What is the difference between a food processor and a blender?
It’s a common question to ask, especially since both appliances seemingly do the same thing when, in fact, they are quite different.
Depending on the type of cooking or drink you’re trying to accomplish, you may prefer one appliance than the other.
Blenders are typically more substantial and slender than food processors, and they are generally tall enough to reach right under your upper cabinets.
The top portion is often referred to as the jar, and within the container, you will find the blades responsible for blending your ingredients.
When you’re filling a blender with fruits, vegetables, or any other ingredients, you’ll typically remove the jar for easier access and then place it back on top of the housing.
By fitting the lid on the top of the jar, you can then choose from an assortment of settings that most blenders have.
Depending on the model you’ve chosen, there may be an ample number of blending options or only a few to choose from, including:
Each of the settings will have a specific blade speed recommended for the highest performance, but you can sometimes choose from custom speeds based on the consistency you’re trying to achieve.
When to Use
You’re most likely to use a blender when you’re trying to make a drink, rather than trying to chop up food as you would with a food processor.
Most homeowners are known to use this appliance primarily for making smoothies and other types of icy beverages, but some models can be quite beneficial for cooking, as well.
A great example would be when making vegan-friendly recipes since a high-powered blender can puree heavier ingredients, such as cashews and almonds.
How It Works
Once you have filled the appliance with the appropriate ingredients for your recipe, you can then begin blending, pureeing, or liquefying the items to create a delicious beverage.
At this point, you will want to select the appropriate settings for the recipe, either using the push buttons or the digital display on the front of the base or housing.
The machine will then do everything for you, ensuring that your ingredients reach the perfect consistency, and you can stop the device whenever you want.
One of the most exciting features of high-end blenders is that they may have a setting that allows them to work for a set amount of time.
For example, if you choose a five-minute blend, the machine will automatically turn off once it reaches the five-minute period.
You might find that this is the most convenient solution for when you’re in a rush and need to do multiple things at once.
The Food Processor
Food processors can look similar to blenders, though they are typically shorter and broader, allowing for a substantial amount of ingredients to be worked on at a time.
You can often find food processors in many different sizes; some are better for smaller recipes, while others are ideal for big pots of chili and soups.
Similar to a blender, your food processor will have a bowl where you will put all of the ingredients, and within the container, you’ll find the blades.
Since you are likely to be working with ingredients of different textures, you’ll receive different blades with the base unit, including chopping blades, grating blades, dough kneaders, and knife blades.
Another interesting attachment you’ll love to have on hand is a citrus press, which allows you to extract juice from lemons and other fruits.
You’ll find that most processors will come with a variety of attachments compared to blenders, which helps to make them even more versatile.
On the base of the food processor is where you’ll find the different settings, although there are likely to be less or equal settings to what you’d get from a blender.
The most common food processors will have an “On” function as well as a “Pulse” function.
When you use “On,” the processor will run continuously until you turn it off, whereas “Pulse” will create small short bursts of power.
When to Use
Most often, you’ll find food processors are used for cooking and baking, as their attachments are best used for heartier ingredients than what you would put in a blender.
You’ll also find that most of these appliances won’t get you the smooth and creamy texture that you would achieve from a high-powered blender unless you invest a lot of money into a modern device.
Food processors are fantastic for making cauliflower rice, doughs, and even salsa, but they can also be used to blend ingredients at incredible speeds.
How It Works
After using both a blender and food processor, you’ll find they both work similarly since you select the appropriate settings and then let the ingredients process as desired.
The blades in a food processor are sometimes sharper than what you would find in a blender and should be handled with care.
Also, you’ll find that because the bowl for a food processor is typically smaller than a blender, they are easier to clean.
In comparison to a blender, where the blades are fixed, you can remove the blades from a food processor and they are interchangeable to clean every nook and cranny.
Recipes for Blenders and Food Processors
Mixed drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic)
What Is the Difference Between a Food Processor and a Blender
Now that you have a clear idea of how the two appliances work and their components, let’s get into the differences between the two.
Knowing when it’s best to use a blender and when food processors are ideal can assist you with buying the perfect appliance for your needs.
Labor-Intensive Tasks: Food Processor
When it comes to working with dense ingredients, you’re going to get the best performance from your food processor.
Since these devices come with numerous attachments for an assortment of projects, you’ll easily be able to handle several recipes ranging from grinding nuts to making dough for pizzas and loaves of bread.
Although food processors aren’t highly recommended for all liquid-based products, they can make a fantastic partner for throwing together numerous delectable dishes.
