If your home has a food processor, blender, both, or neither, you’ve probably wondered what the deal is with these similar appliances. They do seem pretty interchangeable with their motorized bases, clear bodies, spinning blades, and multiple settings. But in order to make the wisest decision for your kitchen, it’s important you know what makes them separate from each other, what the strengths of each one are, and the differences in their applications in your kitchen.
Blender vs. Food Processor: The Difference Explained
What is a Food Processor?
A food processor is best explained as a kitchen appliance that takes over the manual meal prep processes in your kitchen. Things like mincing, chopping, slicing, grating, dicing, shredding, and other kitchen tasks are taken care of by a few different types of blades or “discs” and a motor. These appliances may also come with a variety of work bowls/mixing bowls for preparing different amounts of ingredients or a number of food types in one go. The lid has a tall feed tube that you’ll use to send food to the blades using a pusher. The largest size of work bowl is usually around a 14-16-cup food processor, which is similar in capacity to a normal blender.
What is a Blender?
Blenders are a countertop appliance that blends and purees solids and liquids together. Its components include a motorized base, large plastic or glass blender jar/pitcher, spinning blades, and a lid. Sometimes, the lid will include a small opening so you can ingredients while the blades are working. Blenders usually have up to 10 speed settings to choose from for working with different types of food combinations.
The body of the blender, or pitcher, is conical in shape to effectively direct your mixture toward the blades to ensure a fully blended result. There are a number of types of blenders, including the standard pitcher blender, personal blenders, and an immersion blender that is dipped into your liquid mix to blend and puree things like soups and sauces.
A blender is a good choice for large quantities of liquid ingredients, since the pitcher is bigger than the work bowl of a food processor in the majority of cases. Since a blender works by spinning a blade at high speeds to emulsify and mix solid and liquid ingredients, they achieve a much smoother, silkier purée than a food processor.
How Are Food Processors and Blenders Different?
There are some key difference between blenders and food processors since they are designed for different purposes. First, the components of food processors are a bit more complicated than a blender since you have a feed chute, pusher, multiple discs for different tasks, and various bowl attachments. On the other hand, a blender has non-removable blades, a pitcher, and a lid.
Another main difference between the two is that a blender handles liquids much better than a food processor. The shape of the bowl used with a food processor means that most liquid concoctions get stuck on the sides and won’t mix properly. Food processors are designed for dry ingredients rather than wet ingredients.
Unlike blenders, food processors can accomplish many more kitchen tasks aside from mixing and blending. They are great for making larger batches of food since they eliminate most of the manual labour involved with meal prep. From dicing to kneading, food processors can do it all.
Blender blades are quite different in shape to those used in a food processor, so they can easily crush ice for smoothies and other drinks. The sharp blades on the best blenders can blend ice powder-small for smooth drinks, which is only possible since blenders have a more powerful motor that reaches higher speeds than that of a food processor.
A key distinction between these two kitchen appliances is how they are used. A food processor can be filled right to the top without any trouble, but a blender cannot be filled up to the lid due to the way the blades work the ingredients. You’ll need at least a few inches of room when using a blender, but free space isn’t a concern when using a food processor.
Essentially, blenders are primarily for smoothies and other drinks while a food processor is best for solid food prep and a handful of more liquid purees.
Do You Need a Blender and a Food Processor?
Ideally, your household will have both a blender and a food processor. Since they are each designed for different tasks (solid ingredients vs. liquid ingredients), you’ll achieve the best results by using both when they are most appropriate. Though many puree dishes can be achieved in a blender, some are better mixed in a food processor. A blender is absolutely necessary for any icy drinks as well since food processors aren’t designed to crush ice.
Best Uses for a Food Processor
Here are the foods that are best made in a food processor:
- Baby food
- Pie Crust
- Nut butters
- Shredded, sliced, diced, or chopped veggies
Best Uses for a Blender
Your blender is best used for:
- Icy drinks
- Crushed ice