Cooking and baking require using a lot of equipment. If you have cooked or prepared something before, you surely have seen or used a blender or food processor. These two tools are not the same and have somewhat different purposes.
Keep reading to see what a blender and food processor are and how they differ. You will find out useful tips and tricks to getting the most out of them as well!
What Is A Blender?
A blender is kitchen equipment used to crush, puree, and liquefy food and other ingredients. The most common blender is a stationary one, which has a rotating blade at the bottom that is powered by an electric motor. Depending on the blade, the blender can crush more ingredients, including ice.
For the most part, you will have seen or used a countertop blender that has a container able to hold between four and eight cups. The container can be made from glass, plastic, or steel. The blender also has several speeds; the larger the blender and blade, the more speeds it can have.
A plastic container can last longer but can also be scratched and get the smell of food. The glass is durable but also delicate to clean and can break. Stainless steel is the best choice, but it is more expensive and less appealing.
Typical kitchen blenders have between six to 12 speeds. In some cases, the blender blades are removable for cleaning, but this can make their durability limited. The blades work when the motor rotates them and makes the food come in contact with them.
Nowadays, there are immersion blenders, which are also called hand blenders or stick blenders. The wand contains a mixing head with rotating blades, and when it is turned on, the immersion into a container with food causes the food to blend. Immersion blenders are practical but also have limitations and might leave chunks of food unblended.
Blenders are used daily for different purposes, including making juices, smoothies, soups, creams, cocktails, and more. They are also a scientific tool used in experiments and labs. You can now also find blenders with bigger motors meant to blenderize and heat foods quickly.
Popular Blender Brands
Below are some of the most popular blender brands in the market today:
- Kitchen Aid
- Hamilton Beach
- General Electric
- Black & Decker
What Can I Use My Blender For?
Blenders are versatile and used in a variety of settings. You can use it for cooking, baking, crushing, and liquifying. Sometimes, people will use a blender for purposes outside of cooking that require a liquid of a certain consistency.
You can use your blender to make sauces, dips, or dressings. In making sauces, such as pesto, the blender mixes the solid and liquid ingredients into a perfectly smooth combination. You can mix the olive oil, pine nuts, basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and other ingredients and blend them into a delicious pesto.
When it comes to dips, you can use a blender to make things like hummus, tzatziki, or onion dip. With the hummus, the blender is powerful enough to crush the chickpeas into a smooth and creamy texture, perfect for eating with pita bread or carrots. Other dips and salsas might require the blender to break through the fibers of the foods.
You can also use a blender when making creams, soups, and purees. In restaurants, blenders are essential in making signature creamy sauces and soups. At home, this kitchen equipment can blend all sorts of vegetables and meats into purees safe for babies and those on texture restrictions.
Lately, your blender can do more than you imagine. If you like peanut butter, your blender is a great way to save money and prepare it at home by crushing the peanuts into creamy, thick butter. The same goes for other nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds.
Nowadays, most people do not drink milk and prefer a non-dairy option. Buying almond or cashew milk can become expensive and might contain too many unwanted ingredients. That is where your blender comes in and crushes your pre-soaked almonds or cashews into delicious creamy milk.
If you happen to have an allergy or intolerance to gluten, then a blender could be useful in creating alternatives to flour and breadcrumbs. You can use this tool to crush and pulverize oats, almonds, potatoes, and more to make a powder that replaces flour. The same is true for breadcrumbs to coat your favorite foods.
Your blender can also become fundamental in making drinks, such as frozen alcoholic beverages, smoothies, or milkshakes. The blades in your blender are powerful enough to crush ice into different textures. You can also mix liquid ingredients with dairy to make your favorite milkshakes, ice cream, or floats.
Finally, if you are considering alternatives to rice and pizza dough, your blender will do the trick. You can use it to ground vegetables like cauliflower into a finer texture mimicking rice. You can also try to make it even thinner to form it into a dough for pizza and other pastries.
What Is A Food Processor?
A food processor is another kitchen tool used for repetitive actions. Usually, the term describes a motor-driven blade that can chop down foods. While the purpose is similar to a blender, a food processor leaves food with a different consistency.
To use a food processor, you need little to no liquid to chop food. In most cases, food processors are used for chopping, dicing, slicing, and grinding vegetables and grains. The function of this equipment depends on the size of the ingredients and the capacity of the container.
Some ways to use food processors include chopping carrots, forming the dough, shredding cheese, grinding bread into breadcrumbs, and more. With larger equipment, you can choose a blender or juicier attachments. In food service facilities, you can use it for large quantities of food.
A food processor uses a motor with a vertical shaft. It also has a transparent bowl or container that fits the shaft. The cutting blades attach to this part, and the motor shreds or chops food as the motor powers the blades.
