Serious Eats/Eric King
They’re big, they’re bulky, and they take up a lot of counter space, but for some crucial tasks, they are an irreplaceable tool in the kitchen. We are, of course. talking about stand mixers. And with the GE Profile Smart Mixer, we are promised a stand mixer that streamlines the process with a few “smart” features. The first is an internal scale that senses weight in two places: on the circular base of the mixer as well as with the arms that hold the bowl. But the one feature that truly makes it “smart” is the app on your phone that sends directions, mixing speeds, and times to the mixer. The app also provides guided recipes that send directions step-by-step to the mixer, as well as “auto-sense” recipes in which the mixer monitors changes in viscosity and adjusts mixing speeds and times accordingly.
We put this mixer through a variety of tests to see how well its scale and smart features worked, and if they actually made baking any simpler. We also examined how it functioned compared to analog-style mixers.
Serious Eats/Eric KingWhipping Cream Test: We used the built-in scale to weigh out heavy whipping cream into the bowl, set a timer, and whipped the cream at medium-high speed, stopping the timer when the cream was fluffy and thick. We then noted how easy the bowl was to remove from the machine and to handle while emptying the whipped cream into a container. Pound Cake Test: We used the “auto-sense” recipe for “Lemon Bliss Cake” in the app, which comes from King Arthur Baking, as all the other recipes do. We followed the directions for the guided recipe, measuring out ingredients using the built-in scale, mixing in ingredients when and how it told us to, and noting if it ever made “auto-sense” adjustments to timing and speed. Of course, we ate the cake to see if it was well-aerated. Pizza Dough Test: We followed our recipe for Neapolitan pizza, using the app to set a timer, and the built-in scale to weigh ingredients. We noted whether or not the machine struggled to knead the tough dough, and if the dough rode up on the dough hook. We also recorded how difficult it was to remove dough from the bowl. Usability and Cleaning: Throughout the course of testing, we noted how easy or difficult it was to use each of the mixer’s features or parts, and also how easy the bowl and attachments were to clean.
What We Learned
The Smart Features were Glitchy
Serious Eats/Eric King
This stand mixer can function just like a normal stand mixer, but the real value proposition is in its accompanying phone app and “auto-sense” technology. Through the app, you connect your phone to the mixer via WiFi, and then send directions to it, such as setting a timer, turning it on to a certain speed, or setting it to run at a certain speed for a certain time. The app is also equipped with two kinds of recipes: “auto-sense” recipes and guided recipes. With guided recipes, the app takes you step-by-step through the recipe, sending all the timing and speed instructions to the mixer. “Auto-sense” recipes are just like guided recipes, but in this case, sensors in the mixer’s motor monitor the mixture’s viscosity and make changes to timing and speed for optimized emulsion and incorporation. At the time of writing, there are only 13 “auto-sense” recipes (one of which is simply creaming sugar and butter, which allegedly takes 68 minutes) and about 32 guided recipes. This seems like too few recipes overall considering the main selling point of the smart mixer is this feature.
Built-in features like a timer and digital scales in the bowl arms and the base of the mixer, in addition to a timer function, add to its purported intelligence over other mixers. Other than that, the GE Profile Smart mixer works like a normal planetary-style stand mixer (meaning the beater spins while moving around the fixed bowl in a circle). Unlike a tilt-head mixer, where the whole top flips up or down, this is a bowl-lift mixer, where two holes on either side of the bowl hook into the mixer’s arms that are then lifted up and locked into place with adjoining levers.
The app also works with Alexa or Google Home devices, so you can speak directions to the device if your hands are dirty or occupied doing some other task. This worked with my Google Home, but it only responded to three commands “Hey Google, set the stand mixer speed to [0-11]”, “Hey Google, set stand mixer direction to forward/reverse.” and “Hey Google, set the stand mixer to off.” To turn the stand mixer to any speed from off, you can use voice control, but it will only start if you press the button in the center of the stand mixer’s control panel. You can turn the speed down or completely off, or into reverse with just a voice command, no need to press anything. But for some reason, we weren’t able to turn the speed up via voice command at all. Overall, this was a clunky feature that required specific commands, so we don’t think it’s helpful.
