If you are used to manual mixing with a bowl and spatula, working with a stand mixer can be initially overwhelming. Which speed should I use, or what attachment is best for this recipe? This guide on how to use a stand mixer can help address your concerns.

Aside from the steps, I also included some valuable tips to help you get the best mixing results and make the most of your stand mixer.

STEP 1: Assemble the Stand Mixer on a Stable Surface

Set up the machine according to the instruction manual. Study the product diagram to find important buttons or levers and learn how to use your stand mixer properly.

Afterwards, look for the best kitchen spot for your mixer. Note that stand mixers weigh between 4.5kg and 16kg, depending on the model. So, place it on a stable, heavy-duty benchtop or table with a flat, solid surface.

It’s also a good idea to position it near a power outlet, so you won’t have to keep moving it around whenever needed.

TIP: If you are short on space or want a lightweight appliance, a tilt-head stand mixer is an excellent option. Aside from being more portable, its low profile makes it easy to tuck under hanging kitchen cabinets.

Woman Attaching the Dough Hook onto a Stand Mixer

STEP 2: Select the Right Attachment for the Job

When ready to use your stand mixer, attach the proper attachment your recipe requires.

The dough hook is for making doughs; the paddle is for mixing and creaming; and the whisk is for whipping cream, egg whites, and light batters.

My article on the different stand mixer attachments has more details on this topic.

Once you know which attachment to use, find the beater shaft or screw of your machine, which is usually near the motor head.

Line up the shaft with the hole or notch of the attachment. Push it up, then twist it counterclockwise to lock it into place.

TIP: Some stand mixer manufacturers offer an optional paddle attachment lined with a built-in silicone scraper, which scrapes the side of the bowl while mixing. Consider getting this optional attachment or choosing a stand mixer that includes one if you often work with cookie and cake recipes.

STEP 3: Position the Mixing Bowl and Add Your Ingredients

Securing the bowl is part of knowing how to use your stand mixer. If you fail to position the bowl properly, the attachment can fling it off the base or scratch its sides.

It can be disastrous if the bowl is full or contains hot ingredients. So, check and follow your manual. Proper positioning depends on the type of stand mixer you have and, at times, its material or construction.

Also, depending on your recipe, you may need to put the initial ingredients in the bowl before securing it or add them later between mixing. I suggest measuring or preparing all your ingredients before you start.

TIP: If you are working on a recipe for the first time, check the ingredients list to ensure your stand mixer bowl size has the correct capacity. Do the original recipe before scaling it up to assess how much your mixer bowl can make.

Woman Securing the Stand Mixer Bowl

STEP 4: Adjust the Mixer Speed Based on Your Recipe

The correct stand mixer attachment and speed setting are keys to expertly made homemade goods. So, before starting, study your recipe, add personal notes if you wish, and understand the procedure well.

When ready, always start at a low speed, then gradually increase it. A stand mixer is like a manual car. Accelerate or decelerate gradually to avoid wearing down the motor.

Also, there is a proper speed level to use based on the recipe or procedure. Here’s a general guide you can refer to:

  • Low speed (levels 1-2) is for initial stirring liquid batters or combining dry ingredients like flour. You can also use it for hot ingredients like boiled potatoes for mashing.
  • Medium-low speed (levels 3-4) is for mixing and beating. This speed ensures dry and wet ingredients are well combined. You can also use it when adding ingredients to cookie or bread dough (e.g. adding chocolate chips or cutting in butter).
  • Medium-high speed (levels 5-7) is for beating and creaming. Usually, this setting is for cake batters after mixing them at a lower speed. It’s the right speed level when making cake frostings, too.
  • High speed (levels 8-10) is for whipping cream, meringue, and frosting. This level produces a lot of air, creating a fluffy, aerated mixture.

For safety, always keep the motor head down while mixing, then turn it off when done or if you need to scrape the sides.

Also, when adding dry ingredients, don’t forget to reduce the speed to avoid messing up your counter or kitchen floor.

TIP: Using a high mixing speed does not mean you can finish the recipe faster. It may lead to overmixing, which can ruin your final product (e.g. chewy bread, deflated cake batter). Some modern mixers have pre-set settings for certain batters or mixtures. This automated feature allows you to multitask and avoid overmixing.

Woman Scraping the Whisk Attachment Clean

STEP 5: Remove the Bowl and Clean Up

After mixing, turn off the stand mixer, then tilt the motor head back or lower the lever to remove the bowl. You can use a spatula to scrape the mixture or dough left on the attachment.

Finally, continue with the next steps of your recipe to enjoy your final product!

To clean up, wash the bowl and attachment used per your instruction manual, then wipe the stand mixer. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down its exterior.

Pay close attention to high-touch areas and spots near the mixer bowl, like the attachment screw and the speed setting lever. Give your mixer a good wipe down after every use to avoid food and bacteria build-up.

My article on how to clean a stand mixer has more detailed steps and tips.

TIP: Using your mixing machine several times may cause its parts to wobble or become loose. When this happens, check your manual and look for troubleshooting instructions. There should be a guide there on how to tighten a loose adjustment screw and other maintenance steps.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to use a stand mixer may take some time and practice. However, mastering its features and functions should make it easy to perfect your favourite recipes.

Using a stand mixer properly is not only for achieving excellent cooking or baking results, though. It also protects your appliance from damage and prevents costly repairs or replacement.

Hopefully, this guide was able to boost your confidence and make you a better home cook. Check out my reviews and buying guide on stand mixers to know more about this kitchen appliance.