When my boyfriend of six years (now fiancé) proposed a little over a year ago, two thoughts kept running through my mind. The first, of course, was how excited I was to spend forever with the love of my life. And the second? That we needed to put a KitchenAid stand mixer on our future wedding registry. I know it sounds silly, but I’ve been pining over it for years. You see, I loved to bake when I was in high school. I would regularly give my friends cookie cakes and other sweet treats—so much so I garnered a reputation for being our group’s resident baker. But when I went to college, I hung up my apron and have been looking to get back into baking ever since. (I know, even I’m surprised that I didn’t succumb to the sourdough trend in March 2020.)
With multiple speed ranges, a planetary rotation that hits every part of the mixing bowl, and a bunch of fun colors to choose from, KitchenAid’s stand mixer is sure to be the golden ticket to my confectionary future. Not only will it take some elbow grease out of the recipes I know and love—here’s looking at my precious cookie cakes—but it’ll also give me the confidence to try new ones, too. Of course, KitchenAid’s stand mixers aren’t a one-type-fits-all situation, so which model is the best? To get to the bottom of it, I asked five professional bakers about their favorite KitchenAid stand mixer. Though each model has small nuances, their advice will hopefully help point you in the right direction.
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Calling all small-space dwellers: KitchenAid’s Classic Series 4.5-Quart Stand Mixer is a worthy addition to your culinary corner. With 10 speeds and a tilt-head design, this pared-back option has the power and versatility KitchenAid is known for, but it is a fraction of the size and price of the other models. It’s no wonder why Bianca Dodson is such a fan. “I use it for everything, from whipping meringue and making cake batter to shredding chicken,” the Lenox Bakery blogger explains. “It’s the ultimate kitchen gadget and one that I use daily.”
For a reliable stand mixer that can take on recipes of all sizes and consistencies, the KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt Head Stand Mixer is a clear favorite among the professionals—and for good reason.
“I love the fact that it’s big enough to make large bakes—all my huge showstoppers were made with my trusted KitchenAid—but the machine is not too big, meaning you can also make small-batch bakes in there,” explains Crystelle Pereira, a cook and baker who appeared on The Great British Bake Off.
According to chef Ryan Pollnow, who is responsible for the decadent pasta dishes at San Francisco–based restaurant Flour + Water, every professional kitchen he has ever worked in has had this particular model. “The bowl size is perfect for the production needs of a small restaurant—plus all at-home needs,” he says. When it comes to cooking at home, chef Pollnow loves to take advantage of KitchenAid’s handy attachments.
“The pasta-roller attachment makes for an easy rollout at home, especially if you have a small apartment kitchen, like mine,” he says. “On my days off from the restaurant, it’s nice to be able to use the bowl to bring the pasta dough together before I finish kneading it by hand. After I let the dough rest in the bowl, I can easily put the roller attachment on and, in the very small footprint of my kitchen, I can use one machine to make pasta at home.”
Not only does Baking With Blondie’s Mandy Merriman also love the 5-quart tilt-head model, but she takes full advantage of its attachments, too. “I use the paddle attachment for American buttercream,” the author and entrepreneur adds. “I also really enjoy using the pouring shield when adding confectioners’ sugar to my buttercream; it’s less of a mess, and I don’t have to worry about sugar clouds going all over the place.”
Looking for a heavy-duty mixer that could rival that of a professional bakery? The brand’s 5 Plus Series is a sound option. “While I have several different models of KitchenAid hand mixers and stand mixers, the one I reach for the most is the Professional 5 Plus 5 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer,” shares Kristin Hoffman, the author and baking educator behind Baker Bettie. “The bowl-lift design makes it much easier to get into the bowl to scrape down the sides without taking the entire bowl off the stand. I like this size compared to their 6-quart bowl lift mixer because it’s a little lighter and less bulky and is plenty big for a home baker. I also do a lot of bread baking, and the motor is strong enough to knead even a stiff bread dough!”
4. KitchenAid Pro Line 7-Quart Stand Mixer, $679.99
If you’re looking for a happy medium between KitchenAid’s professional-grade collection and its classic Artisan series, reach for the brand’s Pro Line Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer. “It is simple, not too many bells and whistles, and it works really well,” explain Pam Weekes and Connie McDonald, co-founders of Levain Bakery. “It’s better for us than their ‘professional’ version. We’ve always preferred making the bakery cakes in the mixer multiple times versus scaling the recipe for a larger mixer; it’s just as easy and the cakes are much better!”
Though Weekes and McDonald prefer the 5-quart—which is no longer available—the 7-quart model offers the same perks and even more space.
What’s the Difference Between a Bowl-Lift and Tilt-Head Stand Mixer?
If you’re shopping for a KitchenAid stand mixer, the biggest decision you’ll have to make is whether you want a tilt-head style or a bowl-lift style. Both styles have that speed and efficiency KitchenAid is known for, but these small design tweaks change how you’ll add ingredients or swap out attachments.
So what’s the difference? A tilt-head is designed so the top hinges back whenever you need to add ingredients. (Here, the bowl rests at the base of a stand mixer, so you’ll have plenty of room.) With a bowl-lift, the mixing bowl is suspended with two adjustable arms. So whenever you want to add more ingredients, you’ll need to raise and lower the bowl. Ultimately, it all depends on your personal preference, so you’ll want to think about which design is more conducive to your needs.
What Size KitchenAid Stand Mixer Should You Get?
When it comes to a KitchenAid stand mixer, you really can’t go wrong on its size—so it all depends on what you’re planning to bake. Anyone who is ready to open their own bakery—or is simply committed to making large quantities of cookies or cakes—will get a lot of mileage out of a 7-quart mixing bowl. Working with a small space? A 4.5-quart stand mixer is great for small batches and can fit comfortably within your limited quarters. But when in doubt, a 5-quart stand mixer is a happy medium that our experts swear by.
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