A picture showing an above view of an open-top food processor with fresh ingredients of legumes, herbs and butter on a dark brown wood top counter vs. a side view of an open-top blender filled inside and out with fresh ingredients of mixed fruit and vegetables.

What is the Difference Between a Food Processor and a Blender?

Which kitchen gadget should you use when you want to make a fruity smoothie? Think carefully before you answer, your appetite may depend on it! I’m sweating, you sweating? Ah man, just kidding 🙂 I just meant do you need a food processor or a blender? Like, do they even do the same thing?

In this article, I’m going to break down the difference between these two appliances so that you can figure out which one is right for you.

Difference between a Food Processor and Blender

When it comes to preparing food, there are a few key appliances that every kitchen needs. Two of the most essential (in my opinion) are a food processor and a blender. Both devices can make quick work of a variety of tasks, but they each have their specialty.

A food processor is ideal for tasks that require precision, such as chopping vegetables or grinding coffee beans (yummy!). It typically has multiple blades or discs that can be swapped out to suit the specific task at hand.

A blender, on the other hand, is better suited for tasks that require more brute force [1], such as blending smoothies or pureeing soup. It has a single blade that is mounted on a powerful motor, making it perfect for pulverizing ingredients into a smooth consistency.

Which one should you choose? The answer depends on what you plan to use it for as mentioned above. If you need an appliance that can handle a variety of tasks with precision, then a food processor is your best bet.

But if you’re looking for something that can easily blend up into thick and creamy concoctions, then a blender is the way to go.

Guide to Food Processors

An open-top side view of a used food processor bowl filled with partially processed vegetables on light wooded counter on the side of a wooden bowl filled with vegetables.

1. What is a food processor used for?

A food processor is an appliance used to facilitate repetitive tasks in the preparation of food. It can be used to chop, slice, shred, knead, puree and dice food ingredients with little to no manual labor.

Some models are also able to squeeze juices from fruits and vegetables, grind coffee beans and spices, mill flour and make nut butters. A food processor takes on many of the functions of a blender, mixer and chopper but is often more compact as well as easier to operate.

It also typically has multiple blades or disks that can be interchanged for different tasks. One common use for a food processor is chopping vegetables for a soup or salad. The machine can quickly and evenly dice onions, celery, carrots and other firm produce.

This prevents potential tears while slicing by hand (I am either cutting myself or cutting onions for onion soup), and results in a more consistent texture throughout the dish. Shredding cheese for or cabbage for coleslaw is another popular use for food processors.

The shredded goods come out light and fluffy, without the stringy texture produced by hand-shredding.

An open food processor used to chop onions in a fine texture.

Kneading dough is yet another function that can be achieved with some models of food processors – saving time and ‘putting you first’. Some food processors even have built-in features such as mincers and sausage stuffers, making them even more versatile kitchen appliances.

Choppers are ideal for coarsely grinding meats, nuts and seeds (among other things). Blenders are better at thoroughly pureeing softer foods and creating smooth textures – think soups, sauces, milkshakes, baby food and dips/spreads.

Milling flours and grinding spices are additional plus for blenders that set them apart from choppers. All in all, a food processor is a multifunctional kitchen tool that can save time and effort when preparing meals large or small [2].

2. What size food processor do I need?

When it comes to food processors, size really does matter. The last thing you want is a machine that’s too small for your needs or one that takes up too much counter space. So how do you know what size food processor is right for you?

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

a) The size of your family or household

If you’re cooking for a large group, you’ll need a larger food processor. But if you’re only feeding yourself or a small family, a smaller model will do the trick. As a general guideline, the size of your food processor will determine how many cups it can process at one time. There are small 6-9 cup processors, medium 10 -13 cups and large 14 – 16 cup servings.

b) The types of foods you typically process

If you only use your food processor for occasional chopping or slicing, a smaller model will suffice. But if you plan on using it for more heavy-duty tasks like grinding meat or making nut butter, you’ll need a larger, more powerful machine.

Again, as a guideline, food processors can be broadly classified into five categories: blenders, mandolines, electric graters, vegetable grinders, mini and large food processors.

c) The amount of space you have in your kitchen

If counter space is at a premium in your home, you might want to consider a compact or hand-held food processor. These models are smaller and take up less room than full-size machines.

So take some time to think about your needs before choosing a food processor. That way, you can be sure to find the perfect size for your kitchen.

A complete white food processor top and bottom with attachments on a white countertop with two carrots placed the side and a backdrop cloth with mix colors of white, greens and reds.

Benefits of a food processor

A food processor is typically has a large bowl, with a blade or discs at the bottom that does the work. The benefits of having a food processor in the kitchen are many: it saves time, it is versatile and it is easy to use.

For anyone who loves to cook, time is often the most precious commodity. A food processor can help save time in the kitchen by performing tasks that would otherwise have to be done by hand.

