Mamta Reviews: Cuisinart Soup Maker

The idea behind the Cuisinart Soup Maker is an all-in-one cooking and blending machine for making soups and sauces.

When Cuisinart offered me one to review, I asked my mum, Mamta, to put it through its paces, as she regularly makes soups at home.

It looks like a regular jug blender, but has a number of extra features including a heating element with low, medium and high settings, a non stick cooking plate, a thermal glass jar with 1.4 litre capacity for hot liquids, stainless steel blades with 4 speeds settings and pulse and a stir button for mixing ingredients during cooking. The RRP is £139 but you should be able to find it for under £100 if you shop around.

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Of the design, mum judged it a “sturdy, attractive” item but mentioned that it’s large, and would “need a fair bit of space” on your work surface or in the cupboard. (It’s footprint is 20 x 22 centimetres).

First, mum read through the instructions and recipe booklet. The instructions are “fairly well written” but do not make it clear that the jug has to be lifted, not unscrewed, off the base. She points out that as many jug blenders require a twist and lift action to remove the jug, it might be worth making this clearer so  there are no unfortunate accidents with hot liquid.

1 sweet potato soup 1

For her first trial, mum used the sweet potato and red pepper soup recipe provided, though she used yellow pepper instead of red.

She found the instructions “easy to follow” and “the result was tasty“.

But I was expecting to put everything in it and go away, not stand doing things step by step. You have to heat the plate of the bowl first with oil, then add and fry onion garlic etc. stirring from time to time (there is a stir button for this), then add vegetables and stock, then bring it to boil, then simmer and then blend. So you have to be watching it most of the time and have to be around. I can do this when making a soup in a pan. The only difference with pan method is that it has to be blended by a hand blender or poured into a blender, so a tad more washing up to do.”

1 sweet potato soup 2 1 sweet potato soup 3-frying onion and garlic 1 sweet potato soup 4-with vegetables and stock added, on high

She also found that the simmer button didn’t make things simmer, and she had to use the medium and high settings to achieve this.

For her second trial, she made prawns in tomato sauce, a pasta sauce recipe also from the recipe booklet.

She found it “easy to make, partly because I already had chopped onions.”

Again, her main comment was that “you have to be standing there to add onion garlic, stir, add tomato puree, stir, add tomato, cook, stirring off and on, and then finally add prawns. It isn’t much harder to cook in a pan.”

1 prawn sauce 2-frying onions 1 prawn sauce 4-adding tomato puree and tomatoes 1 prawn sauce 5-cooking some more 1 prawn sauce 7-adding prawns
1 prawn sauc 8-cooking some more-now ready 1 prawn sauc -cooking some more-now ready

Over the next couple of weeks she made a number of different soups.

Too much faffing about for a simple soup!“, she said. “The only time it has an advantage, may be, is when you are making a blended/smooth soup.”

 

Her last experiment was to use it to make dal-palak (chana dal with spinach).

The dal got stuck to the bottom hot plate, which was a hell of a job to clean, I had to use a toothbrush to get under the blades. It is possible that the glass bowl screws off from the base of the jar, but my old hands could not unscrew it. It is too heavy anyway.”

 

After over a month of extended use, here are her final comments:

Pros

  • Attractive design.
  • Easy to use.
  • Makes good soup.
  • It might be useful for people living in bedsits or studio flats“, with limited or no kitchen facilities; “they could cook a lot of things in it, once they got the hang of it.”

Negatives

  • Large. Takes up “precious space in my kitchen“, whether “on the table top or inside the cupboard“.
  • You have to be around to go through the steps of the dish you are making (stirring, blending etc.). You can’t put the ingredients in and forget about it. So there is very little advantage over a pan. Even for a blended soup, you can cook it in a pan and use a stick blender” to make it smooth.
  • When food gets stuck to the cooking plate, it’s very difficult to clean.
  • At the low and simmer settings, things just sit in the bowl, nothing seems to happen, no simmering at all. Only the medium and hot settings seem to work.”
  • The timer keeps running out before before things are ready and when you come back to the kitchen, you find that it has switched itself off. You then have to start again, never knowing how much time to put in.”
  • The glass bowl is very heavy for a person like me to lift in and out of the base socket.”
  • It’s “more difficult to keep an eye on it and adjust for taste” than when using a regular pan on the hob.

In summary, mum feels that, whilst it sounds like a good idea on paper, if you have a stove top, a large pan and a stick or jug blender, it’s simply not necessary and delivers no advantage. Rather, it’s one of those “white elephants that you get carried away into buying.”

Kavey Eats was sent a complimentary soup maker for review by Cuisinart.

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12 Comments to "Mamta Reviews: Cuisinart Soup Maker"

  1. Jude

    My experience exactly! I was gifted one 18 months ago. After my initial enthusiastic experiments I have used it about twice. It does make good soup but no better than I can make in other ways. I especially agree with Mamta about the dangers of getting the jug off the base. I also had a problem frying the onions in the first stage. They burned very easily. The best soup I made in it was a Slimming World Leek and Potato and it works very well for low fat recipes.

    Reply
  2. phil

    Hi it doesnt matter if you use a machine or you use the traditional way of making soup at the end of the day you want delicious homemade soup that tastes superb and you can enjoy.

    Reply
  3. Ary

    Thanks for the review – I was just about to order one of these but after reading your mum’s comment about the weight of the jug, I have decided to stick with the pan and hand blender! I have arthritis in both hands and find it hard to grip anything heavy so this would be no use at all. Thanks again!

    Reply
  4. Fay

    Hi, I’ve had one of these for over a year now, used regularly and would offer the following comments.
    Yes, the jug does come apart from the heater element base (it unscrews) but sometimes you need good strength and grip for this. The advantage for me is that there’s only one thing to wash up instead of saucepan, stick blender and jug. Inevitably I used to end up with blended soup up the wall, over the worktop and usually me! Not anymore. One further observation – the hot plate switches on and off at intervals to simmer the soup, with shorter intervals between if you want it on high; then it sits and looks like it does nothing (as Mamta says above). However it just works differently to a hob by allowing the heat to dissipate through the liquid rather than continual bubbling.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Good to read a different perspective and that the soup maker is well used in your kitchen. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Maria W.

    I love my cuisinart soup maker when it works. Bought two years ago, had to send it back twice for faulty mixing action, it kept slipping or stop altogether. Now it has started faulty heating and takes three times as long. I used to keep it on high for 9 mins, then the rest of 30 mins on medium. No matter what vegetable I used it was always ready after 30 minutes. Now it is anyones guess……….I am really fed up sending it back although I don’ t have to pay.

    Reply
  6. Daniel

    A soup maker is a must for the winter and this Cuisinart one looks really good. The best part is probably the way you can actually witness the soup being cooked, which isn’t the case with all soup makers…

    Reply

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