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Are you aware of the difference between a blender and a food processor? At first, you may think that this is a simple question to answer, but as you look closer, it becomes clear that both of these machines are capable of doing similar things.
Both a food processor and a blender may indeed share some functions, but that doesn’t then equate to them being interchangeable.
What we mean by this concept of being interchangeable is that each item does some specific functions that the other one can either not perform or is unable to perform to the same high standard. Basically, you have no option but to use a certain machine to get your desired end result.
But at the same time, that’s where some confusion reigns, so that’s why we are going to look at what’s the difference between a blender and a food processor.
We will head into more detailed stuff shortly, but let’s get the absolute basics out of the way when it comes to discussing a food processor and a blender.
In short, a blender is going to be primarily used to puree stuff and also to crush ice. One cool way to think about it is that a blender is used if you want to create something to drink or even something that is used as a sort of dip.
On the other hand, a food processor is used for a multitude of things. With a food processor, you can use it for kneading dough, as a food chopper, a mixing bowl, the list goes on and on.
Where They Are Similar
We can quickly look at the areas where they are similar as a way of starting off.
Their body tends to have clear bodies. This allows you to check what’s going on with both blenders and food processors. Also, they are both powered by a motor with the body sitting on top of it and the motor powering the blades. That’s another similarity in that they both use blades to give you the end result that you are looking for.
More About a Food Processor
With food processors, what you are going to be able to do is to prepare different types of food practically in seconds. You are looking at using it for chopping herbs, dealing with dough, shredding, grating, and various other tasks that are going to take you an eternity when it comes to trying the manual approach.
Food processors also come in four distinct pieces. You have the body of the machine, which we mentioned earlier, as well as the base containing the motor, the lid, and blades that can be removed and changed.
You will also notice that a food processor is often larger than a blender. This means you can add more ingredients to produce larger quantities.
Operating a Food Processor
To operate food processors, you will have a dial or buttons. You can choose speed settings, as well as a pulse setting.
While most people will put in the dry ingredients, or whatever they are including, before starting, there is a funnel on the lid to allow you to add other ingredients while it’s in operation.
A Problem with Food Processors
But while a food processor is good at dealing with certain ingredients, it’s not quite as good when it comes to blending together too many liquid ingredients. Basically, it can combine the two, but when it’s heavily weighted towards liquids, then you may find you aren’t too happy with the end result.
The Advantages of Food Processors
Aside from the various ways a food processor can be used, you can fill the bowl up to the top, and it’s still going to work in the same way. Also, the array of blades you can have with a food processor sometimes feels as if it’s endless.
The speed at which it can help you make fresh pasta dough or act as a food chopper is also impressive. It takes literally seconds to go ahead and start slicing vegetables when you would have been manually standing there for an age when it comes to doing meal prep.
The Disadvantages of Food Processors
However, it’s not all good when it comes to a food processor. As was mentioned earlier, food processors don’t do well with all liquids. It much prefers to deal with solid foods and to work as a food chopper rather than anything else.
More About a Blender
When it comes to a blender, it’s going to create not only blended foods but will produce a smooth liquid. As with the food processor, it comes in different parts, and you do get blenders in various sizes.
People have a tendency to use a blender when it comes to wanting to puree vegetables or fruits. This makes it ideal for producing either a smoothie or even creating a smooth soup. Of course, it can also be used to puree baby food or to crush ice.
Basically, you get an idea from those few points as to what you can use a blender for.
How a Blender Works
Blender blades rotate, and they tend to be screwed into the base of the pitcher. The blender blades are very sharp and rotate at high speed to get the power to puree everything.
On the base of the blender, you will have the controls. It will often have different speed settings to help you to get a silky smooth texture. Blenders work beautifully with an array of fruits and vegetables, but the more power your blender has, the better it’s going to work.
Pay close attention to the pitcher. It’s conical in shape, and this is for a good reason. It basically pushes the ingredients down to the blades, allowing them to get to work on turning everything into a puree.
An Immersion Blender
Just a quick mention of an immersion blender, this device is completely different from other blenders and food processors. It’s handheld and will be able to blend small batches and mix things together, so if you were planning on mixing salad dressings, this could be perfect.
An immersion blender will still often come with different speed settings, but that does depend on the model you have. Also, it gets its name from the fact that you immerse it into whatever you are trying to blend. By the end, it leaves everything completely smooth, if that’s the effect you want to achieve.
Advantages of a Blender
A blender has its own advantages. Trying to make icy drinks becomes so much easier, as you can get crushed ice in next to no time. You probably know that crushing ice takes a long time. Do you have the time to stand and produce crushed ice?
A blender helps you with making smoothies. It will help you to make soups. The powerful motor will make short work with fruits and vegetables. It mixes things beautifully, and even though it’s limited to different tasks, it still performs well in the jobs that it’s intended for.
The Disadvantages of a Blender
The main disadvantage with a blender is that it won’t function if the machine is too full. You will often find that it’s going to limit you to be about 3/4 full.
Also, it can only do very specific culinary tasks. In saying that, you can use it to make quite a chunky salsa, and it’s all going to depend on how long you use the blender for as to the final consistency.
There are Differences Depending on the Machine
It’s important to know that the basic jobs mentioned above are going to be for basic machines. Exactly what can be achieved with each machine is going to depend on the individual item you own.
For example, immersion blenders work differently from a countertop blender, and you can certainly do more with the countertop version as a result.
With a countertop blender, you need to think carefully about the size. Remember that it cannot operate when it’s full, whereas a food processor has no such problem.
At the same time, some food processors go way beyond just being fancy food choppers. It all depends on the different spinning blades that come with your machine when determining what it’s capable of doing. If buying a new food processor, check what comes with it in the box, and be prepared to purchase additional sharp blades as some are uniquely suited to specific tasks.
But What Do You Need?
So, in the processor vs blender argument, which one do you need?
Well, you need to go back over the different reasons why you would use blenders and food processors to help answer that question. It’s not uncommon for people to have both as they do work in different ways.
If you need to cut food, make pastry batters, or grate ingredients, then a food processor is best for those jobs. You will need to make sure you have multiple blades and make sure they are sharp blades, as well as slicing discs for it to be able to do everything.
However, if you want to make nut milk, as an example, or smoothies, then a blender will work perfectly. Also, with a few pulses, you could use a blender for grinding nuts. After all, people throw them into a smoothie, and it’s not much of a difference between dealing with nuts and crushing up some ice.
It’s perhaps best to sum it up in the following way.
A Food Processor
- Makes dough
- Makes nut butter
- Can sometimes make a dressing, but not too good
- It cannot be used for soups or smoothies
- It cannot be used for purees
- Make a puree
- Make a soup
- Grind nuts
- Make nut milk
- Make a smoothie
- Make a dressing
- It can sometimes be used to make nut butter
- Cannot chop or grate
- It cannot be used to make a dough
That pretty much sums up the two options. As you can see, they are for two completely different things, even though there are a few areas where there’s a bit of a crossing over.
Which One Is Right for You?
So that covers the differences between a traditional blender and a food processor. As you can see, there are several areas where both can kind of do the same job, but in general, they are for completely different things.
However, the one thing you should not forget about is that both machines do a fantastic job when it comes to carrying out tasks that they were designed for in the first place. Perhaps that’s the key thing to keep in mind when wondering which machine you should have in your kitchen?