Blenders and food processors are two useful appliances in the modern kitchen.
While a blender and a food processor are similar in their design, they’re different on many fronts. They’re similar because they use blades powered by a motor to cut and mix ingredients. And they both have containers where the mixing and cutting take place.
The differences between blenders and food processors lies in their blades, work bowls (container), and foods that they process.
In this article, we’re going to dig deep into the blender vs food processor topic and discover the differences between these two appliances and their best applications.
Let’s dive in.
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What Are the Main Differences Between A Blender vs A Food Processor?
The main difference between a blender and a food processor is in their blades. Blenders have fixed blades that are not very sharp, but they’re bent at varying angles. While a food processor has different ridged, razor-sharp blades designed for various cutting purposes.
So while the blunt blade of a blender is designed for crushing, the blades of a food processor are designed for cutting with precision like knives (except in a much shorter time).
A second difference between a blender vs a food processor is the motor speed. A blender has a powerful motor (with a maximum power of 1,475 watts) which makes it efficient for crushing and mixing ingredients. The motor in a food processor can reach a maximum of 1,300 watts making it weaker than a blender motor;
A third difference in these small kitchen appliances considers the blade’s removability. The blades in the food processors are removable to easily remove all processed ingredients from the jar. The blender has a fixed blade which makes it easy to extract the liquid food item.
Let's closely look at these appliances to get a better understanding of the differences between a blender and a food processor.
What is a blender? A blender is a kitchen appliance for crushing (blending) solid food items into smooth liquid mixtures. The blender is useful for crushing ice (for frozen cocktails), pureeing fruits, vegetables into sauce, soups, smoothies, and dips, etc.
A food processor is a kitchen appliance used for processing wet and dry foods. While a food processor can puree ingredients, it's useful for grating, chopping, dicing, slicing, and shredding food.
Furthermore, blenders have accessories and components that are designed for liquifying ingredients. Blender comes with four components:
- A motorized base that creates a powerful vortex or a form of gravitational pull which pulls in the recipe to the blades for effective blending.
- A set of sharp blades are fixed to the bottom of the jar to crush and cut the ingredients into purees and soups.
- A pitcher (which is mostly conical-shaped) with a spout that allows for easy pouring.
- And a lid that may come with a removable plug to allow the addition of more recipes.
Keep in mind that filling your countertop blenders to the brim with food is not recommended before blending.
Food processors are more versatile because they can process more foods than blenders. They’re the appliances you can use when you’re going to prepare a solid meal that you’ll eat with a fork or spoon.
Similar to a blender, the food processor has four components:
- A motorized base with speed and pulse controls.
- A wide and spacious body for processing larger items. You can fill a food processor’s body up to the brim, unlike a blender.
- A set of removable blade attachments for carrying out various functions; chopping, shredding, mixing, grating, and slicing, etc.
- And a lid (sometimes, with a chute for adding more recipes so your hand won’t touch the blade).
Food processors can come with bowl inserts to perform multiple tasks simultaneously such as chopping vegetables and making pasta.
What are the advantages of a blender when compared to a food processor?
The advantages of a blender compared to a food processor are it's the best appliance for preparing soupy foods, it has a larger capacity, it's cheaper, and it has a more powerful motor. Below, we cover the blender advantages in more depth.
Great for soupy or creamy foods
When compared to a food processor, blenders are engineered to crush ice, boiled carrots, and other foods into soups and smoothies. Even though the blades of a blender are not dangerously sharp, they’re the best appliance to use when you want to prepare a smoothie or protein shake because the powerful motor rotates the blades quick enough to turn solid foods into liquified foods.
Generally, blenders can be used when the desired end food result is a uniformly processed liquid.
The design of the countertop blender makes it more efficient than a food processor in pureeing ingredients to silky smooth liquids. Specifically, the blender's larger shape and powerful motor allows the food to funnel more easily into the blades compared to a food processor which creates more of a paste-like end result than a liquid.
The blender has a tall pitcher that allows more food ingredients; the average countertop blender jar has a capacity of 64 ounces. The average countertop food processor has a capacity of 2.5 liters. Thus blenders have a larger capacity compared to food processors.
