Stirio Hands-Free Stirrer mixes it up in the kitchen
Making risotto is a labor of love. It’s rice, after all, turned into something wonderful but the constant stirring that’s required scares off some people and getting to perfection takes time. But what if a motorized pot stirrer could make the risotto? The Stirio Hands-Free Stirrer, $ 54, is claimed to do just that and more, so the experts at Consumer Reports put Stirio to the test.
“Clamps onto your pot and will stir any food; for example, porridge, risotto, or stew, while you can put your feet up and enjoy a glass of wine or set the table.” Made in Norway, the manufacturer is Unikia and it claims that Stirio is safe to use with nonstick coated pots, the rechargeable motor provides at least one hour of stirring before you recharge it, the motor is silent, and that Stirio is easy to use and clean and dishwasher safe, except for the motor, of course.
How it works
The clip-on bridge clamps the Stirio to the pot and centers it so that the stirring arms reach and sweep the entire cooking surface. Stirio can be used with pots that are 6 to 10 inches in diameter and 3 to 7 inches deep. It has a rechargeable battery for power, operates continuously unless you turn it off, and has one stirring speed. An optional silicone lid ($ 29) fits over and around the bridge, working with different sized pots and containing boil-overs. We did not include this in our tests.
How we tested
We tested the Stirio by using it to cook risotto, chili, soup, grits, and caramelized onions.
What we found
Stirio was very flexible in the size pots it fits, and it worked great with thinner sauces and soups. But for other foods it complained loudly and/or failed to stir the food entirely. For example, Stirio worked with the risotto once the stock was added, but prior to that simply moved the grains around the pan without stirring. And it failed to move onions when trying to stir them early in the caramelizing process. In the much thicker chili, it simply did not move. Tested at higher temperatures on a gas range, when stirring is more important, the flame’s heat melted the plastic of the bridge clamp that holds Stirio to the pot’s sides—though the instructions do warn of this possibility.
Stirio worked best on sauces and soups, which usually do not require constant stirring. Adding an intermittent mode would improve Stirio as would adding rigid low-profile blades that could handle chili and other thicker foods or recipes that don’t include liquids.
Need to know
It’s battery-powered so it has an upper time limit, which may vary with what you are stirring. Once the battery dies, the Stirio cannot be used while plugged in until it is recharged. The motor is definitely not silent, and its noise can become a bit grating in an otherwise quiet kitchen. You’ll also need a Europe-to-US plug adapter, since it comes with a European power plug.
Manufacturers get that you’re busy and that’s why you’ll see more appliances that claim to free you up in the kitchen. KitchenAid promises that its Stir Tower, an optional accessory for the KitchenAid’s Multi-Cooker, works like your own personal sous chef, keeping things moving no matter what you’re cooking. Read “The Multi-talented KitchenAid Multi-Cooker” to find out what our tests revealed about that small appliance. Questions? Send them to email@example.com.
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