It can be confusing to consider that blenders and food processors are so different, yet seem to do exactly the same thing. Do you really need both? They actually serve totally different purposes and they can both be useful, but usually in different ways. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a useful version of either, but it’s not likely your food processor will be able to pass as as a blender or vice versa.
It’s A Matter of Size and Texture
When you put things into a blender, what you get out is not going to look like what went in. You won’t be able to take something out of a blender and tell the difference between the ingredients you started with. It’s not just possible. A blender does just that – it blends everything together so you end up with a homogenous mixture of some type of liquid. Oh yeah, you’re also not going to get anything solid out of a blender.
On the other hand, a food processor may blend ingredients together, but it’s not going to create such a homogenous liquid. If you’re chopping up a bunch of vegetables, odds are you’re going to be able to tell what is in the mix just by looking at it once you’re done. If you’re making a salad of some kind, the pieces will be small, but still large enough and distinct enough to be able to distinguish what’s in it.
If you want a smoothie, you use a blender. Milkshakes are made in a blender. Protein shakes are made in a blender. I’m sure there are thousands of other things, but the bottom line is if it’s primarily liquid, it goes in a blender.
A food processor is used for anything that needs to be chopped, but not liquified. Chicken salad, salsa, crumbs for crusts, etc. Even at the highest level of pulverization, it’s not going to turn everything into liquid. Solid ingredients which need to retain texture go in a food processor.
Watch For Leaks
The other big difference between the two is that the food processor bowl is not made to hold liquids. It can hold some liquid, but not a lot. The processor bowl has a hole at the bottom which connects the motor to the blade. If you put too much liquid in there, it is going to start leaking out of the hole and leave a mess.
Blenders are made to hold water. That’s why you can make soups, yogurts, and other things that could be runny in the blender, but not in a food processor. If the desired final result is a liquid, you’re going to want the blender.
Do More With The Process
Another thing about a food processor is that it has a lot more attachments than a blender does. A blender has a blade with several points which goes into the bottom of the pitcher. Some blenders have different variations of it, but that’s the main tool.
The food processor, on the other hand, has a different tool for just about everything. You can slice, dice, mince, grate, grind, and more. You can get big pieces and small pieces or something inbetween. You can reduce a whole block of cheese down to just shreds really, really quickly. That’s just not going to happen with a blender.
Everything Has Its Place
Depending on what you need them for, both blenders and food processors have their own places in the kitchen. Neither is better than the other, but the processor is definitely more versatile – except for handling liquids, which is exactly what the blender is for. You can decide if one or the other is better for you, but my kitchen will probably always have both. I like my salsa and my smoothies. It’s just how I roll.