Tips from The Kitchn

A Quick Look at Every Whisk You Could Possibly Need (Yes, You Need More than One!)

updated Oct 7, 2021
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Credit: Amazon

One of my favorite things about a whisk is how many puns you can attach to the utensil: I’m a whisk taker. Whisk it for the biscuit. Prepare to be whisked away. And more! So much more.

Puns aside, a whisk is a versatile kitchen tool. You can use one to beat whipping cream to stiff peaks until it’s the perfect, dollop-able consistency. You can use one to make sure scrambled eggs are, well, scrambled prior to hitting the pan. And you can even use one to mash avocados (which is what I do whenever I make guacamole). Of course, there are many different kinds of whisks, all of which excel at various kitchen tasks.

Which whisk does what? Here are eight of the most common types of whisks — and what you can use each kind for.

Credit: Erin Wengrovius

1. Balloon Whisk

When you think of a whisk, a balloon whisk is likely what comes to mind. This is an all-purpose whisk, with a wide head that’s ideal for whipping air into egg whites and heavy whipping cream. Its widely spaced tines also makes it great for pancake and cake batter, and it’s easier to clean than other whisks. (Just whisk warm, soapy water!)

2. Dough Whisk

If you bake a lot, a dough whisk is handy to have around. It’s ideal for sticky batters and bread dough. A dough whisk has a handle that connects to a couple of looping thick, stainless steel wires. This type of whisk is easily able to cut through thick batters and add mix-ins to cookie dough faster than a spatula.

3. Mini Whisk

Tiny but mighty, a mini whisk is about half of the size of a balloon whisk. It’s the perfect size for beating together a couple of eggs for a scramble, whisking a vinaigrette, mixing a sauce, or making hot cocoa. Plus, it’s small, so it’s easy to store.

4. Nonstick Whisk

If you’re a dedicated nonstick cookware user, then you need a silicone, nonstick balloon whisk for making pan sauces, gravy, roux, and more. A nonstick whisk is just a regular whisk, but its metal tines are coated in silicone, making it safe for nonstick cookware and scratch-free.

5. Ball Whisk

A ball whisk has straight, flexible wires and tips that, instead of connecting at the base, have little silicone (or stainless steel) beads at the ends. Because the wires are flexible, this kind of whisk is good at splaying out and reaching into tight spaces, like the corner of pans or measuring cups. A ball whisk with silicone tips is also safe to use with nonstick cookware.

6. French Whisk

Another good all-around whisk, a French whisk is similar to a balloon whisk but more narrow. Its tapered, slimmer profile means it’s better at reaching into the corners of pots and pans and, like a balloon whisk, it’s great at incorporating air into eggs for a fluffy omelet or beating whipping cream. However, it isn’t as well-suited to batters as a balloon whisk, because its tighter tines makes it harder to clean.

7. Flat Whisk

A flat whisk has flat tines that kind of look like an elongated “U.” It’s often recommended for sauces and custards, but where it really shines is with gravies or a roux. Its curved end allows it to easily reach into the corners and sides of a pan or pot. (And, yes, they do make nonstick-safe flat whisks!)

8. Sauce Whisk

Our Editor-in-Chief, Faith Durand, advocated for a sauce whisk to be included in our list of Kitchn Essentials: “There are very few things you’ll make in the kitchen that will succeed or fail depending on the tool you use,” she says. “Sauce is one of those things!” A sauce whisk has wire tines in the shape of a coil, so it whisks side-to-side, as well as up and down. It’s able to fit in tight containers and is efficient at mixing (you guessed it) sauces, as well as hot cocoa, dressings, dips, and even eggs. We also like this nonstick sauce whisk from IKEA (which is no longer available on IKEA, but is still on Amazon).

Do you have a go-to whisk? Tell us about it in the comments!