Food Processors vs Blenders: Which to Pick?

A food processor is a pretty amazing appliance to have. It has a whole host of uses that you probably wouldn’t even expect. 

But a blender is a pretty reliable device too. And in a few different areas, it is actually quite superior to the food processor.

While it seems like the obvious choice to go for a food processor because of its numerous applications, maybe a blender is the better option for you.

So, to decide which you need, why don’t we discuss a nice blend of factors? (Don’t worry, there won’t be any more puns.)

Take 2 minutes to watch this video. It's an excellent introduction to the topic. Another great video (but much longer) is at the end of this article. It goes into things in much more depth.

We should add that there's a device that tries to combine the best of both worlds - you can check what we think are the best blender food processor hybrids in this article.

Uses of a Food Processor

Well, right off the bat this category is pretty lopsided. The food processor can just do so much more. 

Firstly, it can actually be used in quite a similar fashion to a blender. If you just use the machine’s standard S-Blade, and fire up the in-built ‘On’ setting, it blends quite well.

And surprisingly, it’s not that hard to use once you’ve gotten to know its features. It’s no more complicated to use than a blender really. 

You can use it make nut butter, pasta sauce, and ice cream. You can even use these features to grind your own meat. 

And of course, there’s the stuff that you can’t use a blender for at all. Food processors are also really useful for chopping vegetables and potatoes.

And the presence of the shredding and slicing discs adds to their capabilities too. You can use them to shred cheese or make pie crusts.

As mentioned before, the possibilities are absolutely endless with the food processor.

Uses of a Blender

A blender on the other hand is good for just as its name suggests. Blending. Because that’s exactly what it’s designed for, however, it does trump the processor in some ways.

Food processors are generally built for tackling solid food. They’re very effective on vegetables, bread, and potatoes, but not so great when it comes to liquid.

The fact that a food processor can be used as a blender is kind of just an added advantage. Blenders are just no-nonsense, blending maniacs.

They are actually designed to work well with liquid. So if you want to make a soup or a puree of some sort, then the blender is your friend. 

And of course you have to consider the classic smoothie. Smoothies are more popular today than they’ve ever been.

You can’t really make a good smoothie in a food processor. You can make an okay smoothie, but who’s going to settle for that? 

Blenders are perfect for it though. The bowl is narrower which allows for ingredients to pass through the blades more frequently. 

In a lot of cases, the bowl will even be specifically designed so you can drink a smoothie straight out of it. That’s a pretty great feature.

And because of the narrow bowl, your mix will be whipped into a much smoother paste than a food processor is capable of. 

A blender is actually the only machine that can whip berries and other small, fibrous vegetables into a very smooth texture.

blending berries nice and smooth.jpg

In truth, if it’s smooth that you want then you might want to just stick to the blender. Smoothness is not the goal of a food processor at all.

Having the wider bowl actually makes it much more difficult for the machine to whip things like fruit and vegetables into that kind of texture.

There are smaller food processors, which are getting more popular these days. But the bowl is still deliberately wider than a standard smoothie bowl.

So they’re both good at different things really. The food processor might have more scope, but for smoothies, purees and soup? I’ve got to give the edge to the blender.

Size

Obviously this is less important, but it is something that you need to consider when deciding which of the two machines you should purchase. 

It’s often the case that people have food processors in their kitchen that they don’t use.

This could be because of the fact that there’s several different parts and it’s not that convenient to assemble. 

Blenders on the other hand, are very convenient and there isn’t really any assembly involved at all.

As mentioned before, the work bowl is pretty narrow and overall a blender is just inherently smaller than a food processor.

If you’re space conscious, a blender will almost always be the better of the two options. 

space conscious.jpg

Price

Surprisingly enough, a top of the line blender may actually cost you just as much, if not more than a top of the line food processor.

While you can get other food mixing appliances, such as choppers, for quite a bit less, the cheapest food processors and blenders are about the same.

The most basic of blenders come in at around about the $45 mark, as do basic food processors - but I think it would be less advisable to go for a cheaper food processor.

Ideally, a top of the line blender would be the best option but a cheap one will probably do its job just fine.

If you get a cheap food processor, there’s several different parts and functions which means there’s a higher likelihood that something could go wrong. So if money is going to factor into the food processor vs blender decision, the latter is probably the cheaper option. 

You’ll have to pay more to avoid the risks of a cheap food processor but a cheap blender isn’t going to cause a whole lot of problems.

Still though, the most efficient, most long-lasting blender is going to be the top of the line one. So maybe the whole price thing is a red herring - get the best product you can afford.

Immersion Blenders vs Food Processors

An immersion blender is a stick-like machine (it's shaped like a fancy pepper grinder) that you can use to blend - the key advantage is that it is mobile so you can use it in any pot or container.

Everything we've said about blenders is MORE TRUE for an immersion blender - they take up almost no space but are only good for certain tasks. For soups, sauces, and baby food, they are really useful! Peanut butter is a tougher nut to crack (sorry!), as it dough, pies, and for such things you'll really want a food processor.

Final Recommendation

What this really comes down to is what you are going to need the machine for. 

Food processors are awesome. There’s no doubt about that whatsoever. So many great recipes are made a whole lot easier when you’ve got one.

But the thing is, that just doesn’t matter to some people. It’s always nice to try new things and experiment while cooking, but it’s not for everyone.

You might not have the time, you might be perfectly satisfied with the most basic of dishes, who knows?

If all you want is to make things like soup and smoothies a little bit easier to make, then a blender is perfectly sufficient.

If you want more variety, if you want to be able to lessen the workload of several different delicious, vibrant recipes then a food processor is absolutely essential.

So there you have it. Each machine has its advantages and each one has its disadvantages. The dream kitchen would have a food processor AND either a blender or immersion blender.

But at end the day, they both make cooking easier for different reasons, so it’s all down to what you personally want to get out of it.

And would you look at that? I made it through the whole thing without making another pun! Why don’t you take a second to process that?