If you’ve ever reduced ice to water or endured a lumpy smoothie, the Braun JB 5160 Jug Blender is here to help. More than just a blitz-and-hope-for-the-best machine, it’s part of Braun's IdentityCollection, which all feature preset programmes to make cooking easier. It has three programmes: one to crush ice, another to liquefy hot soup/purée, and lastly a programme for making smoothies worthy of the name.
It also has a handy pulse and 11 speeds, all powered by a 1000W motor. Even better, you can get as messy as you like because the whole jug comes apart for a really thorough clean afterwards, and it's dishwasher-safe.
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With its round glossy black base and Thermo-resist glass goblet (so it can cope with hot and very cold foods), the JB 5160 Jug Blender feels particularly sleek and robust. The jug drops squarely onto the base without any twisting, and is finished with a push-on lid that also fits over the spout. This contains a removable measuring cup, which has a smart drip hole so liquids can be gradually drizzled in as it runs, such as with oil for mayonnaise. Inside the jug, four angled blades help move ingredients around for consistent blending, while the jug itself is angled to help with circulation.
Its controls are straightforward – either choose speeds 1-11 by turning the dial right or one of the pre-set programmes or pulse by turning it to the left and pushing the Start button above. The Start button is ringed with a light that flashes when a programme is selected and stays steady while it’s in the middle of a programme, while pressing it again stops the blender. There’s a limit on the volume of hot liquids it’ll process (1.3 litres) and milk (800ml) but beyond that, its 1.6-litre jug provides plenty of capacity.
Taking the blender apart and putting it back together is simple – the blades fit snugly inside the jug while a rubber gasket keeps the seal watertight and a fastener ring screws on to hold it all in place.
I started by using the ice-crushing programme, filling the jug with a variety of ice cube sizes. Pushing the lid on, I started it running. The programme delivered intermittent bursts of blending to help crush the ice, taking about 20 seconds. Afterwards, while there were a few small chunks of ice remaining around the blades, most of it was crushed to an impressively fluffy, snowy texture, ideal for cocktails.
Next, I tried making a smoothie using yogurt, fruit, oats and seeds on the smoothie programme. This used a variable high speed with a few pauses to help combine the ingredients without throwing them all around the jug, taking around 1 minute 15 seconds. As it worked its way through the layers of ingredients, it gradually started to combine the mixture until it was a consistent colour and texture. While there was a small patch of oats and yogurt that resisted the blades, the majority was finely blended and velvety smooth.
Finally, I finished by trying the soup/purée programme. Decanting just-off-the-boil lentil and vegetable soup into the jug up to the advised level for hot liquids, I started the programme. It took about a minute and was again a variable speed blend that helped to draw the lumps down towards the blades for a gradual, progressive blitzing. Lentils can often clump, but the finished soup was verging on veloute, with a creamy texture and only a hint of stray lentils remaining. As it was now very thick, scraping out the soup was a little tricky from around the blades.
Cleaning afterwards was effortless, the jug unscrewing and coming apart completely to be popped in the dishwasher but it was also just as simple to clean by hand once disassembled.
An attractive design, plenty of power, a trio of programmes you’re sure to use on a regular basis and easy cleaning make this blender a great buy for the casual cook and busy households, as well as smoothie devotees. It’d be good to see a few more programmes, such as one for mayonnaise, given that the measuring cup is built for it.
Being really picky, I'd also like some recipe inspiration and a lid that locks into place – the advice in the instructions about always operating the blender with your hand on the top didn’t fill us with confidence, even though it performed sufficiently without that.
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Better than a basic model, the JB5160 Jug Blender is so simple to use and clean that it easily wins a place on the worktop.