A whisk is a kitchen tool used to whip or beat ingredients. A whisk consists of a handle with at least one wire attachment called a "whisker." The wire whiskers, which come in various lengths and thicknesses, have an eye that holds onto the handle and may also be bent into loops for better handling and reach.
The wires are shaped like long S's, so when you move them quickly through your mixture they create air pockets that cause liquid to form soft peaks or stiff ones. This motion creates what we call "the eggs" for any number of recipes containing eggs: scrambled egg whites; beaten whole eggs in an omelet; beaten egg whites in cake batter; whipped cream, and so on.
A balloon whisk has a large round bowl that is perfect for mixing up a small amount of ingredients in. The wires are very long and thin, and a lot of them fit into its wide-mouthed bowl with lots of room to maneuver around the contents.
It's used for anything thick like pancake batter or cake mixes where you need enough room to really scoop up the batter and mix it well. It's also great for making a roux that you're going to cook into something else, like in a white sauce or gravy.
A balloon whisk is made out of thin metal wires that are close together. This makes it ideal for mixing small amounts of batter, sauces, and cream as well as lightly beating egg whites and whipping cream. It's never used to stir large bowls because the wire will bend if you try to mix with it.
Balloon whisks are best used for mixing small amounts of things like cake batter, pudding, and whipped cream. They're also good for making sauces like hollandaise sauce and can be used for whipping egg whites to form peaks. Don't mix hard with a balloon whisk because the wires might bend or break if you use too much force.
Use this whisk when you want to mix thick or lumpy mixtures or dry ingredients. It's also good for mixing small amounts of wet ingredients into larger amounts of dry ones. The wires are farther apart than those on a balloon whisk, which allows the flour to fully incorporate into your batter without over-beating it.
The wires on this whisk are not as long as those of a balloon whisk and they are slightly thicker. This makes them great for sauces that you want to stay smooth and lump-free.
The wires are long enough to whip a small amount of liquid but short enough to allow your sauce to have some texture, which is nice in certain types of food like cake batter or brownies. It's also perfect for mixing things like pie dough or a crumble topping without over-working the fat in your mixture.
A sauce whisk is great for making a light roux. It's also perfect for mixing soft things like cake batter, pudding, and egg whites; or thickening liquids like cream soups without having to constantly scrape the sides of your bowl like you have to do with a balloon whisk.
Use this if you want to mix any type of sauce. It's also good for mixing a small amount of wet ingredients into dry ones with little to no lumps, and for folding in stiffly beaten egg whites or cream into things like cakes or muffins where gentle stirring isn't necessary.
Stirring Whisk/Dough whisk
This one is best used when you're going to cook something that has to be stirred constantly while cooking.
The wire is long enough to reach from the bottom of the pot to the top, and it's also thin enough to stir all around your mixture without having to strain yourself or risk damaging your hands if it gets too hot. It's made out of wires that are close together, this makes it ideal for stirring thick mixtures like sugar into the butter in your cookies or brownie mix.
It's also good for forcing cake batter or pancake mix to the corners of a pan; making sure that everything you put into your batter is evenly distributed throughout the bottom and sides of your dish.
Use this whisk when you want to make sure everything in your mixture is evenly dispersed. It's great for stirring heavy cream into coffee or melted chocolate to make a hot chocolate drink, and for making sauces like hollandaise sauce where you need a whisk that can move easily through the pan without having to constantly scrape the sides of it.
This whisk is great for thick batters and doughs that you don't want to over-mix. The wires are long enough to reach the bottom of your bowl but short enough to make sure that all the dry ingredients in your batter are fully incorporated, without making it too thick or heavy. It's also great for mixing things like pancake batter, cake batter, and brownie batter.
This whisk is ideal for use with a standing or handheld electric mixer. It's stainless steel so it doesn't absorb any odors and it won't scratch cookware, making it great for mixing thick batters that require a vigorous beating.
This whisk is appropriate for whipping cream, egg whites, buttermilk, mayonnaise, and salad dressing. The wires on this are a little longer than the ones on a standard wire whisk, so you have to make sure that you don't over-mix when using it.
Use this whisk for anything that needs light or medium mixing. It's also great for stirring sauces and marinades. It doesn't reach as far down in bowls as a wire whisk, so it's not as useful for mixing dry ingredients or large amounts of sauce.
This whisk is great for beating liquids in small amounts that need to be whipped into a froth. It also works well for making simple fluffing agents like lemon curd and egg whites. Use this with your handheld electric mixer while wearing an apron or holding the handle with a dry hand.
This whisk has a flat, rectangular-shaped wire with rounded edges. It's great for anything that you want to make smooth and fast like mayonnaise or salad dressing. The wide surface area allows the liquids in your mixture to move around quickly, so it cuts down on how much you have to whisk by hand to get a creamy texture.
The flat surface is also great for cutting down on how many dishes you have to clean while cooking. Since the whisk is flat, you can easily scrape it across the bottom of a mixing bowl to incorporate any ingredients that might be stuck there without having to stop and clean another utensil. This whisk is good for making frostings, sauces, and cake frosting.
This is a very basic whisk made out of wires that are close together, so it's great for making sure all the ingredients in your mixture are stirred evenly. It's good to use when stirring dry ingredients into wet ones or when you need to get everything down to the bottom of your bowl.
This is a special kind of whisk made for beating eggs into a froth, which can be used to make things like omelets and soufflés. It's flat at the bottom with wires that get closer together as you move up the handle, so it's ideal for getting every bit of air out of your egg whites while they're being whipped.
