What can you blend in a portable blender? Our Reviews Editor explains

Can a portable blender crush ice? Blend frozen fruit? Make soup? This is what you need to know about what works and what doesn’t

best portable blender
(Image credit: Getty)

Wondering exactly what can you blend in a portable blender? After all, these personal blenders are smaller than a typical blender, and tend to be suitable for just a single serving of a smoothie or similar.

However, although the best portable blenders may size things down, they can still be used in many of the same ways our selection of the more traditional countertop blenders can, with the only difference being that they’ll produce a smaller portion size.

We’ve talked to Homes & Gardens' Reviews Editor to discover the capabilities of these mini marvels to answer the question: what can you blend in a portable blender? You may be surprised by the answers.

What can you blend in a portable blender?

While a portable blender is often a purchase made for use on the go, the fact is that their features often make them equally suitable for small households. They can be used for a variety of kitchen preparation tasks and don’t take up too much space in a kitchen of modest dimensions. 

‘The limitation you should bear in mind is their capacity,’ says Millie Fender, Reviews Editor of Homes & Gardens. ‘When buying, you need to think features to ensure the blender can do what you need it to, but also focus on its capacity. If this won’t be sufficient for the tasks you have in mind, check out the best immersion blenders or best blenders, too, and invest in a carry cup to bring the "portable" to your blend.’

So, what can you blend in a portable blender? The answers are right here.

Can a portable blender crush ice?

Some portable blenders can crush ice, but this depends on the model. The Cuisinart EvolutionX Cordless Blender is one of the portable blenders we’ve reviewed that can crush ice.

Be mindful, though, that this is not a universal feature across all portable blender models. A less powerful motor won’t cope with ice although it handles blending and puréeing fruit and vegetables fine. 

The takeaway? If you want a portable blender that crushes ice always check the model is specified for the task; this might mean it's corded rather than cordless; try to crush ice in one that isn't set up for the task and you'll damage the blades.

Can a portable blender be used for whipping cream?

A portable blender isn’t the top choice for whipping cream. To whip cream to perfection, a blender should really have a whisk attachment to aerate the cream. The blades of the portable blender don’t work in the same way as a whisk. It is, however, possible to whip cream in a portable blender if you work carefully although, due to the blender’s capacity, you can’t produce much in one go.

‘If you do whip cream in a portable blender be very careful not to overprocess it,’ says Millie Fender. ‘It can quickly become grainy. If this is a job you do regularly, it’s worth investing in a hand mixer or stand mixer.’ 

Can a portable blender whip egg white?

A portable blender isn’t recommended for whipping egg whites. It’s the same problem as with whipping cream: the blades of a portable blender don’t produce the same aerating effect as the whisk attachment that you could team with an immersion blender. This would be a preferable option or addition to your kitchen if you need a blender that doesn’t take up much space to store.

A hand mixer or stand mixer are also appropriate appliances for whipping egg white, and working by hand is the alternative if you don’t own either of these.

Can a portable blender be used for cake batter?

A portable blender isn’t the right choice of appliance for cake batter. It’s not sized for the quantities of ingredients you need for a cake. 

‘If you want a smaller blender that can take on mixing cake batters, think immersion blenders instead,’ says Millie Fender. ‘In this case, you’d need to blend the wet ingredients then slowly incorporate the dry ingredients.’

Can a portable blender be used for hot soup?

Portable blenders are typically designed for smoothies, shakes, cocktails, dressings and more. If you want to make soup, check the manufacturer’s soup recipes for instructions on cooling the ingredients before blending. 

If it’s a small space solution you need and you don’t want to have to wait for your ingredients to cool, we’d recommend investing in an immersion blender, which is perfect for using to produce soups, and provides the option of making them super smooth, or leaving some larger chunks of vegetables in the mix.

Can a portable blender make smoothies?

Portable blenders are ideal for making smoothies. If you want to be able to use frozen berries, look for a model that’s made to deal with these tougher ingredients, and the same goes if you want to be able to add ice to your smoothies.

Be sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines on the size of ingredients such as pieces of banana to get good results, as well as following the instructions on how long to blend for.

Can a portable blender chop vegetables?

A portable blender can blend vegetables, but they will generally need to be cut to the appropriate size (the exceptions are ingredients such as spinach leaves, for example). The more powerful portable blenders will deal with tougher ingredients better, and we detail this information in our reviews, but always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to cutting vegetables to the right size to put into the blender.

What are the benefits of a portable blender?

The number one benefit of a portable blender is that you can take it with you in a bag or suitcase and you often won’t even need an outlet to plug it into wherever you find yourself as many are battery powered.

Of course, that portability can be an advantage even if you don’t want to take a blender out of the house. These compact designs can be a winning choice for small kitchens where every inch of countertop and cabinet is valuable real estate. Equally, though, they can be super convenient for making single serving smoothies and drinks when you’d rather not use a full-size blender.

‘On-the-go users should always check the weight of a portable blender before buying,’ advises Millie Fender, Reviews Editor, Homes & Gardens. ‘The NutriBullet GO Portable Blender, for example, is very light, weighing just 1.5lb. On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a portable blender for home use, this won’t be a concern.’

Millie Fender
Millie Fender

Millie Fender is Head of Reviews on the Homes & Gardens Ecommerce team. Before this, she was our Small appliances editor, and a lot of her time was spent reviewing new and exciting launches in the small appliance space, especially food processors, stand mixers and blenders.