An immersion blender is a handheld kitchen appliance that allows you to blend or puree foods in the container that you are preparing them in. For instance, you can puree a soup directly in the pot you’re cooking it it, rather than transferring it in small batches to a food processor or blender to puree. You can use an immersion blender to blend a one-person smoothie or milkshake directly into your cup, as well as to make smooth sauces, well-emulsified dressings and purees. An immersion blender looks like a long, thick stick. The top portion serves as the handle and the controls for the device. The base of the mixer is an attachment with a small blade at the end. This piece either snaps on or screws on (depending on what brand/model of blender you have) and this is the piece that goes into your soup, etc. to do the hard work of pureeing. It is removable to make cleaning up an easy task, and most immersion blender attachments are dishwasher safe. To use it, simply insert the blade end into whatever you’re pureeing and turn the blender on (some have multiple speeds, other models only have one). By simply stirring the blender around, you’ll have a very smooth puree in very little time.
In addition to the blade blender attachment, immersion blenders – also known as stick blenders – can come with other accessories, such as whisk attachments and chopping attachments. A whisk works in largely the same way as a handheld mixer, though it is not as strong as a handheld mixer and is much better suited to whisking eggs, whipped cream or dishes on the stove (such as custards or puddings) than for mixing up a cookie dough batter. The chopping attachment, which includes a small container, makes quick work of chopping small amounts of vegetables for salsas and is definitely a favorite tool for many immersion blender users.