The Built-In Scales and Timers Were Convenient-ish
Serious Eats/Eric King
Two scales are built into this mixer: one in the arms that hold the bowl up, and one on the circular base of the mixer. The one on the base works with any bowl or vessel, not just the mixing bowl, but they are both programmed into the guided and “auto-sense” recipes. In all the recipes on the app, the directions tell you to add however much of an ingredient, and the mixer’s screen will show you how much you’ve added before beeping when you’ve hit the mark.
You can also use the scale independent of the app, but we found that this was slightly more finicky, and, surprisingly, there was about a 5-gram difference between the two scales when weighing the exact same object. The scale function only goes by intervals of five grams (it also shows pounds, ounces, and kilograms) which isn’t nearly as precise as any digital kitchen scale—and baking is all about precision. We had to reset the scale a few times as it kept flashing “overload.” Occasionally, when the arms were in the lowered position, the scale had trouble resetting to zero and just reverted back to the tared weight of the bowl.
While you’re mixing, it’s nice to not have to remove the bowl, dirty another measuring cup, or break out your own digital scale, but since you should really measure your ingredients out beforehand in any baking or cooking endeavor, we’re a little iffy on how useful this feature is.
As for the timer, the app’s recipes send timing info straight to the mixer, but you still have to manually press the center button on the mixer to make it go, so it’s not truly remote. You can’t set a timer through the app unless the mixer is also stirring, which is annoying, but you can set a timer if the mixer is in analog mode. Also, when changing the timer remotely, you have to cancel mixing altogether and start over with new directions.
It Mixed Well
Serious Eats/Eric King
Overall, this model handled its basic job well. The lowest (“stir”) and highest speed (11) are both slower and faster, respectively, than those of my KitchenAid Artisan. Having a very slow speed is great when adding powdery, dry ingredients or liquids that fast beaters could puff up in a cloud or splash out of the bowl. That being said, its fastest speed is very fast. When kneading thick pizza dough on speed two for 10 minutes, the mixer fitted with a dough hook never struggled or got warm from overheating. However, during kneading, the bowl kept popping up and down slightly, going in and out of its lock on the base of the mixer. Otherwise, though, the bowl stayed put.
The attachments are pretty standard: a paddle, a whisk, and a dough hook. The paddle reached the bottom and the sides of the bowl well, ensuring almost everything was incorporated. The whisk has a whopping 11 tines (as in, full loops) whereas my KitchenAid only has six. This made it extremely powerful (maybe too powerful) for tasks like whipping one cup of cream, as it had a tendency to overwhip. However, we liked that the whisk has an opening large enough for a hand to get in there to clean, unlike other whisk attachments. For tasks like beating egg whites and sugar into a meringue, it would be perfect. The dough hook was perfectly curved to wrangle pizza dough, and it avoided the common pitfall of the dough climbing up the hook and getting stuck at the top. It also released the dough well, with almost no sticking. Plus, the bowl height is adjustable, so if there is space at the bottom of the bowl where ingredients aren’t getting incorporated by an attachment, you can raise the bowl slightly by turning a screw on the base of the mixer.
The attachments are all stainless steel, unlike some other brands that have enamel-coated paddles and dough hooks (whisks are almost always steel). Enamel-coated attachments often chip (mine began chipping after a few years of use), but stainless steel doesn’t have that problem. Another unique feature was the locking mechanism that affixes the attachments to the mixer. Unlike KitchenAid mixers, which have a push and twist spring-lock, these attachments just require one push to lock in. To eject them, you have to pull down on the cylinder above and they fall down into the bowl. The falling part was slightly annoying since they occasionally got more batter on them which then had to be scraped off, but it was nice not to have to lower the bowl arms to retrieve the attachments.
Who Is This Mixer For?
