Price (RRP): $299 (on sale)
The Nutri Ninja Blender System with Auto-iQ BL682 in its most basic form is a smart blender – Auto-iQ. But that would be like calling Einstein a hack scientist. This contains an [update] to the original review in November 2019.
A better start would be to call the Nutri Ninja Blender System with Auto-iQ BL682 a food and drink preparation system because it intelligently does much of the work to get ingredients ready for further cooking or drinking.
The Nutri Ninja Blender System with Auto-iQ BL682 arrived packed in one of those boxes that belies the amount of stuff hidden inside. Certainly, once unpacked we doubt it will ever be able to be repacked, Houdini-like, back in the box.
And an admission – My wife and I have never owned a ‘blender’ before – never saw the need. So, this review will be updated as we try new things. If it is anything like the Ninja Foodi Grill (review here) that has become indispensable in our kitchen, we look forward to much more than making smoothies, Martinis and Mojitos.
Nutri Ninja Blender System with Auto-iQ BL682
Price: $349.99 but I note a sale at $299.99 (23 November 2019)
There is so much stuff in the box but to summarise: A Powerbase that you fit accessories too, a huge 2.1L pitcher, a 1.8L food processor bowl, three different sized Nutri Cups along with implements of destruction – blades!
- 1500-Watt Power Base
- 500ml Cup
- 650ml Cup
- 900ml Cup
- Pro Extractor Blade
- Sip & Seal Lids
- 1.8L Food Processor Bowl
- Chopping Blade Assembly
- Dough Blade Assembly
- 3 x Silicone Sleeves
- 2.1L Blender Pitcher
- Stacked Blade
- Let’s Get Started Tips & Recipes
- Instruction Book
As we said, this review starts as an overview and over the coming weeks, we will update it as we try more things.
Who is it for?
Well, it is a perfect wedding present. I say that because I suspect you need to grow up with using blender/processor to really appreciate it. And its time my son proposed!
For example, my (unmarried) daughter is quite the chef (she thinks so) and has a separate stand mixer, food processor and blender. I believe that for most things this could replace at least half the first and both of the latter two items that cost twice as much and take up so much bench space.
It is perfect for any pro-cook – in fact, my Central Coast takeaway cook is envious of all the work it could save him in preparation (no it does not slice tomato or lettuce but it could make burger mince!)
My wife is eyeing it off for healthy, low fat, lactose-free smoothies that she can’t buy at the coffee shop. Me, I love really strong iced coffee with several scoops of ice-cream – ditto!
But to buy a $299/349 device and not use it fully would be a shame, so I suggest you assess your needs based on this review.
Spoiler alert – I can see this becoming a kitchen fixture.
What is Auto-iQ?
Something we all lack, perhaps. It helps select the best program for a specific use. Note that some programs are ‘container’ specific.
Again, we have not tried all these out yet, but they include settings for
- Frozen drinks/smoothies/milkshakes/cocktails – crush ice, ice-cream, yoghurt, frozen fruits, vegetables into a frappe
- Food puree – dips (like guacamole), soups, sauces and dressings
- Blend – use with the smaller Ninja Cups – for super green juices and protein shakes
- Ultra-Blend – ditto but for use with harder ingredients like fresh fruit pieces
- Pulse – adds a quick burst of power then slows etc. Best to break up big pieces
Essential blender functions (note that this can do so much more)
Blend, purée, stir or mix liquids, thin batters, dressings, and cooked foods or softer raw fruits and vegetables including onions, tomatoes, capsicum, and mushrooms. Read on!
What do you use the 1.8L food processor bowl for?
Mincing, Chopping, grinding, dough mixing and batters/cake mixes (like a rotary beater)
What do you use the 2.1L Pitcher for?
Puree, frappe, fine chopping, and things that use ice cubes (make sure you have a fridge with an icemaker) – perfect for jugs of mojitos!
What do you use the Nutri Cups for?
500-900ml serves of fresh juice, smoothies and milkshakes, grating (breadcrumbs) and small chopping (chives, herbs, etc.).
[Update]: My wife wanted to make a smoothie and naturally selected a medium-sized Nutri Cup, threw in the ingredients and selected Auto-iQ Frozen Drinks and Smoothies. ERROR!
It is clever enough to know that different Auto-iQ programs apply to the Processor Bowel and Pitcher – not the Nutri Cups. The pitcher/blades are better suited to ice cube cracking and frozen blending than the Nutri Cup blades. That said we simply selected Medium and made the smoothie anyway. Its called the right tool for the job.
[Update: Measure your ingredients or not?]
Being new to this I made up my own ice-coffee recipe on the spot – double espresso (I like strong coffee), four scoops of ice cream (Peters No Sugar), a half cup of lite milk and a half a cup of ice (to cool the hot coffee). Threw it in the Pitcher, pressed Auto-iQ and it did its thing. The first time result was good but not perfect.
You see I do what most ‘cooks’ do and estimate. On the second attempt, I followed an online recipe that addressed the issue of watery ice-coffee from too much liquid caused by ice cubes and a lesser extent milk. It said that only four ice cubes should be used in the coffee cup to cool the espresso, not a half a cup in the blender. And that too much milk makes it watery. Bellissimo – the perfect strong iced coffee.
