Food processors and immersion blenders are two kitchen appliances that save our time in processing ingredients.
Despite performing similar tasks, they’re different kitchen tools better suited to preparing different foods; hence the food processor vs immersion blender duel.
To help you choose the appliance that will be the most useful in handling your kitchen tasks, we’ll explore the immersion blender vs food processor debate.
Let’s find out the differences between a food processor and an immersion blender.
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What Are the Main Differences Between A Food Processor vs An Immersion Blender?
The main difference between a food processor and an immersion blender is in the kinds of food they process.
A food processor is a kitchen appliance that’s mostly used for processing or dicing textured recipes like vegetables and dough into bits. Because of this, the food processor is not great at processing soupy foods. And that’s where immersion blenders are more useful.
Immersion blenders are types of blenders that process or blend small portions of soft foods like fruits and vegetables into liquid, paste, or soup. Their blades aren’t designed to chop or grind food into bits.
The second main difference between a food processor and an immersion blender is in the functions they carry out in the kitchen.
A food processor is good at performing a wide range of kitchen tasks like grating, slicing, grinding, chopping, shredding, and pulverizing. While an immersion blender is designed to puree, dice, whisk, and emulsify loose ingredients into smooth paste forms.
To have an in-depth understanding of how these food processors work, we’ll examine them individually.
What is a food processor? A food processor is an appliance with an assortment of blades and discs used to finely cut several ingredients into dry recipes.
Food processors are versatile enough to chop, dice, grind, slice, mix and pulverize recipes. While a food processor can also puree ingredients, it’s not the best tool for this task. So a food processor is the best appliance to use when your desired result is a dry recipe because of the flat blade selections.
Food processors feature work bowls that both house the blades and collect your processed ingredients. This feature makes the food processor take up so much space on the kitchen counter.
Due to the appliance’s versatility, removable razor-sharp blades, and attachments, the food processor can replace many other appliances in the kitchen.
What is an immersion blender? An immersion blender or stick blender is a handheld device with a sharp blade and a powerful motor for pureeing solid ingredients into liquids.
As a lightweight handheld device, you can dip it completely in a deep pot or bowl containing the recipes you want to process. The blades will then create a vortex when you switch on the stick blender and pull the ingredients into its center where it can blend them into liquids.
Because the immersion blender’s blade is bent upwards, it can’t chop solid foods without some of the ingredients sticking to its base. Therefore, the portable appliance is best used to make purees, milkshakes, smoothies, emulsions, and salad dressings.
This makes an immersion blender the right appliance when your end product is a paste or liquid.
Due to the stick blender’s small footprint, it saves a lot of space in the kitchen. And the major difference between an immersion blender and a stand blender is that an immersion blender is small and portable to blend smaller portions of foods.
What are the advantages of a food processor when compared to an immersion blender?
The advantages of a food processor, when compared to an immersion blender, are that it is a powerful multi-use appliance that’s convenient and safe to use.
When compared to an immersion blender, a food processor is a multi-use kitchen appliance that can puree, shred, grind, mince, slice, and grate recipes. This is because it comes with an assortment of blades and attachments to handle these tasks and save you cooking time.
An immersion blender on the other has one blade for pureeing foods into liquids or paste. It can't perform as many kitchen tasks as a food processor.
Powerful kitchen tool
A food processor is a larger appliance with a powerful motor for performing challenging tasks. While a stick blender is a small appliance that can’t handle tedious kitchen tasks.
A food processor will not overheat if you don’t fill its bowl to the brim, use it to process liquid foods, or leave it unsupervised for several minutes. Conversely, an immersion blender will overheat if left to run for more than one minute.
Immersion blenders usually offer two speed settings while food processors have more than two speed settings and pulse control.
Convenient to use
Food processors are built to handle tasks effortlessly and give you convenience. A food processor comes with a work bowl and blades for processing foods. You can load the unit and leave it to chop your recipe while you handle other activities (but don’t leave it running for long). Here’s how to use a food processor.
Immersion blenders are handheld devices that you constantly need to rotate around the pot or bowl containing the ingredients. Some models are not comfortable to hold, and this makes using them stressful. Also, it doesn’t afford you the time to do other chores around the kitchen.
