A Thermomix Question

by Kristy on May 7, 2012 · 25 comments

One of my lovely blog readers Rachael recently had a great question about the Thermomix for me and I thought that I’d share it and my answer on the blog today (since there are lots of people with similar questions out there).

You might recall that a few months ago I actually won a Thermomix. I feel so lucky to have this machine for free because I know that so many people out there are umming and ahhing about getting one themselves but might find the cost pretty prohibitive.

THE QUESTION

“Hi Kristy,
We are looking to purchase either a thermomix or a kitchen aid mixer for mothers day- lucky me!! Any thoughts on which would be better?? I’m really not sure if I would use the thermomix every day and for the $$ you spend not sure if it would be worth it. I do quite a bit of baking/ birthday / wedding cupcakes etc and my old mixer has just died so wondering whether a kitchen Aid might suffice. I need to make lots of buttercream icing in the coming months!! Would love to hear your thoughts or maybe those of your readers too??
Cheers,
Rachael”

THE ANSWER

Thanks for your question Rachael. I’ve had my Thermoix for a couple of month now and honestly, I’ve been using it less.

I think you have to think about what appliances you already have and also what kind of assistance do you need in the kitchen.

To me it sounds like you really want to do a lot of baking. Whilst I think that the thermomix does a pretty good job at mixing cakes, it’s essentially exactly like a food processor, so if you’ve ever mixed cakes in a food-processor, that’s the kind of result you’ll get. I have a kitchen aid too, and for cakes and baking, you can’t beat a kitchen aid.

I would only shell out for the Thermomix if you have a real desire to start making most of your foods from scratch (like making all your own sauces, stocks, nut butters etc). If you’ve got someone in your family with food intolerances it can be great in terms of milling flours and making things without additives.

I personally don’t think it does a fantastic job at cooking all-in-one meals like stews and pasta sauces.

It does really good soups, it makes great béchamel sauce, great dips, good custard, good sorbet and lovely polenta. The risotto’s are ok, but I think you can do better on the stove, though it’s certainly good to have your hands free.

I hope that helps a bit. It’s really a personal thing. Lots and lots of people rave about the Thermomix, but I think it’s partly because they’ve paid $2000 for it and kind of have to justify their purchase a bit (I know that I would be like that!). Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely a high quality machine. Essentially though, it’s just an extremely powerful blender that can heat at the same time.

  • tinkster

    I think you’ll be kicked out of the thermomix club! But you may be on to something about having to justify the cost. I looked at one when my best friend got one and RAVED about it but I decided against it. For me, the sweating onions and garlic and stirring and letting flavours develop is one of the things i LOVE about cooking, and whilst making your own icing sugar is cool, I can buy it just as easy.

    I adore my kitchenaid mixer tho. Takes pride of place in my kitchen and I use it several times a week.

    Cheers for the honest answer

  • http://thelifeshemade.wordpress.com thelifeshemade

    Yes I worried about ruffling a few feathers with my answer.

    Don’t get me wrong, it really is a good machine. The quality of the construction is fantastic. It’s very powerful. If you’re in the market for a new food processor, then this might just eclipse the all on power, though it doesn’t come with slicing attachments like most other processors do.

    I think people looking to buy one really need to sit down and think hard about how they will use it. If you think it’s going to solve all your kitchen problems, it won’t. It’s a very helpful and well are appliance, but it’s not the be all and end all.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for being honest!
    One of my good friends has a Thermo and they *say* that they use it everyday but they don’t. They buy bread, biscuits, custard… And then some people I know that have one do use it everyday, and get a really good use of it. What you said about it being a blender that heats is true… You can get a Cuisinart (sp?) blender that you can make soup in that is less than $300.

    I dream about the day I get my KA :)

    • http://thelifeshemade.wordpress.com thelifeshemade

      Sarah, I guess I’m a little like your friend. When I first got the Thermo, I was completely into making bread and custard and sorbet in it. But It’s a lot of extra time that you have to find in your day to do all those things. I’m lucky in that I have access to fantastic shop bought bread that makes my life simple. Every now and then it’s lovely to make a fresh bread in your oven, but if I had to do it every day I think I’d go mad.

      That’s me – I don’t speak for others. Obviously some things like being completely in control of what goes into every bread, every sauce and every condiment is very important to some people and for them the Thermomix is a godsend.