French whisk is also good for making meringue and foam, you can make soft or hard meringue by changing the amount of time you beat your egg whites. You can get softer peaks in your whites if you only whip them up to the point where they're stiff enough to hold their shape on their own when you turn off the mixer, or you can get stiff peaks that are really white and fluffy if you whip them for a few minutes longer.
Wire whisks are good for whisking anything when you need to incorporate ingredients into another mixture or remove lumps from sugar crystals. They're good for mixing eggs into your batter at the end of baking, or making sure your bread dough is evenly mixed. They're also good for making a simple roux or gravy by whisking flour into the fats in your broth slowly and stirring it constantly so that there aren't any lumps of fat left.
A ball whisk is another type of handheld electric mixer that can be used to whip everything from frostings to sauces. It's like a flat whisk, but the wires are rounded on the ends instead of being straight across, so it tends to hold more liquid and mix things up faster than a flat whisk would.
It's also good for incorporating air into your batter as you beat it, so it makes great frostings and whipped cream. The metal wires are close together like a flat whisk, but the rounded ends hold more liquid and get it mixed up faster than the straight edges of a flat whisk would.
It's also good for beating egg whites or whipping cream when you don't want to overbeat them. The ball whisk is like a flat whisk, but the wires on this one are rounded and move faster so it holds more liquid and mixes things up faster than a regular whisk would. It's good for making frosting, whipped cream, or egg whites.
A coil whisk is a springy whisk with very long wires that wrap in a circle around the base. It's good for making sauces by combining liquids and fats. Some of them will have one end as a flat edge that you can use to stir your mixture, then you'll use the other end with the coils of wire wrapped around it to whisk the sauce or roux as it's coming together.
Usually a coil whisk is used to make light sauces when you want to control how thick and airy your sauce is. The wires themselves are very long, so they hold more fat particles than a flat wire would. You use it for making light sauces like hollandaise or mayonnaise. It's also good for making a roux, which is what you do when you combine flour and fat to make a sauce thickener.
A conical whisk is a special shaped whisk that's tall and narrow so it can reach into big glasses or pots, but there's also a ball wire at the end of it.
You use this one to mix up soups by moving it in circles around all the vegetables and things you've put into your soup pot. Normally you'd use a spoon or tongs to stir soups, but this one is unique because the ball whisk at the end of it will sweep under all the chunks without you having to fish them out.
Conical whisks are also used for mixing dry ingredients together in your bowls when you're making something like muffins. That's why they tend to be much smaller than the other whisks.
It's also great for whisking fruit and cream together into a luscious dessert topping. It's good for mixing up big things like bowls of soup or muffin batter, but it has a ball whisk at the end so you can stir all the way to the bottom without having to fish everything out from the bottom.
What is the difference between a whisk and an eggbeater?
An eggbeater was originally just called that because it was used for beating eggs. The wires were flat, but small enough to beat eggs without mixing in too much air as you beat them. Usually they're made with plastic or metal wires wound around the inner cylinder of the handle.
Whips, on the other hand, are used for whipping things like egg whites or heavy cream. They're good at incorporating a lot of air into whatever it is you're mixing in order to make it light and fluffy. The wires are long and skinny, so they hold more air than flat whisks would be able to mix in as you whip.
Whisks are also good for making sauces like hollandaise or mayonnaise, or stirring up a roux that's been made by combining flour and fat together.
What's the difference between a balloon whisk and a regular whisk?
A balloon whisk is lightweight because the wires around its handle aren't very thick. It's good for beating lighter things like eggs whites or whipping cream. A regular whisk is heavier because the wires around its handle are thicker and heavier, so it's good for making heavy cakes and soups.
A balloon whisk is also great for mixing up light salad dressings or tossing fruit into a bowl of cold cereal. You can use a regular whisk to mix up heavier things like cake batter, or to beat egg whites into a stiff foam.
A regular whisk will whip air into the mixture too much, but it's good for making light soups and sauces. So if you need a wire with a lot of heft behind it to stir something that's very thick and heavy, go for a regular whisk, otherwise go for the balloon whisk.
Whisks can vary in length and shape - which is the most useful?
A long-handled whisk is good for whisking things like salad dressings or sauces inside of tall pitchers. A long pole helps you reach from one end of the bowl to the other without having to pick up the whisk. Flat whisks are good for incorporating air into things like whipped cream or egg whites, and a regular whisk is great for making heavier mixtures like cake batter.
A stick whisk has a thinner handle than an ordinary balloon whisk. It also has thin wires wrapped around it, which mean that it's very light and easy to use. A stick whisk is great for beating lumps out of things like milk and sugar before you're going to make a caramel sauce or whip up egg whites.
Whisks can vary in size - which one should I use?
A narrow whisk is good for whipping cream or egg whites in a tall bowl, because it will be more stable if the wires are close together. A whisk with a wide head is easier to work with in a small bowl, especially if you're trying to mix up something like muffin batter that's very thick and heavy.
Whisks for eggs and salads - what else?
A flat whisk is good for making dressings or sauces because it's easier to reach into the bottom of a tall container with this type of whisk than it is with an eggbeater, which has a more limited range of motion. The flat wires are good for cutting into thick mixtures of egg yolks, flour, and butter to make a nice smooth roux.
Whisks are an important kitchen utensil for everything from whisking eggs to making cream fillings. They do a great job of incorporating air into other ingredients, or simply mixing them up without beating too much air in. Whips are useful for making foamy egg whites, whipping cream and buttercream frosting, and folding ingredients like egg whites into a cake batter or souffle.
Whisks can be round, flat, and even long enough to reach inside tall containers. They also come in different sizes and handle lengths so that you can find the whisk that's right for your mixing needs!