Scanning my kitchen, you can count seven cooking devices in plain sight. So when I heard about the latest all-in-one kitchen appliance from Thermomix, I hesitated, as I don’t even have counter space for one more contraption.
My culinary curiosity piqued when I learned that the Thermomix blends, steams, mixes, weighs, emulsifies, stirs, grinds, whisks, chops, heats, cooks, and kneads. It dropped again after I heard the $1448 price tag. I would need some serious convincing and a hands-on demo to consider this product. One phone call and a few days later, the Thermomix crew showed up at my house for a test drive.
The Thermomix TM5 is about the size of an Instant Pot pressure cooker. It has a 9.3-cup stainless steel insert with a blade on the bottom that can be removed for cooking. Yes, cooking. One of the unique features of the Thermomix is that it chops and then can cook in the same dish. And you gotta love that everything outside the motor is dishwasher-friendly.
Then there’s the nifty touch screen. On the bottom of the base is an interactive, digital screen that allows for some serious turnkey cooking. It includes step-by-step recipe instructions, making your meal idiot proof.
For my first in-home demonstration, I watched three halved lemons drop into the Thermomix bowl, peel still intact, get crushed, and turned into lemonade, in two seconds. TWO! Ok, it’s a nice big, powerful food processor. I do have a Vitamix for a lot less money, so I wanted to see what else it could do.
My Thermomix rep threw some rice into the stainless mixing bowl. The cup of rice was weighed, right in the bowl. There’s an automatic sensor that shows the weight of the bowl’s contents on the machine’s screen. No measuring cups necessary. Now that’s brilliant. How has no one come up with this feature yet?
The Thermomix really showed off its bells and whistles when making the main dish. It was a vertical food fest with the rice going in the base bowl where, instead of blending, it was now warming and cooking the rice. I’ve never seen a device do both.
On top of the bowl went a perforated oval dish with frozen vegetables that steamed while the rice cooked below. On top of the vegetables was another lid, filled with beaten eggs. In case you couldn’t guess, we were making Asian fried rice. It took under an hour with the prep, but once things were cooking, it was hands-free time with no stirring or lid lifting necessary.
If this all sounds too complicated for you to pull off on your own, the Thermomix comes with a Cook-Key. The Cook-Key is about the size of my hand and is magnetically affixed to the kitchen appliance to turn it on. It can house over 20,000 recipes from countries around the world (Bonjour, French pastries!). There’s a free intro period, but then you need to pay to have access to all of the recipes, or you can always experiment on your own for no additional cost.
The Cook-Key is great for the novice chef or time-strapped mother who’s juggling eight balls while trying to get dinner ready. Anyone relate to that? The recipe instructions appear right on the electronic screen at the base of the Thermomix. It tells you what speed to turn things on to blend, what temperature to cook your dish, and the timing for it all. It’s impossible to burn anything.
The downside is that when I followed some of the recipes, I found the meals went from al dente to el mushy. I like a little bite in my vegetables, and some of the directions moved the veggies to baby food texture with no chewing necessary. Steaming, however, is always going to be healthier than frying, so I suppose with some practice, I could learn how to adapt the cooking times to my taste.
Home chef and food blogger Cathy Arkle from She Paused For Thought, bought the Thermomix after watching an impressive demo, and commented, “If you love steamed food, this is a great machine. It really lends itself to healthy cooking.”
Arkle sees pros and cons with the new kitchen appliance. “When I cook things I have never made before, the Thermomix is so impressive. But when I cook the same things I make by traditional methods, there is NO comparing the taste and quality."
Bread or popovers are easy and effortless in the Thermomix, but you simply don’t get the same gorgeous texture when making these items the old fashioned way, over many hours. “There is a trade off. You can have quick and easy, yet soul-less, or time-consuming and outstanding. I am pretty sure most people will take the first option, which makes this machine brilliant,” says Arkle.
Thermomix Marketing Manager Meredith Petran says the Thermomix is "the best friend of time-crunched parents trying to get a home-cooked dinner on the table for the family, instead of having take-out again. We believe cooking more at home can help people live better, healthier lives, and we can help them do that.”
Thermomix began in Germany over 40 years ago. It just arrived in the U.S. in September 2016. Thermomix is already a billion dollar company with a cult-like following in Europe.
You won’t find Thermomix in stores. It’s sold exclusively through company reps. If you live in California or New York City, you can get an in-home demonstration of the product, complete with a multi-course meal at the end. Otherwise, consultants are able to do video chats, showing how the product works, no matter where you live.
The Thermomix is a unique all-in-one kitchen appliance. If your counters are empty and your pockets are full, you’ll have fun with the Thermomix. It offers healthy cooking and easy to follow, basic recipes. If money is tight and you love to spend hours watching your artisan bread dough rise, then you may want to pass on this latest kitchen device.
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Images via Thermomix.