Replaces other kitchen appliances
Because food processors come with several blades and attachments for performing intense tasks, they can either reduce the workload of other kitchen appliances or put them out of use. While the immersion blender comes with one blade (unless you separately buy other attachments).
Safe to use
When compared to handheld immersion blenders, food processors come with work bowls that house their blades. This makes it safer to use them than immersion blenders with exposed blades and sensitive power switches.
Food processors come with containers for you to add the ingredients that you want to process (some servings like the 12-cup size bowls are large), while stick blenders have no container: they only process the ingredients in your cooking pots or bowls.
What are the advantages of an immersion blender when compared to a food processor?
The advantages an immersion blender has over a food processor are that it’s portable, easy to clean, and cost-effective.
One of the primary reasons people like immersion blenders is because of their small size. When compared to a food processor (and most other kitchen appliances), an immersion blender is more portable and lightweight (weighs around 2 to 4 lbs) which makes it easy to store and handle.
A food processor has a container for preparing ingredients, and this makes it take up more space on the countertop or cabinet.
Easy to clean and set up
When compared to food processors, hand blenders are easy to clean because they have a simple design and fewer parts. Also, stick blenders are waterproof and they can clean themselves if you immerse them in soapy water.
A food processor on the other hand has multiple parts which makes it more difficult to clean and set up.
When you compare the price of an immersion blender with that of a food processor, the immersion blender is a cheaper option. This is because it can also perform the duties of a food processor (if you get the necessary attachments). The price of an immersion blender ranges between $20 and $300.
A food processor performs more kitchen tasks and can replace other appliances (like a food mixer) and utensils (like a chef’s knife): this makes it cost more. The price of a food processor is between $100 and $1,000.
Which One Is more Usable in the Kitchen Between A Food Processor and An Immersion Blender?
A food processor is more usable in a kitchen because it’s a multi-purpose appliance that comes with an assortment of blades and attachments. This makes it versatile in handling the following intensive kitchen tasks;
- Pulverize cheese
- Mince vegetables
- Grind nuts and meat
- Grate potatoes
- Knead dough
- Mix bread dough
- Shred carrots
- Puree foods
- Chop garlic
- Blend hummus
- Slice basil
And should you be asking, “Is a food processor the same as an immersion blender?” A food processor and an immersion blender are different appliances.
Food processors chop solid or textured foods into dry bits while an immersion blender processes solid food into pasty recipes. However, an immersion blender can be used as a substitute for a food processor if you get the right attachments.
What foods can you process in a food processor?
Food processors can prepare a wide range of foods including soupy recipes; however, it’s best if you use a blender to process purees and other pasty ingredients. You can process the following foods in a food processor;
- Bread crumbs
- Pasta dough, bread dough, and biscuits
- Shredded cheese
- Chopped vegetables
- Chopped nuts
- Textured butter
- Pineapple salsa, mango salsa, and other salsa
- Textured avocado dip
- Roasted egg plant
Here are some of the other best uses of food processors.
What foods can you process in an immersion blender?
Stick blenders are smaller versions of normal blenders, so they’re great at whisking and preparing pasty ingredients. But they’re not ideal for processing dry foods (except you get additional attachments). Here are some of the best foods you can prepare in a stick blender;
- Pesto sauce
- Baby food
- Scrambled eggs
- Pancake batter
- Whipped cream
- Tomato sauce
- Salad dressing
- Homemade mayonnaise
Can a food processor and an immersion blender be paired together?
Yes, you can pair a food processor and an immersion blender in your kitchen as both serve different functions. A food processor has blades that are best suited to chopping textured recipes to yield dry results. While an immersion blender is a handheld device for pureeing soft foods into pasty foods.
What are the instances where you can use an immersion blender and a food processor together?
You can use an immersion blender and a food processor if you want to enjoy a cup of fruit juice or smoothie with some chopped veggies.
The immersion blender will prepare your smoothie, milkshake, or iced drinks, while the food processor will knead dough or chop nuts and vegetables for you.
What are the instances where a food processor and an immersion blender should never be used together?
An immersion blender and a food processor are both good at processing some foods like nuts and vegetables. In these cases, you should not use both appliances as either of them can undertake the task.