Chopping vegetables for you favourite veggie dishes, for example, can be done in minutes with a food processor. And for tasks that would normally require multiple steps – such as making pesto or hummus – a food processor can do it all in one go.

A food processor is also a very versatile kitchen appliance. In addition to chop vegetables, fruits, and nuts, they can also be used to make dough for pie crusts and breads, grate cheese and even create homemade baby food. The options are truly endless.

Finally, food processors are easy to use. Most models come with clear instructions and plenty of recipes to get started. And once you get the hang of using yours, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one.

What to do if you don’t have a food processor

If you don’t have a food processor, don’t stress! There are plenty of ways to make do. For example, if you need to chop vegetables, a sharp knife and a cutting board will do the trick. Just be sure to chop slowly and evenly for best results.

If you need to puree a soup or sauce, an immersion blender is a great alternative to a food processor. And if you’re making a smoothie or milkshake, a good old-fashioned blender will do the job just fine. So whatever your cooking needs may be, there’s no need to let the lack of a food processor stop you from whipping up something delicious.

A smiling fair brown-haired woman in grey top/Dijon mustard slacks with an opened blue-ish shirt with her hands on a white 2-in-1 food processor & blender on a wooden counter top with a salt/pepper shakers and veggies used to set the cooking scene.

Blender tips for beginners

1. Different types of blenders

There are many different types of blenders on the market, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, immersion blenders are great for puréeing soups and sauces, but can be difficult to clean.

Countertop blenders are more versatile, but can be bulky and expensive. And personal blenders are perfect for making smoothies on the go, but may not be powerful enough for some tasks. Ultimately, the best type of blender for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

So take some time to learn about the different types of blenders before making a purchase. That way, you can be sure to find the perfect one for your kitchen.

2. Types of blenders for smoothies 

When you want a smoothie, you want it now and you want it to be good. That’s why a high-powered blender is key. The blades in a high-powered blender can spin faster than those in a typical blender, which means they can break down ice, frozen fruit, and greens effortlessness.

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line option that will make short work of any ingredients you throw its way, consider the Ninja Professional Blenders, beloved by smoothie enthusiasts for their ability to create silky-smooth beverages with little to no effort.

If you’re on a budget or simply don’t have the counter space for a large appliance, a NutriBullet is a great choice, compact and lightweight yet still powerful enough to pulverize most ingredients. And since they come with single-serve cups, there’s no need to dirty up an extra glass or bowl.

Whichever blender you choose, making smoothies at home has never been easier- or more delicious!  

A grey complete top and bottom blender filled with a blend of what looks like a berry smoothie held by what looks like a woman-chef in white and black on a white counter filled with an array of smoothie ingredients of berries, powder and nuts etc.

3. What are the different blender blades for?

Immersion blenders are one of the most versatile kitchen tools around – they can be used to make everything from sauces and soups to smoothies and baby food. But with all of the different blades on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for your needs.

Here is a quick guide to the different types of blender blades:

The flat blade is the most common type of immersion blender blade. It is great for pureeing soups and sauces, and can also be used to make emulsions like mayonnaise and vinaigrettes.

The serrated blade is ideal for chopping and mincing, making it a great choice for preparing tomatoes for yummy spaghetti bolognaise, salsa, guacamole, or pesto.

The balloon whisk attachment is perfect for whipping cream, egg whites, or pancakes batter. It can also be used to make frothy cocktails like martinis and piña coladas (just remember – you put de lime in de coconut, you drank ’em bot’ up!).

The grater attachment is perfect for grating cheese, chocolate, or ginger. It can also be used to zest citrus fruits.

With so many different blades available, there is an immersion blender out there for every need. So whether you are looking to make a quick soup or whip up a gourmet meal, be sure to choose the right blade for the job.

4. What are those small blenders called?

They’re often called personal blenders, single-serve blenders, or immersion blenders. Personal blenders are great for making smoothies, shakes, and pureed soups.

They’re also ideal for making baby food or for anyone who wants to make healthy meals on the go. Single-serve blenders are perfect for those who want to make a quick smoothie or shake without having to clean a large blender.

Immersion blenders are ideal for those who want to puree soups or make sauces and dips [3]. They can also be used to make baby food or to blend ingredients for baking. So, whether you’re looking for a quick and easy way to make a healthy meal or you want to save time on cleanup, consider investing in a personal blender.

Images shows white block tiles with black letters showing ‘choice’ with ‘my’ and ‘your’ in frozen limbo held by two fingers with a blurred green background.

Before you go…

While both devices are kitchen appliances that can make your life easier, they each have their own unique capabilities. In short, a blender is better for liquids while a food processor is better for solids (and sometimes semi-solids).

 And remember, if all else fails just ask yourself: do I want to make soup or margaritas? And if you really just can’t decide, maybe it’s time to ask Santa for both!

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Charlene Gallant

Charlene is a lover of good food. She enjoys nothing more than cooking up a storm in the kitchen and sharing her favourite recipes with her readers. She also enjoys reading a good book.

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