10 Unexpected Ways to Use Your Stand Mixer
Find out what else your stand mixer is good for besides making batter and dough.
Stand mixers show up frequently on holiday wishlists and gift registries, and it's not because they look fantastic on your countertop (well, it's not only for that reason). These appliances are multitasking workhorses, ready to help you with many kitchen tasks and recipe steps.
Related: Allrecipes Ultimate Gift Guide
We all know that stand mixers are great for making batter and dough, but their usefulness extends far beyond the baking sphere. We asked professional chefs and culinary experts to offer up their favorite lesser-known ways to use a stand mixer, and they provided these 10 suggestions, all of which will help you get the best possible mileage out of this high-dollar tool.
1. Shred chicken for nachos, enchiladas, and many other dishes.
Pictured: Baked Chicken and Rice Chimichangas
Yes, it's entirely possible to shred chicken using your hands and a couple of forks. That said, chef and recipe developer Jessica Randhawa of The Forked Spoon insists that "shredding chicken by hand can be very slow, and [the process] can be delayed if you are working with freshly cooked chicken, as you don't want to burn yourself."
Instead, she likes to use a stand mixer for this purpose, stating that "stand mixers are very efficient at shredding hot and freshly poached chicken breast, baked chicken, or even a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Once the chicken is quickly shredded in the mixer, it can be easily repurposed into your favorite soup recipe or game-day chicken dip!" Use your flat beater/paddle attachment.
2. Whip up some soft serve ice cream.
It's a common assumption that, in order to make homemade ice cream, you'll need to purchase specialty equipment (or, at the very least, a countertop ice cream maker). However, blogger Walton Holcomb of Brew Smartly tells us that he uses a stand mixer to churn out soft serve ice cream: "I wasn't using my stand mixer as much in the summer, as baking in my small apartment didn't really appeal [to me]. But then, I came across a recipe for simple stand-mixer soft serve, and I finally had an excuse!
You do need dry ice to make this soft-serve recipe, but you can get that in large supermarkets or online. It can be dangerous if not handled properly, so this definitely isn't a recipe for young kids (though they will probably enjoy eating it once it's done). Here's how to make it:
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅔ cup cream
- ¾ cup dry milk powder
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 900g of dry ice
- Mix or blend all the ingredients and chill.
- Crush the dry ice.
- Use the flat beater/paddle attachment on your stand mixer to churn your mixture, slowly adding the dry ice. Eventually, it will reach the consistency of soft serve and be ready to spoon or pipe into cones.
3. Make homemade sausage.
Making sausage by hand might seem intimidating to home cooks without butchering experience, but executive chef Devin Kreller of Wood in Chicago, Illinois claims that you can use a stand mixer to emulsify meats and fats for homemade sausages. "I think [that a stand mixer] is an essential part of how I like to prepare emulsified sausage, like mortadella or bratwurst," says Kreller.
Chef/owner Bruce Moffett of Moffett Restaurant Group in Charlotte, North Carolina also uses a stand mixer to emulsify sausage, explaining that "[when you] use your standup mixer to emulsify sausage, you'll want to freeze your meat for 30 minutes. Then, take the meat out of the freezer and cut into 1-inch cubes. Grind them with your mixer on medium speed using the food pusher. After the meat is ground, add whatever liquid and spices [you prefer] to the mixing bowl and paddle on high speed for two minutes."
4. Make a bunch of freshly-whipped cream in a hurry.
When it comes to making fresh whipped cream, most home cooks reach for their hand mixers. However, if you want optimal results with minimal effort — especially if you're whipping a significant amount of cream- then your stand mixer is the tool to use.
"Whipped cream is delicious and luxurious, and so simple to make, but without a standing mixer at your fingertips, it can seem like a bother, or just a special occasion thing. I'm against that. After all, it only takes a minute or two — and a standing mixer standing at the ready — to enjoy fresh whipped cream with sweet berries, and feel like you're really living large. I have been leaning on this little treat a lot lately," says cookbook author and kitchen organizing expert Lisa Chernick. Use your whisk attachment to make whipped cream.
