What is the difference between a blender and a food processor?

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In the vast galaxy of major kitchen devices, the blender and the food processor both claim a top spot. And in fact, these devices have much in common

Both are powered and designed to mix components together.

However, despite popular opinion, these two devices are not entirely substitutable. Whereas particular foods can be made the same way by either device, blenders and food processors do have structural distinctions that set them aside uniquely for particular types of cooking tasks.

What is a food processor?

A food processor is a multi-purpose electric device that you can use to cook all kinds of foods in a number of different methods. From chopping to grinding to mixing dough, a food processor is able to do a variety of tasks quickly that you would spend a lot longer performing manually.

What does a food processor do?

Food processors generally come in four parts: a stand, a transparent plastic body, a set of detachable knives, and a top cover. Food processors feature speed and pulse knobs found on the base. The body of a food processor is broad and spacious, allowing it to fit bigger recipes. Food processor covers feature tall feed chutes that let you continue to add ingredients while mixing. As opposed to blenders, which typically come with just one blade attachment, food processors can be supplied with a large selection of blade attachments that can do all kinds of jobs: Chopping, slicing, grating, mincing, blending, and more. They may also be supplied with bowl attachments that enable you to accomplish multiple different tasks in various compartments simultaneously.

Can a food processor be used as a blender?

Due to the shape of their body and the versatility of their blades, food processors are particularly well suited for processing dry ingredients. They’re not so good at mixing fluid ingredients – partially blended wet material can tend to get stuck on the walls of the blender container, beyond the blades’ reach. In contrast to blenders, food processors may be filled to the top and yet function properly. Food blenders may be used to accomplish several of the identical functions as a food processor, with a couple of distinctions. Both devices can puree, liquefy and mix, however, a stand blender is unable to perform slicing on firm ingredients. The knife blade of a stand blender is used best for blending ingredients for soups, dressings, or pesto.

What is a blender?

As the name suggests, a blender is an electric device best suited for mixing solid ingredients with liquid ingredients. Just like food processors, blenders usually consist of four components: a motorized base, a pitcher, a set of (often removable) blades, and a lid. A blender’s controls, located on the base, can include speed and blend settings. Most blender jugs are conical in shape, with handles and spouts for easy pouring. A blender’s rotating blades screw onto the bottom of the container so they can be easily removed for cleaning. The lid fits snugly on the top of the pitcher and may have a removable stopper. If you remove the plug, you can add more ingredients while blending. Blenders are used most frequently to blend fruits and vegetables for smoothies and soups. If the liquid is in play, a blender is a right device. The conical design of their pitchers is excellent for guiding ingredients onto the blades. While the liquids and solids are blending together, they rotate and produce a swirling downward motion that works efficiently to break up and combine any particles that have not been mixed. A disadvantage of a blender is that it will not function correctly if the pitcher is completely filled to the brim with components. It is recommended in the majority of recipes to fill the blender only three-fourths of the way full so that the components can flow freely and do not spill over. The blades of the blender also have a finite range, and they will not be able to handle dry ingredients properly without liquid. While most blenders don’t come with several parts and attachments designed to increase their versatility, some high-performance blenders do – make a point to review a blender’s description and specs to find out what it can handle and what attachments are featured.

How does a blender work?

Look at a tomato for a moment and let’s trace its trip in the direction of destruction. Excuse me, heading towards the blender! You put your tomato in the blender and push the “on” button or whatever setting you may choose to prefer today. The engine starts up, causing the blades to start spinning. There will be a noticeable whirring noise and motion as a vortex is now being created in your blender. This whirl is kind of like a twisting tornado that gains speed, raises and moves the liquid, and throws the ingredients up into the air. This same vortex then generates a vacuum in the middle of the jar that draws the tomato bits in and up, similar to the tornado we used to describe. When the tomato joins the other ingredients within the eye of the storm, in this example your blender, all of the components start to liquefy and presto, your drink starts to form and take shape. The process keeps repeating this pattern until eventually you switch off the blender and you are left holding a delightfully smooth and thoroughly homogenized blend of all the components. The outcome is a tasty and nourishing drink, depending, obviously, upon the ingredients you put in your blender in the first place.

