Around this time last year, Aldi debuted a stand mixer ready to rival the coveted KitchenAid at nearly a quarter of the cost. Set on equipping every home baker with a stand mixer before holiday baking commences, the Aldi mixer was just $60 and came fully equipped with a paddle, whisk, and bread hook attachment. It was a huge deal last year and it'll be a huge deal this year, too, because IT'S BACK!
We tested the Aldi mixer using three common baking recipes (and we made whipped cream!) to find out whether or not you should rush to Aldi now for this low-cost equipment or save your money for a more substantial stand mixer.
Note: This mixer is back this week, but only for a limited time.
Full disclosure: The closest Aldi to me is several states away, so the mixer arrived via FedEx. My very first impression was how light the whole package was considering a full-sized mixer was inside
A few noteworthy features upon opening: Beyond the paddle, whisk, and bread hook attachment, the mixer also comes with a splash guard installed (it detaches for easy cleaning) and has four suction-cup feet to secure the mixer to your work surface. Like some other stand mixers, the Aldi mixer has a head that raises for adding attachments and lowers for mixing. The button for locking this mixer head in place catches often, something that proved to be annoying during testing.
Test #1: Cookies
Wasting no time, I asked my two kids to help me make a batch of cookies using the paddle attachment. Two things became immediately clear: With one easy-to-turn, six-speed dial at the bottom of the mixer, you're really going to want the splash guard in place if you're baking with kids (and the splash guard won't keep everything inside the mixing bowl if your 3-year-old turns the mixer to full speed).
The Aldi mixer handled a basic batch of cookies easily and the paddle did a surprisingly great job of getting down deep into the bowl, leaving no butter and sugar unmixed (something that can't always be said for my KitchenAid mixer). The four-quart mixing bowl was pretty full with a single batch of cookies, so a double or triple batch of your favorite holiday cookies wouldn't be possible with this mixer.
The recipe we tested: How To Make Chocolate Chip Cookies from Scratch
Test #2: Egg White Meringue
Here's where the Aldi mixer struggled. I made a batch of our French meringues using the mixer's whisk attachment, which didn't set down in the mixer as easily as the paddle had — leaving pools of egg white that were unmixed. The small opening in the splash guard made it difficult to gradually add the sugar without spilling it, and using a small spoon proved fatal when the whisk attachment's head caught the edge of the spoon and literally whisked it out of my hand and into the mixing meringue.
Even at full speed, the mixer took much longer than other mixers have to produce stiff peaks. Although it did produce decent meringues, it took much more time and effort than my KitchenAid mixer would. One other drawback: This test heated the mixer's body considerably — something that can wear on the mixer's motor if repeated over time.
Our favorite meringue recipe: How To Make French Meringue
Test #3: Yeast Dough
After the sad meringue showing, I didn't expect much from the Aldi mixer when it came to bread mixing, but this is where the mixer surprised me the most. The dough hook attachment is well-designed and really mixed and kneaded the dough with ease. The dough mixing took about the time it would with any other mixer, making a smooth, elastic dough for dinner rolls. The suction feet held the mixer tightly to the counter without some of the swaying that happens with my KitchenAid.
And this successful test makes a pretty strong argument for this low-cost mixer versus an even less expensive hand mixer — a hand mixer can't knead dough!
These dinner rolls passed the test: How To Make Soft & Tender Dinner Rolls
Bonus Test: Whipped Cream
Just for fun we whipped cream in the Aldi stand mixer and a KitchenAid, side by side. Giving the whisk attachment's poor showing, I wasn't expecting much from the Aldi mixer. However, the Aldi mixer did a fine job whipping the cream (a task notoriously easier than whipping egg whites) even if it took longer to whip than the KithenAid.
In case you need a refresher: How To Make Whipped Cream
The Aldi Stand Mixer Test Results: Pass
Many of the Aldi's mixer features and its price point make it ideal for beginning bakers. It's something I would readily shell out the $60 for and gift to my young niece who loves to bake. I don't expect it to last the decades of use that a KitchenAid mixer should (its body is plastic, after all), but for the occasional baker or cookie novice, this affordable mixer is a boon of mixer accessibility.