Being a vegan in 2018 means that you're flooded on a daily basis with awesome new recipes to try. It's both a gift and a curse. Plant-based cuisine has come a long way. If you're following a raw vegan diet or love vegan junk food, it is essential to have the right blender. Whether you're making acai bowls, hummus, vegan cheese or nice cream, we've got your back.
Here are the best blenders for vegans in 2018, plus everything you need to know about them:
In case you don’t have time to read the full article – here’s the blenders we picked and a brief summary as to why:
- Vitamix 5300 Refurbished
- This Vitamix comes with anything you need to make any plant-based recipe you could ever dream of including hot soups. It will literally power through almost anything without issue, especially with the help of the tamper.
- Nutribullet Pro 900
- Although it is not nearly as powerful as a Vitamix, we think that the Nutribullet Pro 900 is the perfect balance between affordability and capability. With a few tweaks (such as soaking nuts before blending), you’ll be able to create all of the vegan cuisine essentials we talk about.
- Blendtec Total Blender (Refurbished)
- If you want raw power, this is the blender to go for. It rivals the Vitamix in so many ways that it is honestly hard to say which one is better. Having used both in our households, we can’t 100% pick sides as they each have their pros and cons.
*Use any of the links to check pricing on Amazon
Essential Blending Tasks for Vegans
As you become more acquainted with plant-based cooking, you'll start to notice that there is an endless list of tasks that your blender is required to do. Here are a few of that things that we find ourselves blending most often:
Banana Ice Cream or Nice Cream
Because of their starchy texture and sweet flavor profile, bananas happen to make the perfect base for healthy vegan ice creams, aka "nice creams". The video below featuring Dr. Fuhrman shows just how easy it is with a powerful blender.
You can also use a banana ice cream machine like a Yonanas. We prefer going the blender route simply because it is far more versatile, but having a machine built for the task can also be a good thing.
Hummus or Other Spreads
Hummus can be made with chickpeas or pretty much any other legume. Even edamame hummus is delicious if you season it with miso paste, wasabi, and sesame seeds.
All of the blenders on this list are more than capable of making hummus. Not only are the motors powerful enough to blend the chickpeas into a smooth consistency, but the blenders are engineered to get the ingredients to the blades without getting stuck on the sides.
Making Vegan Cheese
The most common vegan cheeses are blended mixtures of cashews, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. Having a good blender gives you two main advantages when making vegan cheese:
- You'll be able to fully liquefy cashews or other nuts without taking the time to soak them. This is usually not powerful with weaker food processors.
- You can use less liquid and not jam up the blender. This will give you a thicker cheese sauce.
You can also make actual spreadable and hard cheeses like the video below shows:
How to make a homemade raw vegan cheese using your blender
You can still make vegan nacho cheese with a sub-par blender, except you need to soak the nuts to get things smooth. Even then, you still might come out with less than ideal results.
Nut Milks and and Butters
Store-bought nut milks (almond, cashew, soy, rice, flax, etc.) can be pretty expensive. The same goes for nut butters.
Having the right blender for nut butters and nut milks will give you the ability to save a ton of money every month.
Rather than buying watered down cartons of almond milk, you can make your own at home. Using a custom recipe also gives you the ability to make them creamier and more delicious. All you need to do is invest up-front in the bulk ingredients and the blender!
Acai Bowls and Smoothie Bowls
If you live in the California area, then you've probably had an Acai bowl. Think of them kind of like a thick soup, except its a fruit smoothie topped with all sorts of different textures. This can include bananas, sliced granola, and coconut flakes.
If you have a blender good enough to make a thick smoothie (watery ones won't work), you can simply pour it into a bowl and throw your favorite toppings on it. And trust us, the final product would be a fraction of the price at a fancy juice bar.
Attributes Common in the Best Blenders
Quantifying how well a blender is going to perform is difficult. However, everything you need for plant-based cuisine is going to come down to two factors:
- Having a motor powerful enough to pulverize foods.
- Making sure the food actually gets to the blades and not stuck to the side.
Here's why these attributes are important...
Powerful Motor and Blades to Pulverize Foods
Many people think that sharp blades are an important feature of a good blender. However, nothing can be farther from the truth.
Although some sharp blade designs work, they tend to "cut" ingredients rather than pulverize them. Cutting and chopping ingredients won't get them to a smooth and creamy consistency.
Additionally, if a blender if dependent on the sharpness of the blades for its performance than you can be sure that it will get worse over time. This is because blades dull out! If you have dull blades to begin with, the blender performance should remain consistent throughout its lifetime.
Getting the Food to the Blades
A powerful motor and the right blades are important, but if you can't get the food to come in contact with the blades, then nothing is going to blend!
Sound confusing? Here's how and why this could happen...
- When you press start on the blender, the blades might spin so quickly that they kind of form a barrier of food around themselves. If you're making a thick blend, this thick barrier can block the rest of the food from getting to the blades.
- The blades can be blending the bottom ingredients, but haven't created a powerful enough vortex to draw in the rest of them. In this instance you'll notice the bottom layer of fruits and veggies blending, but not the rest of it.
