A stand mixer can take your home cooking and baking to the next level. Pick a good one that fits your needs, and it will quickly turn into your favorite kitchen tool. Unlike hand mixers—which you use by holding in one hand—stand mixers do all of the work for you, freeing you up to do other tasks at home.
Stand mixers are kitchen appliances powered by a gear motor. The motor rotates detachable mixing tools at configurable speeds inside a mixing bowl. Stand mixers substitute hand mixers and can do a variety of otherwise-manual cooking tasks for you, saving you time and effort.
Search for a stand mixer online, and you’ll easily get overwhelmed by the number of choices.
What should you look for if you’re a beginner in cooking?
The best stand mixers for beginners have a tilting head, several speeds, a 5-6 quart dishwasher-safe mixing bowl, and multiple mixing tools (typically a whisk, beater, and dough hook). They usually sell for $149-$399 depending on the manufacturer, model, and store.
In this post, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know before you can choose a stand mixer.
I’ll also share my best stand mixer picks, pointing you to the best products on the market today (and potentially saving you hours of research).
Keep on reading if I’ve got you curious.
Tilt-Head or Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer?
In general, there are two types of stand mixers: tilt-head stand mixers and bowl-lift stand mixers.
Tilt-head stand mixers have a tilting head that you can lift up and lock back in place so that you can add ingredients to the bowl or change mixing tools.
Bowl-lift stand mixers are taller, have a fixed head, and come with a larger bowl. The bowl is held by two clamps on either side and its height can be adjusted from a crank on the side of the stand.
Tilt-head stand mixers are compact and sold at a reasonable price, which makes them ideal for home bakers and beginners in cooking. Bowl-lift stand mixers offer more capacity but come with a hefty price tag, which is why they’re better suited for professional kitchens, seasoned home cooks, and cooking for a crowd.
How Big Should a Stand Mixer Be?
Stand mixers come in all shapes and sizes. What’s important is to choose the one that fits your cooking needs. Most stand mixers tend to have a bowl capacity of 4.5 and 5.5 quarts. This is big enough for making 8-9 dozen cookies or kneading one loaf of bread.
Here’s how the three most common bowl sizes compare to one another:
|Mixer Size||Bowl Capacity||Best For|
|Compact||3.5-4.5 quarts||Household of 1 or 2|
|Regular||4.5-5.5 quarts||Family meals|
|Large||5.5-6.5 quarts||Cooking for a crowd|
The only reason to buy a compact stand mixer is if you have a tight kitchen. Though it will take up significantly less space than a regular or large stand mixer, the bowl is simply too small for most recipes (even if you’re a beginner in cooking).
90% of the time, you’re better off buying a regular-sized stand mixer with a capacity of 4.5-5.5 qt. Unless you’re running a pastry shop from your home, it will be large enough for your baking and cooking needs—while not taking up too much space in your kitchen.
If you often find yourself cooking for a crowd, think about buying a bowl-lift stand mixer with a large bowl. That extra capacity will probably come in handy when you’re mixing big batches of ingredients for a hungry bunch.
Which Stand Mixer Attachments Are Worth It?
The three must-have attachments for any stand mixer are a dough hook, a flat whip, and a wire whisk. Equipped with them, a stand mixer will be useful and versatile enough for practically all of your home cooking.
This is the reason why most stand mixers come with a hook, whip, and whisk out of the box. Some manufacturers, like KitchenAid, have designed their mixers in a way that makes them highly-extensible.
If you have a KitchenAid mixer at home, you can buy attachments that turn it into a meat grinder, cheese shredder, pasta cutter, grain mill, sausage stuffer, and even a food processor.
My Top Stand Mixer Picks for Beginners
What stand mixer is best for beginners? I’ve researched and selected three of the best stand mixers that you can shop for at Amazon today so that you don’t have to.
1. KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer
- 10-speed slide control ranges from a very fast whip to a very slow stir
- Includes Flat Beater, Dough Hook and Wire Whip
- Power Hub for Additional Attachments
Ask any home baker what’s the best mixer money can buy—and they’ll go on for hours telling you about KitchenAid. An American appliance maker that’s been around since 1919, KitchenAid continues to make stand mixers with a vintage look and battle-tested mechanics in its factory in Greenville, Ohio.
It’s hard (or should I say practically impossible) to find a stand mixer that’s more beautiful, powerful, versatile, and sturdy than the KitchenAid Artisan. It can mix thick and sticky doughs just as well as it can make an airy whipped cream. Thanks to the many attachments sold by KitchenAid, it’s also the most extensible stand mixer on the market.
Why I like it
- Highly extensible thanks to KitchenAid’s big choice of attachments
- Comes with a 5-quart bowl, yet compact enough to fit under most kitchen counters
- Unrivaled vintage design and a high-quality of build you can expect from the brand
2. Cuisinart Precision Master 5.5-Qt. Stand Mixer
- SUPERIOR FUNCTION: Delivering power, precision and performance, our stand mixer features a 5.5-quart capacity with a 500-watt motor,...
- MUST-HAVE FEATURES: Polished stainless steel bowl, tilt-back head and one power outlet for optional attachments
- INCLUDED: Chef’s whisk, dough hook, flat mixing paddle, and splash guard with pour spout – also included is an instruction manual and...
