Month: May 2018

Pad Thai Shrimp Tacos

 

Pad Thai Shrimp Tacos

Pad Thai Shrimp Tacos

Servings 2, Prep – 10 minutes, Cook time 4-5 minutes

Ingredients                                                                                            

Garnish suggestions:  Shredded lettuce, grated carrot, minced cilantro, crushed peanuts, mung bean sprouts, and lime.

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-low heat.  Add dipping sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, and water and stir until blended.
  2. Meanwhile, heat griddle and begin warming tortillas.
  3. Add shrimp and simmer, stirring often until sauce begins to thicken (about 4 minutes).
  4. Add shredded lettuce to warmed tortillas, spoon half shrimp mixture into each tortilla and garnish. We like carrot, peanuts, & cilantro. Sprinkle with fresh squeezed lime and enjoy!

More easy low carb recipes

How to peel and devein shrimp like a Michelin Star chef

The Best Pressure Cookers – Top 10 Review

The Best Pressure Cookers

The Best Pressure Cookers for 2018

There’s nothing like a hot, wholesome meal cooked slowly for hours with tender loving care. But what if you don’t have all day to stand over a stove? Back in the day, you had but one choice – the slow cooker. Slow cookers are fine for stews and roasts, but they’re very limited on what you can cook with them, and they take hours to finish a meal.

That’s where the pressure cooker comes in. The versatility of a pressure cooker is vast, and they’re lightning-fast compared to other methods of cooking. You can make anything from rice and oatmeal, to hard-boiled eggs and beef bourguignon – all in a matter of minutes.

Not only that, but pressure cookers infuse the food with flavor – nothing is lost or boiled off. You don’t have to hassle with routinely basting your roasted chicken or constantly monitor your rice, today’s electric cookers handle all that for you, just choose your setting and walk away.

There was a time when old school pressure cookers were a little scary. I remember my mom cooking with one, and we were always warned about how it could blow if we didn’t handle it just so. Today’s cookers, whether electric or “old school” stove top, have simple instructions that when followed, are extremely safe. Electric models have the added benefits of automatic shut-off and warming settings that make creating a delicious, full course meal in a snap, every time.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the best pressure cookers for 2018 and how they compare by features, quality and customer satisfaction.

Choosing a Pressure Cooker

There’s really only a few things to consider before buying a pressure cooker:

1. Type – Electric or old school? Do you want the convenience “set and forget” settings that electric provides or do you prefer the simplicity of a stove top model with fewer bells and whistles? Electric cookers also give you more options for cooking rice, oatmeal, boiling eggs, etc., but stove top models are simply built (some in the USA), and have fewer components that could go wrong or wear out over time.

2. Size – You can find pressure cookers in many sizes, from 6 quarts to over 20. Smaller cookers can handle meals for 4-6, where the larger sizes can be better for larger feasts and canning projects.

Another important thing to consider before you buy is how much you plan on using the cooker. The more use it gets, the more you may want to consider getting the highest quality cooker you can afford. We’ve included any warranty info we found in the product features of the reviews below, as well as comments about service issues from actual users and are sorted by type. Only 4 star or higher rated models were considered in this review

See what top chefs say about cooking with pressure cookers here.

 

The Best Electric Pressure Cookers for 2018

Instnt Pot LUX80 – $109.00, Rated 4.5 of 5 stars by 2993 usersThe Best Pressure Cookers for 2018

Features at a glance:

  • 8 quart capacity – makes 6- 8 servings
  • 6 in 1 programmable multi cooker – pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute, steam, boils eggs
  • Auto-warming feature
  • Make eggs from soft to hard-boiled in just a few minutes
  • Cake maker – makes NY style cheesecake or moist breads in minutes
  • Stainless steel inner pot, steamer basket, and inside lid
  • 3-ply inner pot is extremely durable

This 8 quart version is also capable of making yogurt, which could not only save you money, but get healthier yogurt free from the added sugar you find in most store bought yogurt.

