You need to chop veggies for dinner, and a smoothie would be great about now, but you’re short on time. Do you really need to pull out the blender? Or can you just rinse out that food processor and add the fruit and ice when you’re done? It can’t be that big of a difference. I’ve heard that line before and it cost me a good food processor. Now I can help you sort out the difference.
Can food processors be used as blenders? Food processors cannot be used as blenders. Although they share some similarities, there are major differences. Resultantly, a food processor can’t puree or handle liquids like a blender. The liquid will be spun but it will climb the sides of the food processor bowl which pulls the liquid away from the blade.
Jobs For Blenders & Food Processors
Despite the fact that you can’t use a food processor as a blender, there’s some crossover between what a blender and a food processor can do. There are some jobs that belong to both machines.
Since both have blades, and you put food inside, it makes sense to wonder how much they have in common. The turning and cutting motion is how these machines do their jobs. Yet the blades, speed, and pressure used vary.
The best example of what both machines can do is making purees. Similarly, either can create a good pate. However, that is where they diverge.
A blender will make that puree in a few seconds when properly loaded. Alternatively, a food processor might need a couple of minutes to do the same job. The speed and pulverization are part of the mechanical differences.
What’s the Big Difference?
A blender is designed to make semi-liquids and liquids. Soups, drinks, and smoothies are its stock in trade. Realistically, they’re made to handle water much better than other kitchen mixing and chopping tools.
A food processor is better at making large chunks. Hence, chopping, shredding, and mincing are the things food processors do best. The ability to make a puree is actually an over-use of the intended blades.
Additionally, a blender is designed for extremely short bursts of frantic activity. More than thirty seconds at a time and longer than three minutes will begin to wear on your blender, breaking it down more rapidly than it’s designed for.
Because of the lower RPMs (revolutions per minute), they don’t pulverize as quickly. This means longer running times and less stress on the engine. Resultantly, you get bigger chunks, but more slowly.
How Does a Food Processor Work
Since they don’t do the same job, it might surprise you to learn that the first food processor was made from a blender. Engineer Carl Sontheimer spent several years working on the design. Furthermore, he tore apart and recreated an industrial blender to do the job.
The food processor has come a long way since it first reached the American market in the early nineteen seventies. Still, the basic concept hasn’t changed much in the last five decades. Though the power source and accessories have been modified, it’s still a whirling blade inside a container.
Slowing down and replacing blender blades was a stroke of genius. It allows the machine to run for much longer, and do less damage to the food inside. As a result, you get larger pieces instead of sauce.
What To Do With Food Processor
Once you begin swapping out the blade styles, your food processor becomes a fantastic multitool. Obviously chopped meats and vegetables come to mind first. Yet that is a very reductive view.
Make nut butter like Nutella, or fruit butter in your food processor. After that, you can whip up homemade mayonnaise, applesauce, guacamole, and hummus easily. Shredding cheese is great, but making your own ground beef is even better.
Don’t settle for a fast salad or super easy sliced potatoes for au gratin. Anything you need a knife for is simple with a food processor. Have diced ham on your omelets and minced onion in a moment.
Stand Mixer & Other Similarities
Instead of comparing your food processor to a blender, a stand mixer might be more accurate. Regardless of the mixer’s inability to chop, it shares some of the capabilities of your food processor.
On top of it’s mixing talent, a food processor can do a cheese grater’s job. Moreover, it can also replace an industrial meat slicer and a grinder. A good food processor can do many of the jobs you buy other machines for. Naturally, that’s a big part of the appeal.
A Great Food Processor
A great food processor should come from a well-known company. Buying cheaply made products is never your best choice. However, when it comes to whirling blades, you never want the lowest bidder to design their power source. Stay away from generic bladed kitchen tools.
I strongly recommend the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor from Amazon. I use mine to make everything from rolls to hummus. The reversible slice and shred disk is easy to use, and I certainly don’t miss risking my knuckles to grate cheese or veggies, and I’m not the only one. Check Hamilton’s reviews right here.