  • Christine

    Hi Kristy,

    Great to read an unbiased opinion (from someone who didn’t pay $2000) of the Thermomix! I have several girlfriends who have purchased one and they all rave about how fabulous they are. I have seen them in action making sorbet, dip etc which I must admit is pretty quick and nifty but I have always been of the opinion that if I had paid that much money I would probably rave about how great it was too!

    I am not convinced that it would change my life and as one of your other commenters mentioned, the process of creating a meal and developing the flavours can actually be very enjoyable!!

    I have a Kitchan Aid and I love it too, fabulous if you do a lot of baking.

    Thanks for your honest review!

    Christine

    P.S. Just on a sidenote, has anyone used the Thermochef? I believe it is similar to the Thermomix but a lot cheaper (approx $700). Just curious.

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Love this honest review Kristy! I bake a lot and that was a question that I had.

  • Rachael

    Thank you for the comments- I think they have helped me to make up my mind :) I don’t think I would use a Thermomix that much really.
    Like Tinkster said above, I really love the process of cooking- the sights and smells- and although sometimes laborious I quite like all the chopping and other preparation too.
    I’ve had my eye on the Kitchen Aid for a while and although I don’t bake every day (too tempting as a Weight Watcher!) I would probably bake at least once a week and then around birthdays It’s more often. I have a huge amount of Wedding cupcakes to make in July so the kitchen aid will definitely come in handy then!
    I would love to know, for those of you who have a kitchen aid, do you use it much for things other than cakes/baking??

    • Kath Rytenskild

      I have just had my son’s birthday party – 27 kids & because i try to do mostly wheat-free & refined sugar free cooking, i made EVERYTHING for it: cookies, cake, icing, meatballs, guacamole, 2 types of iced muffins, and i used my kitchenaid over & over again. My sister bought a thermomix & other than making dips & baby food, she doesnt get much use out of it. I think if you’re after a super powerful blender, nothing beats the Vitamix, which is the other pce of equipment i use a few times a day: a green smoothee in the morning for me, a choc banana smoothee or frozen banana ice cream in the arvo for the kids & chopping veg for dinner. Best $700 i’ve ever spent, but takes equal pride of place with my kitchenaid. I love cooking, and it is my main source of cathartic & creative release, and i dont think a TM would give me this. Thanks for a good review.

  • Rachael

    I did get my Kitchen Aid for Mothers Day and I LOVE it!! Can’t stop mixing up homemade bread dough and have made pancakes and cakes galore. Thanks for all of the comments and your review Kristy :)

    • http://thelifeshemade.wordpress.com thelifeshemade

      Good on your Rachael. So glad you’re happy with your purchase :-)

  • http://www.thermomixtoday.com Thermomix Today

    My friends have been asking me if the Thermomix is just as great for home cooks as it is for pro chefs, I would always tell them it depends on how often you cook. It’s a little pricy but if you make use of it properly and most of the time then the price shouldn’t be a problem.

  • Rachael

    Thankyou so much for your honest review of Thermomix, you have confirmed my thoughts of Thermomix v’s my kitchen aid processor and mixer. i was feeling quite bullied into thinking my kitchen aid products were inferior.

    • http://thelifeshemade.wordpress.com thelifeshemade

      Rachael – If you already have a mixer and processor I wouldn’t bother. It’s not as amazing as people will have you believe. The mixer will always make superior cakes and breads and the food processor has the benefit of grating and slicing attachments which the Thermomix doesn’t have.

  • happy thermomixer

    I have a KA mixer and KA food processor and I’ve got a Thermomix. It didn’t use the Thermomix much when I first bought it because I felt it was just easier to make things the way I always had. But I decided just to use the Thermomix for a month and if I didn’t see the benefit, I would get rid of it. What a change it made to my cooking. Í can whip up things so quickly and am making things I never would have dne due to time and effort. For example last night, I dedided to make a coleslaw at the last minute. Chunks of cabbage carrot, celery and spring onion and some may just thrown in the bowl. 4 seconds later, perfect coleslaw and a quick rinse to clean out the bowl. As for cooking cakes, its fantastic, light fluffy sponges and the smoothest mousse and custards to die for. I’ve only used the KA mixer once since and that was to whip cream because I was doing something else in the Thermomix. I haven’t used the food processor at all in months.

    Don’t underestimate what you can do with it.