This pressure cooker seems to have it all, and according to one excited customer, cooked a beautiful butter-roasted whole chicken is 25 minutes. That’s enough reason alone to have one in your pantry if you ask me.
Most of the reviews sound like advertisements due to the sheer exuberance and detailed descriptions of all the incredible meals created in this in minutes instead of hours.

Although this cooker is Amazon’s Choice due to 85% of reviews being 4 or 5 stars, there were a fair amount of negative reviews as well. Some reviewers found that although you can cook rice in 10 minutes, you still have to wait 5 – 15 minutes more while it depressurizes before you can open it.

Others complained about cheap material and flimsy handles. Some dissatisfied users returned the cooker for a slow cooker as they wanted to be able to open the lid during cooking to add more ingredients, which you can’t do during the pressurized cooking period on these type of cookers. Note to self – think about what you plan to cook with a pressure cooker before you buy, although you do get the 30-day return window to try it out.

Instant Pot Ultra 8 qt – $179.95, rated 4.3 of 5 stars by 22 users

Features at a glance:

  • 8 quart capacity – makes 6- 8 servings
  • 10 in 1 programmable multi cooker – pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute, steam, boils eggs
  • Auto-warming feature
  • Make eggs from soft to hard-boiled in just a few minutes
  • Cake maker – makes NY style cheesecake or moist breads in minutes
  • Stainless steel inner pot, steamer basket, and inside lid
  • 3-ply inner pot is extremely durable
  • Altitude adjustment
  • Safety lid with manual “quick” steam release
  • 21 preset temperatures and dial/button controls
  • Yogurt maker
  • Sterilizer

The extra features that come with this upgraded Instant Pot are a few more temperature settings, a 35″ cord versus a 33″, and some important safety features.

Whereas the IP LUX80 showed complaints about the time it could take to let the natural steam release complete, this one also has a safety lid with a quick steam release for added versatility and safety. Most reviewers loved this model and were glad they upgraded.

If you are making yogurt or using this to can food, make note that this model has a sterilizer feature, making it easier and faster for safely preserving foods.

Instant Pot DUO Plus 60, 6 qt – $129.95, rated 4.5 of 5 stars by 2919 users

Features at a glance:

  • 6 quart capacity – makes meals for 4 – 6 people
  • 9 in 1 programmable multi cooker – pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute, steam, boils eggs
  • Auto-warming feature
  • Make eggs from soft to hard-boiled in just a few minutes
  • Cake maker – makes NY style cheesecake or moist breads in minutes
  • Stainless steel inner pot, steamer basket, and inside lid
  • 3-ply inner pot is extremely durable
  • Altitude adjustment
  • 15 preset temperatures and dial/button controls
  • Yogurt maker
  • Sterilizer

Similar to the Ultra above but with 2 quarts less capacity and 6 less preset temperature buttons. This pot has a blue LED display, and is the number 1 bestseller in electric hot pots. With 15% fewer returns than others and 85% ratings of 4 and 5 stars, this one comes in $50 less than the Ultra, making it a better buy in my opinion.

COSORI 6 Qt Premium 8-in-1 Programmable Multi-Cooker – $68.00, rated 4.2 of 5 stars by 452 usersCOSORI 6 Qt Premium 8-in-1 Programmable Multi-Cooker (Pressure Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Warmer, Etc.), 1000W, Includes Glass Lid, Sealing Ring and Recipe Book

Features at a glance:

  • 6 quart capacity, enough for 4-6 people
  • 17 Smart settings – pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute, steam, boils eggs, makes yogurt, bakes cakes.
  • Auto-warming feature
  • Stainless steel inner port with 3-ply pot
  • Lids, steamer rack are dishwasher safe

Extras:

  • Recipe booklet, steamer rack with handle, tempered glass lid for slow cooking
  • Extra silicone sealing ring
  • Ladle, rice spoon, and measuring cup

This multi-cooker has all the bells and whistles of the Instant Pots mentioned above, plus it comes with a bonus tempered glass lid. Unlike other pots, that allow you to slow cook, this allows you to see what’s going on in the cooker and allows for easier access if you want to add more ingredients.

Users praise this pot for the ease of use, former Instant Pot users say that the instructions are clear and there’s no learning curve with this port compared to the IP.

