Cuisinart often put a bit of a spin on their kitchen gadgets in one way or another, so we’re always keen to see what they’ve got to offer.
Today, we’re going to take a look at what is no ordinary blender, the Cuisinart SSB1U Soup Maker allows you to make up a batch of soup using just the one device. It sautes, cooks, simmers and finally blends your ingredients in order to save you messing around with pots and pans as well as a blender. Interesting! Let’s take a look.
This machine has all the things you’d expect from a standard blender. It’s got a 600w motor and stainless steel blade; great for milkshakes and smoothies. But obviously the main attraction is that it can cook up and blend your soup in one go.
The magic happens in the base of the machine, where you find a rapid heating non-stick cooking plate. First you saute your base ingredients (using the built-in stirring function to avoid burning), add your stock and other ingredients, set the mode to simmer and wait for the ingredients to cook, then blend. The built in pulse function allows for chunky or smooth soups.
When you’re done, the thermal 1.4 litre glass jug keeps the heat in until you’re ready to serve your soup, ensuring it’s piping hot when you come to eat it. Of course, the internal heating element can keep it warm too if you won’t be eating it for a while.
Included in the box is a recipe book to get you started, although if you like homemade soup you’ll no doubt have your own favourite recipes too.
When you’re finished with the device, it has a built in self cleaning feature. Just add clean water and washing up liquid, and then it’ll whizz it around automatically to give the jug a clean.
The main advantage of the Cuisinart Soup Maker, then, is convenience. If you love to make homemade soup, there’s no separate pan, ladle, spoon and food processor to juggle. Instead, you can do it all from the same device. We’ll see how people got on with it a little later.
Of course, as well as making soup, it also makes for a pretty powerful standard blender suitable for everything from currys and pastes, to milkshakes, smoothies and sauces.
Topping off the package is a lengthy 3 year warranty, peace of mind for 36 months.
We found that most blenders were cheapest at Amazon.co.uk, including the Cuisinart Soup Maker which is currently available for 19% off.
Cuisinart Soup Maker SSB1U Features and Specifications
- Makes hot soup from start to finish in 20 minutes – built-in hot plate cooks, stainless steel blade blends up your soup
- 500 watt motor – works as a conventional blender too: great for smoothies, milkshakes, dips and sauces
- Pulse function – choose whether you want your soup chunky or smooth
- 1.4 litre glass jug – thermal design keeps soup warm until you’re ready to serve
- Recipe book included
- 3 year guarantee
Customer Feedback and Reviews
There are mixed feelings amongst customers about the Cuisinart SSB1U. While the vast majority of customers loved it, with 80% giving it 4 or 5 stars, there were also some criticisms. Let’s take a look at what people had to say.
First things first, is it a quality device? The answer is, yes! Actually, we’re generally impressed with the build quality of most Cuisinart gadgets, and this one is no different. Customers reported a solid and robust unit, with a heavy duty glass jug that’s going to stand the test of time well. One customer went as far to say that it “oozes quality”.
But let’s get down to the nitty gritty – does the thing make soup? All customers had success with the machine, even the ones who left negative reviews, saying that it does what it says it’ll do; makes great soup whether you like it chunky, or nice and smooth.
The process is simple enough, but one of the criticisms is that it’s not hands off. A few people thought that they’d just be able to throw the ingredients in leave it, but the soup maker does need a bit of nursing through the process.
Still, it doesn’t take a lot of work. You’ll need to be present during the sautee process to add further ingredients and also to stir and stop them from burning. Once this is done you can add your stock, bring it to the boil, then leave it to simmer. Then you just need to come back to do the blending.
So it makes soup well, and most people loved it. However there were some criticisms, which we’ll take a look at now.
First of all, a lot of people said that they found the machine too hard to clean. The problem comes from the fact that the blades can’t be removed. As the hot plate is a part of the jug beneath the blades (as one complete unit), this makes it very hard to clean the hot plate. The unit does have a self clean feature, but a lot of customers felt this wasn’t adequate enough to do the job.
A couple of customers suggested solutions to this problem. First, a few people had found that it is possible to screw off the glass jug. This allows you to access the hot plate, and to throw the jug into the dishwasher for cleaning.
The problem with this solution is that the manual says the jug, hot plate, and blades are supposed to be a “complete unit”. We highly doubt that the warranty allows for this kind of disassembly, so we recommend against it.
Another customer said that the key was the soak the hot plate straight away after use, filling the jug with hot soapy water so that the food doesn’t get a chance to dry. This makes it easier to clean below the blades using a bottle scrubbing brush.
Another criticism that was quite common, is that the recipe book is quite useless. There seem to be all sorts of errors in it, and it looks like it’s been thrown together quickly. For example, one customer pointed out that some recipes make reference to ingredients and then don’t tell you what to do with them!
Others said that the cooking times in the book were wrong, leaving them with hard chunks of veg in their soup. Fair warning – you’ll either need your own recipes, or recipe book! This isn’t a major problem though, Google can help you find all the recipes you’ll ever need.
Finally, it seems that there is no safety mechanism which stops the motor from blending whilst the lid is off. Whilst this merely makes a terrible mess if you accidentally blend cold ingredients with the lid off, it could be quite dangerous if those ingredients are hot. Always make sure the lid is on, before you do any blending!
We’ve got mixed feelings about the soup maker. We thought it was a neat little gadget, and really wanted to like it! The problem is, we’re not so sure it’s any more convenient than making up your soup in a pan and using a hand blender.
That said, if you’re wanting to use your hob and pans for something else, you can easily have your soup cooking up in the soup maker, saving yourself space and time.
It’s not perfect, but it does what it says; makes soup from start to finish, and allows you to blend it up to perfection. The device is also a decent standard blender, and works very well for the more usual blending tasks you’ll want to throw at it.
The Cusinart Soup Maker SSB1U a quality device, so if you’re sold on having an all-in-one soup maker then we’re sure you’ll be pleased. Just be aware that it might be a little on the tricky side to clean.