HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


No stand or hand mixer or food processor?

Help! My dorm has no stand mixer, or hand mixer, or a food processor.
All I have are a couple of plastic bowls, basic utensils, a stove, refrigerator/freezer, and an oven.
Anyone know of some dessert recipes besides store bought mixes or doughs that I can make with such a limited kitchen?
Any help would be appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You can make most bread, cookie and pie doughs w/out an electric appliance(Gasp!). How do you think your great grandma did it?? It just requires a good deal of patience and a lot of elbow grease. (But think how buff your forearms will be...) You just need a sturdy, metal bowl and a strong wooden spoon. A lot of older cookbooks(and some newer ones) actually tell you how to do stuff by HAND if you're not blessed w/ a cuise or a Kitchen-Aid. You can also buy a decent hand mixer (from cuisinart or krups or braun) for less than $60.00 if you can get your roomies to chip in for it. Happy baking and cooking! It's good to see that there are young chow-pups out there to take up the reins for us oldies when we're gone.

    1. You can prepare cake batter without power tools. Mix with a spoon at a rate of 150 strokes per minute (it's OK to rest between sets) and follow the recipe as you normally would.

      2 Replies
      1. re: todao

        I am in a similar situation (not dorm, different kitchen) and made 3 batches of cupcakes and 1 bowl of buttercream frosting last night, all from scratch, and with a simple wire whisk and two bowls. Good workout for the arms and not at all difficult. (And I am walking uphill both ways through the snow and sending you this post via smoke signals). :)

        I recall my mother whipping cream and / or egg whites until stiff, just with a fork.

        So you can definitely do it.

        Or you could go to a thrift store and find an inexpensive hand-cranked beater or even a low cost electric mixer you could leave in your dorm kitchen and won't care about if it breaks or disappears.

        1. re: Rasam

          Beating egg whites with a balloon whisk is certainly easier than with a fork, but when asked to make dessert at friends' places that's a skill that was much appreciated. And it's quite the crowd pleaser, you get way more compassion than you deserve (I mean, it's a pain, but it's not that hard). That mostly came up in my early 20's, but lo and behold, I recently found myself at a friend's place who had no whisk ... and the cake turned out fine!

      2. pie and biscuits (stuffed with jam or sandwiching fruit) or anything that uses the pastry method

        Alll you need is a fork to cut the butter

        1 Reply
        1. re: sixelagogo

          Anything with the muffin method does not need electric tools - quick breads, muffins, pancakes, etc. This is where you mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, mix the wet in another, and then combine them.

          The cake method which requires 'creaming' butter and sugar is one where an electric mixer comes in handy.

          Electric is also nice for whipping egg whites, though it can be done by hand with a wire whisk. For about $30 you can get an electric immersion blender with an effective whisk attachment.

        2. Besides what the previous posters have recommended, here are some other suggestions. Brownies, custards and puddings (Nigella Lawson's gooey chocolate puddings are fabulously easy and delicious: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...); apple crisp, most cookies (you need to cream butter and sugar together but easy enough to do with a wooden spoon and and a nice big bowl); most fruit and nut quick breads which can serve as dessert (like banana bread), really the list is endless. Check out a couple of books from your local library to get more ideas. As a previous post said, it wasn't that long ago that no one had appliances and believe me, desserts have been around much longer that the food processor, mixer or blender!

          1. As others have mentioned all you need is a wooden spoon, spatula (for folding) and whisk (helpful for eggs but not essential).

            Cheesecakes and pies made with a pudding-type filling and graham cracker crust are very easy (eg key lime pie).

            Yes, my bubby had the forearms of a sailor.

            1. I tend to be somewhat of a luddite and don't have any electric tools at home besides the immersion blender. Get a nice whisk (big handle that is comfortable to hold and at about 3"- 4" in diameter at the widest point. It's worth the $10 to get a good one.) Pastry blenders are also nice to have.

              1. I make everything and don't even have a mixer/processor. The old fashioned way is not as hard as it seems.. Bread can be kneaded by hand, and cakes and almost any dessert can be whisked/mixed.. if you're doing eggwhites that might be just about the hardest thing to do because the mixer would help.
                And if you're making candy and need them whipping for example while adding a hot liquid it would come in handy but I think you could get away with anything.

                Cookie doughs can be mixed with a wooden spoon.

                Brownies are good, search for "Mmm-Mmm Better Brownies" on allrecipes, that's a great recipe!

                1. I only just got a processor last year, and a mixer this year; they make prep faster, but then cleaning takes twice as long... Without them, I've made pie crusts (hand cut is probably the best way to go, too), muffins, scones, and just about everything else... except the coconut macaroon disaster where I just could not get stiff peaks in the egg white. Oh, and whipped cream may be really hard, too.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: oryza

                    Whipped cream is easy with a baloon whisk and a bowl, not at all "really hard" - I never use an applicance to make it. Put the bowl and the whisk in the freezer for about 30 minutes (minimum) before you need it and it couldn't be easier, albeit somewhat fatiguing on the arm that does the whisking.

                    1. re: janniecooks

                      And even with a regular wisk it doesn't take long. Sometimes I put the cream in the freezer door for ten minutes or so as well.

                    2. re: oryza

                      I agree about the cleanup time that's why I hate machines. The only thing I used to have was a little chopper (a tiny one for onions and fresh herbs, other things could go in there too in small amounts)
                      And then I had a hand blender which I loved because the bottom piece would detach and a processor container or whisk piece could be used, so that came quite in handy. Good for blending soups, but it was basically a blender/chopper so I never needed a blender (don't make any drinks/smoothes) I just put them in a tall glass and they get whipped with the hand held one.
                      And the kitchen aid my mother has came out once a year for holiday baking.

                      1. re: oryza

                        Me too! I gave my machines away a few years ago. It seemed like I was doing more cleaning than cooking (and I HATE to clean).

                        I have a stick blender with a wisk attachment that I sometimes use. I still mostly do egg whites and cream with a whisk though - it is really fast once you have the technique. (you can blame the muscular forearm on your wicked tennis game!)

                      2. Pastry can be made just as easily using two knives to cut in the butter and your fingers to finish it.

                        Oil-based "quick cakes" or "one-bowl cakes" ( which can also be used as cupcakes) are a bit easier than butter-based cookies and cakes involving creaming butter and sugar. The texture won't be as fine but they are still good.

                        Other very easy recipes
                        Pineapple upside down cake
                        Lemon bars
                        Lightning fudge

                        1. Until recently all I had was a manual mixer. I made everything! Get a good knife for chopping, a couple of wooden spoons and a hand mixer. Also, there are a myriad of mini appliances on the market and they are cheap.