  • Sean Trent

    To quote another respondent – Great to read an unbiased opinion (from someone who didn’t pay $2000) of the Thermomix. I am sure they are fantastic especially if a) you do not have any equipment already, or b) have a very small kitchen. But we have a good Cuisinart food processor, a Kenwood mixer, a burr coffeee grinder and a spice mill (amongst other things!) & I enjoy making risotto in a pan and stews in the oven. Custard & bechamels would be good it is a lot to spend for that convenience.

    Probably where I am missing out is with the performance my Kenwood Kmix blender – but with everything else I have, a refurbed Vitamix might be the way to go.

  • Elizabeth

    What you can do with a thermomix just keeps growing and growing. I now make cakes and icings that I couldn’t have dreamed of making with a mixmaster. Last month I made swiss meringue buttercream from raw sugar and it was incredible. I notice that it is folks who don’t really get the most out of their consultant (get them back for more demo’s and go to classes) who seem to have this ‘it’s not worth the price tag’ kind of review. That’s because it takes several months to start to get used to it to even scratch the surface of the potential. We use ours 6-9x a day. we save $25+ a week and were already a tight budget family. I was super critical when I first heard of them – you simply cannot compare it to a vitamix (which is an excellent product by the way!). Great investment for us :)

  • GG

    Hi, thanks for your review! I am considering buying a thermomix but I am unsure if we will use it as much. We cook mostly Indian food and most dishes won’t taste good if the onions and spices aren’t browned well, does the thermomix do this well? Do you know of Indian/Asian households that are happy with their thermomix? Does the thermomix do a good job of kneading dough? I would be looking to make chappathi (Indian bread) dough atleast 5-7 times a week. I do bake as well but I already use a few recipes that are quick without a thermomix and doubt whether having one will change anything in that regard apart from the washing up maybe. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

    • http://thelifeshemade.wordpress.com thelifeshemade

      GG – I have yet to cook a curry in the thermomix. It would be excellent to grind spices and it does actually knead dough very well – it has a kneading function. If you’re after a deeply browned onion, forget it. The Thermomix does not cook anywhere near hot enough for that. I would say you’d find it useful in preparation of spices, chutneys, pickles and breads, but you’d still need to brown your onions and cook your curries on the stove.

      I’m sure there are plenty of people who do cook the whole curry in the thermomix (they have an Indian book I believe), but you being someone who is somewhat of an expert at Indian cooking will not be satisfied the result.

    • mn

      HI GG- I have spent $2k on a TM and according to some commenters above this makes me an unreliable reviewer, so maybe take my contribution with a grain of salt.

      Overall I think you need to be inclined to cooking for the TM to be worth it- if you’re just as happy with store-bought custard, bread, butter, dips, etc, then you can probably spend much less money on a good blender or kitchen mixer or other less all-round appliance. You also need to be ready to adapt the way you prepare food- the TM does things just a bit differently.

      I am a lover of cooking from waaaaay back, and I never had a desire for a TM because I really enjoy the process of preparing food, from peeling & cutting to the magic of transforming food with the right application of heat (or cold) and agitation. But now I have 2 kids under 2. Having an hour to prepare a meal is unthinkable, and the TM means that while I miss out on my relaxing, enjoyable cooking journey, I can still feed my family nutritious meals (including purees for baby). In a few years I can start to mix in a bit more conventional cooking into my week again, but for now I am grateful for this machine.

      As for curries – I made a butter chicken in the TM just yesterday and it was amazing (although I cooked it for 45 mins, not the suggested 25). You can make stir-fries in it too, but a wok is definitely better. It kneads very well- and I always heat the water/milk in the TM before adding the yeast & dry ingredients so it’s optimal proving temperature, which is awesome. Great for dry-roasting spices and sautéing onions etc.

      If you don’t already have a fantastic blender, food processor, bread maker, etc, then the TM should be carefully considered. For a more established kitchen it might be a bit harder to justify. I use mine about 5 days a week and buy far less processed foods now.

  • Judy

    Lots of interesting comments which I can understand. I am living on my own as an older person and had to talk a lot to myself to justify the expense. i actually couldn’t but went ahead and bought it anyway. I love it and use it a lot. I like the health benefits – a grandaughter who wanted nut milks and it is so much cheaper than buying – gluten free cooking for another family – just throw in a 50 gms rice and turn it into flour before making a bechamel sauce. I love the coleslaw’s and beetroot salads made in 4 secs whilst the steak is cooking. There is so much additives in bought processed foods that I know if I had young children I would love to own one of these. Custard takes a lot less time than walking down the aisle of a supermarket store and has lovely wholesome ingredients.
    It is a personal decision and they are expensive so I would not buy one unless I felt comfortable financially, but to me it is the way cooking will go in the future I am sure.