In most households, the food processor might replace the blender in some scenarios. You can use it to chop vegetables, like onions, celery, and carrots, and it can puree certain things, like chickpeas. This equipment became popular in the 1940s as a way to facilitate everyday tasks in cooking. While they are usually small, larger-capacity food processors are becoming part of households due to their wide range of utility.
Food processors tend to be more affordable than blenders and have similar uses. However, many people find blenders easier to use and clean. For the most part, you can use this equipment in many recipes.
Popular Food Processor Brands
Below are some of the most popular food processor brands in the market today:
- Williams Sonoma
- Hamilton Beach
- Black & Decker
What Can I Use My Food Processor For?
A food processor serves many purposes, just like a blender. You can use it for simple tasks, like chopping veggies, or more complicated ones like kneading dough. Either way, the use you give it depends on the type of equipment and the recipe you are preparing.
The most basic use of a food processor is chopping. You can use it to chop vegetables for soups, like carrots, celery, and onions. Or even chop nuts for making pesto, cookies, or other baked goods.
Your food processor can also mince or ground foods. You can use it to grind meat for meatballs, hamburgers, and more. It can also help grind vegetables or bread for cauliflower rice, breadcrumbs, and flour.
At the same time, if you are looking to puree foods, this kitchen equipment can be useful. You can use it to make baby food, salsa, and other sauces. It can also be essential to make nut butter, such as peanut or almond butter.
If you want to make dips, a food processor is a good tool. You can prepare hummus, pesto, onion dip, artichoke dip, etc. It can help mix and ground at the same time.
For those who love cheese, a food processor can help shred cheese to the perfect consistency. Many use it to shred mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, or asiago. Sometimes you can also shred vegetables for salads or pasta alternatives, such as zucchini and carrots.
One of the best uses is kneading dough, even though most people are unaware. Because of the blades, your food processor can move the dough enough to knead it for a recipe. Your equipment will not cut through the dough as some metal blades would.
Finally, the food processor is great for slicing foods and meats. You can use it with potatoes, yams, beets, pepperoni, salami, and ham. It is also essential if you want finely sliced fruits for desserts.
What Are The Key Differences Between A Blender And A Food Processor?
The main difference between a blender and a food processor is the type of blades they have. A blender has fixed blades that you cannot remove. A food processor includes removable blades and might come in more sizes and thicknesses.
Another key difference is the size of the equipment. For the most part, a blender has a tall container or jar meant to liquefy large quantities of ingredients. The food processor tends to have a wide bowl that is shorter too.
Because they are different, you cannot use them for the same tasks. A blender cannot chop, slice, or shred foods, as the blades are too big and would end up grinding things down. The food processor is the perfect equipment to help chop, slice, and shred most foods.
When making liquid foods, like soup, creams, or sauces, they also reach different results. A blender is a perfect tool for liquids, as it can combine and ground everything into a homogenous liquid. A food processor will not be able to create a liquid product like a smoothie, juice, or milkshake.
Due to their size, they will also need more or fewer ingredients when performing similar tasks. A blender will need liquid to perform its job since the blades are static. The food processor can work with very few ingredients and still have the same results.
Since a blender is so big and the blades do not adjust, it will not be capable of certain things. The blender is not a tool you can use to knead the dough. However, the food processor is a great way to save time by kneading dough before baking.
Since they contain different parts, you have to care for them differently. A blender has to be washed with the blades still in, and more often than not, it does not have any attachments. You can take a food processor apart, and there are various attachments you can buy.
|Main Differences||Blender||Food Processor|
|Origin||United States in 1922||France in 1971|
|Uses||Soups, smoothies, juices, sauces, nut butter, milkshakes, etc.||Kneading dough, chopping, shredding, grinding, slicing, etc.|
|Size||3 to 14 cups||2 to 20 cups|
|Container||Large, tall jar||Short, wide bowl|
|Average cost||$24.99 to 400.00||$29.99 to 300.00|
Is A Blender or Food Processor Better?
The truth is, a blender or a food processor is a helpful tool to have in your kitchen. Most families have both. If you choose one or the other, it highly depends on what you intend to do with it.
A food processor is the best option for slicing, chopping, grinding, kneading, or cutting foods and dough. You can use this equipment for these specific tasks without fearing your food will get ruined. A blender will not be able to perform like this.
Go with a blender if you want to create liquids, such as milkshakes, juices, smoothies, dressings, sauces, and cocktails. Because of its blades, the blender will not finely chop, shred, or slice food, but it is best for liquifying foods. Your food processor cannot do this task evenly.
Since these two tools have different uses, you do not have to choose one over the other. Instead, use this article to decide which one serves you best depending on the recipe you are making. Either way, the equipment you go with will help simplify things for you.
*image by AntonMatyukha/depositphotos
*image by starush/depositphotos