Blender Vs. Food Processor

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With limited countertop space in many apartment and small home kitchens, home chefs are often forced to decide between appliances. Two appliances, a blender and a food processor, are the main competitors. Although they both have rotating blades, they have different designs and strengths, while maintaining some overlap in the tasks they can complete.

Blender Basics

  • A blender is a countertop appliance consisting of a stand motor and a tall and narrow pitcher with a lid on top and blades in the bottom. A blender's blades move very quickly, turning as many as 18,000 times per minute, and most blenders allow you to control their speeds, from a low chopping to a high-speed puree.

Food Processor Basics

  • The other major countertop appliance is a food processor, which comes with a number of different kinds of blades. You will most often use the S-shaped chopping blade, but most processors also include discs for kneading, slicing, grating and pureeing. The typical food processor only has one speed, although it also has a pulse button that affords you more control.

Blender Uses

  • The best way to use a blender is with liquids. They are an essential appliance at establishments mixing alcoholic drinks and making blended coffees. At home, they make such drinks as smoothies and milkshakes, and a high-powered blender can even grind ice. Another common use for blenders is soups--either pureeing soups that are cooked on the stove or starting with raw ingredients and mixing and heating the soup in a blender on high speed.

Food Processor Uses

  • You can think of a food processor as a very fast knife and cutting board. The major advantage of a food processor is that it will slice and chop ingredients much faster than the average home cook can, saving a lot of preparation time when making meals from scratch. Food processors will also grate cheese, allowing you to purchase blocks instead of preshredded bags of cheese.

Similarities

  • Blenders and food processors perform some tasks almost equally well. The first is pureeing, which both appliances were designed to do quickly and easily. The main difference is that a blender makes a smooth puree, and a food processor, with its pulse feature, can make a puree with some chunks if you want to maintain texture. The second major area of overlap is bread crumbs, which a blender with a dry blade can make as well as a food processor.

Stand Mixer

  • A discussion comparing blenders to food processors is incomplete without addressing the third major countertop appliance: a stand mixer. Although stand mixers are not as versatile as blenders and food processors, they excel in three major areas. The whisk will whip cream or egg whites in a minute or less. A stand mixer's flat beater is perfect for cake batters and cookie dough. Lastly, stand mixers with bread hooks can knead dough more slowly and effectively than food processors.

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