The powerful motor in a blender makes the blades swirl faster than those in a food processor. This powerful and high speed motor allows the blender’s blades to break down tough recipes into more uniformly processed results with a smooth texture.
When comparing the price of a blender with a food processor, a blender is a cheaper option. This is because it’s not as versatile as a food processor. The price of a blender ranges between $40 and $600.
A food processor can perform more tasks in the kitchen and can even replace your chef’s knife for many food preparation tasks. Because of the multifunctionality of food processors they range in cost between $50 and $650.
What are the advantages of a food processor when compared to a blender?
The advantage a food processor has when compared to a blender is its versatility;
When compared to a countertop blender, a food processor comes with an assortment of discs or blade attachments. This makes it very versatile in processing a range of dry or solid foods. They can chop, slice, shred, grate and perform a variety of cutting tasks in the kitchen.
Also, their sharp blades make them function like a chef’s knife and save you time in cutting your solid foods like onions, garlic, carrots, peppers, etc. Aside from cutting, a food processor is also the best appliance for mixing bread dough.
However, food processors are not the best appliances when it comes to processing foods that drip from soup.
Which One is more Usable in the Kitchen Between A Blender and A Food Processor?
A food processor is more usable in a kitchen because of the various sets of blades and discs that it comes with. These attachments make it versatile in performing a wide variety of labor-intensive kitchen tasks.
And if you’re still asking, “Is a blender the same as a food processor?” These small kitchen appliances are not the same. However, you can use a blender as a food processor. In fact, a blender is the best and most efficient substitute for a food processor. But a blender can’t perform tasks like kneading dough or shredding cheese. Find more uses of a blender here.
What foods can you process in a blender?
As a rule of thumb, you can prepare soupy or liquidy foods in a blender. The following are foods you can prepare in a blender:
- Sauces, cocktails, protein shakes, and smoothies
The primary recipes that work best in blenders are soupy. The blender’s powerful motor and its blades and conical-shaped pitcher design make it great for creating and mixing smooth sauces, smoothies, and cocktails.
And when you want to inject some ice into your meal, a blender is the best appliance for crushing ice and creating frozen cocktails.
- Cakes and pastry batters
Just like blenders are great for mixing sauces and smoothies, they’re also great for mixing and whipping batter to create light, fluffy mixtures.
The speed of the blender’s motor makes it perfect for blending vegetables and fruits into soups. The blender also whips air into the puree to create a silky result.
- Baby food
You can also use a blender to mix a couple of ingredients to make nutritious, tasty homemade baby food instead of buying all the time.
A blender may not be the best option when preparing butter but it’s ideal for preparing Hollandaise sauce. This is because the high-speed motor gives Hollandaise the kind of texture a food processor can’t.
Finally, while blenders are great for preparing vegetables, they may not be the ideal tools for processing cauliflower rice. This is because your blender can extract the moisture in your cauliflower and make your food wetter and softer than you’d like. Instead, a food processor will make a better choice if you desire a rice-like texture.
Also, blenders are not good at handling butter and pie crusts. You can learn how to use a blender here.
Modern types of blenders can perform varied culinary tasks similarly to countertop food processors.
What foods can you process in a food processor?
A food processor is designed for processing solid or semi-solid foods. And its various discs and blade attachments make it versatile in handling more foods than a blender. Here are the best foods that you can prepare in a food processor:
- Chopped vegetables
- Textured dips (avocado dip, hummus, roasted eggplant dip, etc.)
- Baking dough and crust (pie, bread, and biscuit)
- Textured spreads (butter)
- Bread crumbs
- Salsa (mango salsa, pineapple salsa, etc.)
- Chopped nuts
- Pasta dough
- Shredded cheeses
- Homemade mayonnaise or sauces where you continually have to feed the food processor with ingredients
While you may be able to process soups and purees in a food processor, you should avoid these. Instead, you may want to take advantage of the blender’s expertise in preparing such meals.
Can a blender and a food processor be paired together?
Yes, you can pair a blender and a food processor in your kitchen even though both appliances are similar in operation (and can sometimes process similar foods).
A blender is better adapted to handling meals that yield more liquid results or drip of soup. While a food processor is great for preparing solid and semi-solid foods; your chopped veggies and pastry dough, etc.