Moral of the story is that it may take a while to get qualities right so use the Internet to search for ‘How to make X in a blender’. And get a lot of cup measures and use them initially until you know if a quarter, half or full cup is needed – you need a baseline other than adding a handful of this or that.
[Update: Different uses]
Well it is now April 2020 and to the Nutri Ninja’s credit it is now a firm fixture in the Shaw kitchen. I say that with a degree of amazement as we have never had a blender before.
Daily is the smoothie and the occasional guilty pleasure of an iced-coffee (already mentioned). But we have graduated to crushed pineapple (using fresh or frozen pineapple chunks – not tinned).
Since then we have successfully (and often) made
– Shepard Avos (Australian late summer) do not have the oil of the wrinkly Hass Avos and as such are harder to whip and lack that nice guac consistency. Throw in one or two peeled Shepards, a teaspoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt (or lemon juice as we prefer), and some diced fresh tomato, onion and capsicum – add chilli powder or fresh ones to taste (or cheat and use mild/medium/hot store-bought salsa). Hint – low and slow speed so as to keep the guac texture instead of a paste.
We use the Women’s Weekly recipe and substitute low-fat milk (that is defeated by the butter anyway). Use the processor bowl for a few seconds and you have a great batter that you can pour directly onto the griddle.
Mince – we had some leftover rump steak and cut the main fat/gristle off (we like low fat). Place in the blender. Our first attempt produced a paste with lumps. We can’t see how either the blender or the processor bowl can chop for mince like consistency – but we will try again.
We use a simple recipe that technically is for hand mixing. We use the processor bowl to mix (step 1 of the recipe). But we are divided on its effectiveness to knead the dough – you usually do that by hand on a well-floured surface. But it does work – again low and slow ‘dough’ speed – and the result is a slightly more aerated dough that produces a thicker pizza. Of course, you can hand roll it to make a thin and crispy base. I think it would be better for non-rising cookie dough.
We have prepared delicious smooth soups like pumpkin etc. What we are struggling with is chunky soups with vegetables, legumes and barley where it tends to puree rather than chop/mix. I suspect using the blender first for the puree and the processor bowl for chopping/mixing would work.
And we have chopped herbs, diced fruit and vegetables and more. As I predicted it has become a kitchen fixture and we are a convert. It speeds up preparation time and has reduced the need to buy pre-prepared foods. If you read the cleaning section you will see that its a breeze to clean.
Interestingly we don’t use the Nutri cups as much as we thought we would. Maybe we don’t drink a lot of frapped kale! But they are good for liquidising.
Cleaning – a pet hate ‘solved’
The Nutri Cups/lids, blades are top-shelf dishwasher safe. The pitcher and food processor – wash in warm, soapy water.
[Update]: After a couple of days/nights use we discovered that you do not want to leave it until the next morning! For example, mango is very hard to clean off if left overnight.
The Nutri Cups are easy – squirt a few dish-drops in, add some water, screw on the lid and shake (well you could use the Powerbase as well). Rinse and drain on the dish rack.
The Pitcher is large and has blades and a lid. Rinse under warm water (you may need a deeper sink), add a few dish-drops, place the blade in, add water, lock on the lid and shake – it is definitely easier to use the Powerbase for a quick spin.
Is it well made?
It looks well made. Many reviews comment on the build quality.
In fact, one of the café’s I frequent in Sydney has on older BL642 (no food processor) to make milkshakes, smoothies and purees and he swears by it.
But it is noisy – blending and pulsing can reach 90dB.
GadgetGuy’s initial take – Nutri Ninja Blender System with Auto-iQ BL682 deserves more testing
Just a reminder – this sexagenarian has survived well without a ‘blender’ for a long time. I mean that I cook simple foods that do not need a lot of preparation.
Our first few attempts have been great – icy frappes etc. My wife makes a banana/berry/lactose-free yogurt and muesli cup for brekkie – convenient and fast.
My first test was to crush ice cubes – it did that with aplomb (and a lot of noise).
I like that the containers have measurement marks I can use. The three Nutri cup sizes are perfect for individual or two/three drinks – and there is no mess or waste.
But above all the Auto-iQ takes all the guesswork out of it.
But we must be more adventurous.
Would I buy a Nutri Ninja Blender?
[Update]: Wouldn’t any domestic god/goddess buy one?
If we had any ordinary ‘blender’ to review we would not have missed one. But this is a super-duper, Einstein intelligent, blender, vitaminiser, food processor and useful kitchen tool – all in one neat package. Our biggest challenge has been to remember to use it.
In many respects, its flexibility is like the other Ninja product – the Foodi Grill that can Air Fry, Roast, Bake and Dehydrate. Before it, we used several cooking utensils and now we use it at least four times a week to prepare an evening meal. Now we could not live without it and I am pleased that our family and friends have bought them too.
Best Buy US gives it a 4.8-out-of-5 user rating. Based on initial use so do we.
And for something funny you can do in a blender