There's a number of ways that a blender brand can solve this problem.
How Personal Blenders Do This
In the case of a personal blenders (such as the Nutribullet) you have the ability to easy shake the base itself to get things moving. Personal Blenders are also small enough to take the blades off, shuffle the ingredients a bit, and start another cycle. Most of the time, these actions aren't always necessary because the blenders are built to create a vortex powerful enough to keep things moving. However, it is nice having the option available.
How Counter-Top Blenders Do This
For counter-top blenders, the solutions are a bit more creative. Manufacturers like Vitamix and Blendtec both have ways to keep ingredients moving towards the blades.
In the case of the Vitamix, it is their signature tamper. The tamper is essentially a plunger is used to push ingredients into the blades from the top of the blender jar. Each Vitamix jar has a hole big enough to fit the tamper so that it can reach the ingredients without risk of it touching the blades.
Blendtec has their own device which helps keep the ingredients moving in the jar. It's called a Twister Jar.
The Blendtec Twister Jar is typically sold separately, but it is a massive upgrade to any Blendtec. It goes in from the top, kind of like a tamper, and has a knob that the user turns. As the user turns the knob it keeps ingredients off of the sides and right into the powerful vortex!
Disclaimer: We're not sure if the manufacturer recommends shaking the base, but its something that we do a lot because it works. Do it at your own risk!
Personal or Countertop Blenders?
When making your final decision, you're going to have to choose between getting a smaller personal blender and a more powerful counter-top unit. Unless, that is, if you can afford both!
Each type of blender comes with its own set of pros and cons. Let's explore those below...
Countertop Blenders Pros and Cons
- They tend to have more powerful motors which gives them better and faster blending power.
- Counter-top blenders have larger capacity jars. If you're blending for multiple people each day, this makes them a must-have.
- They have more pre-programmed settings. Pre-programmed settings allow the users to press a button and walk away while the blender does the work. This isn't always the case, but is with newer counter-to units.
- They offer more speed control which allows you to get a better vortex by starting slow and gradually moving up.
- They tend to have longer warranties than counter-top blenders.
- They are heavy and take up a lot of counter-space. You don't want to be lugging it in and out of a cabinet each day.
- They are sometimes (not always) more expensive than personal blenders.
- The blades usually sit at the bottom which means that food can get stuck under them. It also makes it harder to get the entire contents out sometimes.
Personal Blender Pros and Cons
- They tend to be (not always) cheaper than counter-top blenders.
- Personal blenders are easy to use, easy to store, and you can even travel with them if you wish.
- They tend to be a lot simpler to use and operates with much fewer functions.
- Most of them aren't ideal for making anything for more than one person. You'll have to do two blending jobs if you're trying to serve someone else.
- They tend to have shorter warranties than counter-top blenders.
The Best Blenders for Vegans in 2018
Now that you've got a full understanding of what to look for in a blender, let's explore our top models...
1. Vitamix 5300 (Refurbished)
Any Vitamix is going to be an obvious winner, but the Vitamix 5300 (similar to the Vitamix 6500) stands out from the crowd for several reasons. Some of these reasons are exclusive to the Vitamix brand, but others are particular to this model.
The first reason we think this blender is great for vegans is because of its hot soup function. Yes, you can make soup from hot to cold, directly in this blender, without using a stove. There are also a bunch of raw vegan food soups to make! Either way, it's super easy with this machine.
Because Vitamix models are so powerful, they have the ability to enough friction inside the jar to heat things up. Additionally, the jars are designed for proper ventilation so that things aren't going to explode while you do it.
The second reason we love this blender is because of its tamper. Like we mentioned earlier, because you can push things into the blades, you'll be able to make sure nothing gets stuck to the sides when you're making your hummus or acai bowls.
You can even drink nut milk straight after blending, because the pulp gets so finely broken down.
Thirdly, the Vitamix 5300 is an absolute power blender. You'll be able to liquefy nuts without soaking and blend almost any plant-based raw food to a smooth puree.
Finally, making nice cream (banana ice cream) is a breeze as you can do it with little to no liquid. Push the bananas into the blades with the tamper, wait for the vortex, and enjoy!
We like the refurbished models because they can generally be found cheaper than a new one. New units come with a 7 year warranty, but you still get 5 years with the refurbished.
- Can make hot soup right in the jar because of its powerful motor. You can also make delicious raw food purees with little to no noticeable pulp.
- The included tamper makes sure that fruits, veggies, and legumes keep coming in contact in the blades without getting stuck.
- Powerful enough to make smooth vegan cheese and plant milks without necessarily having to soak the nuts.
- Is capable of cleaning itself simply by blending with warm water and dish soap.
- Variable speed control knob makes it easy to create a vortex.
- Low profile container makes it easier to fit under a cabinet than some other Vitamix models.
- Variable speed knob and pulse function for complete control over your blend.
- As with all counter-top blenders, it has a large footprint. Given its size and weight, you'll want to leave it on your counter.
