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What are the Different Types of Whisks?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Despite its seemingly simple and straightforward nature as a kitchen utensil, there are a relatively high number of different types of whisks. Some of the most common types are the ball, balloon, French, flat, beverage, and dough whisk. These different varieties are also available in different materials, such as metal and plastic, and can even include small electronics such as a thermometer in the utensil.

Whisks are kitchen utensils used primarily in stirring or mixing, with the design intended to better allow the incorporation of air into a mixture while mixing. They usually consist of a handle and some type of stiff wires, sticks, or other thin pieces of material with mostly empty space in the middle to allow air into what is being mixed. Ball whisks are usually made with a handle for one hand and several long wires, each with a small ball at the tip of the wire. This type is often used for eggs, sauces, and other fairly thin mixtures that need to be beaten quickly to become aerated.

A balloon whisk is made of numerous stiff wires that extend together from a handle, and then form a sphere at the end. The appearance is somewhat similar to a balloon on a string, or a large wire lollipop. There are even double balloon varieties that include a second wire sphere within the first larger one. An oval balloon whisk is similarly designed, but rather than a large round end, the entire shape is extended as an oval from the handle.

French whisks are similar to the oval balloon design, except they are typically narrower with a tighter oval shape. A flat whisk is designed to be more two-dimensional in shape, making it flatter and often better for reaching the corners of pots or pans during cooking. Beverage whisks are designed especially for use in stirring beverages in a glass or similar container. They have long thin handles, with a small sphere of wire at the tip, allowing someone to reach the bottom of a glass and easily stir the contents.

A dough whisk is made with a fairly long, durable handle for greater stability while working with dough. The wires used are stiff and often stronger to better deal with the heavier materials used in dough preparation. They are often made from stainless steel or hard rubber or plastic. Some of them include thermal sensors built into the end with a display in the handle, allowing temperatures to be monitored while making custards or sauces sensitive to temperature changes.

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Discussion Comments
By stoneMason — On Aug 26, 2012

@fify-- I would say the ball whisk is even easier to clean than a flat whisk. It's basically just a bunch of wires with steel balls at the tip. It's super easy to clean, you can just hold it under running water if you want.

Some people think that this kind of whisk doesn't work too well but I think it's exactly the opposite. It doesn't get too much air into what you're making, so it's not the best choice for something like whipped cream. But it does work really fast, much faster than any other whisk I've used.

By fify — On Aug 25, 2012

@Kristee-- Absolutely. Balloon whisks are horrible to clean! I hate them for this reason!

Ideally, we're supposed to be using different kinds of whisks depending on what we're making and the kind of bowl or pot we're using to cook. But most of us (including me) don't know what all the different whisks are for. So we usually just buy a balloon whisk and use that for everything.

I guess if I had to pick just one whisk to use in the kitchen, it would be the flat whisk. I know you said it's hard to clean too, but it's actually one of the easier kinds to clean. Plus you can use it for anything and I love how it reaches all sides of the bowl.

By Monika — On Aug 24, 2012

@starrynight - I'm all about clearing space in the kitchen, but I don't think I could live without my whisks. I make a lot of sauces, and I love making omelets also. Now that I've been using whisks to do these things for so long, I don't think I could go back to just using a fork!

By starrynight — On Aug 23, 2012

I used to have a few stainless steel whisks, but I got rid of them a couple of years ago. I never used them, so I didn't see the point of cluttering up my kitchen with them (I got rid of a few other things at that time too.) I don't have a very big kitchen, so I really needed to clear some space.

In fact, I think most people probably don't need to bother buying a whisk. Unless you do a lot of cooking, you probably don't need one. And even if you do cook a lot, you can probably use a mixer or a fork instead of whisk.

By strawCake — On Aug 22, 2012

@eidetic - I don't think that all silicone whisks are low quality. I've actually had a few wire whisks fall apart on me in the past. The thing they had in common was that they were cheap! So if you spend a little more money on a nice whisk (wire or silicone) it will probably last a lot longer.

By eidetic — On Aug 22, 2012

I used to have silicone whisk, and I didn't really used it all that much. However, it didn't last long! One day when I was using it, it just fell apart. The part that does the whisking separated from the handle and fell into the sauce I was making.

I think when I get around to replacing it, I'm going to stay away from silicone whisks. Instead, I'll probably get a better quality whisk made of metal.

By literally45 — On Aug 21, 2012

@shell4life-- Yea, same here. I've only seen and used balloon whisks. I just looked up pictures of a ball whisk and a French whisk and that was the first time I saw those. I've never even noticed these at stores before. They look really interesting although I'm not sure how they work exactly.

I'm happy with my balloon whisk. I only use it to make omelets anyway. In the past, I used to whisk my eggs with a fork. That was a lot of work! Things have gotten a lot easier for me since I got my balloon whisk. I think it has cut down whisking time to half.

I also like those mini balloon whisks for whisking salad dressing and things like that. They're so cute and they come in different colors too!

By Kristee — On Aug 21, 2012

I would imagine that double balloon whisks are hard to clean. I have enough trouble cleaning my small single whisks when eggs or batter dries on them.

I usually soak my whisks in hot, soapy water in the mixing bowl when I'm done. This makes the batter come off easier when I'm ready to wash them.

I've also found that using the spray nozzle attached to my sink cuts down on cleaning time. I turn the water on high, and the pressure is great enough to blast away bits of batter or egg, especially if I use hot water.

By orangey03 — On Aug 21, 2012

@anon176969 – All you really need is a hand whisk, a cup of heavy whipping cream, some vanilla extract, and confectioner's sugar. You start by whisking the cream by itself.

You will have to do this for quite awhile if you are using a hand whisk. You might want to use an electric one instead, because even then, it is likely to take at least five minutes.

When you see stiff peaks forming, you know that you are ready to add a teaspoon of vanilla and a couple of tablespoons of sugar. Whisk it on in with the cream.

By kylee07drg — On Aug 21, 2012

I use an electric whisk to keep my arm from getting sore. I like making chocolate truffles, but I have to whisk the chocolate chips with the hot cream, and doing this requires several minutes of fast whisking.

The electric whisk is so much easier to use than the manual one. Jobs like this with super thick, heavy ingredients really do need to be done with a small appliance rather than your hand.

My electric mixer came with two strong beaters and one big whisk. I use the beaters for mixing things that don't need to be aerated, and I use the whisk for things that do.

By shell4life — On Aug 20, 2012

I never knew that there were so many types of kitchen whisks! I have only used the oval balloon kind, and I think that these are probably the most common.

I have three different sizes of balloon whisks, and I use them for everything from stirring up eggs to mixing flour together with baking soda and salt. The thicker the mixture, the bigger the whisk I use for the job.

I use the smallest one for mixing dry ingredients together. This usually doesn't require much force.

By wiesen — On May 18, 2011

What do you mean by "do cream"? Do you mean creaming together two ingredients like sugar and butter? Or whipping heavy cream?

By anon176969 — On May 17, 2011

can you please tell me to how to do cream with a normal whisk?

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