Which kitchen appliance features sharp blades that spin at incredible speeds: A blender or a food processor? Well, both, actually. But while blenders and food processors have many similarities, these appliances serve very different purposes.
To make your life in the kitchen easier, it’s wise to know what each of these high-speed machines is best at slicing and dicing, as well as which ingredients you should avoid putting in each appliance. We break down the differences between blenders and food processors in this guide.
A good blender is typically better for liquids and is used to create things like smoothies and protein shakes. A food processor is used for more labor-intensive tasks, such as mixing dough or slicing vegetables. Of course, some blenders are powerful enough to handle the tasks meant for a food processor (and vice versa). For now, however, let’s just take a look at the basic differences between a blender and a food processor.
If you’ve ever shopped for a food processor, you’ve probably noticed a long list of the appliance’s skills on the package, including chopping, slicing, shredding, mixing, and pureeing. While blenders have become more capable over the years, they still don’t do much more than blend. Sure, a powerful blender will crush ice, and top-of-the-line blenders like theare capable of making everything from ice cream to nut butter, but your typical blender isn’t going to be able to handle the number of tasks that a food processor can.
|Soups and purees||Best||Capable|
|Baking (dough and crust)||Not ideal||Capable|
As you can see in the chart above, there’s a considerable amount of crossover between the two appliances. However, they both excel at different tasks.
Blenders, for instance, are typically built with features that make them ideal for making soups, purees, and smoothies. So you wouldn’t want to use it to chop vegetables for your salad bowl. While some blenders have easy-to-pour reservoirs, others are made so that you can drink out of the same cylinder you use to make your smoothie. Blenders tend to handle liquids much better than food processors.
For example, thecan whip up a nutritious smoothie with ease. While we wouldn’t recommend it as the best appliance for making everything under the sun, it is powerful enough to grind up nuts, veggies, and other potential smoothie ingredients.
Food processors, on the other hand, are ideal for more labor-intensive tasks, like making dough. Food processors have wide mixing bowls — which make it easy to add in ingredients — and typically come with various attachments, giving you the ability to slice carrots, shred cheese, or mix dough.
The Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor serves as a pretty great example of the tasks a food processor is capable of tackling. It has a large mixing bowl, multiple speeds, a pulse setting, and various blade attachments to help bakers slide, shred or chop accordingly. This product also comes with a handy “bowl scraper” attachment to assist with removing sticky dough or unruly food from the inside of the bowl.
Baking enthusiasts and kitchen fiends swear that food processors are an essential kitchen tool, while blenders are best to cater to a more broad base of creating smoothies, soups, or unique cocktails. These devices, though, are not mutually exclusive. You’ll likely find that some recipes call for both tools, and many kitchens are now home to the two products. Due to their designs and technological advancements, there isn’t a massive distinction between blenders and food processors. High-end blenders could come with added attachments, like food processors. Thanks to these helpful accessories, a blender or food processor can execute incredible tasks, with some capabilities overlapping a bit. The recipe book for the Vitamix 5200, for instance, includes smoothies, nut butter, bread dough, cocktails, and cake mixes.
That said, the versatility of these two products could make picking a single appliance slightly more complicated. To help make your choice easier, consider the purpose of your purchase. Blenders are still best for more liquid-heavy recipes, like smoothies and soups. Inversely, a food processor may be the better option for thicker substances, like dough and butter. Sticking to these standard guidelines and expectations can help you make your final decision, although, with new technology, you’ll likely find a high-end appliance that can tackle both of these tasks effectively no matter what.