I recently stumbled upon these new cooking blenders that can blend and cook at the same time. It sounds like a dream come true!
In the beginning, I had some doubts. Are cooking blenders worth it? Do they really deliver what they promise?
I did some research and actually went out and bought one. Here’s my experience:
Cooking blenders are worth it. A good cooking blender can make everything from frozen drinks and smoothies to hot soups, dips, and sauces. It cooks ingredients in minutes without you touching a stove.
But there’s more to know about cooking blenders. In a minute, I’ll reveal which cooking blender I’ve bought and what I use it for.
Let’s explore the topic a little more thoroughly so you can decide for yourself if a cooking blender is worth it for you. Stay tuned!
What can you make with a cooking blender?
Blenders aren’t just for smoothies anymore. With a cooking blender, the possibilities are almost endless.
First of all, a cooking blender can do everything a standard blender can. They’re good for dicing, shredding, blending, chopping, and mixing.
You can easily make:
- Frozen drinks
- Protein shakes
- Frozen desserts
- Nut butter and nut milk
- Ice cream
I’m sure I’ve missed many things, but those were the most common tasks people usually use their blender for.
With a cooking blender, you have more possibilities. Here are the top ways I use my cooking blender:
- Hot soups – I love homemade soups! And I love having a blender that makes hot soups for me while I can do something else. I just add some veggies and spices to the blender jar, press one button, and I’m done. In just a few minutes I’ve got perfectly delicious and healthy homemade soup. It’s piping hot. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
- Hot sauces – homemade sauces taste so much better than store-bought ones. You can control exactly what’s going in there. I simply put all the ingredients in and my cooking blender chops and sautés them. When it’s done, I’ll add the fluids. It then blends and cooks automatically.
- Heated puree – cooking blenders can cook veggies into a smooth puree that you can add to your soups, sauces, or batters.
- Heated self-cleaning setting – cleanup with my cooking blender is so much easier. I just add a drop of dish soap and 2-3 cups of water, press one button, and the blender does the cleanup for me. Now that’s what I call hassle-free cleaning!
Everything I have made so far, from smoothies and nut milk to sauces and soups has turned out perfectly! It still amazes me how advanced blenders have become.
How do cooking blenders work?
Not all cooking blenders are equal. Different blenders use different methods to heat and cook ingredients.
I’ll start with how my cooking blender works. I’ve got the Ninja Foodi and I absolutely love it, you can click here to check it out.
The Ninja Foodi comes with a built-in heating element, it’s inside the pitcher.
It heats and cooks ingredients automatically by selecting one of the Auto-iQ cooking programs. Auto-iQ is just another name for presets.
And that’s what I love about my blender, there’s no guesswork involved.
If I want to make a smoothie, I just put in the ingredients, select the smoothie program, and the blender does the work for me. The timer starts counting down and shows me when my smoothie will be ready.
The same is true for cooking. If I want to make a soup, I get a good recipe on the internet, add the ingredients to my blender, select the soup setting, and it does all the work for me.
The one thing I make most often with my Ninja Foodi is soups. Before I bought the Ninja, I often made soups with my Vitamix. Since I have the Ninja, I just don’t use my Vitamix for soups any longer.
The soups made with the Ninja taste just as good, but my Vitamix doesn’t have any presets, so the Ninja is more convenient to use. Also, the Ninja lets me decide if I want hearty soup or smooth soup with the push of one button.
Other cooking blenders with heating elements
There are many other cooking blenders that come with built-in heating elements. The Instant Pot Ace Plus works the same way as the Ninja, you can check this blender out here.
I got the Ninja Foodi, just because I’ve used many Ninja blenders before (I’m a blender addict) and they never disappointed me. Also, the Ninja comes with 12 presets, while the Instant Pot Ace Plus “only” has 8.
And on top of that, the Ninja simply looks gorgeous in my kitchen! The design of the other cooking blenders just didn’t resonate with me.
