Differences Between Food Processors And Blenders
Last Updated on July 14, 2021 by Gabriel Goddy
The differences between Food processors and blenders have been a bone of contention for so many people. Knowing this, we have decided to show to you the differences between food processors and blenders. You’re encouraged to read through this guide.
What Is a Food Processor?
A food processor is a versatile electric appliance that allows you to prepare all sorts of foods in a variety of ways. From chopping to shredding to mixing dough, a food processor can quickly handle a multitude of tasks that would take you much longer to complete manually.
Food processors typically have four parts: a base, a clear plastic body, a set of removable blades, and a lid. Food processors have speed and pulse controls located on their bases. A food processor’s body is wide and spacious, which allows it to accommodate larger recipes. Food processor lids are equipped with tall feed chutes that allow you to add ingredients while mixing.
Unlike blenders, which typically come with only one blade attachment, food processors can come with a large assortment of blade attachments that can perform all sorts of tasks: shredding, slicing, grating, chopping, mixing, and more. They can also come with bowl inserts that allow you to perform several different tasks in different compartments simultaneously.
Because of the shape of their bodies and the versatility of their blades, food processors are adept at processing dry ingredients. They aren’t as good at blending liquid ingredients – partially incorporated wet material tends to get stuck along the sides of the mixing bowl, out of reach of the blades. Unlike blenders, food processors can be filled all the way to the top and still function fine.
What Is a Blender?
As its name would suggest, a blender is an electric appliance that is best suited for blending solid ingredients with liquid ingredients.
Just like food processors, blenders typically have four components: a motorized base, a pitcher, a set of (often removable) blades, and a lid. A blender’s controls, located on its base, can include speed and mix settings.
Most blender pitchers are conical in shape, with handles and spouts for easy pouring. A blender’s rotating blades screw onto the bottom of the pitcher, so they’re easy to remove for cleaning. The lid fits snugly to the top of the pitcher and can be equipped with a removable plug. Removing the plug allows you to add more ingredients as you blend.
Blenders are most often used to puree fruits and vegetables for smoothies and soups. If the liquid is involved, a blender is an appliance to use. The conical shape of their pitchers is excellent at directing ingredients toward the blades. As the liquids and solids blend together, they rotate, creating a downward-moving vortex that effectively ensures all unblended particles are shredded and combined.
One drawback of a blender is that it cannot function properly if its pitcher is filled to the brim with ingredients. Most recipes recommend filling the blender only three-quarters full to leave enough space for the ingredients to move freely and to prevent overflow. Blender blades also have a limited reach, and without a liquid, they don’t handle dry ingredients well.
Most blenders don’t come with different parts and attachments that would make them more versatile, but some high-powered blenders do – be sure to check the description and specifications of a blender to learn what tasks it can handle and what attachments are included.
The Difference Between These Appliances
The short story: A blender is typically better for foods that will end up mostly liquid, whereas a food processor is better for foods that will end up being mostly solid.
Blenders and food processors both use blades and motors to accomplish their tasks, but the particular mechanisms of each device are crucially different. According to Bon Appetit, the motor of a blender is typically more powerful than that of a food processor, which creates the silky-smooth texture so characteristic of blended foods. However, blender blades “are not super sharp. In fact, they’re basically blunt objects.” Because of this, blenders are better for handling liquids and creating smooth textures.
A food processor, on the other hand, uses “ridged and razor-sharp” blades, which allow them to slice through thicker and more substantial foods. This, plus the addition of accessories like a shredder blade, allows a food processor to accomplish a number of tasks such as chopping and shredding.
Best Foods For The Blender
- Cocktails, Smoothies, And Sauces
When combining liquid ingredients to create a smooth, luxurious beverage or sauce, the high-octane motor of a blender is your best friend.
“A blender is best for liquids and a food processor is better for more solid ingredients. Having said that, very powerful blenders like Vitamix and Blendtec will literally pulverize hard items.
“Blenders are great for mixing liquids and making sauces. The conical shape directs everything to the blades at the bottom. Also, since [the blender pitcher is] so deep, it’s less likely to overflow. The blades of a blender aren’t that large or sharp ― what mixes things up is the powerful motor,” Willis explained.
Blenders can mix up any number of delicious sauces, but the brunch staple and eggs Benedict MVP known as hollandaise particularly benefit from the textural consistency provided by serious blender motors.
“Nothing has changed the brunch game more than powerful blenders,” said culinary director Jeremy Kittelson of the Edible Beats restaurant group in Denver. “Cooks used to have to sweat over double boilers for what seemed like forever, only to often end up with a broken hollandaise and then get yelled at by the chef and have to start all over again. No more ― one only needs to heat clarified butter and put their egg mixture in a blender for perfect hollandaise.”
