It’s easy to tell the difference between a food processor and a blender but it can get confusing too. One of the reasons why it gets confusing is because processors and blenders both have sharp blades that chop food at fast speeds. Therefore, they are both very similar appliances, but they have different uses.
Before I get started, let it be clear that processors are more powerful than blenders, and they are used for more difficult food preparation tasks.
Food Processors Explained
Food processors are designed to mix dough, shred, and do other labor-intensive tasks in the kitchen. They are incredible versatile and can handle a wide range of tasks.
Their mixing bowls are wider which makes adding ingredients much easier, and they can shred cheese, slice carrots, and mix dough thanks to the various attachments they support. They also have multiple speed settings, and often give you the option to let it run continuously or with pulsating rotations.
The four main parts of a processor are the lid, the clear plastic body, the base, and the blades/attachments. Since they are larger, they are perfect for cooking large meals or recipes. They have feed chutes too so you can add more ingredients to their work bowls while they are working.
You can fill up a processor with ingredients and it will continue to work properly; blenders on the other hand won’t. With their bowl inserts, you can process different ingredients in different compartments at the same time, saving you time while cooking.
Wet ingredients tend to stick to the sides of the bowl where the blade can’t reach them, so these appliances are best suited for slicing, grating, shredding, chopping, and mixing dry or solid ingredients. Of course, they can process liquid ingredients, but don’t expect the result to be as good as that of a blender.
Blenders do exactly what their name implies – they blend ingredients together, mostly liquid and solid. They also have four main parts, the lid, blades, base (which houses the motor), and the pitcher.
They usually have a conical shape, and come with spouts and handles to help you pour out blended ingredients easily. They also have controls for speed and mixing and these are usually found at their bases.
The blade is attached to the bottom of the pitcher with a screw and you can detach it for easier cleaning. The lid covers the pitcher to prevent spilling while using the blender.
If your ingredients contain liquids, the right appliance to use is a blender. They are mostly used to puree fruits and vegetables when you need to make a smoothie or soup.
Their conical shape plays a huge role in producing smooth blends by directing ingredients toward the bottom of the pitcher where the blade is located. As the blade rotates, the solid and liquid ingredients rotate as well and this gives rise to a vortex-like movement in the pitcher.
As a result of this, wet ingredients don’t stick to parts of the appliance like they do in processors. Every particle that hasn’t blended yet eventually gets to the blade, thus blenders are simply perfect for blending liquids and solids.
That said, blenders must not be filled to the brim or they won’t function properly. You must leave some space in the pitcher to allow the ingredients rotate properly and prevent spilling.
Since these appliances rely on rotation and liquids facilitate this rotation, they won’t blend dry ingredients properly because they just won’t rotate well enough for the blade to do its job.
Aside from high-powered variants, most blenders are simple appliances and don’t come with extra attachments and parts to extend their functions.
Summary of the Differences Between a Food Processor and a Blender
Food processors perform better with thicker ingredients and dry ingredients while blenders are best used to blend ingredients that contain a lot of liquid or that are watery. That’s just what you need to bear in mind while trying to pick the right appliance to buy.
That said, unless you hardly prepare meals at home, you’ll probably need both of them in your kitchen. If you simply need an appliance to make soups or smoothies, get a blender. If you cook at home, you’ll need both.
Some high-powered or high-end blenders can do the job of a processor too thanks to their extra accessories and more powerful motors, but they are usually more expensive.
If you want one appliance to handle all of your food processing and blending needs, and you can afford it, then consider getting a high-end blender like the Vitamix 5200 or Wolf Gourmet high-performance blender. Otherwise, just get a regular blender and a regular food processor.