Secondly, immersion blenders are designed to handle small tasks like preparing food for one or two people. While a food processor can grate and chop recipes for four or more people (depending on its size). So if you’re making a glass of whipped cream just for yourself, you don’t need to use a food processor with your hand blender.
What to Consider when Buying A Food Processor or An Immersion Blender
Food processors and immersion blenders come with various interesting features and accessories. Some of them will make using the devices more intuitive, and others you’ll have no use for. So let’s find out the factors you should consider when getting a food processor or an immersion blender.
How much does a food processor or an immersion blender cost?
Food processors are typically more expensive than immersion blenders. But that’s because they perform more cooking tasks. However, the amount you’ll spend on any of these appliances depends on how much you use them and what you use them for.
There are different types of food processors. You can get the mini food processors that cost less than $100 but these will come with fewer blades and less powerful motors. And some high-end models that cost over $1,000, but do you need all the features they come with?
A good food processor will cost around $100 to $400. While a good handheld immersion blender will cost between $40 and $150.
How many blades and attachments should I expect?
The versatility of food processors lies in the number of blades and discs that they come with. Basically, food processors come with a dough blade, chopping blade, slicing disc, and grating disc.
However, if you spend more on a food processor, you’ll get more blade assortments. And the more accessories you get, the better you’ll use your food processor to its full potential. But keep in mind that you may not need the functions of some of the extra attachments.
What size is right for me?
The size of your preferred appliance depends on how many people you cook for and how much cooking you do.
If you cook for only yourself, a stick blender will be great for you as it can cater to the needs of one to two people.
But if you cook for a family of three, you can get a 6 – 8-cup food processor, although a 9-cup model is the most versatile and frequently bought model. A 10 – 11-cup model (2 – 2.5 liters) will be ideal for a family of four, and if you have a larger family or host a lot of guests, a 14-cup model will be great for you.
What are the speed settings and motor strength?
There are hand blenders with one speed, and there are models with five speed settings. On average, models with two speed settings give good blending control. Also, an immersion blender with 200 and 250 watts is powerful enough to puree items into velvety soups.
Food processors are expected to do the heavy lifting when it comes to kitchen tasks.
Two speed settings are ideal for handling most tasks. Also, if the motor isn’t strong enough to process heavy items like dough, it’ll seize or stop during operation, make a lot of noise, and wear out easily. So a 9-cup or larger model with 600 watts will make a great choice.
Is it easy to use?
Food processors usually feature an on/off switch to start and stop your device, but one feature you should look out for is the pulse. This feature controls the speed and power of the blades when you don’t want to cut ingredients that’ll turn into mush. These features are okay for you to use as models with more controls may become complex to operate.
And for stick blenders, models with ergonomic handles and a soft-touch power button will make it easy for you to control your device.
What Are the Best Brands for Food Processors?
The 5 best brands making the best food processors are Cuisinart, Black & Decker, Hamilton Beach, KitchenAid, and Breville.
One of the best brands making the best food processors is Cuisinart. Their devices are easy to use and they feature a quiet but powerful motor and a large cup for grinding your foods. The blades are very sharp and the device is easy to set up and clean. However, its big size may make it difficult to store.
Black & Decker
Black & Decker is another reputable brand making some of the best food processors. Their products are durable and easy on the pocket. They also come with powerful motors and sharp blades for heavy-duty slicing tasks.
Hamilton Beach is reputable for making quality and budget-friendly kitchen appliances. And they have sharp blades and attachments that are easy to set up. Hamilton Beach has a mid-priced food processor with two speed and pulse settings.
KitchenAid is no stranger to making top-quality appliances. They have mini food processors as well as full-sized processors. Their mini processors allow you to slowly add liquid to your preparation, and their blades are fast at chopping vegetables. However, you can’t knead dough with the mini processor as the motor isn’t strong enough.
Breville is one of the best brands making some of the best food processors. Their processors have a modern design and multiple settings for shredding various ingredients. The blades are also sharp and they have work bowls with a large capacity. The good thing is that they’re priced moderately.
What Are the Best Brands for Immersion Blenders?
The 8 best brands making immersion blenders are All-Clad, KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Braun, Breville, Hamilton Beach, Oster, and Vitamix.