Why You Should Never Mix Hot Liquid In A Blender


Believe it or not, blenders just recently turned 100 years old. According to Interesting Engineering, in 1922, Stephen Poplawski added spinning blades to the bottom of a glass pitcher, creating the first official blender. Of course, before that, purees were probably done with a mortar and pestle. Without Poplawski’s innovation, a breakfast smoothie would be pretty difficult to make.

In the past century, the basics of blenders haven’t changed too much. That pitcher with blades at the bottom sits atop an electric motor that spins the blades. What has changed is how much we use a blender. Per Globe Newswire, global blender sales in 2021 reached $2.57 billion. As millennials overtake baby boomers as the largest generation, that number is going to grow to as much as $3.58 billion by 2028.

As blenders become a kitchen appliance must-have, it’s worth reminding those consumers that blending can be tricky, if not downright dangerous. Blenders have become incredibly powerful, so much so that blender manufacturer Blendtec’s YouTube channel celebrates blending just about everything. It’s safe to say, don’t try any of that at home. Blenders can explode when they’re filled with something as innocuous as soup.

How to safely blend hot liquids

When blending hot liquids or ingredients, the Ingredient-measuring Cap should remain in place over the lid opening. As it’s vented, the steam will be able to escape. Always blend hot liquids using the Low speed or Pulse setting and then increase the speed if necessary. Cool hot foods, if possible, before blending.

That kitchen towel hack works, but there’s still not much between the hot liquid and the hand holding the towel. So, there are other steps to really ensure safe blending, per Blender Adviser. Taking food straight from the burner to the blender will maximize the amount of steam to deal with. More steam means more pressure and a higher likelihood of burns. So, let the food rest, off the heat, for three to five minutes. There may still be some steam. To keep that off of you, it is recommended that you open the lid away from you. Slower speeds will keep things in the blender, too. Start slow and increase the speed gradually.

Are there other blender nevers?

Blenders are so commonplace now, they can be taken for granted. Maybe we should all take a minute and consider what we should and shouldn’t do in our blenders. Afterall, even if you have the best blenders for smoothie making, there’s more to it than loading up the jar and hitting start. Even for something as simple as a smoothie, there’s a guide for how to load your blender when making a smoothie.

Aside from hot foods, Compact Appliance identifies another half dozen foods that don’t belong in a blender. Doughs and cooked potatoes are too “thick and gooey” for blenders. These can overload the motor which will shorten the lifespan of the blender, or even risk an electrical fire. Sticky foods, like dried fruit, are the same, unless they’ve been rehydrated to soften. Even then, it’s best to blend them with plenty of liquid.

Whole spices or coffee beans are hard on anything but the brawniest blenders. Ditto for ice cubes. It’s best to start with crushed ice. Frozen foods should thaw slightly to soften. Fibrous foods, like broccoli, should be cooked prior to blending.

Finally, and hopefully most obviously, don’t put anything, like a spoon or a spatula, into the blender jar while it’s running. It’s tempting to poke around into the blender to get things moving, but remove the jar from the blender before doing this. A dropped spoon will damage the blades, the jar, or yourself.

How can I safely use a blender with hot liquids?

It can be a bit tricky, here are a couple of tips:

  • Use a lot less liquid in the blender than normal. Do batches if needed.
  • Vent the lid so the steam can escape. A lot of lids have a center piece that can come out. Using less liquid will stop stuff coming out the top.
  • As Ocaasi suggests, you can cover the open lid with a kitchen towel as you start to ensure there’s no spray.
  • Start the blender slow and then speed it up. This may not work depending on how fast your slowest setting is. But once the vortex gets going, the liquid won’t splash. It’s only when the blades start that you have that issue. Slower start speed means less splash (a vita-mix can start very slowly and have no splash at all, great for hot liquids but the price tag is a bit high).

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