You also get several tools included with this pot that are an extra cost on the Instant Pots. Most users love this pot, and at this price – $50 less than the cheapest IP rated above, it’s tough to beat.

Cuisinart CPC-600 6 Qt – $74.00, rated 4.3 of 5 stars by 1482 users

Features at a glance:

• 6-quart capacity

• Fingerprint-proof brushed stainless steel housing

• Digital thermostat

• Push button control
• 99-minute time and LED countdown display

• Cool-touch side handles

• Nonstick cooking pot

• Trivet included (dishwasher safe)

• Dishwasher-safe cooking pot

• 1000 watts

• Recipe book included

• Limited 3-year warranty

The big plus here is the 3-year warranty, unless otherwise mentioned, all other pots reviewed here carry only 1 year. But a possible drawback in this pot is the “non-stick” cook pot. Stainless cook pots might be slightly harder to clean, but can be much healthier than non-stick coating. Recipe booklet and trivet included are nice extras for the price.

There are reviews that state they’ve used their Cuisinart for 3 years, 3 times a week without issue while another users said the handle cracked after 2 years (good thing it has a 3-year warranty. Most users loved it though and rated it highly. Good choice for the price if you’re okay with non-stick versus stainless steel.

Mueller 10-in-1 Pro Series – $69.99, rated 4.6 of 5 stars by 692 users

Features at a glance:

  • 6-Quart capacity – serves 4- 6
  • German engineered
  • 19 SMART programs – Meat, Poultry, Vegetable, Steam, Risotto, Oatmeal, White Rice, Canning, Beans, Broth, Curry, Soup, Multigrain, Sterilize, Chili, Cake, Saute, Egg, Slow Cook & Keep Warm.
  • Stainless steel rack included – Cook 2 dishes simultaneously
  • Ceramic non-stick interior coating is safe and easy to clean
  • Electronic controls for quick and easy operation
  • Bonus tempered glass lid included – slow cooking at a glance, plus add ingredients during cooking without pressure

This is an Amazon’s Choice product with over 90% 4 or 5 star ratings, the 2nd highest we’ve reviewed. As a fan of German design and engineering, I would expect this one to last. Users rave about the ceramic coated non-stick interior (exterior is stainless steel), saying that it cleans up beautifully, ceramic is the healthiest to cook in – no aluminum or chemical contamination to fret about. I can’t believe it’s only $69.99…best buy.

MultiPot 9-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker – $99.95, rated 4.9 of 5 stars by 409 usersMealthy Multipot 9-in-1 Programmable Cooker 6 Quarts Stainless Steel Pot, Steamer Basket, Instant Access to Recipe App Pressure Cook, s

Features at a glance:

  • 6 Quart capacity serves 4-6 people
  • Stainless steel cook pot and steamer basket
  • 14 Easy Touch cooking programs – Poultry, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Soup, Sauté/Simmer, Cake, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Steam, Slow Cook, Keep Warm, Yogurt, and Pressure Cook (manual setting).
  • Bonus – Extra silicone gasket, silicone mitts, steamer basket, 4cm-raised steam rack/trivet, ladle, rice paddle, and measuring cup are all included
  • Recipes and videos on Mealthy App: The Mealthy site and mobile app for iOS and Android feature thousands of recipes and step-by-step videos

This multi-cooker is actually the highest rated of the electric pressure cookers we’ve reviewed. Amazon Choice because it gets over 93% 4 or 5 star ratings and is the No. 1 seller in the small appliances (sets) category.

Most pressure cookers don’t keep you informed as to where you are in the cooking process until the final BEEP that your food is cooked. The MultiPot has a time tracker that allows you to see where you are – in preheat, in cooking, etc. Very useful for mealtime planning.
Another mention is that the Keep Warm setting is actually extra low, preventing your food from burning over time – a feature other pots don’t have. Although this one prices out $30 more than the Mueller, I have to recommend based solely on the reviews…no other electric pressure cooker had as high ratings as the Mealthy MultiPot.