  • Mandy

    Thanks for the unbiased review. I desperately wanted a TM and was lucky enough to borrow one from my sister while she was away, so I had a month long free-trial. I must say I was incredibly under-whelmed, here are my thoughts:

    *Any dishes that require browning like casseroles or sauces cooked with meat juices are not very nice in the TM.
    *It doesn’t slice. I tried making minestrone soup and everything is chopped but it didn’t taste as good as it does with think chunky sliced vegetables.
    *Again on the slicing thing I made a lot of salads in it but because it doesn’t slice things like coleslaw don’t look very good.
    * I’m a dedicated baker and whilst it can make basic cake mixes it cant cope with more complex recipes- I still had to use my Kitchen Aid.
    * It doesn’t stir-fry and there is no substitute for cooking quickly on a very high heat.

    Please understand the intention of this review is not to put anyone off or talk-down the TM. It is a remarkable machine but it is not for everyone. It doesn’t replace all you appliances (my slow-cooker is still my favourite thing), and it is really about speed, convenience and saving money. These are all fantastic attributes but one thing it really misses is the flavour of other cooking methods such as roasting, frying etc.
    Not for me but I’m thrilled it suits so many people.

    • http://thelifeshemade.wordpress.com thelifeshemade

      Thanks for adding such thorough comments. I pretty much agree with everything you said. Before anyone spends a lot of money they need to be comfortable with all these things.

  • http://becs-table.com.au Rebecca

    It’s such a shame you’re not getting as much out of your Thermomix’s as I do. I’m a chef/patissier and have a cooking school in Melbourne. When it came down to what should I buy for food processors, mixers, blenders, spice grinders, steamers gosh the list goes on. I ended up purchasing 1 kitchenaid, 3 thermomix’s 2 smeg 90cm ovens and a portable induction unit. I know some people just fly translating recipes and others have more difficulty. Shame really. I regret that the Kitchenaid has band-aids on it trying to keep the steel rod in place otherwise it will come loose when its being used and you can’t go very far away from it when it’s on full speed otherwise the top lifts up. For the price that is terrible. When I was teaching at TAFE we had about 10 Kitchenaids and only 1/2 of them were working correctly most of the time. One TM that worked always. So my choice to get 3 was simple. If you have one and your not using it much maybe go along to some classes if you can find some. I’m sure your eyes will be opened to how you can fix some of the problems you are having. As for risotto, if you follow the everyday cookbook that comes with the unit if you use Arborio rice you will need to put it in your Thermoserver for a few minutes to finish the cooking process. Good luck with it all.

  • Ivi Jasa

    Now that is the first honest answer I’ve read in regards to the Thermomix. I don’t have one, would like one, but always wonder just how often and for what I would use it. Most likely use would be like you mentioned to make things from scratch and this being only on those occassions where I am feeling creative, icecream would be a big doer (maybe) and kneading (again maybe)…my Kenwood Major does just as good a job of the kneading but my ability (or lack of) to work with yeast and see great success would not improve just because Thermomix did the kneading. LOL. Lucky you to have won such an expensive kitchen appliance. I’m still hopeful of winning one myself…only to satisfy my Thermo curiosity.

  • Shanan Birtcher Anderson

    I won mine nearly a year ago. I was very much against paying $2000 for one at the time but desperately wanted/needed one because we eat from scratch. Which is time consuming even with thermie and much more so without. I feel it’s important for our budget and health needs to be able to make what we eat from a basic set of ingredients that I can have on hand. We live on an isolated peninsula and shopping takes place 1 or 2 times a month. I make my own butter, sauces, mix and knead doughs, mill grain, mill sugar to have castor or icing from raw sugar as opposed to further refined white, I make quick soups with thermie’s help. Hubby makes his smoothie in it nearly every day. Boil and poach eggs easily. Heat milk for yogurt with out much care of it scalding. And it does brown rice bettet than i have ever done on the stove top. Makes porridge so easily, hands free! Does awesome apple butter too! I am even so happy with it that I would consider buying a second one to help save on more time in the kitchen on days I can cook up a storm. So I think thermie is great for those who can’t have the convenience foods, and those with alternative ways of eating.

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