An immersion blender is a handheld kitchen appliance that works like a traditional blender, but is submerged into the substance to be blended. It cannot do everything that a traditional blender can do, but it does have a number of advantages. These blenders are commonly available anywhere you would find kitchen appliances, and many cooks find them to be one of the most useful and convenient tools in the kitchen.
The one disadvantage of an immersion blender is that it cannot usually chop large pieces of food or crush ice or other hard foods as it blends. For heavier jobs such as these, a regular blender or food processor is usually necessary. For jobs such as pureeing soup, emulsifying a sauce, beating eggs, or blending a fruit drink, however, the immersion blender is perfect.
An immersion blender takes up considerably less counter space than a standing blender and simplifies the cooking process, as it cuts down on the number of containers involved and the need to transfer your food between them. You can blend soup in the pot or a drink in the glass. A large amount of soup that would have to be blended in many batches in a blender or food processor is much easier to handle with an immersion blender. Clean-up is consequently easier as well. Some blender models allow the user to detach the blending part from the electrical part for easier washing, either by hand or in a dishwasher.
Some immersion blenders are more powerful than others, and some have variable speeds, so it pays to shop around. Many also come with attachments, either packaged with the blender or sold separately, that can handle such jobs as dicing vegetables. Most immersion blenders are sold with a mixing beaker as well.
These blenders are typically much cheaper than traditional blenders, with top of the line models available for under $100 (USD). A basic blender can be found for only $10-20 (USD). Some deluxe models are rather pricey, but a $60-70 (USD) model will more than meet the needs of most home cooks, and for those with fancier kitchens, paying a little more for an extra powerful immersion blender over a traditional blender may be well worth the convenience.