Since many cooks face the challenges of a small kitchen and inadequate countertop space they have to think before buying any additional equipment and keep the unnecessary clutter to a limit. If you are among those cooks, you might have wondered if a blender and a food processor could be used interchangeably. Since they both have blades that rotate within a bowl, they must be processing food in a similar way. Why not simply throw away one and keep only one appliance to perform all the processing work?
Although, it would save you some counter space, but one appliance can definitely not do all sorts of tasks involved in your kitchen. These two appliances may look alike but have fundamental differences in their design which is why they are both specialized for serving different purposes.
The shape of the blades together with the design of the container renders a blender work better with liquids. You could use it to make smoothies, milkshakes and other frozen drinks. Soups, sauces and salad dressings are also among its top specialties. However, if you are working with solids or are looking for something to perform the more labor-intensive work for you like kneading pizza dough or chopping vegetables to make fresh salads, you are actually asking for a food processor.
To make things simpler, let’s consider each of the appliances separately and see what they can and can’t do:
A food processor saves you from struggling with a knife for chopping endless vegetables for the preparation of a single meal. A regular food processor comes with at least 2 discs for slicing and shredding different thicknesses of the vegetable which a blender would not be able to do at all. It also usually includes 2 sets of blades: one for chopping and pureeing and another for kneading pizza or bread dough.
Although a food processor can manage pureeing ingredients into a thick paste when making baby food for example, it will not be able to manage thinner consistencies of soups and smoothies very nicely. Using a good food processor you can also make homemade nut butter quite easily. High-end food processors come with additional attachments to broaden the range of tasks it can perform. These may include whipping attachments, grating and dicing disks, dough paddle for making cookie dough and even blender attachment to facilitate you with smoothies and soups.
A blender is especially designed for catering all sorts of liquids: smoothies, soups, milkshakes, cocktails, salad dressings; you name it and the blender can make it! These appliances can handle liquids very well and blend them into a perfectly smooth beverage. The high-end blenders will offer ice-crushing capabilities as well which would improve the quality of your smoothies making them thicker and creamier. The pricier versions will also have motors strong enough to manage making nut butters but as a general rule food processors are better qualified for this task. You should always read the user manual of the appliance to decide what it can and what it can’t do for you.
Solids or mixtures without sufficient liquid can be quite challenging for a blender so whenever you are blending a drink in it, make sure you add enough liquid in the form of milk, juice, water etc for the blades to keep moving smoothly and your drink to be uniformly blended.
So you see that although you can use either of the appliances for some tasks, you cannot possibly think of only keeping a single appliance for all the blending and processing tasks. Each of the appliances has its own strong suits and purposes. You will either have to keep both the appliances in your kitchen or a single appliance which has attachments for both blending and food processing so that you will be able to perform each and every task using the specialized tool for it.