Related: How to Make Whipped Cream Eight Ways
5. Scramble enough eggs to feed a family.
For speedy breakfast prep that can satisfy a whole household, try this egg-scrambling tip from executive chef Kyle St. John of The Ranch at Laguna Beach in Laguna Beach, California: "One unexpected way I use the stand mixer is to whisk eggs. When cooking scrambled eggs, omelets or even making a quiche for a group of friends or family members, make a large batch of whipped eggs using the whisk attachment on the mixer set on low to medium speed. This will save you time and ensure the eggs are evenly mixed. Add a little cream to your eggs while mixing to make them extra light and fluffy — my favorite trick is to finish cooking scrambled eggs with some creme fraiche folded in for a little added richness."
6. Turn aquafaba into a vegan-friendly alternative to eggs.
Pictured: Vegan Meringues
Aquafaba, also known as the liquid found in a can of chickpeas, is a tremendously versatile ingredient in vegan cooking, and food blogger and author Judy DeLorenzo of A Life Well Planted uses her stand mixer to get her aquafaba ready for cooking purposes. "A stand mixer can be used to whip aquafaba into a magical, meringue-like consistency. Whipped aquafaba is popular as an egg replacement and is used to make various desserts as well as savory dishes. It takes a full 10 minutes to whip it into a stiff meringue, though, so it makes sense to use a stand mixer for this task," she explains.
Related: What Is Aquafaba and How Do I Use It?
7. Get the perfect texture for your salad dressing.
Whisking a salad dressing by hand doesn't sound like a challenging task, but if you're determined to make a dressing that's fully integrated and doesn't suffer from oil and acid separation, then you're likely to notice that you need a faster and more consistent blending speed than your arm alone can achieve.
That's why chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Risa Magid Boyer recommends using your stand mixer for salad dressing purposes: "[You can use a stand mixer to] make a well emulsified salad dressing! If you don't have a blender or you store your mixer on the counter where it's more accessible, it's easier to whip up a salad dressing when you let the mixer do the work. Whisking quickly and pouring in oil slowly can be a tricky task to do [by hand] without the bowl running away."
8. Ditch store-bought tortillas in favor of homemade versions.
Pictured: Chef John's Corn Tortillas
Chef and kitchen-equipment blogger Brian Casey of Knifegeeky tells us that he wasn't immediately sold on the importance of having a stand mixer in his home kitchen, since "I'm not a big baker." However, he now considers his mixer a crucial tool for a favorite dinner tradition: "Taco night."
In addition to using the mixer to shred meat and make guacamole, Casey also finds that, with his mixer at the ready, "homemade tortillas are SO easy. They only require corn masa and water. To keep your hands from getting sticky, throw the masa into your stand mixer and just add a couple tablespoons of water at a time until you get a Play Doh-like consistency. No need for a dough hook; the simple paddle attachment will do. Use a tortilla press or your hands to flatten the tortillas, and add herbs and spices to the dough if you want to make them extra special."
Related: How to Make Tortillas From Scratch
9. Take your home baking game to the next level by milling your own grain.
The 2020 COVID quarantine inspired many people to sharpen their baking skills, learning to make everything from cakes and cookies to sourdough loaves and croissants. If you're in the market for a new baking-related challenge and you have a stand mixer, consider milling your very own artisanal flour.
"If you make your own flour, the recipes that you have been making for years will greatly improve in quality and taste. You get fresh flour that has all of the goodness that is in the grain to contribute to the overall taste of the meal. Attach the grain mill attachment [to your stand mixer] and choose a setting (from coarse to fine) and mill the quantity that the recipes call for," advises recipe developer and co-founder Chris Riley of The Daring Kitchen.
Related: How to Bake Whole Grain Bread
10. Mix epoxy resin for woodworking projects.
Chef, sommelier, and CEO Sean Andrade of AWG Private Chefs tells us that his favorite unusual way to use a stand mixer won't produce anything edible...although it has plenty to do with the kitchen. If you're an avid woodworker and regularly need epoxy resin to coat your projects, then do as Andrade does and mix your epoxy resin in a stand mixer. "Yes, I've actually done it. I picked up a knock-off brand paddle attachment and bowl that I dedicate to my art projects. I use these specific items to mix volumes of epoxy when I'm doing resin-coated cutting boards for charcuterie, etc. [The stand mixer] keeps the resin fluid enough, so it won't set while I'm working with the project," says Andrade.