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Food Processor vs. Blender: What's the Difference?

Explore the fundamental differences between a food processor and a blender.

Getting Started

Food processors and blenders are two small kitchen appliances that homeowners tend to blend together in their minds. Unsure of which appliance does what function, they often go online or to the store and pick up the wrong appliance for their everyday needs. And more often still, homeowners assume each can do precisely the same tasks.
So how do you know whether to choose a food processor or a blender? What are their main differences?
Here is a breakdown of their fundamental differences to get a sense of what appliance is best for you. Plus, discover some common brands of each appliance.

The Different Functions of Food Processors and Blenders

While they both essentially whip up ingredients into something delicious, the reality is that food processors and blenders have very different functions. Even though they both have some crossovers, to give you a better understanding, here are the functions in which each excels.

Food Processors

Food processors are meant for tackling thicker mixes like doughs and batters. Food processors also sometimes come with attachments that allow you to create shredded cheese or sliced vegetables. In other words, bakers who perform labor-intensive tasks are what a food processor is made for!
They also come with a wide mixing bowl, as opposed to straight and narrow like blenders. This feature makes it easier to fold in certain ingredients. Most food processors also come with a special "bowl scraper" attachment to peel dough and batter from the mixing bowl walls.
Cuisinart and KitchenAid are some better-known food processor brands.
  • Cuisinart also builds quality food processors. They offer a large variety of sizes—from the mini-prep to a 14-cup capacity work bowl—for professional chefs and just those who love to throw dinner parties.
  • KitchenAid makes several heavy-duty food processors in multiple sizes for you to choose from. These food processors can have up to three chute sizes for chopping and dicing. They also offer a heavy-duty induction motor that makes for a long-lasting kitchen appliance.
Take a look at our Food Processor Buying Guide to discover the right appliance for you.

Blenders

Blenders are meant for whipping up more liquidy mixes like smoothies, cocktails, purees and soups. Blenders are also narrow and typically feature a lip along the top rim for easy pouring into glassware. Blenders can also be the glass itself, allowing users to drink straight from the container.
While a food processor is perfect for bakers, blenders are better for those who seek healthy fruit-pureed drinks and frosty cold milkshakes. Today, it's possible to find blenders that can take on a few processor-like tasks. Some Vitamix recipe books even list bread doughs and cake mixes. But all in all, a blender reigns supreme for liquids.
Some reputable brands you may be familiar with are Ninja and Vitamix:
  • Ninja blenders offer several versatile and multi-functional options. You can blend large batches of margaritas for a party or make a quick to-go smoothie in their personal blenders before you head out the door to work.
  • Vitamix is a high-quality blender manufacturer and very well-known. Featuring premium engineering and stainless steel blades, these high-performance blenders are made to last. They can even mix hot soups and come with a self-cleaning feature.
You can also use a convenient handheld immersion blender if you tend to make lots of soup. Explore our Blender Buying Guide for more information on these small home appliances.

Food Processor vs. Blender: Which Will You Choose?

At the end of the day, the decision is up to you. However, it's important to reflect on your cooking style or entertaining style to determine whether to choose a food processor or blender. Do you enjoy baking cakes for people's birthdays? Or are you a protein-shake kind of guy?
Some homeowners prefer to have both of these small appliances. However, it's still important to know their distinct differences as well as the tasks they each excel at. That way, the next time you go to make something, you know which to reach for.

To recap:

  • Food processors are wide bowls, ideally suited for at-home bakers who take on labor-intensive recipes.
  • Blenders are tall and narrow, handling liquids better than food processors and offering to-go cups complete with handles and lids.
If you're still unsure whether a food processor or blender is really the tool you need, be sure to investigate our comprehensive Small Appliance Buying Guides for more info on all the various small kitchen appliances we carry.

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