Blender vs Food Processor vs Immersion Blender

Professional chefs, those who love to prepare fine dishes as a hobby, and parents who try to make healthy meals for their family are all too aware the value a quality blender brings. However, not all know the value that comes from food processors and immersion blenders. We are asked to compare blender vs food processor all the time so we made a chart and a couple quick tips for each appliance. 

While a blender is great, it's not the best tool for every blending task we face inside the kitchen. Recently, we spent time investigating and testing which of the three works best in some scenarios. Here's where each tool is most useful and when you should consider changing up and using a different option. We have created a quick chart for reference below with full explanations if you keep reading. 

Recipe

Blender

Immersion Blender

Food Processor

Smoothies/Blended Drinks

Ideal

NEVER EVER FOR ICE

Not Really

Butters/Whipping

Can Use

Ideal

Can Use

Chopping Veggies/ Fruits

No

Ideal

No

Doughs

No

Can Use

No

Shredding Meats/ Cheeses

No

Ideal

No

Purees

Can Use

Don't Use

Ideal

Blender

Ninja Blender

The blender is the number one go to for all our blending and puree needs. However, the traditional blender is best for making smoothies and alcoholic cocktails (such as Margaritas). Blenders have incredibly powerful motors but blades that are not as sharp as the food processor. It is the powerful motor whipping around duller blades and high blade rotations that make blending ice, fruit, and vegetables an easy process.

Traditional blenders eliminate the need for a number of other kitchen appliances, are easy to clean, and the deep bowls help prevent overflowing or causing the lid to explode off, allowing for smooth mixtures which are easy to digest.

The only drawback to the traditional blender is their blades are often rather dull, making it not as useful when trying to puree foods with a harder constitution or even slice and dice. Avoid using the blender when trying to do anything with finesse.

Immersion Blender

Not as powerful nor multi-purpose as the traditional blender, the immersion blender is useful due to its compact nature. It also eliminates the need for multiple cycles a regular blender would need to puree certain soups. While the Immersion Blender is less common in the kitchen its usefulness will surprise you.

Immersion blenders work best with foods that are liquid or have a soft constitution, making it the best option to blend mashed potatoes, pesto, and tomato sauce. The immersion blender is also ideal for helping to improve the consistency of cream cheese (for cheesecake), hummus, and mayonnaise.

The one critique of immersion blenders is that the user must be careful not to use it in shallow bowls or if what needs whipping, blending, or pureed is in small quantities. Why? Well at any time if the immersion blenders blades come out of the material be prepared to wear the food, paint the walls, and laugh at the situation. Deeper bowls will also help with keeping the messes to a minimum. However, it would be a lie to say I have not used the immersion blender as painting tool and my kitchen wall was the canvas.

Cuisinart Immersion Blender

Cuisinart Immersion Blender

Food Processor

KitchenAid 9 Cup Food Processor

KitchenAid 9 Cup Food Processor

Our favorite appliance, what is there you don't want to use a food processor for in your kitchen? Once I learned the power of the food processor nothing was safe from its blades. You can check out our full buyers guide on food processors here. A food processor's blades resemble those of a katana. The diesel machines are perfect for chopping up hard foods that the traditional blender can have trouble chopping. The food processor can easily and efficiently slice nuts, seeds, and other dense foods.

In fact, we can also use a food processor to chop up onions, garlic, peppers, and other vegetables. For cutting meat to shreds, there is no other option which comes close to the food process.

You should not use the food processor for liquids. They are not best suited for handling liquid foods or those containing a loose constitution. While others will say that it's acceptable to use a food processor with these foods, don't get a blender. To puree in a food processor (I have tried multiple times) you will have to run it through the process multiple times. You cannot keep the liquid and the processor running for long as the liquid will seep out the sides, middle, and top. A blender or immersion blender is far more practical in this situation.‚Äč

*It is critical to note that you should never use your food process to blend or chop ice. The food processors motor is not as strong as a blenders to motor through the ice. More importantly, the success of your food processor is reliant on razor sharp blades and blending ice will dull your blades fast. Again our note to everyone never put ice into your food processor unless you want to buy some new blades for you precious (Am I the only one that calls my food processor that?).

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