 

The Best Stovetop Pressure Cookers for 2018

If you’re an aspiring canner, the stove top pressure cooker is going to be a must-have for your kitchen. The downside is that stove top cookers require constant monitoring, you can’t just set and forget like an electric one. But experienced canners know that a cooker with high capacity and enough room for multiple quart jars is an absolute necessity that you just can’t get in electric cookers. While most stove top models are 16+ quarts in capacity, there are some with a lot less, so be sure to check before buying.

Presto 1755 16 Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker/Canner – $63.47, rated 4.6 of 5 stars by 688 users

Features at a glance:

  • 16 Quart liquid capacity. As a canner, will hold 7 Quart jars.
  • Constructed of extra strong, warp resistant aluminum
  • Suitable for use on regular and smooth top ranges
  • Air vent and cover lock allows pressure to build up only when the cover is closed properly
  • The product is from China
  • Designed for easy, confident home pressure canning. The only method recommended safe for canning meats, vegetables, poultry and seafood.
  • Easy to read dial gauge
  • 12 year warranty

This cooker also comes with an aluminum rack that fits in the bottom to hold jars in place, what you will probably want to consider purchasing a larger rack with handles that make it a lot easier to remove the jars when they’re done cooking. Alternately, you can buy tongs especially designed for this, but it takes longer and requires more finesse.

As you can see, this pressure cooker has a 12-year warranty for peace of mind. Simple in design and functional and will cook meats, vegetables and other foods very fast, with locked in flavor, just as an electric one. No fancy buttons or LED displays,but that’s probably why the has such a long warranty.

One caveat: It’s a bit tricky to clean, so be sure to read the instructions first as the lid of the cooker cannot be immersed in water. In addition, the sealing ring should be removed after each use to allow cleaning of the inside rim of the lid. The dial gauge is delicate; detailed care instructions are found in the accompanying booklet. The vent pipe is simple to keep clean with a small brush or pipe cleaner, and both the air vent/cover lock and the over pressure plug are removable.

This cooker gets over 80% 5 star reviews, the complaints are mainly that they wished they had bought a bigger one, for larger canning purposes, and that cleaning can be a pain.

All American 21-1/2 Quart Pressure Cooker Canner – $279.95, rated 4.8 of 5 stars by 2842 users

Features at a glance:

  • 21-1/2-quart pressure cooker and canner holds approximately 19 standard regular mouth pint jars or 7 standard regular mouth quart jars
  • Made of durable, hand-cast aluminum with easy to clean satin finish; Easy on-off cover; Positive action clamping wing nuts permit easy opening and closing.
  • Sturdy phenolic top handle; Exclusive “metal-to-metal” sealing system for a steam-tight seal; No gaskets to crack, burn, replace or clean.
  • Easy to read geared steam gauge; Automatic over pressure release; Settings of 5 psi, 10 psi, and 15 psi.
  • 15-3/8 inches high with 12-1/4-inch inside diameter
  • Made in the USA , lifetime warranty

Now we’re into the serious canners. Although this model is 21 plus quarts in capacity, you can get smaller sizes, or even as large as 41.5 quarts if you prefer. Weight is a factor here, at 20 lbs., this cooker isn’t recommended for glass or ceramic topped stoves because the weight can break them.

It can also be tough (with glass topped stoves) to keep the burner consistently hot enough to keep the pressure up. The diameter of this canner is larger than most burners as well. If you’re seriously looking at these types of pressure cookers, you’ve graduated to the big leagues and know what you’re getting into, though.

Review ratings are high on this quality cooker and it comes with a lifetime warranty. Only for the serious canner!

Buffalo QCP430 32 Qt Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker (Commercial Series)$549, rated 5 of 5 stars from 16 users

Features at a glance:

  • 32 qt capacity
  • Stainless steel
  • Exclusively made from BUFFALO Clad, the thermal conductivity is faster and more even than conventional stainless steel cookware
  • 12-Quart, 15-Quart, 21-Quart are for canning projects or family use; 21-Quart, 32-Quart are for commercial use.
  • Warranty – 3 years for inner pot, lifetime for outer pot (with restrictions)
  • Made in China

High quality commercial grade pressure cooker get rave reviews from 100% of users, some were professionals using this in a restaurant daily. It obviously prices higher than others but is high quality, durable and simple to use. Users verify that it is safe to use and although high capacity, weighs less than other pressure cookers in this class.