Liquefying Ingredients: Blender
It’s highly unlikely you’ll ever hear of someone making a smoothie using a food processor simply because they don’t blend as well as blenders do.
This point is especially true if you own a high-powered blender, as they can quickly liquefy all of your ingredients within a matter of minutes.
The consistency of your smoothies is bound to be far more palatable with the help of a blender compared to a food processor.
When you add your ingredients into a blender and turn it on, the rotating blade creates a center vortex that pulls all of the elements closer to the edges so that you can puree them.
Whereas with food processors, its shape is broad and flat, allowing you to chop items more efficiently so that you’ll have smaller pieces.
Attachments: Food Processor
Most often, when you buy a blender, you’ll receive a single set of blades and the jug, though sometimes you might be able to get a second jug that is useful for dry ingredients.
Food processors, on the other hand, come with a wide assortment of attachments designated for different tasks, which help to improve its versatility.
You’ll love having graters, slicers, knife blades, and dough blades readily available for an assortment of amazing recipes.
Most food processors are substantially shorter and wider than blenders, which can minimize the space you have available for adding several ingredients.
With blenders, you can typically add several types of fruit, liquids, and ice on top of all of that.
Food processors are far better when dealing with small batches of ingredients, where blenders tend to have difficulty.
If you’re in the market for an appliance with the highest possible capacity, you’ll want to invest in a blender.
You can also consider opting for food processors with more giant bowls to handle more ingredients, though they aren’t likely to be as large as an average blender.
Maintenance: Food Processor
After you’ve finished preparing your ingredients, it will be time to clean the device you’ve been using.
Blenders can be quite the hassle to clean, especially if you have a model with blades fixed to a nut at the bottom of the jug.
You’ll have to manage to get a sponge or unique cleaning tool in between the blades without potentially cutting yourself.
Food processors are far simpler to clean, especially since they have interchangeable and easily removable blades.
Some of the parts of your food processor may also be able to get cleaned in the dishwasher, helping to lessen the time you spend at the sink.
With that said, some of the higher-end blenders are also dishwasher-friendly but can be challenging to fit on a rack.
The specific conical shape of a blender is ideal for ensuring there is little chance of the ingredients overflowing, as long as you make sure the lid is on correctly.
As earlier mentioned, when you add ingredients and turn the device on, the vortex-like motion drags the heavier components to the bottom so that they can be perfectly pureed.
With food processors, if you add too many ingredients, it’s far more likely to overflow, especially if you’re working with liquids.
Although this is a striking difference between the two, it’s not necessarily a disadvantage, as you can manage the portion sizes you use in either appliance to ensure neither cause you to make a mess in the kitchen.
If you were to look at the most basic blenders and food processors, there are undoubtedly more settings on mixers as you’re likely to need to achieve different stages of liquefying.
However, with some of the more expensive food processors, there are just as many available settings as you would find on a traditional blender.
For an even better range of versatility, high-end blenders will offer numerous settings, including start/stop, pulse, variable speed settings, and specific programs.
Take Vitamix for example; their Professional Series 750 has specific programs to choose from depending on what you’re trying to make, including Frozen Desserts, Soups, Purees, and even a cleaning cycle.
Cost: Food Processor
Likely because of their size and fewer available settings, food processors are going to be substantially less expensive than blenders.
Manufacturers will have to put less money into the materials used to create the appliances, and therefore, their retail price will be more affordable.
With that said, determining what appliance is best for your household and your wallet will depend on what you intend on making daily.
For example, if you’re creating smoothies, you’re far better off spending the extra money on a blender, whereas, for cooking, you’ll benefit the most from a food processor, which can also help you to save.
Your blender is likely to be of the same quality as your food processor, especially if you’re looking at ones with comparable prices.
It’s important to take durability into account when you start shopping around, as you’ll want to make sure the appliance will last over many years of use.
Ideally, the bowl should be made out of impact-resistant materials such as high-quality plastic or glass that will also resist acidity and staining.
The blade quality of your blender or food processor is also essential, as you won’t have to try to shop around for replacement blades a couple of months after you use it for the first time.
Above all else, the interior components of your blender will need to be made with care, such as the motor, as replacing one of these parts in your countertop appliances can be more expensive than buying a new unit altogether.
It’s easy to answer, what is the difference between a food processor and a blender?
There are several different ways that the appliances work best for specific recipes, and knowing the ins and outs of both can help you to make the right decision.