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When To Use A Blender Vs Food Processor

Published by: Chef Matty Riedel • Updated: January 14, 2024

Simple tasks such as prepping meat and vegetables can become very laborious in the kitchen. With everyone short on time, kitchen gadgets that reduce backache and meal preparation have become a boon in the kitchen. 

Regarding tasks, the food processor and the food blender appear almost interchangeable. Pared back to basics, they both consist of a plastic jug and a lid, a sharp blade and a motor housed in the base. However, read on and dig a bit deeper; you will see they have quite different functions.

Food Processor Vs Food Blender: Which Is Better?

The versatility of the food processor and blender means the prep time for the more menial kitchen tasks is dramatically reduced. The food processor’s strength lies in its ability to quickly chop, slice, whisk and grate any ingredients such as meat, fruit, vegetables, cream, and cheese. While the food blender performs much better with liquids, making soups, sauces, smoothies, and purees silky smooth.

To check which machine will fulfil your cooking requirements, you must evaluate the meals you routinely make at home. Do you regularly cook for a large family or batch cook for the freezer? Do you throw parties where you will need buffet-style food? This guide will help you identify your kitchen requirements and which machine will suit the tasks best.

Food Processor 

Post-war innovation catalysed the invention of both the food processor and blender. In 1946, the German company Electrostar created the Starmix, the first simple, electric food processor.

In the 1950’s catering salesman, Pierre Verdun was inspired by watching his chef clients at work taking an age to slice and chop ingredients. His solution? The Robo-Coupe was launched in 1960. With a stronger motor, the Robot-Coupe Magimix food processor was the successor, with exporting starting to the UK in 1974.

Why Should You Buy A Food Processor? 

The sheer versatility of the food processor is its strongest appeal. Attachments vary from model to model but often include the following which you can: 

  • Chop vegetables and fruit and make nut butter using the stainless-steel S-shaped blade.
  • Slice and grate vegetables, fruit, and cheese with the combined stainless-steel grating and slicing blade.
  • Bring pastry dough together using the non-sharp plastic blade, although some cooks prefer the standard blade.
  • Whip cream, eggs, and light sauces using the whisk attachment.
  • Knead bread dough using the metal hook attachment. 

More expensive food processors usually come with more refinements. Such as allowing you to vary the thickness of the slicing blade, or the motor may have two-speed settings along with a pulse function to give intermittent chopping. A pulse function is particularly useful when making pastry (for a chicken pot pie, for instance). Friction from the blade can quickly overheat the pastry. Leave the machine on too long, and you will be pouring your pastry out! However, adding a little iced water and sparingly using the pulse function will keep everything cool and produce a much better pastry.

Ninja Food Processor with Auto-iQ

Nowadays, all bowls are manufactured with vertical ridges on the inside. As the ingredients swirl around the bowl and against these ridges, they return to the central blade. Without these ridges, the ingredients will clump around the outside beyond the reach of the blade. 

It is not unusual for the bowl capacity of the food processor to exceed 3 L. This makes it ideal for making larger batches for the freezer or entertaining. Most manufacturers produce dishwasher-friendly bowls and attachments today, but it is always worth double-checking. 

When thinking of which size machine to buy, check out the available space in your kitchen. Is the machine going to be left on the worktop permanently? If so, will it get in the way of other tasks? Or do you have space in a cupboard to store it separately?

PROS

  • Versatility 
  • Most are dishwasher-friendly 
  • It is ideal if you are making larger quantities, for example, for a party or the freezer

CONS

  • Can take up a lot of space in the kitchen 
  • Not good for creamy ingredients and smoothies

Food Blender 

The first record for a food blender goes to Stephen Poplawski. In 1922, he registered the patent for a rotating blade in the base of a bowl. In 1937, US company Waring Blendor created a successful new design. This company is still going strong, selling a range of kitchen models.

Following the war, a German company, Electrostar, launched the Starmix Standmixer. It proved a popular model with attachments including a grinder, an ice cream maker, and a juicer.

Why Should You Buy A Food Blender? 

Food blenders carry out fewer tasks than food processors. The taller jug of the blender has blades in the base, which are smaller and very sharp. Blenders are designed to work more with liquid ingredients, such as those making up soups, sauces, purees, and smoothies. The blade in a blender rotates at a much higher speed and can chop any fibrous or hard ingredients, celery and nuts, for example, until completely smooth. This smoothness of consistency is one of the main attractions of the food blender.

A food blender is ideal for making: 

  • Sauces and dressings include mayonnaise, vinaigrette, salsas, and hummus.
  • Nut butter, such as peanut, cashew and walnut.
  • Smoothies are made from vegetables, and sweet smoothies from fruit, yoghurt, or ice cream.
  • Frozen drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, made with crushed ice.

When using a food blender, paying a little more attention before you flick the switch is wise. We have all seen the amateur TV chef proudly pouring their latest bright green creation into the blender jug. Only to switch the blender on and have the entire contents fountain out of the top onto everyone and everything within splashing distance. 

blender vs processor

Keeping a folded tea towel over the blender with your hand on top while blending will keep you safe.

Depending on your cooking, a stick blender may be a good alternative. The motor is housed in the handgrip. At the other end of the stick, the blade is housed in a small plastic cup to keep the blade away from the container. While not so good at emulsifying, a stick blender offers a cheap and effective way to liquidise soups and smoothies. The blade detaches from the motor, making it dishwasher-friendly. A stick blender will take up very little space in the kitchen.

PROS

  • Simple and reliable 
  • Easy to clean
  • It is ideal if your diet includes regular smoothies/shakes 

CONS

  • Take care during operation – the jug contents can spill out
  • Not designed for solid food  

Comparison Between Food Processor And Food Blender 

  • Food Processor

    Food Blender

  • Year Started

    1946 by German company, Electrostar

    1922 by Stephen Poplawski

  • Uses

    For solid foods or ingredients requiring intensive handling

    Mainly for liquids

  • Number of attachments

    Many

    Usually only 1

  • Dishwashing Safe

    Yes

    Yes

  • Price

    More expensive

    Less expensive


Food Blender Vs Food Processor: Summing Up 

The food processor and food blender carry out quite different tasks. So, you need to assess the type of work you often do in the kitchen. If you drink a lot of smoothies or shakes and make sauces, dips, mayonnaise, and vinaigrette, this blender is the most likely solution. However, if you make recipes requiring a lot of slicing and chopping ingredients, then a food processor is much more likely to fit the bill. Some models on the market fit the best of both worlds, combining a food processor and a food blender.

Chef and Restaurant Owner Matty Riedel
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