This is the question that loomed over most of our tests. If you’re a beginner baker, features like step-by-step directions in the guided recipes and the promise of “auto-sense” recipes where some mixing guesswork is eliminated, could be helpful. I could see how breaking it down into steps for the user, instead of just being bombarded by a wall of recipes, does make the learning curve of baking more manageable. Plus, if you’re always forgetting ingredients or steps, the app helps prevent that (that being said, the app’s recipe for Lemon Bliss Cake did neglect to tell the user to include the lemon zest in the directions). This feature may make baking easier if you’re just starting out, but most beginner bakers don’t need a high-powered, heavy-duty mixer with lift arms and a 7-quart bowl (most stand mixers have a 5-quart bowl, which is usually plenty for home-baking applications). And at $800, I can’t imagine anyone thinking this is a good “starter” mixer.
Much of the marketing is devoted to the idea that you can set it and forget it, walking away to do something else while the mixer adjusts its time and speed and stops when it’s done. However, you should always be keeping an eye on what’s happening in your mixing bowl lest your whipped cream curdles, your batter becomes overworked, etc. Second, if you’re not a pro, you’re probably baking for leisure, in which case you don’t really want the enjoyable experience of mixing to be fully automated.
If you’re an experienced or even intermediate baker, you know that baking is about more than numerical values for times and speeds; it’s about knowing what cues to look for with your senses. That’s why good recipes say “Mix until the last streaks of flour disappear” not just “Mix for three minutes on low speed.” Different mixers have varying power settings and, depending on a number of factors, three minutes might be too much or too little time. So an experienced baker would probably find these bells and whistles superfluous, or worse, annoying and in the way. As an experienced baker, I can say that the “auto-sense” recipe for Lemon Bliss Cake produced a great cake, but I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if I had intervened when it beat the eggs for much longer than it took to combine them with the butter and sugar; or when it stirred too fast for alternating adding wet and dry ingredients; or when it mixed the final batter too fast and way past the point that it was fully combined.
This mixer was very powerful (540 watts) and didn’t struggle when kneading a thick, tough pizza dough on low speed. The GE Profile goes up to speed 11, while most mixers don’t go past 10, and its “stir” speed was significantly slower than my Kitchen-Aid Artisan, which gave me much more control when adding flour or liquids that can easily end up on your shirt and not in the bowl. At lower speeds like “stir,” even up to four or five, it was very quiet.
Unlike some other brands’ enamel-coated attachments, GE uses a stainless steel paddle, whisk, and dough hook, which are easier to spot dirt on and clean—and also aren’t prone to wear and tear like chipping and flaking. They were also very easy to pop on and off with a simple push-and-pull lock mechanism. We also liked that you can adjust the height of the bowl (important to make sure everything is incorporated by the beater) with a screw that is located on the base of the mixer. As it mixed, the beater reached almost all the way to the bottom and the sides of the bowl, leaving just a thin layer of unincorporated ingredients, which is impressive for not having a bowl scraper attachment.
The guided recipes made using the mixer much easier since everything is pre-programmed with the weight of ingredients, mixing speeds, and timers. This seemed to be the only time the scales and timers worked seamlessly, and it also meant that it was hard to forget any ingredients or steps. The “auto-sense” guided recipe for Lemon Bliss Cake resulted in a well-emulsified batter and a cake that was fluffy and tender — not tough from being overworked.
When it worked, the digital scale function was convenient, and we liked how the gap between the mixer and the lip of the bowl was large enough to pour lots of ingredients in. We also liked how the high sides of the bowl prevented dry ingredients from puffing up and wet ingredients from splashing out.
The app was easy to set up and pair over WiFi with the mixer and Google Home (for voice control).
The smart features on this mixer were great in theory, but not in practice, and the learning curve on all the digital bells and whistles was steep. The scale and timer functions were both finicky and only worked under certain conditions. Also, the scale only recorded grams in intervals of five, and, depending on where the bowl was (on the base or in the bowl arms), the scale was off by about five grams when measuring the exact same amount. Sending directions from our phone to the mixer while the beaters weren’t moving required us to press a button on the mixer, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a remote control (unless you’re making a guided recipe).