If you plan on canning several times a year, like to cook nutrient dense foods like bone broth, or just like top quality stuff, this is your pressure cooker!  Although it is made in China, users report favorable experiences when dealing with the manufacturer.

Conclusion

As I mentioned above, the Mealthy MultiPot is my pick for best electric pressure cooker because of it’s overall value: for $99.95, you get several bonus extras, 4.9 of 5 star reviews and extra features that make it more convenient and versatile than the others.

My personal pick of the stove top pressure cookers is the All American.  It’s made in America, comes with a lifetime warranty, allows you to adjust the psi, and gets excellent reviews.  The manufacturer’s website is very easy to navigate, making it a snap to find the warranty info and the toll free number for Customer Service if necessary. This manufacturer is proud of their product and seems ready to back that up with a solid lifetime warranty, can’t ask for more…

I hope you found this post helpful. If you’d  like to check out more reviews yourself, or to shop for pressure cookers, click here.

Related:  Simple and Elegant French Onion Soup

Easy Low Carb Recipes

 

To Your Success,

Karyn

 

 

 

 

The Best Blenders of 2018 – Top 10 Review

The Best Blenders of 2018The Best Blenders of 2018

 

As more and more people are getting into the green smoothie movement, and due to the high volume of interest in my Green Superfood Smoothie recipes, I thought it would be helpful if I investigated the best blenders of 2018. If you think “a blender’s a blender”, think again – choosing the right one for your particular use can be critical to creating the most enjoyable and nutritious smoothies possible.

I used to think it didn’t really matter and picked one up off the shelf because it was cheap and had a known brand name. What a mistake, it couldn’t even chop up ice cubes let alone handle the veggies I’d thrown in!

Whether you’re into smoothies, creating a delicious bisque, or just want to pump out a boatload of margaritas, don’t buy one without reading this first. In this post, I’ll not only reveal the best blenders available, but also uncover the most important features to look for and how to choose the best one for your needs.

 

How to Choose a Blender

Before you start shopping for a blender, decide what’s most important to you – are you planning on using it every day, or only once in a while?

How will you use it – will you be using it mainly for making slushier cocktails or do you plan on adding copious amounts of leafy greens and whole fruits for smoothies? Lastly, is price a big factor or is durability more important to you?

How you answer those 3 questions will make a difference in which blender you choose. Some are better for than others at making creamy smoothies out of leafy, high fiber greens and although some cost a lot more than others, they may last a lot longer, too. You can check out a “How to Choose” video here.

Top 3 Things to Look for in a Blender
The Best Blenders of 2018

1. Pitcher size

Are you planning on make a party size batch of margaritas or family size smoothies or milkshakes? You need a 64-70 ounce pitcher to accomplish those tasks easily and with the least amount of cleanup. If you simply want to whip up single size smoothies and protein shakes, then go with a small blender whose pitcher is also the to go cup with lid.

2. Power

It doesn’t really matter whether you’re blending drinks, smoothies, or nut butters, you’re going to need plenty of power. In my experience, anything less than 1000 watts, isn’t going to cut it (unless you’re blending pure liquids). If you plan on blending frozen and whole fruits, fibrous veggies such as leafy greens, or chopping ice, you are definitely going to want something with the most power you can afford to buy.

There’s nothing yuckier than drinking a smoothie only to suddenly get an unblended chunk of kale stuck in your throat – gross! This happens more often than not with lower powered, cheaper machines. In fact, there are many blenders priced under $100 that can’t even handle protein powder, at least not enough to make them creamy and smooth. Whatever you do, don’t skimp in this category, you’ll just end up having to replace an under powered one later.

3. Durability

You can search reviews all day long and you still may not be able to really tell if highly rated machines will last. Reviews can be submitted after only a few uses and rarely have updates months or years down the road. So how can you tell if a machine will hold up?

Check the warranty. This may sound like a simple step, but you might be surprised how hard it can be to find this info. Or even if you do, what’s actually covered under warranty, just the motor or is the pitcher included, too? Not all warranties are created equal, although its rare (but possible) to find a small appliance covered for more than a year.

