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Thermomix TM5 review: Finally, a countertop kitchen appliance that does it all

The $1,300 Thermomix TM5 takes care of a dozen common kitchen tasks. Too bad the price will keep this good product out of reach.

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Ashlee Clark Thompson
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Ashlee Clark Thompson

Associate Editor

Ashlee spent time as a newspaper reporter, AmeriCorps VISTA and an employee at a healthcare company before she landed at CNET. She loves to eat, write and watch "Golden Girls" (preferably all three at the same time). The first two hobbies help her out as an appliance reviewer. The last one makes her an asset to trivia teams. Ashlee also created the blog, AshleeEats.com, where she writes about casual dining in Louisville, Kentucky.

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6 min read

The Thermomix TM5 is a new addition to the American appliance scene that claims to tackle a dozen common kitchen tasks. The price of this souped-up blender/food processor/cooker/mixer is as lofty as its promises: $1,300 (it's available in the UK for £925 and Australia for about AU$2,090). The Thermomix's high cost and bold goals made me skeptical. Then I began to test it.

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8.3

Thermomix TM5

The Good

The $1,300 Thermomix TM5 is a countertop multicooker that knows its way around a dozen common kitchen tasks, from cooking tomato soup to kneading bread dough. Plug in an included chip to access a cookbook's worth of easy-to-follow, adaptable recipes.

The Bad

It costs $1,300. The mixing bowl where the action takes place doesn't have a pour spout. Dough and other food bits get easily caught in the multicooker's blades. And, once again, it's $1,300.

The Bottom Line

The Thermomix TM5 is a luxury kitchen gadget worth pining for.
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The Thermomix TM5 became available in the US in September, but has been on the international market for more than 40 years.

Chris Monroe/CNET

I used the Thermomix to whip egg whites, knead bread, steam vegetables, boil pasta, blend smoothies and more. The gadget completed all of these tasks at a proficient level or above. The Thermomix was also easy to use, thanks in large part to an accompanying cookbook chip that you connect to the machine. And the hard copy of that cookbook outlines how to adapt your own recipes for the Thermomix.

I have a few qualms with the Thermomix's design. The mixing bowl doesn't have a pour spout. Dough and other gooey ingredients get caught in the Thermomix's blades. And the Thermomix could make better use of its turn-wheel control.

Overall, the Thermomix lives up to its promises and exceeds expectations. But the price makes it an aspirational product in the same vein as a KitchenAid stand mixer or Viking range. You don't need any of these products, and a lot of folks certainly can't afford them. Yet the Thermomix, like other expensive appliances that have become status symbols, is worthy of a spot on your wishlists and Pinterest boards.

This countertop gadget wants to replace your KitchenAid and Vitamix

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Take a closer look at this German import

A German company called Vorwerk began to sell the Thermomix in France in 1971, and the product eventually spread worldwide. Vorwerk released the TM5 model in 2014, and the company began to make it available in the US in September. Picking up a Thermomix is more complicated than visiting a Target or ordering online, though. You have to contact a Thermomix consultant for an at-home or online demonstration of the appliance before you order it (similar to a Pampered Chef situation, but with only one product).

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The Thermomix TM5 comes with a basket you sit atop the mixing bowl to steam foods.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Thermomix has two major parts: the 2.2-liter stainless steel mixing bowl and the white base on which it sits. Inside that base is a motor that can spin the Thermomix's four-blade mixing knife as many as 10,700 revolutions per minute. (Our favorite blender, the Ninja Ultima Blender BL810, can reach as many as 24,000 rpm.) The Thermomix also comes with a host of accessories: a butterfly whisk attachment, a simmering basket, spatula and steaming basket, tray and lid called the Varoma. You'll need plenty of storage space for the extras, and some generous counter space, too: the Thermomix is 13.4 inches tall by 12.8 inches wide by 12.8 inches deep (roughly 34.3 centimeters tall by 32.5 centimeters wide by 32.5 centimeters deep).

