easy handheld operation with an ergonomic design allowing users the flexibility to blend directly in pots, pans, or bowls. For instance, the elongated shape of the blender shaft and the comfortable handle let you reach into deep vessels and maintain control during blending.
  • Motor Power: At the top end of the immersion blender is a motor, which varies in power for different models. The power is measured in watts and can range from 100 to 500 watts for domestic use, influencing the blender’s ability to process hard ingredients such as raw carrots or nuts.
  • Blade Assembly: Situated at the bottom of the immersion blender, the blade assembly consists of sharp, rotatable blades similar to those in traditional blenders. When the motor is activated, the blades spin at high speeds to chop, purée, or blend ingredients within their reach.
  • Pulse Control: Much like lawnmower controls, immersion blenders typically offer variable speed control or a pulse option for the user to manipulate the intensity of blending. This way, a user can start on a low setting to minimize splashing with hot liquids and gradually increase the speed to achieve a finer blend.
  • Blending Technique: To use an immersion blender, one submerges the blades into the soup and activates the motor, holding the blender steady and then moving it around the pot, unlike stationary blenders that require adding ingredients into a specific vessel. This technique is beneficial for creating an even consistency without having to transfer hot liquids.
  • Protective Guard: The small cup or bell-shaped guard that houses the blades serves a dual purpose: it helps prevent splashing and focuses the blending power by creating a vortex, pulling food toward the blades for uniform texture, much as the enclosing walls of a lawnmower’s blades channel the cut grass.
  • Attachment Versatility: Many immersion blenders come with detachable shafts allowing for different attachments such as whisks or chopper containers, thereby converting the handheld blender into a multi-functional kitchen gadget suitable for a variety of tasks, from whipping cream to chopping vegetables.
  • Cleaning Ease: Immersion blenders are easier to clean compared to traditional blenders because their detachable blending wands can be washed separately, often being dishwasher safe. Plus, there’s no need to clean a large blender jar, as blending happens right in the cooking pot.
  • Direct Cooking Pot Use: A hallmark convenience factor is the ability to blend directly in the cooking pot. This not only saves on washing up but also allows for better control over the texture by being able to blend to one’s precise liking, and sampling as you blend is straightforward.
  • Safety Mechanism: Some models integrate safety locks or require buttons to be pressed continuously to operate, to prevent accidental activation. This feature provides peace of mind, similar to a safety handle on a lawnmower, ensuring the blades are operational only when intended.

What are the dangers of using an immersion blender on hot food?

  • Risk of Burns from Hot Soup: Hot liquids expand and can splash more easily than cooler or room temperature mixtures. When using an immersion blender on hot foods, there’s a significant risk of being scalded by splashing liquid or steam. For example, blending a hot potato soup could result in painful burns if the mixture is not cooled sufficiently before blending.
  • Thermal Expansion Causing Container Failure: Heat causes materials to expand, and some containers may not be able to handle the expansion caused by hot contents. If you blend hot soup in a container that is not designed to withstand high temperatures, it could warp, crack, or even shatter. A worst-case scenario is blending hot tomato soup in a glass jar that cracks due to heat, causing both a dangerous mess and waste of food.
  • Premature Wear on Blender Components: Repeated exposure to high temperatures can wear out the seals and gaskets of an immersion blender more quickly than normal usage. These components are designed to keep liquid out of the motor housing, and as they degrade, the risk of liquid seeping into the electrical components increases, potentially leading to a short circuit or electrical fire.
  • Potential for Electric Shock: Immersion blenders are electrical appliances, and using them in or near hot liquids increases the risk of water intrusion into the electrical components, which could lead to an electric shock. This risk is elevated if the blender has any damage to its cord or body or if the seal between the blade assembly and the motor has weakened.
  • Decreased Motor Efficiency: Continuous blending of hot substances can add stress to the motor, causing it to work harder and potentially overheat. For instance, if you’re making a large batch of butternut squash soup for a family dinner, the additional strain from the thick, hot mixture could cause the motor to overheat, decreasing its lifespan.
  • Plastic Degradation and Melting: Many immersion blenders have plastic components that may not be heat-resistant. Over time, the high temperature of foods like a simmering beef stew can lead to the breakdown and deformation of the plastic parts of the hand blender, ultimately leading them to melt or crack and necessitating replacement of the unit.
  • Leaching of Chemicals from Plastic: At high temperatures, plastics can release harmful chemicals into food. If the plastic handle or body of an immersion blender is not rated for high heat, blending a steaming hot batch of pea soup could cause the blender to leach BPA or other harmful additives into the food, posing health risks.
  • Stress on Blade Assembly: The blade assembly is designed for a certain level of resistance, but thick, hot mixtures like cheese sauce can exert additional force on the blades, leading to potential warping or breaking. Consistent overexertion could also dull the blades faster, reducing their efficiency and requiring more frequent replacements.
  • Safety Hazard from Slippery Handles: The condensation from steam on the handle of the immersion blender can make it slippery, increasing the risk of dropping the appliance into the hot soup or onto the ground, potentially causing injury or damaging the blender. This scenario could happen when blending a steamy vat of clam chowder and momentarily losing grip on a slick handle.

How to safely immerse and blend hot soup

  • Pre-blend preparation: Before you even plug in your immersion blender, it’s critical to prepare your workspace for safety and efficiency. This means clearing the area of unnecessary items, having a stable surface to work on, and ensuring the cord (if not using a cordless model) does not create a tripping hazard or contact with liquid. An example of preparation would be placing a silicone mat under your pot to prevent slipping.
  • Gradually Introduce the Immersion Blender: Instead of plunging your immersion blender straight into the heart of the soup, gently tilt the hand blender to minimize initial splashing and start with the blade side slightly angled. By easing the blades into the liquid, you’re creating a less aggressive entry, which reduces the risk of hot soup flying towards you.
  • Utilize the Pulse Feature for Control: Take advantage of the pulse feature on your immersion blender if it is available. Pulsing gives you more control over the blending process, allowing for a gradual increase in the soup’s texture transformation and significantly reducing the risk of splatter by not continuously running the blender at full speed.
  • Stir Occasionally With the Blender Off: Between blending cycles, consider using the immersion blender (while it’s turned off) as a stirring tool. This can help redistribute the solids in the soup, giving you a better sense of which areas need more blending. It’s also a perfect time to check the temperature and consistency of your soup without the added risk of the blender running.
  • Understanding Your Soup’s Consistency: Be mindful of the varying consistencies within your soup. Heavier, thicker parts will blend differently than watery sections and may require adjusting your blending strategy. For chunky vegetables or dense ingredients, a slight increase in blending speed or additional pulsing might be necessary, always ensuring the blades are fully submerged before increasing speed.
  • Cool Down Phase: After blending to the desired consistency, remember that the heat generated from the blending process can further increase the temperature of your soup. Before serving, it’s advisable to let your soup sit for a short period to stabilize in temperature, making it safer to handle and consume—an often-overlooked step that also allows flavors to further meld.
  • Blender Wand Cleaning Precaution: When cleaning your immersion blender after use, especially with hot liquids, never submerge the motor part in water and be cautious of the blades. They remain sharp and can easily cause cuts. First, unplug the blender, remove the shaft if it is detachable, and carefully wash the blades under warm, soapy water, using a brush to remove any residue.
  • Safety First with Electrical Appliances: Always check the cord and plug of your immersion blender for any signs of wear or damage before using it, especially if you’re working near water or with hot liquids. Electrical safety is paramount, ensuring not only the longevity of your appliance but also your well-being.

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, which 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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