While at first glance blenders and food processors may seem essentially the same, they have different strengths and can be used for different things. They also do have some overlap in how they work and are used.
Blender and Food Processor Similarities
There are certain similarities between these two kitchen appliances that are notable. At their root, both of these appliances are built to combine ingredients together easily. Both blenders and food processors contain blades and a motor to make this combination possible.
What is a Blender?
Chances are you’ve probably used a blender, but you may not have spent much time examining what it’s actually built to do. These appliances have features that make them a good fit for making things based out of liquid, or if you’re trying to liquify certain substances. They’re also designed to easily pour the end result into a cup or container.
Blenders have a powerful motor that allows them to liquefy ingredients, giving them a smooth texture. The blades associated with blenders, though, are not very sharp. In fact, they’re more on the blunt end.
The Best Uses for Blenders
Blenders definitely have certain foods that they’re better designed to accommodate.
Frozen cocktails are a popular item to make in a blender, which is why you’re likely to see this appliance adorning a beach bar. Ice and the softer ingredients associated with these drinks mix well in a blender.
Another drink commonly made in blenders is smoothies. These are usually composed of ice, fruit, vegetables, juice, and other liquids. The strong motors blenders possess give smoothies their smooth yet thick consistency.
Sauces - like a tomato sauce or hollandaise - can be made well in a blender. Again, since sauces are a more liquid-like consistency, a blender is well-equipped to create these mixtures.
Baby food has a soft, almost liquid consistency, which means it’s good to make in a blender. These foods are most commonly made of soft fruits and vegetables.
What is a Food Processor?
A food processor also contains a motor and blades, but the difference here is that the motor is less powerful while the blades are sharper than they are on a blender. This is because a food processor is designed to work with more solid food than a blender is. Food processors are good at mincing and chopping. Their sharp blades allow this to be easily done - and at a much quicker and more consistent pace than that of human hands equipped with a knife.
Food processors are designed differently than blenders also in the fact that they are shallower. While blenders have a deeper reach, food processors are more of a perfect circle with a more shallow reach, making their capacity less. For this reason, they’re not a good option to use in making a food like soup.
The Best Uses for Food Processors
Just as in the case of blenders, there are certain food items that are best suited to be made with the help of a food processor.
While doughs - such as a pie dough or bread - are not completely solid, they’re certainly not a liquid either. This makes them a good job for a food processor to handle. The blades in a food processor allow these doughs to be easily made and to remain sturdy enough.
When you want to change solid bread into breadcrumbs to use in a recipe, a food processor is the tool for the job. This tool works quickly and will turn the bread into more of a grain texture, also giving you the consistency in texture you need.
It can be quite a pain to mince vegetables the old fashioned way—especially foods like onions. Instead, throw these items into the food processor. It can mince onions, cauliflower, broccoli, herbs, and any other vegetables in a matter of seconds. If you were to throw these into a blender, they would end up caught in the dull blades.
Textured Dips or Sauces
A dip that has some texture to it - such as chunky guacamole - is a perfect candidate to be made in a food processor. The motor and blades of the food processor will work together to combine the ingredients while allowing them to retain some of their texture in the process.
Counter space in most kitchens is quite valuable, which is why many individuals look to buy fewer appliances. While there is some overlap in what blenders and food processors do, they also function quite differently in many instances. For that reason, you may want to consider having both, depending on your cooking habits.