In my larger tested review of the best KitchenAid stand mixers, I found the Artisan Mini 3.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer to be the best model for beginners. Ahead, learn more about the petite yet powerful gadget that’ll transform your home-baking projects.
It’s not hard to understand why KitchenAid stand mixers are so widely beloved. Not only do these powerful kitchen gadgets do the hard work for you, whipping up rich buttercream and kneading dense dough with ease, but they’re also timeless, elegant pieces. That said, shopping for your ideal KitchenAid mixer can be intimidating—after all, they’re large and expensive. That’s why, when rigorously testing five models, I fell in love with the Artisan Mini 3.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer. During my tests, I was thoroughly impressed by how efficiently the machine whipped airy peaks of whipped cream, folded delicate sponge cake batter and kneaded tacky pizza dough. This compact gadget has all of the power and functionality of a larger KitchenAid mixer—just in a more petite package.
If you’re a newer or infrequent baker, the Artisan Mini is an unbeatable mixer. Not only does it require less countertop and cabinet space (which also makes this model great for those with tiny kitchens), but it’s more affordable than larger models. It’s also easy to use, thanks to its intuitive tilt-head design, and comes with an incredibly useful, beginner-friendly accessory: a silicone-edged flex beater, which reduces how frequently you have to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl. The Artisan Mini can even do things that larger models can’t. Chief among them, this mixer can make small quantities of food—think a dollop of whipped cream for an ice cream sundae or a half batch of cookies for a cozy night in—which makes this model a great option for people who live alone.
Style: Tilt head | Capacity: 3.5 quarts | attachments: Silicone-edged flex beater, dough hook, whisk | Weight: 18 pounds | dimensions: 7.8 x 12.3 x 12.3 inches | Power: 250 watts
- Newer bakers who want to learn the ropes on a professional-grade machine
- Those who like to make half batches and single-serving recipes
- People who have limited kitchen and storage space
- You like to double (or even triple) recipes—especially those involving stiff dough
KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer Features
Ideal For Single Batches (And Even Smaller)
Don’t let the Artisan Mini’s 3.5-quart capacity fool you: Despite the smaller bowl size, it’s big enough to make full batches of cookies, breads and cakes. In my testing, the Artisan Mini proved more than capable of mixing all my various recipes, resulting in baked goods that were airy and light—not overmixed or dense. While the mixing bowl was full to the brim when I made a large batch of loaded kitchen sink cookie dough (enough to yield 48 cookies), the paddle attachment thoroughly incorporated all the ingredients, leaving behind no dry spots or clumps of ingredients. The baked cookies were perfect, featuring evenly dispersed chocolate chips, walnuts, raisins, oats and coconut. I was similarly impressed by the Artisan Mini’s handling of pizza dough. Though I did notice a bit of bouncing when mixing the super-stiff dough, the Artisan Mini efficiently kneaded it into a smooth ball. The traditional sponge cake, too, was a breeze for the mixer. Using the paddle attachment, the machine gently folded all the ingredients together, leaving no pools of sugar or egg yolk at the bottom of the mixer.
What sets the Artisan Mini apart from other KitchenAid models is its ability to handle small quantities. Thanks to the smaller bowl, this machine is capable of tackling single-serving and halved recipes. While some of the larger models I tested struggled to mix smaller batches because the attachment couldn’t reach the ingredients at the bottom of the bowl, the Artisan Mini excelled at such tasks. This model effectively whipped a half cup of heavy cream with zero problem.
The Perfect Size For Small Kitchens
Comparable in size to an espresso machine, the Artisan Mini is 20% smaller than full-size KitchenAid tilt-head mixers, making this model ideal for those who aren’t willing or able to devote so much counter or cabinet space to a larger mixer . When I unlocked the mixing bowl and tilted the machine’s head backward, the entire mixer—yes, in that awkward position—fit easily inside my kitchen cabinets. Weighing in at 18 pounds, the Artisan Mini is also lighter than its bigger siblings, making this model easier to move to and from your pantry and overhead cabinets. That said, considering how compact and beautiful this model is (it comes in 10 elegant colors), the Artisan Mini could easily earn a permanent spot on your kitchen countertop.
A Cinch To Use
Chief among the reasons the Artisan Mini is so great for newer bakers: It couldn’t be easier to use. As a tilt-head style mixer, the Artisan Mini’s metal bowl locks into the base of the mixer, and I found the locking mechanism to be sturdy and secure. Even when the mixer was running at the highest speeds and kneading dense bread dough, the bowl didn’t budge. Additionally, the tilt-head functionality makes it easy to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl, switch out accessories and add more ingredients as needed.
The Artisan Mini also comes with a special beater: It features a flexible silicone edge on one of its sides, which helps catch ingredients on the sides of the bowl. When using a normal beater, I typically have to stop the mixer every 10 to 20 seconds to scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Thanks to the Artisan Mini’s silicone-edged flex beater, which I found incredibly effective, I had to do this relatively easy but annoying task far less frequently.
As a product reviewer in the home and kitchen space, I aim to find functional, efficient gadgets that help home cooks and bakers tackle a wide variety of kitchen tasks, from air-frying french fries to vacuuming household messes. With a background in professional cooking and a degree in culinary arts from the Institute of Culinary Education, I know what to look for in cooking equipment—and I aim to share that professional experience with my readers. My writing can be found in Food & Wine, Food Network, Real Simple and Taste of Home. For this piece, I also spoke with experts Joanne Chang, owner of Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe, and Jürgen David, director of pastry research and development at the Institute of Culinary Education.
How Does The KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5-Quart Stand Mixer Compare?
The Artisan Mini is the brand’s smallest stand mixer, and because it’s petite, it doesn’t boast the same capacity nor motor power as larger models. But still, this is one mighty mixer that can tackle a wide variety of mixtures, from delicate cake batter to stiff pizza dough. Thanks to its bowl-lift style, the Artisan Mini is intuitive to use; at 18 pounds, this space-saving model is both easy to move and store. That said, the Artisan Mini can’t accommodate the same amount of food as the other models, making this mixer ideal for newer or occasional bakers who are drawn to smaller, straightforward recipes over large, ambitious baking projects.
How I Tested The KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
To test the best KitchenAid stand mixers, I subjected five top models to four culinary challenges—whipped cream, spongecake, pizza dough and kitchen sink cookies—to determine their power and versatility. While I anticipated that I’d need to cut all my recipes in half for the Artisan Mini, I quickly realized that wouldn’t be necessary: This machine can easily accommodate full recipes.
Using the paddle attachment, I mixed a batch of kitchen sink cookies that were loaded with mix-ins including raisins, chocolate chips, walnuts, oats and coconut. In this test, I noted whether the paddle attachment thoroughly incorporated ingredients or if it left dry spots or clumps. Next, I mixed a batch of stiff, tacky pizza dough in the mixer, observing the machine’s sturdiness in the face of such dense dough. More specifically, I took note of any bouncing or bumping and listened for any changes in loudness. Lastly, I subjected the Artisan Mini to a test that required a more gentle touch: Using the paddle attachment, I made a traditional spongecake, testing the machine’s ability to fold a delicate batter.
All that said, I did end up halving one recipe to see how the Artisan Mini handled small quantities. While I made whipped cream using a full cup of heavy cream in the other models, in the Artisan Mini, I used just half a cup. In this test, I kept an eye out for splashing or splattering. Throughout testing, I noted how easy it was to use the machine, from changing speeds to swapping out attachments.