What is the kitchen appliance that has sharp blades that spin at unusual speeds: the blender or the food processor? In fact, both. But while the two share many similarities, these appliances serve very different purposes. A blender is typically for liquids and is used to create things like smoothies, while a food processor is used for more labour-intensive tasks, like mixing batter or slicing vegetables. Sure, some blenders are powerful enough to handle tasks that should be from a food processor (and vice versa), but for now, let’s focus on the basic differences.
If you’ve ever looked for a food processor, you’ve probably noticed on the package a long list of all the appliance’s abilities, including mincing, slicing, grating, blending, and pureeing. Blenders, although over the years have become more capable, not yet do much besides liquefy. Sure, a powerful blender will be able to crush ice, and some higher-end models, like the Vitamix 5200, are capable of doing everything from ice cream and also best food processor for nut butters, but a regular blender won’t be able to match the amount of things a processor can do.
|Soups and purees||Best||May|
|Pastry (dough and crust)||Not||May|
As you can see in this table, the results are mixed. However, both appliances excel at different things.
Blenders, for example, are typically manufactured with features that make them ideal for preparing soups, purees, and smoothies. While some blenders have easy-pour glasses, others are specially made so that you drink directly from the same cylinder that you made your smoothie in. Blenders tend to handle liquids much better than food processors.
Food processors, meanwhile, are ideal for the most labour-intensive tasks, such as preparing doughs. Food processors have roomy bowls – making it easy to add ingredients – and they often come with a variety of attachments that you can slice carrots, grate cheese, or mix batter with.
The Hamilton Beach 10-Cup food processor is a good example of what to expect from this type of appliance. Features a large mixing bowl, pulse button, multiple speeds, and blade attachments for slicing, grating and chopping. It also includes a “scraper,” an attachment that automatically scrapes the sticky batter and mix from the sides of the bowl.
While a food processor is a great tool for bakers, a blender is a great choice for someone looking to consume liquids (be it cocktails or smoothies ) and this makes blender to be strongly categorized as baby food processor. But what if you want both? In the past, there was a very clear division between blenders and food processors, but not anymore. It is not uncommon for a high-end blender to include multiple attachments with which it is capable of accomplishing various additional tasks. The Vitamix 5200 cookbook, for example, has smoothies, nut butters, bread dough, cocktails, and cake mixes.
Differences between blenders and food processors
The fundamental difference between blenders and food processors is that food processors process foods dry: grate, chop, grind, without liquids! That is, we do not use a processor to make smoothies or fluid creams (it can make nut creams, but without adding liquids). And blenders process foods as long as it flows through the blades, that is, it needs liquid foods that release liquid when crushed. That is why the blender is the choice in case of making smoothies, creams, creamy desserts. With blenders, we can also grind or chop dry foods such as nuts, coffee, legumes or even vegetables, but the blender does not have options for different types of cutting, as in a processor that gives us different options, thicknesses and sizes depending on the blade that we use.
Uses of blenders
- Shakes and smoothies: Blenders are superb at extracting the juice from fruits and vegetables, separating it from the solid part. That is, a blender extracts the pulp from the fruit or vegetable, leaving only the juice. So if you are thinking of making smoothies or shakes, look toward blenders rather than food processors.
- Other uses of blenders include but are not limited to grinding peppers, such as red bell peppers as is with the practice in some parts of Africa.
Uses of food processors
Below are some of the things food processors can be used for:
- Grate and fillet any vegetable in seconds: As said, thanks to the discs it has, we can grate carrots, beets and even cooked potatoes in an instant to make mashed potatoes. We can also fillet onions or any other vegetable, so in the blink of an eye, we have large quantities of vegetables ready to use as we like.
- Chop foods: Such as cauliflower, broccoli or any dried fruit, until it is crumbled. This way we can make a vegetable couscous or chop several vegetables and nuts at the same time to make a sauce, such as a pesto or rice and oat burgers like these.
- Chop grains and seeds and prepare mixes and doughs to make cereal bars, raw vegan truffles or cookies.
- Whip egg whites until stiff or make whipped cream. This work is difficult to do by hand, however, with a food processor, you can solve it in a matter of minutes and without any effort, having the appropriate accessory that is purchased separately.
- Make seed butters: Also, thanks to the diameter of its glass and the blades, we can crush any dried fruit until it has a creamy texture. So you can easily make any butter you imagine at home, be it a nut butter, tahini, a homemade nutella or even a coconut one, if what we put is grated coconut. As they are very thick mixtures, the ingredients remain on the walls of the processor and to get the butter we have to stop the operation several times during the process, to remove the dough from the walls and deposit it again on the blades. They are thick and dense creams, without added liquids (if a liquid is added it is more appropriate to make the cream in a powerful mixer).
- Ice cream and frozen fruit sorbets. You just have to put the frozen fruits in the bucket and crush until you get a delicious ice cream consistency. Combining frozen bananas with any other fruit or ingredient you fancy always works.
- Dried fruit jams: Simply put some dried apricots, some dates and a little orange juice to enjoy a delicious autumn jam. Or some cherries and dates to make a fresh and delicious jam in a flash in the summer.
- Sauces and vegetable patés. Simply put avocado and the ingredients you want in the bucket and in half a minute we have a sauce made, or add some roasted aubergines to make whatever is desired in a matter of seconds.
- Knead doughs: If we knead the bread doughs with the processor, they will be perfectly aerated.
Which is better: A food processor or blender?
It depends on the task! So which recipes work better on the blender and which work better on the food processor?
- Salsa comes out best when made in a food processor to better control the size of the chopped ingredients, though it can be made in the blender too.
- Hummus and other purees are easiest to make in a food processor. Some purees, such as hummus, pesto and nut butters, can work in either appliance but the shape of the blender jar makes it a little harder to work with and you will need to add more oil.
- Smoothies are best made in blenders. The best blenders could blend kale into smoothies without leaving traces.
- Soups are best made in your regular blender (just make sure not to overfill the jar) or an immersion blender that purees soup right in the pot you cooked it in. Instant Pot recently jumped into blenders with a model that can heat your soup and also pureé it.
- Icy drinks should be made in a blender if you want to turn fruit into cocktails or make milkshakes. It can whirl frozen strawberries and ice into smooth daiquiris, or turn frozen wine into frosé in seconds.
- Pie crust is best made in a food processor: Even pros like Ina Garten use one for their pies. It can cut cold butter into flour quickly and avoiding the warmth of your hands and make a flaky pie crust. “They’re the only way I make pie dough,” said Papantoniou.
- Baby Food is a task for a good processor. Pureé fruits and vegetables in large batches to fit the work bowl, or use a smaller bowl if your food processor has one.
Questions like: Can you make smoothies in a food processor? What are the difference between blender and food processor? as severally been asked by people and we believe by now you have already gained clear knowledge between blenders and food processors.
The above are some of the most salient features of blenders and food processors. Although the ideal would be to have both at home, since they perform some very different tasks, you should always decide for the one that best suits your preferences.
If you are one of the people who love to grind their own spices, seasonings or meats, ideally you should have a food processor. While if you are a person who loves to make creams and prepare juices or smoothies, the blender will be your perfect option.