What if you choose high-powered pro model only to find out later than all that power translated to a lot of friction and heat that it couldn’t handle well? What’s the manufacturer coverage? Any manufacturer who truly builds a quality machine will give you a decent, hassle and fine print free warranty.

You should also take a look at the company’s website…see where the machine is built and how long they’ve been in business. You probably want a company that’s established and has been successfully doing business for several years. Companies that don’t take care of their customers usually stay in business for one reason only – they sell their cheap stuff cheaply! Who cares about keeping customers when there’s always another looking to buy cheaply…next!

No matter which blender you end up choosing, always be sure to follow the directions and register your warranty right after purchase, just in case.

My top 10 best choices below are grouped according to size (volume) and at this writing, include only blenders with ratings 4 of 5 stars or greater.

 

The Best Small or Personal Size Blenders

 

Hamilton Beach Bullet Blender – $17.49, Rated 4 of 5 stars by 2217 users

Features at a glance:

  • 14 oz blender jar – great for one serving, fits in most car cup holders making it convenient for travel
  • 1 Touch blend button for fast and easy operation
  • BPA free blender jar
  • Travel lid with drinking spout for spill free travel
  • Blender jar and lids are dishwasher safe for convenient clean up
  • 175 watt motor

This is a very small, inexpensive blender. According to most users, its good for blending relatively thin shakes such as protein powder and water or nut milks but cannot handle frozen fruits and veggies.
There are many people who like the convenience, size, and price so much that they didn’t mind replacing it every few years. If you plan on using it daily or for frozen fruits or crushing ice, I cannot recommend it, it simply doesn’t have near enough power to handle it.

 

Nutri Ninja Pro Blender – $49.99, Rated 4.4 of 5 stars by 1294 users

Features at a glance:

  • 18 or 24 oz Ninja cups with sip and seal lids – Travel friendly
  • 75 page recipe guide included ($19.99 value)
  • BPA free ninja cups
  • 900 watt motor

The best thing about this blender is its power. With 900 watts, it’ll be noisy but won’t have any problem making short work of fibrous veggies like leafy greens, frozen fruit or crushing small pieces of ice. Having 2 cup size choices is a nice feature and its still very portable. Users rave about how fast and convenient this blender is.

This is an Amazon bestseller and gets the “Amazon’s Choice” for its great reviews, 80% of which are 4 stars or better and it has a very low return rate. Can’t ask for much more.

Recommended for daily users who plan on making fruit and veggie smoothies or blending single cocktails like margaritas or pina coladas with fresh or frozen fruits.

Nutri Ninja Auto-IQ Blender – $67.95, Rated 4 of 5 stars by 1311 users

Features at a glance:

  • 1000 watts of power
  • 18 oz, 24 oz, 32 oz Ninja cups with 2 travel lids included
  • BPA free cups
  • Dishwasher safe cups/lids for convenient cleaning
  • Programmable settings – 1 touch smoothie or juicer setting

Another option from Shark Ninja is this programmable, 1 touch blender with even more power. At 1000 watts, that’s a ton of power in such a small package! Feel confident in blending frozen fruits, seeds, and fibrous or leafy greens with ease. Not sure the difference in price between it and the Nutri Ninja Pro is worth it, unless you care about the programmable settings and additional 32 oz cup.

Magic Bullet Blender – $31.86, Rated 4.1 of 5 stars by 2784 users

Features at a glance:

  • 11 piece set includes 3 cup sizes, 2 solid lids and 1 flip top
  • Cups and lids are dishwasher safe
  • Easy to clean

This is the smallest in overall size of the personal blenders making it easiest to store. Many reviewers give it good reviews for being just that – good, but not great. Hey, its a $30 blender that comes with lots of extras and gets the Amazon’s Choice for having a low return rate.

The biggest problem I have with it is the lack of info on power and some reviewers say its good for shakes but can’t handle fruits or ice. Overall, users seem okay with replacing it every 2 years or so.