You control the Thermomix with the touchscreen control panel on the front of the machine and an adjacent selector wheel. Let's say you want to blend a smoothie. You touch the first circle on the touchscreen and use the wheel to set a blending timer. The second circle lets you pick a temperature to which you'd want to heat the contents of the mixing bowl (this is an optional step, especially in this hypothetical smoothie scenario). The third circle is what you select to choose the blending speed, from a 0-10 scale. Once you set the blending speed, the Thermomix will lock the lid of the mixing bowl in place and blend for the amount of time you selected. Other controls include a knead setting for making bread and a Turbo blend if you need short bursts of high-speed blending.

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The cookbook and accompanying chip will guide new Thermomix users through recipes designed for the machine.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Thermomix also comes with a hardback cookbook that provides tips on using the machine and recipes designed around the appliance. Getting a cooking guide with a product isn't new, but Thermomix's manufacturers also include a proprietary chip that contains all of the recipes from the cookbook. That chip connects to the side of the Thermomix so you can access the recipes right on the touchscreen. There are additional cookbook chips available in the UK and Australia (AU$40-50), and the Basic Cookbook and chip were on sale this fall for $29 each in the US.

It guides you through recipes step-by-step, and it automatically sets blend and cook times. Unfortunately, you can't use the selector wheel to scroll through recipes, which is counterintuitive since you use the wheel for many other controls.

Surely, it can't do everything... right?

Here are the major tasks the Thermomix says it can do: mix, steam, blend, weigh (there's a built-in scale reminiscent of a smart kitchen scale), stir, grind, whisk, emulsify, simmer, knead, cook and chop. I tested the Thermomix for a week, and it performed all the jobs its manufacturer promised. Let's take a deeper look at the performance.

The Thermomix holds its own against high-powered, big-name blenders like the Vitamix. I put the Thermomix through the same battery of tests we perform on blenders, and it annihilated anything I put in the mixing bowl in less than 10 Turbo pulses. (It did, however, take 13 pulses to shred an 8-ounce brick of cheddar cheese.) And when I made smoothies from frozen strawberries and orange juice, the Thermomix blended 98.71 percent of the contents -- a higher average than any other blender we've tested.

Blender Smoothie Consistency

Thermomix TM5 98.71Vitamix 7500 98.46Blendtec Designer Series WildSide Blender 98.46Breville Hemisphere Control Blender 98.46Ninja Ultima Blender 97.95KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender 97.44
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

It handles the hot stuff well, and cuts down on the dirty dishes. The Thermomix was like having an additional burner in the kitchen because you can cook directly in the cooking pot. Though some of the savory recipes from the included cookbook were bland, the machine itself handled the dishes seamlessly. For example, for a tomato soup recipe, I chopped onions, sauteed them, added the rest of the ingredients, heated the whole thing, then blended the soup into a creamy consistency -- all inside the Thermomix's mixing bowl. Without the Thermomix, that recipe would've required a cutting board, a knife and an immersion blender.

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I made the dough for this loaf of brioche in the Thermomix.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Homemade bread is attainable with the knead setting. You can't bake bread in the Thermomix's bowl, but it will do the heavy lifting of kneading the dough. Two rises and one bake later, I had a beautiful loaf of brioche that might have made Paul Hollywood smile.

Some basic tasks stumped the Thermomix. The top layer of rice in a simmering basket didn't get cooked. The machine didn't always reach the set temperature for the mixing bowl. And it left some bits of an ice cream mixture untouched, so I had to do a little hand mixing behind it.

The parts are easy to clean. You twist off the bottom of the mixing bowl to remove the Thermomix's mixing knife to clean it. You have to wash the mixing bowl by hand, but the rest of the parts are dishwasher safe.

It's loud. You know how eye witnesses always say a tornado sounds like a freight train? It might be more accurate to compare cyclones to the Thermomix, especially when it's on Turbo blend.

Final thoughts

The Thermomix could easily replace your stand mixer, food processor and blender. The machine can knock out a lot of cooking tasks and make meal prep more fun and manageable. But let's be honest: $1,300 is a lot to invest in a countertop device, especially when you consider the large appliances you could buy with that money. And there's still going to be a learning curve as you adjust to doing so much of your cooking and preparing in one machine. A lot of us will have to give the Thermomix a hard pass based on the price alone. But if you can swing it, add the Thermomix to your big-name kitchen lineup.

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8.3

Thermomix TM5

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 9Usability 9Performance 8
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