Like Sontheimer’s first customers, I was skeptical about how useful a food processor would be initially. Luckily, I got mine anyway. Also, like the early adopters, it took me a little while to realize how many things I could ‘process,’ and I’ve never looked back. There’s no kitchen tool as versatile in my opinion.
What Makes A Blender Different
If a food processor is literally named because it processes food, then a blender might well be called a liquid processor. Although most kitchen machines are somewhat water-resistant, wet is what a blender does best.
Surprisingly, a blender is also a better tool for grinding up small seeds to make powders and flour. Flax, for example, tends to take forever in a food processor. The miniature size leads to missed pieces and chunky results.
What to Make in A Blender
Unlike the food processor, blender blades are relatively dull. They pulverize things better and move much faster. This is perfect for making mixed drinks, or even grinding your own whole dry spices.
When you plan to make oat or rice flour, this is your weapon of choice. Likewise, turn your dried coconut into a fine meal consistency for the perfect cookies and cakes with the blender.
Unfortunately, those fast dull blades were never meant to produce a good chopped salad. So while it’s possible to get great ground meat, you don’t want to try dicing an onion. You’ll end up crying over your soup instead of caramelizing small pieces.
If you want a margarita, banana daiquiri, or milkshake, then the blender is ideal. Smoothies and liquados are a blender’s best friend. However, don’t miss out on creamy soups, and chunk-free salsa.
The Best Blender
Like a food processor, your blender should come from a trusted name in kitchenware. With so many choices on the market, it’s easy to get lost in pages of design features.
I recommend the Oster Blender Pro 1200. The Boroclass glass jar is made to withstand heat and cold, so it’s less likely to crack under pressure. Plus the extra-wide three and a half-inch blades make sure food flows down and gets completely mixed in, eliminating those chunks no one wants from a blended drink. To get an Oster from Amazon, click here.
Blender or Food Processor
The overlap between food processors and blenders blurs the line. Choosing the right tool can seem confusing, but I can help you sort it out once and for all.
First, you need to realize that there are two different types of blenders on the market. The stand variety is more common in home kitchens. However, a handheld immersion blender is also incredibly useful.
If you’re making a large batch of something, like soup or spaghetti sauce, opt for an immersion blender. The guard over the blades will keep it from nicking your pots and pans. Also, you can cut down on the number of dishes you have to do by blending inside your cooking pot.
When your goal is to make mixed drinks or smoothies for several people, use a stand blender. Using this style for family-size portions of creme soups, non-chunky salsa, scrambled eggs, and perfect mashed potatoes is where it shines.
In a pinch, you can also use your blender for ground meats. However, you need to pre-prep for this task. Cube your raw cuts into small, inch sized bites. Then freeze them for about thirty minutes. This will keep the fat and meat separate and make a tastier result.
If you don’t have time to use a knife, or you want to make a dough, choose the food processor. Any dish that needs shredded, diced, minced or chopped ingredients needs the slower, sharper blades.
Likewise, those sharp blades make great mixers, just not for liquids. Your food processor is more contained than an open-topped stand mixer bowl and just as effective for cookie dough, and bread.
Blend & Mix
For those who want to reduce kitchen clutter, get a Ninja Ultra Prep Food Processor and Blender. This clever tool can make you a drink and then make cookies while you sip. Better yet, it’s compact and very light weight. Learn more by clicking here.
We’ve all improvised in the kitchen before. There’s nothing wrong with trying out something new. However, some tools simply aren’t up to the task. Make sure you use the right tool to avoid ruining your kitchen equipment and your meal.
If you like to use a quick way to make a smoothie, can you use a hand blender to make smoothies like banana and strawberry?
I like to bake during my spare time, can you put cake mix in a blender if you are not a good baker?
If you peanut butter a lot for the protein as a bodybuilder, what is the best blender for making peanut butter that is super smooth?
Now that you understand the differences, you’ll know when to multitask and plug both devices in. Fortunately, when you use your food processor properly, you won’t risk burning it out.
Add all the spice you want, but be careful with appliances. Especially when something plugs in, make sure you read up on it before adding liquids.