My Pick

The Nutri Ninja Pro is my pick of the best small/personal benders. It has good power at 900 watts, has a ton of great reviews with lots of praise on performance. It can handle almost anything you put in it and has 2 cup sizes with travel lids. At $49.99, I think its a very fair price for a blender with this level of performance.

 

The Best Medium to Large Capacity Blenders

 

Hamilton Beach Wave Station Express – $24.99, Rated 4 of 5 stars by 777 usersHamilton Beach Wavestation Express Dispensing Smoothie Blender with 48-Ounce Jar, Black (54615)

Features at a glance:

  • 48 oz blender jar
  • 4 speeds
  • 500 watts
  • Dispensing spout

This blender gets many positive reviews but according to my research, they seem to be older reviews. If you want to blend margaritas, this blender may be okay, but with only 500 watts, I’m totally leery of it being able to crush ice effectively.

According to reviews, folks who tried to make smoothies with leafy greens such as kale, and frozen strawberries were sorely disappointed. If you can afford to, I’d recommend spending a little more to get a blender with better performance.

Ninja Chef High Speed Blender – $179.99, Rated 4.2 of 5 stars by 69 users

Features at a glance:

  • 72 oz pitcher and lids are BPA free and dishwasher safe
  • 1500 watt motor
  • 10 preset and 10 manual settings including nut butter, smoothie, salsa, and more
  • Mills flour from whole grains or seeds
  • Auto cleaning setting for super fast clean up
  • Tamper and 50 recipe booklet included
  • Blends hot liquids

This is another Amazon Choice as 85% of reviews are 4 or 5 stars. With all the convenience features, soups s preset speeds for nut butters, soups, etc., AND the 1500 watts of power, the only thing I’d like to see is a longer warranty. Sorry, I’m leery of a blender with this much power that I’ll be using daily with only a year of coverage. The Ninja website sells extended warranties, but when you dig into the fine print, you’ll find that only the motor is covered, if you have problems with the pitcher, you’re apparently out of luck.

Ninja Mega Kitchen System – $149.00, Rated 4.4 of 5 stars by 1268 

Features at a glance:

Another Ninja product that’s an Amazon’s Choice due to its favorable reviews – 80% are 4 or 5 stars. This one is a great buy as it also has a food processing container that according to the description, is powerful enough to mix dough.

Once again, you get 1500 watts of power but just a 1-year warranty, which as you know, I find concerning. One reviewer had to test the warranty and found that customer service tried to charge her a restock fee when sending her a replacement for a burned out motor (hopefully, an isolated incident, but still). BTW, the motor is the only part with a warranty, pitchers, etc aren’t covered. Buyer beware, but for the price, you get 2 machines…

My Pick

Of the top 3 medium to large capacity blenders, I’d have to recommend the Ninja Mega Kitchen System. The price for basically 2 powerful machines can’t be beat, unless…

You plan on really putting your machine to the test with heavy use. If that’s the case, you should check out the next section

 

The Best Professional Grade Blenders

 

Mengk 1400W Blender – $149.99, Rated 4.4 of 5 stars by 75 users

Features at a glance:

  • 1400W of power
  • 64 oz BPA free, heat-resistant pitcher
  • Tamper included
  • 1 year warranty on motor, 3 months on cups

This blender scores quite well with users but when comparing the features and power to others, it really doesn’t seem like a truly pro model. After all, the price is a little higher but warranty is no better than the 3 medium to large “nonprofessional” models reviewed above.

If you’re spending over $100, decent customer support can be important. In fact, one reviewer complained that they could not find customer support when they needed it. Could be an isolated incident, but with a high-powered motor, I would expect a better warranty and if I really cared about customer support, I’d make it easy for the customer to contact me.

When researching the company, I found they are located in China (not necessarily known for great motors, sorry!) and they were established in 2016. There are better options for pro blenders from established companies with trusted service, I wouldn’t take the chance on this one.