How does a blender work?

Look at a tomato for a moment and let’s trace its trip in the direction of destruction. Excuse me, heading towards the blender! You put your tomato in the blender and push the “on” button or whatever setting you may choose to prefer today. The engine starts up, causing the blades to start spinning. There will be a noticeable whirring noise and motion as a vortex is now being created in your blender. This whirl is kind of like a twisting tornado that gains speed, raises and moves the liquid, and throws the ingredients up into the air. This same vortex then generates a vacuum in the middle of the jar that draws the tomato bits in and up, similar to the tornado we used to describe. When the tomato joins the other ingredients within the eye of the storm, in this example your blender, all of the components start to liquefy and presto, your drink starts to form and take shape. The process keeps repeating this pattern until eventually you switch off the blender and you are left holding a delightfully smooth and thoroughly homogenized blend of all the components. The outcome is a tasty and nourishing drink, depending, obviously, upon the ingredients you put in your blender in the first place.

Can you use a blender as a food processor?

Essentially, for a lot of applications, a blender is able to perform in the same manner as a food processor, provided that you’re willing to deal with smaller batches. A blender can handle most of the jobs exactly the same way as a food processor, except for mixing dough and preparing pastry dough. But with a bit of skill, most of the recipes that need the use of a food processor can be done with a blender too.

  • Breadcrumbs

Break two to three pieces of dried bread into quarters. Put three or four bread quarters into a blender pitcher. Mix on a high setting to make bread crumbs until you get the size of crumbs you want. Assuming your blender is not fitted with a pulse adjustment control, let the blender work at a maximum setting for 30 seconds each time. Continue this procedure again with the rest of the bread crumbs. This will result in approximately 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, all based on the size of the bread.

  • Baby food

Prepare your own baby food by placing a quarter bowl of freshly cooked vegetables in the blender jar. Set the blender to “Puree” or “High” and process just enough to make everything smooth.

  • Shredded cheese

Grate or shred cheese in the blender by cutting hard cheese into two to three-inch pieces. Add cheese to a blender and turn to the highest setting for 30 seconds to one minute, or until cheese is desired consistency.

  • Pesto

Prepare homemade pesto by adding 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 cups basil leaves, 3 cloves minced garlic, and 1/4 cup pine nuts to the blender container. Turn blender on medium speed and blend until smooth and creamy.

  • Ice

Mince ice for mixed drinks by putting four to five ice cubes in the blender container. Switch the blender to high and blend the ice just enough to crush the cubes finely.

Tip Certain blender types come with food processor attachments which can be bought separately to use with the blender. Even for smaller amounts needed to use a stand blender as a food processor, this saves time compared to doing it manually.

Warning Some low-cost models of blenders might not have the ability to crush ice or shred hard cheeses. The engine in low-cost blenders is not strong enough for such operations.

chopper or blender

Is a food processor the same as a blender?

The main point to remember when choosing whether to buy a food processor or a blender is that they may not be substitutable. If you’re looking to improve the overall effectiveness of your kitchen by replacing a number of manual food processing jobs with one device, you should choose a food processor. If you are interested in getting a device for preparing smoothies and soups without needing to use it for something else, a blender is a device you need. However, for those who are interested in both, you are likely best off fitting your kitchen with both a food processor and a blender. Specific blenders can perform some jobs that food processors cannot, so check the manual and directions for full information before you buy. Have a look at the table below to find out what jobs each device performs best, to help you determine which device will satisfy your culinary needs most effectively.

Recipe Blender Food Processor
Soups and Purees Best Capable
Smoothies Best No
Dips Capable No
Butters Not ideal Best
Chopped Vegetables No Best
Baking (Dough and Crust) Not ideal Capable
Shredded cheeses No Best

 

What to look for in a food processor or blender?