- May not be affordable for some people, but worthwhile if you can swing it!
2. Nutribullet Pro 900
This is one of the best machines from the the Magic Bullet family in our opinion.
While the Nutribullet Pro 900 isn't as powerful as the first blender on this list, we think its a great single-serve blender and a viable Vitamix alternative. It's a well-designed personal blender that can handle all of the essential vegan tasks if you show it a little love.
Here's what we mean:
When it comes to making hummus, smoothie bowls, and nut milks this blender can do it all. We know because we actually make all these things in the Nutribullet 900 on a regular basis.
However, because its not as powerful as a Vitamix or other counter-top blender there are a few things that we do to make it perform like one.
When it comes to smoothie bowls, there's not really much to say. You'll need to use a bit of plant-based milk to get the blend started since there's no tamper and a weaker motor, but you'd be surprised how little it takes and how smooth and creamy the final product comes out.
And although it goes without saying, quick shakes with vegan protein powder are a breeze with this type of blender.
Nice cream is not ideal to make in this blender if you're not using any liquid. However, throw in just a splash of soy milk and you'll be able to make a thick and smooth blend.
If we're making a vegan cheese sauce, simply soaking the cashews for 30 minutes to an hour beforehand makes the process a whole lot easier. It can still come out good if you don't soak them, but you may find that they aren't fully liquefied.
The one limitation is that you can't make hot soup as there's no ventilation and the blender wasn't designed for that function. You can however make a smooth blend and then heat it up on the stove after. If you're interested in a bullet that can make soup, check out our article on the best nutribullet model where we feature the Rx.
Let's also not forget that the blades attach to the jar for each blending job. This makes the entire blender super easy to clean without the use of a clean function.
Finally, this blender is likely to be more budget friendly than some of the others on this list. Although it only comes with a one year warranty, it's not too bad considering the typical price of the Pro 900.
- This blender has the power and design to do all do vegan cheese, smoothie bowls, green smoothies, and much more.
- 900 Watts of power makes it much stronger than the original Magic Bullet type of blenders.
- It's easy to store and carry. Ideal for someone who has limited space or wants to bring it on a trip.
- The blending cups that it comes with double as cups to drink out of.
- Comes with a bunch of accessories that enhance the experience should you choose to drink out of it.
- Blender is easy to clean as the blades detach between blending cycles.
- Doesn't have the raw power of some of the counter-top blenders. Works better with more liquid and nuts liquefy better if full soaked.
- Not designed to make hot soup directly in the blender. You can make the soup then heat it on the stove.
- Only comes with a one year warranty, but may be justified for its price range.
3. Blendtec Total Blender Classic (Refurbished)
Blendtec blenders are kind of thought of as the Vitamix rival in the blender world. Having used both brands, it's honestly hard to pick a favorite.
The thing that makes Blendtec stands out is its raw power. It has a 3-peak horsepower motor which is actually greater than that of the Vitamix.
Despite its power and well-designed Wildside jar, there are still situations where having a tamper is useful. Sometimes your ingredients simply won't make it to the blades.
That's why the Blendtec's Twister Jar is great. Some might argue that it's superior to the tamper, but we aren't going to take sides.
The only problem with the Twister Jar is that it is sold separately.
This Blendtec has a bunch of other features that aren't available in the earlier models of the Vitamix namely in the form of pre-programmed settings. Pre-programmed settings aren't required to make an awesome smoothie, hummus, or nice cream. However, they do come in handy, especially if you're in a rush.
Say you're making a green smoothie in the morning. Simply throw all the ingredients in and press the smoothie button. During the cycle, you can do other tasks while the smoothie is being blended.
The Blendtec also has a hot soup setting which means that it can also perform this awesome function.
You also have the option of operating the blender with the variable speed buttons as well as the pulse button. This allows you to create a powerful vortex by cranking it up slowly or do some quick mincing/chopping using a brief pulse.
Finally, as a refurbished blender, it comes with a 3-year warranty. You can get a new Blendtec blenders with a 7-year warranty, but it simply depends on your budget and risk tolerance.
- Comes with a large amount of raw power, ensures that you can liquefy even the toughest ingredients.
- Can use the Twister Jar to perform the same function as a tamper.
- Powerful enough to clean itself with warm water and blending, but the jar and blade design makes it easy to clean under the blades if you have to.
- Comes with a three year manufacturer's warranty which is excellent for a refurbished blender. Can get a new one for a 7-year warranty.
- The variable speed and pulse option allow you to do quick chops, similar to a food processor.
- The "tampering" device (Twister Jar) for this blender is sold separately.
- You're going to want to keep it on the counter being that it is not all that compact.
Now that you understand all of the essential criteria for getting a blender as a vegan, the final choice is up to you. If you want a blender that's up for almost any task, small or large, go for a Vitamix or a Blendtec. But if you're a single person and simply want to make some smoothies, and easy vegan cheeses go for the Nutribullet or another powerful personal blender.
Epic vegan recipes await!