What are the instances where a blender and a food processor should be used together?
A food processor is designed to chop, slice, shred, mix, and grate food ingredients while a blender is best for creating meals where the end products are liquid.
So when you want to chill on the weekends, you can take advantage of the blender’s ability to prepare soupy foods and a food processor’s ability to chop and slice vegetables to quickly cook lunch or dinner.
This way, you can simultaneously knead dough or grate and slice your vegetables while making your smoothie, iced drink, or any soup that goes with your meal.
What are the instances where a blender and a food processor should never be used together?
Blenders and food processors have some foods in common that they can prepare. Foods such as some dips and sauces do well in both a food processor and a blender. So in these cases, you can conserve energy and use only one appliance.
What to Consider when Buying A Blender or A Food Processor
Before you buy a blender or a food processor, you should consider the type of blender or food processor, blades, capacity, storage, motor strength, settings, and attachments it comes with.
- What type of blender is good for me?
There are four types of blenders, namely; countertop blenders, personal blenders, immersion blenders, and high-performance blenders.
Also, there are three types of food processors, and they include; batch bowl processor, continuous feed processor, and combination processor.
These blenders and processors have different performance levels and price points. And the one you choose depends on the number of people you cook for and how busy your kitchen is.
- What size of blender should I get?
If you prepare meals for a large family, a high-performance blender is the best for you as it has a capacity of 145 ounces. But if you prepare drinks for around 6 to 9 people, a countertop blender will be the best option as it has a capacity of 48 to 72 ounces. Also, a personal blender can hold 8 to 20 ounces of drinks which is good for 1 to 3 people.
An 11-cup size food processor (which has a capacity of 2.5 liters) can knead dough for a family of 4 – 6 people. While a 3.7-liter bowl will prepare meals for larger families.
- How powerful should the motor be?
Blenders with over 700 watts perform the best as they can process fruits, vegetables, and other dry foods (such as crushing grains into flour). Blenders with 500 – 700 watts can only process soups and semi-solid as they're less powerful.
A food processor of at least 600 watts will be powerful enough to handle tough tasks. But food processors with lesser wattage may stop running during operation, or wear out faster, and even become noisy.
- How much does a blender or food processor cost?
Blenders cost between $40 and $600. While a food processor cost around $50 and $650. Cheaper blenders and food processors can perform basic tasks like make smoothies and chop vegetables respectively. While more expensive options offer more versatility.
The cost of these appliances depend on their motor power, durability, accessories, and versatility.
What are the Best Brands for Blenders?
The 8 best brands making the best blenders are Ninja, Breville, Cuisinart, KitchenAid, Oster, Hamilton Beach, Black & Decker, and Vitamix.
Ninja is one of the best brands making blenders with impressive performance. They make regular countertop models, single serve models, and dependable high-performance models. However, there were rare complaints that their blenders didn’t generate enough power to blend smoothies to a smooth consistency.
Breville is one brand popular for making premium kitchen appliances. Their blenders are durable and typically cost between $100 and $400.
Cuisinart is also one of the top brands making some of the best kitchen appliances. And their blenders garner lots of positive reviews. However, there were complaints of their models being noisy.
KitchenAid is also one of the best brands making durable appliances that are priced moderately. Their products can perform a range of tough tasks and they get lots of positive reviews.
Oster is an old brand that’s reputable for making reliable appliances. Their blenders are priced in the low to medium range. Despite that, they don’t compromise on quality.
Hamilton Beach is popular for making budget-friendly kitchen appliances. And one feature that makes their products stand out is their durability. While Hamilton Beach blenders tend to offer units with high performance, these models may disappoint if you use them for heavy-duty tasks.
Black & Decker
Black & Decker is also known for making budget-friendly kitchen appliances of top quality. And they brought that quality into designing blenders.
Like Cuisinart, Vitamix is a brand specializing in manufacturing high-end blenders. Their blenders are expensive but powerful enough to handle tough tasks in the kitchen. And based on reviews, customers agree that their products are quality ones.
What are the Best Brands for Food Processors?
The 5 best brands making food processors are Cuisinart, Black & Decker, Breville, KitchenAid, and Hamilton Beach.