Another cooking blender is the Pampered Chef Deluxe Cooking Blender. It looks great and I’m sure it works well, but its price turned me off. I’ve already got a $500 Vitamix at home, I just didn’t want to spend a fortune on a cooking blender.
Some blenders cook ingredients with the friction of the blades
Blenders with built-in heating elements aren’t your only option if you want to cook with your blender. Devices with a heating element are a relatively new invention.
Blade friction heating blenders, on the other side, have been around for several years. These blenders are also called high-speed blenders.
If you’ve ever researched blenders, you are probably familiar with Vitamix. They built some of the best blenders out there. Their models are used by restaurants and juice bars all over the world for a reason, they’re incredibly powerful and durable.
In fact, they’re so powerful that they can cook ingredients with just the friction of the blades!
You put in cold ingredients, turn your blender on the highest setting, and in 5-6 minutes you’ve got piping hot soups or sauces… just with the friction of the blades! It’s amazing!
Every Vitamix model on the market can do this. Also, Blendtec blenders heat up ingredients with friction.
The downside to these blenders is the noise level. These blenders are super noisy! If you turn it on the highest setting, it sounds almost like an airplane is taking off right in your kitchen.
Also, these blenders are expensive. The least expensive Vitamix you can get is around $300. My Vitamix was more expensive than that, and I still don’t use it for soups any longer. The Ninja wins here.
I still use the Vitamix for smoothies, though. There just aren’t any other blenders that make smoothies as smooth as a Vitamix does.
How much is a good cooking blender?
Cooking blenders aren’t quite as cheap as regular blenders. You can get a good one for around $150.
You could save some money if you’re deciding to get a refurbished blender. They should be as good as new and come with warranties.
At the time I was researching cooking blenders, there weren’t any refurbished Ninjas available. But maybe at the time you’re reading this, they have some in stock. You can check it out here.
You could easily spend $300 or more on a cooking blender but I don’t think it’s worth it. The Ninja does everything just fine. I simply can’t imagine more expensive models will do a better job. Although, I could be wrong on that.
If you want to have a high-performance blender that heats up ingredients with the friction of the blades, expect to spend at least $300. Depending on the model, it could go as high as $1.000. That’s an insane amount to spend on a blender!
If you’re a smoothie addict (like me), high-speed blenders are worth it. If you only want to cook soups, I’d get a cheaper one with a built-in heating element.
What are the downsides to cooking blenders?
What I really don’t like about my cooking blender is that I can’t submerge the pitcher in water for cleaning, because of the heating element that’s built in the pitcher.
The heated self-cleaning mode is great for smoothies or shakes, but it struggles to get the pitcher clean after thick soups or sauces. There’s always a little bit stuck under the blades.
The Ninja Foodi does come with a brush, however, and it makes it pretty easy to clean it by hand, if necessary.
Then there’s the weight of the pitcher. This thing is heavy because of the heating element! Also, the pitcher is made out of glass, so it can stand higher temperatures. That adds additional weight as well.
The smoothies aren’t quite as smooth as with a Vitamix. But to be honest, I didn’t expect them to be either. A Vitamix is in a league of its own when it comes to smoothness, and its price tag reflects it.
The Ninja comes with 12 Auto-iQ programs. There are a lot of buttons on this blender. Although they’re clearly labeled and self-explanatory, I admit, it could overwhelm some users in the beginning.
Other than that, I really can’t find any downsides to my cooking blender. I does everything I expect it to do.
I love the versatility. I don’t have to guess if this blender can do it, it has enough power to do any blending job I assign to it.
Cooking blenders are worth it. They’re easy to use, quick to clean, and versatile. Not all cooking blenders are equal and use different methods to heat up ingredients. Let this article be your starting point do your own research. What’s your favorite cooking blender? Are you eager to try one? If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them in the comment section below. Stay vibrant, happy & healthy!