The Thermomix TM6 is our new favourite kitchen gadget. Here’s why
Vorwerk’s latest Thermomix model is the TM6, making it the appliance’s sixth generation. We’ve had a chance to put the “20-in-1” gadget to the test and see what the hype is all about.
Chopping, cooking, and more
So what does the Thermomix TM6 actually do? For the uninitiated, this is a kitchen assistant. It can’t be pinned down into one category.
The Thermomix has a heating element, hence “Thermo”, and a motor for fast or slow blending and stirring, which is the “mix” part. These two functions combined allow the Thermomix to steam, emulsify, blend, heat precisely, mix, mill, whip, knead, chop, weigh, grind and stir. It has a weighing scale built in as well, with a measuring range from 1 to 3000g, in 1g increments.
You might not be familiar with the Thermomix line, either because of the eye-watering price tag or the fact that you can only order one via a visit from a Thermomix representative 9if you’re in the UK), so you won’t have seen it in a shop.
The TM6 brings a few new features to the kitchen table. Those include a larger touchscreen display, and options for slow cooking, sous vide, and even fermentation.
Perhaps more importantly, the TM6 also integrates the Cookidoo online service. This required a small cook-key device to be purchased separately in the past, but, as the TM6 now has inbuilt Wi-Fi, it’s no longer required.
Cookidoo includes a database of over 50,000 searchable recipes, in full colour. It allows you to create personalised recipe collections and plan out your weekly meals, and can even automate your shopping list for you.
It does come with a cost though: the service is subscription-based and costs £30/$40 a year, although you do get a one-month free trial. If you’re not willing to spend the extra cash, the Thermomix comes with about 200 popular recipes on board and you can still use its individual functions.
Design & build
Built from high quality plastic and stainless steel, the Thermomix unit and its accessories feel tough and should withstand regular kitchen usage for some time to come. The unit is heavy at 7.95kg and quite large at 32.6 x 32.6 x 31cm, so be prepared to find space on your kitchen counter, as well as storage for the accessories.
The base unit has a dial and a new 6.8in colour touchscreen, which works quite well. The unit comes with the same 2.2 litre stainless steel mixing bowl as the previous model, as well as a varoma plate, a simmering basket with lid, splash guard, butterfly whisk, a measuring cup and spatula – all of which are dishwasher safe. Oh, and there’s a Simple Ideas cookbook too, in case you prefer good old-fashioned paper.
Although the latest model of the Thermomix puts the emphasis on its step-by-step Guided Cooking – where you follow the recipe instructions from start to finish – it does also have dedicated modes for some specific functions.
These are found by swiping the screen to the right and include the Scale, Dough, Turbo, Pre-clean, Kettle, Blend, Slow Cook, and more.
Swiping the screen to the left will take you to the main menu where you will find your saved recipes, recently cooked recipes and your weekly planned meals (if you’ve used the Cookidoo website to set this up). There’s also settings and a help menu. You will find the full instruction manual here as well – handy in case you lose the printed version.
So what’s it like? We have to say, it’s easy and enjoyable to use. Setup was simple and after a few moments and a quick firmware update (which happens automatically once you’ve got the Wi-Fi working), we were up and running.
Searching through recipes is fun, especially on the coloured screen, and kids also love helping out with the cooking.
You can use the search function to type in exactly what you’d like to cook, or go through categories for inspiration. You can also search by individual ingredients that you might have in your kitchen already, or excluding ingredients you might not have handy.
All of the recipes we tried were from the Cookidoo service. Although they claim there are over 50,000, this includes recipes in all languages, which means that you might be limited to those that are in English – although there are still plenty.
However, if you can read another language, you’ll have access to even more. Still, it would have been nice to see international recipes translated into English.
Almost everything you cook in the Thermomix is placed into the mixing bowl, which houses four removable blades at the bottom. The inbuilt scale measures the amount of ingredients you are adding to the bowl.
If something needs to be chopped, stirred or warmed up, you’re asked to place the lid on. A pair of arms built into the unit lock the top lid in place before any mixing or cooking takes place. The lid does have space at the centre (usually kept closed by the measuring cup accessory) to allow stream to escape for certain cooking techniques, as well as when using the varoma plate for steaming food.
It’s easy to use, even for a beginner, and really does speed up the process of cooking – as it will basically do all the most tedious parts of the cooking process for you, especially weighing and measuring ingredients. And as you’re cooking from scratch, with raw ingredients, the meals are healthier, and don’t have preservatives.
Price & availability
The TM6 isn’t cheap: it’ll set you back a not-insignificant £1,149/$1,499 – so you’ll want to be pretty convinced before you buy.
You can only buy it direct from the company itself. If you’re in the US you can just get it from the Thermomix website, but if you’re in the UK you’ll need to book a demo session from the company. That may sound like a hassle, but it’s a good chance to test the Thermomix out for yourself and make sure that it’s for you.
For a more budget-friendly alternative, have a look at our review of the Tokit Omni Cook, which retails for £768/ $899 and doesn’t require a subscription service to access its library of 1,000 recipes.
The main strength of the Thermomix is that it takes the worst parts of cooking – both the mundane and the fiddly – and simplifies them for you, with impressive results. With that in mind, the TM6 is even better than previous models, with more modes, better precision, and a vast – and growing – database of recipes.
It might not be the absolute best appliance for every single task, but it’s a jack-of-all-trades, capable of doing the majority of different cooking types well enough to relegate the bulk of your kitchenware to the cupboards.