My Vitamix Is My Most Valuable Kitchen Tool (Not Because It's Expensive)
One test kitchen staffer uses the high-speed blender for everything from smoothies to cheesecake batter.
Test Kitchen Pick: Food Network Kitchen staffers share the kitchen tools they can't live without — both at work and at home. Plus, you'll get tips and tricks to help you cook like a pro.
If there’s one thing every kitchen needs, it’s a solid, reliable and versatile blender. Whipping up a quick breakfast? Treat yourself to a smoothie. Want to use up some leftover herbs? Blend together a chunky pesto. Crushing ice for girls’ night margaritas? The blender can handle it! Even though a blender is one of the most versatile tools in the kitchen, they're not all created equally (seriously, we tested them!). My pick? The Vitamix 5200.
I grew up working in kitchens from a young age and for as far back as I can remember I’ve always used a Vitamix — even in culinary school. So, when it came time to buy my own there was no question that Vitamix was the way to go. The 5200 has simple controls and a powerful motor. I love the variable speed capability because it allows me to control the texture of whatever I’m blending. If a want my tomato sauce to be thick and coarse I go with a lower speed. For a velvety, smooth sauce I blend on high. And for everything in between (like grinding nuts or breadcrumbs) I pulse it manually.
While it’s great for tons of classic blender tasks, my favorite thing about this machine is its versatility. People tend to reserve their blenders for smoothies, but the Vitamix is good for so much more. Use it to make cheesecake (you'll get the smoothest, bubble-free, clump-free batter) and to blend fun and funky salad dressings (like this one). I even use it to make my favorite bulletproof coffee.
Another pro: It’s easy to clean. You can use a bottle brush to clean the blade, and put the lid and jar in the dishwasher. If I’m pressed for time, I fill it with some warm water and a small pump of dish soap for a super-fast clean. Just run the motor on low for 10 to 15 seconds and rinse with more warm water.
Keep in mind that a Vitamix isn’t your average blender; it’s a powerful machine and it’s important to handle it with care and caution. Take care when blending hot liquids and be sure not to fill it too high. The maximum fill line is there for a reason and it’s very easy for hot liquids to bubble over the side, burning your fingers or wasting half of your perfectly puréed sauce. Also, be sure to only use the specified plunger piece for pressing ingredients, and never stick anything else in there while the engine is running. (We’ve heard some horror stories of folks losing the handle of their wooden spatula or blasting off the tip of a plastic spoon. Yikes!) Lastly, be sure to increase speeds slowly and make sure to reduce the speed to zero and turn the machine completely off before unplugging.
If after reading this you're still skeptical, here's my final piece of advice: You don't have to buy a new model. Vitamix's Certified Reconditioned program refurbishes old or minimally damaged products to churn out basically good-as-new models for about $100 less (sometimes more) than brand-new units. It's a more affordable way to get professional quality in your kitchen — and I promise it's worth it!
Morgan Hass moved her way through the culinary world in restaurants, test kitchens and food styling before making her way to Food Network in 2009 as a food stylist . She then shifted to culinary producing in 2014 and hasn't looked back since!