This page was updated in August 2020.
Whether you want to beat eggs, whip cream, turn egg whites into soft or stiff peaks or make lump-free batters and sauces, a whisk is an essential kitchen item.
There is a surprising number of different whisk types out there, not just differing in shape and size, but material too. We tested both stainless steel and silicone balloon whisks, mini sauce whisks (also knowns as gravy whisks), flat whisks, ball whisks and rotary whisks. But what are the differences and what are each used for?
Which whisk should I buy?
The most traditional type of whisk, balloon whisks, are made from several metal (or sometimes silicone) wires which loop into a bulb-like shape at the end. The shape is designed to increase the amount of air you can whip into food. For this reason, balloon whisks are great for whipping cream and whisking egg whites until fluffy or stiff, say for meringues for example. The large size of the head also makes it good for large quantities of sauce or batter.
Mini whisk/sauce whisk/gravy whisk
Sometimes called sauce or gravy whisks, spiral whisks or mini whisks, these are smaller than balloon whisks and have one main loop with another wire coiled around it. They are usually made entirely of metal, or sometimes the coiled wire is silicone. The angle of the whisk head means it can get fairly flat against the bottom of pans, making it a good choice for mixing sauces and gravy. It’s also useful for whisking dressings, vinaigrettes and whole eggs for making scrambled eggs or omelettes.
The wires on a flat whisk form a single, flat(-ish) layer, rather than balloon shape. This makes it great for making sauces like gravy or béchamel as the whisk will concentrate on the bottom of the pan, making sure lumps don’t form there. Plus it’s easier to get round the sides and corners of different trays and dishes than with a balloon whisk. It is also easier to clean than a balloon whisk.
A ball whisk is made up of multiple straight metal prongs which have tiny balls on the ends. These are particularly useful for getting into the nooks and crannies, such as the corners in rectangular or square dishes, which a balloon whisk wouldn’t be able to reach. Their shape also makes them easier to clean than balloon whisks.
Best whisks for common kitchen tasks
Best balloon whisks
OXO Good Grips 11″ balloon whisk
Best for whipping egg whites and double cream, whisking eggs and making cake and pancake batters
The stand-out winner in our test, this has a large and sturdy metal balloon-shaped whisk-head which is excellent for getting air into egg whites and quickly whipping up double cream, but it’s also great for making cake and other batters.
The shape and material of the handle makes it not only extremely comfortable to hold but non-slip too. It’s also one of the most lightweight of all the balloon whisks we tried, meaning your arm won’t get too tired, even after vigorous whisking. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
John Lewis & Partners (£9)
Judge 30cm balloon whisk
Best for baking
Made entirely from stainless steel, this isn’t as comfortable or non-slip as the OXO whisk above, but it has a slightly bigger and really sturdy balloon-shaped head.
This meant that in our test, it whipped up both double cream and egg whites really quickly and effectively. It’s also great for baking as it’s large and sturdy enough to deal well with larger quantities of batter.
Harts of Stur (£9)
Best flat whisks
Rosle 27cm flat whisk with silicone
Best for making sauces, such as béchamel and gravy
Our top choice for making sauces, this stylish whisk has a flat, silicone head so wont scratch or damage non-stick pans, and it’s heat resistant up to 260 degrees.
Its shape means you can get it against the bottom of roasting trays and saucepans to make lump-free gravies and other sauces – we found it the best choice for making béchamel. It would also be great for making scrambled eggs or omelettes straight in the pan.
Although slightly heavier than the balloon whisks tested, it feels sturdy and durable. Its shape also makes it really easy to clean by hand, but it’s also dishwasher safe.
Available from Borough Kitchen (£18)
Best mini whisk
Stainless steel mini whisk 20cm
Great for whisking small quantities, especially dressings and sauces, and frothing coffee
This mini stainless-steel whisk is not only an absolute steal, it’s also a really useful tool to have around in the kitchen.
It’s perfect for whisking sauces, marinades, dressings and vinaigrettes but it’s also useful when beating whole eggs to make smaller quantities of scrambled eggs or an omelette (for larger quantities, we recommend a balloon whisk).
You can also use it to froth up warm milk for coffee. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Available from Amazon (£2)
Best rotary whisk
MasterClass rotary whisk
Using a rotary whisk, also known as a rotary egg beater, is by far the quickest way to whip up double cream or egg whites without an electric hand whisk.
Of the rotary whisks we tested, this felt the sturdiest. It also has good-sized beaters, meaning it’s really quick to whip a lot of air into egg whites or double cream.
It’s really easy to use and requires very little, cutting out the problem of arm fatigue. The only slight downside is that it’s not as easy to clean as other whisks due to its double whisk heads, and it’s handwash only.
Available from Season (£17.99)
How we tested whisks
To test the whisks, we whipped egg whites and double cream and made béchamel sauce. We also re-tested our favourites on other tasks such as frothing coffee, whisking whole eggs and making pancake batter.
We reviewed a representative sample of whisks and scored them against the following criteria:
1. Sturdiness: a whisk needs to be sturdy and able to deal with large as well as small quantities of ingredients without feeling like it’s going to break. We discounted any whisks which felt flimsy or seemed to flap about when whisking.
2. Weight and comfort: whisking things like egg whites and double cream can take time. If the whisk you’re using is too heavy, your arm will tire and you’ll need to take breaks, so something lightweight is a must. It should also be comfortable to hold, as this will make whisking for long periods easier.
3. Easy to clean: ease of cleaning was taken into account. We looked for how easy whisks were to clean by hand but those that are also dishwasher safe scored highly.
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This review was last updated in August 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at email@example.com.
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