Cuisinart is an American company that’s been around since 1971. Today, it makes its kitchen appliances in China and some of its cookware in France. It’s known for making quality products at a pretty competitive price—and this stand mixer shows you why.
This mid-priced stand mixer comes with the largest bowl, 5.5 quarts, of all my picks. It also has the most powerful motor (500 watts) and a whopping 12 mixing speeds. Just like KitchenAid, it has a sturdy metal stand that keeps it in place, even when mixing the stickiest of doughs. All in all, it’s a great stand mixer for beginners, albeit not my number one pick.
Why I like it
- With a 500-watt motor and a die-cast metal construction, this mixer is heavy duty
- The 5.5-quart bowl is large enough for any cooking task (and for any number of eaters)
- Stylish design available in 6 colors
3. Hamilton Beach 4-Qt. Stand Mixer
- Same mixing action as KitchenAid stand mixers. This mixer performs better than 2-beater stand mixers, and features the popular tilt-up head...
- Baking with ease: Effortlessly mix thick batters and doughs like breads, pizza, cookies, mashed potatoes and more with a powerful, 300 watt...
- Complete bowl coverage: No scraping necessary. Mix hands-free with excellent results every time. Planetary mixing rotates the beaters around...
Hamilton Beach is an American company that’s been making kitchen appliances since 1910. Though its stand mixers have been made in China since 2012, that shouldn’t discourage you from adding them to your wishlist.
If you want a multi-functional and reliable stand mixer on a tight budget, this model is one of your best bets. It sells for less than $100 (at the time of publishing this article) and comes highly-rated by most of its customers.
Why I like it
- Great mixer for a highly-affordable price
- Suction cups on the bottom keep this mixer from rattling around
- Dishwasher-safe bowl and attachments, just like my other two picks
Here’s how KitchenAid’s and Hamilton Beach’s stand mixers compare to one another:
|Hamilton Beach 4-Qt. Stand Mixer||Cuisinart Precision Master Stand Mixer||KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer|
|Mixer type||Tilt-head stand mixer||Tilt-head stand mixer||Tilt-head stand mixer|
|Dimensions||10.4 x 15.55 x 16.3 inches||16.5 x 11.2 x 15.9 inches||14.3 x 9.3 x 14 inches|
|Weight||12.48 pounds||17 pounds||26 pounds|
|Speeds||7 speeds||12 speeds||10 speeds|
|Motor||300 watts||500 watts||250 watts|
|Attachments||Dough hook, flat beater, wire whisk||Dough hook, flat beater, wire whisk||Dough hook, flat beater, wire whisk|
|Bowl capacity||4 quarts||5.5 quarts||5 quarts|
|Bowl material||Stainless steel, dishwasher-safe||Stainless steel, dishwasher-safe||Stainless steel, dishwasher-safe|
* List price at the time of publishing this article (22 January, 2021)
When to Use a Stand Mixer
A stand mixer is a useful kitchen appliance for when you need to mix dough, mix eggs, egg whites, or heavy cream, as well as stir, mix, or beat batters and creams. It frees you from labor-intensive and time-consuming cooking tasks, saving you time and energy.
Use a stand mixer whenever you could use a helper and you feel like you need to focus on doing other things in the kitchen (or just chilling out on your couch while the mixer does the hard work for you).
What Can You Use a Stand Mixer For?
I’ve been using a KitchenAid Artisan 5-Qt stand mixer for years. Sometimes, even I get surprised by how many uses I can come up with for it.
As I wrote at the beginning of this post, a good stand mixer can quickly turn into your favorite kitchen tool. Especially if there’s a good selection of attachments for it.
Whether you already have a stand mixer or are thinking about buying one, here’s my list of 33 things that it can help you effortlessly make to get you inspired:
- Bread dough (incl. sourdough)
- Pizza dough (American, Neapolitan, or Sicilian)
- Fresh pasta dough
- Brioche bun dough
- Pretzel dough
- Pita bread dough
- Tortilla dough
- Cookie dough
- Meringue cream
- Whipped cream
- Chocolate mousse
- Cake frosting
- Cheesecake filling
- Granola bars
- Protein bars
- Energy bars
- Ice cream
- Frozen yogurt
- Homemade hummus
- Mashed potatoes
- Carbonara sauce
- Pulled pork
- Shredded chicken breasts
- Mix sausage meat (Italian sausage, German bratwurst, chorizo)
- Mix Swedish meatballs
- Mix hamburger meat
If you already have a stand mixer at home, what are your favorite uses for it? Share it with me—and the rest of this post’s readers—in the comments below.
Are Stand Mixer Attachments Universal?
No, stand mixer attachments are not universal. Each manufacturer makes attachments unique to their own mixers. Which means you can’t use attachments made by one mixer brand on another.
There’s no standard for attachments between stand mixer manufacturers. In fact, it’s not uncommon for attachments to not be interchangeable between different models of the same manufacturer.
Now you know my top stand mixer picks for beginners. Which one is your favorite? And which one did you end up buying?
Share your thoughts and experience with me—and the rest of this post’s readers—by leaving a comment below.