And speaking of the guided recipes, as I mentioned before, there are only about 45 on the app at this time, 13 of which are “auto-sense”. The auto-sense recipe for Lemon Bliss Cake turned out great, but we’re not prepared to say that was because of any adjustments made by the viscosity sensors in the mixer (we noticed no changes in timing or speed during mixing). We also noticed that the app’s recipe did neglect to tell the user to add the lemon zest. Surprisingly, there wasn’t an option to turn on a timer for baking in the oven while doing a guided recipe.
Another section of the app that made us scratch our heads was the “Active Stir Beta” mode that makes you switch from remote to manual to use it, but then it won’t function and tells you to switch back to remote. Obviously, it’s in the beta stage, but sometimes it seemed like all the digital parts of this mixer were.
As for the voice control, it worked, but only with very specific commands that we had trouble remembering. Plus, it only worked for certain tasks, like turning the mixer on (though you still have to press a button on the mixer), reversing the beaters, turning it down, or turning it off. We were not able to turn the speed up at all or set a timer via voice command.
Also, this mixer is heavy—like really heavy. I’m 5’11” and 200 pounds and struggled to lift it, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who wants to store a mixer somewhere other than your countertop. Though it was pleasantly quiet at low speeds, at higher than six or seven, it was louder than my 12-year-old KitchenAid (which desperately needs a service). Its maximum decibel level is 75, which is about as loud as a vacuum cleaner.
Lastly, there’s no getting around it: with an $800 price tag, we aren’t sure it’s worth the $270 more than our favorite non-smart stand mixer that performed just as well.
Weight: Actual: 38.4 lbs; with bowl: 41 lbs; with bowl and all attachments: 43.4 lbsDimensions: 11.33 x 14 x 17.07 inchesStated bowl capacity: 7 quartsWattage: 540 wattsAttachments: Paddle, dough hook, whisk, splash/pouring shield Care instructions: Paddle, whisk, dough hook, shield, and bowl are dishwasher-safeMaterials: Stainless steel bowl and attachments, plastic splash shieldPrice at time of publish: $800Serious Eats/Eric King
Do you need a smartphone to use the GE Profile?
No, the mixer works just like a traditional mixer when not in remote mode. To use all of its features like setting timers and speed control remotely, using “auto-sense” and guided recipes, and voice control, you have to download the Smart HQ app, connect the mixer to your WiFi, and pair the app with your mixer.
What does the GE Profile come with?
The GE Profile Stand Mixer comes with a paddle, dough hook, and whisk attachment, as well as a plastic shield that guards against splashes and features an opening for pouring in ingredients.
What are stand mixers good for?
Sometimes stand mixers are a requirement for recipes, and sometimes they just make things much, much easier. For example, a stand mixer is perfect for making a cake batter in which you must stream in liquid or dry ingredients while the mixer is running. One can also come in handy if you’re tasked with kneading a thick bread dough for a long time. Stand mixers are also great for Swiss meringue buttercream, where hot sugar and egg whites have to mix on high speed for 10 minutes (sometimes more) until they cool off and you can add the butter. Really, we’re talking about any recipe that requires one mixture to be mixed into another while the mixture is running, or any recipe that calls for mixing or kneading for extended periods of time.
Why We’re the Experts
Eric King is a recipe developer, photographer, food stylist, and content creator. He runs a baking blog called easygayoven and has developed, styled, and photographed recipes for Netflix Family. He’s been writing for Serious Eats for about a year.For this review, we used the GE Profile to make whipped cream, pound cake, and pizza dough. Throughout testing we also examined how easy the app and smart features were to use and if they added any value to the stand mixer’s usability.We’ve reviewed stand mixers and even more KitchenAid stand mixers, so we know a thing or two about the appliance.