  • Capacity

Capacity. It is important to match the container or bowl to the amount of food you want to put in it. If there is not enough food in the bowl, it will not blend well. If you put too much food in, it may spill or leak. If you regularly process both large and small amounts, a blender or food processor with containers in different sizes is the best choice.

  • Controls

Do you prefer knobs, buttons, toggle switches, dials, or touchscreens? Today’s appliances offer a wide variety of controls. Simple units may only have an on/off switch, while others have variable speed control or a variety of buttons. They all serve their purpose, so it’s a matter of personal preference.

  • Cleaning

Both food processors and blenders have sharp blades, which can make cleaning a bit hazardous. Do you prefer to wash them by hand, or do you feel safer putting them in the dishwasher? Do you prefer a removable blade or a fixed blade? If you don’t like cleaning the tool, you probably won’t use it regularly.

Will a blender work as a food processor?

Blenders and food processors are used for quite similar tasks, but they are quite frequently used in quite different manners. Keeping both of them in your kitchen is a great option, but when that isn’t an option, you can use them nearly interchangeably to accomplish a variety of jobs. If you have just one blender, you can adapt the manner in which you use it to get a result comparable to using a food processor.

  • Make the blending process slower

Blenders usually work at a faster rate than the majority of food processors, which means that whatever you’re going to create may become much smoother than you would like it to be. To mimic the performance of a food processor, let the blender pulse rather than blending for prolonged durations.

  • Try to stay away from the “liquefy” and “puree” modes

Blenders are more commonly used for creating liquid drinks, chopping ice, or pureeing soups, whereas food processors are mainly used for grinding and combining.

  • Use less liquid

Use the liquid economically, or at least at the start. This will help replicate the action of a food processor while not turning the food into too mushy. You can always increase the amount of liquid you add while pureeing for a smoother outcome.

Hint Avoid using the blender to shred, grate, or cut food. Whereas a food processor has various attachments capable of accomplishing different cutting sizes, the blender provides only one cutting tool able to roughly chop or puree. If you do not have a food processor, you will need to shred, grate or cut food into slices manually with a knife.

Can a food processor make smoothies?

A blender attachment is usually offered for the majority of food processors, or perhaps this attachment is actually supplied by default. This attachment for your food processor normally resembles a regular blender, though with a number of food processors you attach a dedicated ring or disc in place of a blender bowl. They all function almost the same: you cut the ingredients into rough bits, place them in the blender bowl, and then add a splash of water, juice, or another fluid. Then you switch on the food processor – ideally on the maximum speed – and within a couple of minutes, you get a deliciously refreshing smoothie on your table. In contrast to a juicer, a blender attachment will not sieve the contents. Thus, for example, no fiber or vitamins get wasted. Would you like to make a cool milkshake? Double-check whether the blender attachment is designed to be used for crushing ice. If so, crush a grab bag of frozen fruits with a little bit of yogurt. Icy, deliciously sweet, and wholesome.

Conclusion

Baking fans and food lovers agree that food processors are one of the indispensable kitchen devices, whereas blenders are rather appropriate for a wider spectrum of jobs, like mixing smoothies, preparing soups, or crafting special cocktails. These appliances don’t make each other incompatible, though. You will likely discover that a set of recipes needs both devices, and nowadays lots of kitchens are fitted with both of them. Due to their construction and technical advances, there is hardly any difference between blenders and food processors. High-end blenders, similar to food processors, can be fitted with extra attachments. With these handy attachments, a blender or food processor can accomplish astounding things, with some capabilities overlapping slightly.

Vanessa-Sky

About Vanessa Sky
Vanessa Sky is a home cook and foodie with a passion. She knows how to choose the best wine for your beef and what to add to your pizza to make it memorable. Using all types of home helpers, like wine pumps and grills for the yard, she writes reviews and helps manuals to make your kitchen experience easy and happy.
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