COSORI 1500W Professional Kitchen Smoothie Blender – $139.99, Rated 4.3 of 5 stars by 119 users
Features at a glance:

  • 1500W motor with 2 HP at 30,000 RPM – powerful enough to heat soup
  • Food processing to grind coffee and meats
  • 70 oz pitcher plus 27 oz travel cup with lids all BPA free and dishwasher safe
  • Easy to use with pulse feature and soup finction
  • Tamper included
  • 2 year warranty (1 year standard, add 1 year free if registering at Cosori within 14 days of purchase), 30 day guarantee

The highly rated commercial grade motor on this blender makes it extremely attractive for the price. It actually appears to be a competent knockoff of the Vitamix at a much lower price. It claims to do basically everything that a Vitamix does and is almost identical in design.

My biggest concern here is the warranty though, even at 2 years it can’t touch the Vitamix (7 years minimum), but it is more than half the price, so it really comes down to what you think matters most.

Some users report problems processing dry or thick ingredients, which is typical with a high speed blender with this blade design but they shouldn’t market it as a processor if that’s the case.

Although I could not actually find where the machines are made, it appears the company is based in the Netherlands with a California office as well. Why is this important? High watt motors produce a fair amount of friction and heat, which can produce wear and tear and although all blenders have this to deal with, one expects more durability from a professional grade blender. Euro or American made are the only way to go. Good option for the price.

Vitamix 5200 Blender – $399.95, Rated 4.6 of 5 stars by 840 usersVitamix 5200 Blender, Professional-Grade, Self-Cleaning 64 oz. Container, Black
Features at a glance:

  • 2 HP motor with radial cooling fan & thermal protection system powerful enough to heat soup, pulverize almost anything else
  • 64 oz BPA free, shatterproof pitcher
  • Tamper included.
  • Getting started guide includes popular recipes
  • Variable speed, manual controls – blend a variety of textures with total control
  • “Aircraft grade” stainless steel blades
  • Multiple color choices and models available
  • 7-year warranty on all parts, 5 -10 years on other models

This is the blender that all others (except single serve) aspire to be. A fourth generation family company founded in 1949, Vitamix machines are still made in the USA, practically unheard-of in the small appliance world.

With a full 7-year warranty on all parts (some machines are 10 year), this company believes in their product and stands behind it for real. When you visit their website, you can easily find the warranties and what is covered as well as contact info at a glance.

Although this model isn’t marketed as pro grade, all Vitamix blenders are professional grade and made to use daily. Some of my favorite things to make with it are homemade whipped cream (won’t eat anything less now) and even homemade butter. Yes, the Vitamix will churn butter!

If you want to grind whole grains to make your own flour, you may want to opt for the model 780. Although the 5200 can handle it, the 780 has push button controls and a pulse feature that can make it easier to create homemade dough for pizza or bread. The 780 is priced the same at $399.95 and it also has a low profile pitcher, making it easier to fit under most kitchen cabinets. I admit, my 5200 won’t fit in my appliance garage unless I remove the pitcher.

This machine is obviously priced higher than most, but it is not a “disposable” blender, its seriously built to last and has the warranty to prove it. You do have the option to save a little by going with a refurbished model. This is what I did over 7 years ago, and I couldn’t tell the difference. It came with a 5-year warranty and is still going strong after 7 years.

Vitamix also has the most robust support and online store available, complete with lots of free recipes and how-to videos. Gee, can you tell which professional grade blender I recommend? In fact, unless all you want to do is make single serve smoothies, this blender is my top pick of any blender on the market.

If simple protein and fruit smoothies are all you ever plan to make, the cups are probably a nice and convenient addition. If that’s the case, go with the Nutri Ninja Pro, it will do the job quickly and easily for only $49.99.

Obviously, I own a Vitamix, but don’t just take my word for their value, check out the reviews on Amazon, which makes it an Amazon Choice because it receives over 85% 4 or 5 stars. The 4.6 average rating is the best of all the top blenders compared here. This model doesn’t come with multiple cups or other extras, just the basics, but what is really most important to you, marketing add-ons or performance and quality long term??

My Pick

The best blender of 2018 is STILL a Vitamix, but as you can see, their are other decent machines available for a lot less, just without the awesome warranty and support.  Shop blenders now

I hope you’ve found this post helpful, please feel free to check out these related posts:

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To Your Success,

Karyn