Whether you’re whipping up a veggie puree to serve alongside a protein or emulsifying fat into a pureed soup, a high-quality blender can aerate the mixture, resulting in a silky texture with an indulgent mouthfeel.
“I use [a Vitamix Vita-Prep blender] for pureeing soups or vegetables because it whips air into our purees, especially when we emulsify a fat into them,” said executive chef Mike Sheerin of Taureaux Tavern in Chicago. “Using a blender gives [the purees] a mayo-like consistency without all the calories.”
The motor speed of a professional-grade blender also contributes to this tool’s ability to finely process fruits and vegetables, according to chef de cuisine Geoff Lee of Byblos in Miami Beach, Florida. “The blender is capable of spinning the blade at a higher RPM than a food processor, which works well for breaking down items into their finest possible state. For example, I’ll use a blender when making my signature, a roasted red pepper puree,” Lee told HuffPost.
- Cake And Pastry Batters
In another instance of blender aeration coming to the rescue, these devices are perfect for making light, airy and smooth batters for cakes and pastries. “Blenders are awesome for batters for the same reason [that] they’re great for smoothies: blender aeration,” explained Chicago-based chef and blogger Mila Furman of Girl and the Kitchen. “Whipping air into the batter creates a beautifully fluffy mixture.”
- Baby Food
It’s difficult to think of an edible item that requires a soft and even texture more than baby food. Luckily, parents interested in prepping their baby’s sustenance from scratch will find a very functional friend in their blenders.
“My wife and I used our blender for making homemade baby food for our daughters,” said executive chef Ethan McKee of Urbana in Washington, D.C. “It’s super easy, saves a ton of money, and gives you total control of the ingredients that go into it.”
Worst Food For The Blender
- Cauliflower Rice
Using cauliflower as a keto-friendly swap for grains continues to grow in popularity, but if you want to transform this veggie into a rice substitute, it’s definitely not a task best performed with a blender. According to Taste of Home, cauliflower contains more moisture than you might expect, and when you drop florets in the blender and turn on the motor, the water inside the vegetable leaks out and leaves you with a “soggy” result.
Best Foods For The Food Processor
- Pie And Biscuit Dough
While blenders work beautifully for pastry batters in need of aeration, heartier doughs like the ones required for bread, pie crusts, and biscuits achieve their sturdy texture thanks to the blades of a food processor. “A food processor is good for making pie dough and biscuit dough because the blades are very sharp,” Willis said.
- Pasta Dough
Making pasta dough in a food processor simplifies the process and saves you time. “I use my food processor to make fresh pasta dough,” said executive chef Molly McCook of Ellerbe Fine Foods in Fort Worth, Texas. “It significantly cuts down on the prep time and helps keep a more consistent product. Different cooks might mix by hand at different strengths and speeds, but by using a food processor, you can achieve the same combinations each time, and consistency is crucial in a restaurant setting.”
- Breadcrumbs, Chopped Nuts, And Chopped Veggies
If you need a significant quantity of breadcrumbs or chopped produce of any kind, a food processor will keep the process moving efficiently and will provide you with a consistent product with a perfect fine-grain texture.
“I use food processors to chop and grind dry ingredients as fine as possible (like a powder). Items like breadcrumbs, nuts, and coconut are best chopped in a food processor,” said chef Wayne Elias, a Los Angeles-based chef with significant experience cooking for large Hollywood festivities like Elton John’s Oscar party and Steven Tyler’s Grammy party.
“A food processor is a perfect tool when you need something that requires a large quantity of mincing,” noted chef de cuisine Tom Kaldy of Artisan in West Hartford, Connecticut. “For instance, at my restaurant, Artisan, we make a vegetable ‘risotto’ in which the vegetable we are using, whether it be cauliflower, broccoli, etc., acts as the ‘rice’ part of the risotto.
In this situation, hand-chopping would be too time-consuming and would actually produce a less consistent result than a food processor blade. A blender would not be able to continuously chop the ingredient consistently, and the effort may even cause the blender to seize production.”
The most important thing to keep in mind when deciding between a food processor and a blender is that the two aren’t necessarily interchangeable.
If you’re interested in ramping up your kitchen’s efficiency by replacing several manual food prep tasks with an appliance, go with a food processor. If you’re looking for an appliance for all your smoothie- and soup-making needs and wouldn’t use it for much else, a blender is an appliance for you.