KitchenAid Food Processor and Blender on countertop

Small Appliances

Food Processor vs Blender

What is the difference between a food processor and a blender? This difference is important for home cooks to understand as the right appliance can help streamline their food prep and help bring a recipe to life. 

Furthermore, small kitchen appliances like food processors and blenders can help you tap into your culinary creativity, so you can make delicious sauces, soups, fruit blends and more. 

This article will breakdown the difference between a food processor and a blender, and offer guidance on how to best use each appliance.

Food Processor vs. Blender

Food processors and blenders have some functions in common, but they are not interchangeable appliances. It can be challenging to decide between a food processor vs blender depending onwhat you’re trying to make. Adding to the confusion is that some recipes can be made equally well in either a blender or a food processor, whereas other recipes will only work if you use the right small appliance.

A blender is primarily used to purée ingredients or to crush ice. A blender is a useful—and sometimes necessary—appliance if you are making something that you want to drink, drizzle, or dip something else into.

In addition to puréeing, a food processor can adeptly slice, grate, shred, dice, and more. A good rule to follow is that if what you are making is intended to be eaten with a fork then use a food processor.

What to Make With your Blender?

Use this guide to know when to use your blender. 

Wet ingredients
In general, if your recipe requires ingredients that are mostly liquid or soft—like a smoothie or a pureed soup—a blender is most likely the right appliance to use. Also, if you are making something that can be consumed without chewing, opt for a blender, not a food processor.

Frothed milk or creamy horchata
Use a blender if you want to warm and froth milk for your coffee, tea, or cocoa, or are looking to blend rice milk and spices to make a horchata. The blades of the blender create the necessary friction to effectively warm milk, and the aeration from the spinning blades and downward draw will help bubbles form  and create a light foam.

Puddings, custards, & mousse
Blenders can help you master difficult pudding, custard and mousse recipes that call for a smooth and fluffy texture. A blender can make a refreshing lemon mousse or a pear clafouti.

Soups, sauces & bisques
Blenders can deliver silky textures and consistencies to create a creamy tomato soup, a smooth lobster bisque, or your favourite gazpacho. Try the KitchenAid® ProLine® Blender with a thermal control jar to heat and maintain the temperature of your soups and warm sauces. Mixing a Hollandaise sauce that won’t break is easy in your blender and can elevate your weekend brunch.

A person pours an orange soup into a bowl. Next to it is another bowl filled with the same orange soup. Also on the counter is the base of the KitchenAid blender, a plate of onions, a potted plant, a cutting board with peppers on it and half a coconut.

Applesauce and fruit blends
Blenders are a great way to make homemade applesauce. Add your favourite ingredients or toppings like cinnamon, berries, carrots, or mango chunks to enhance the fruit blend and to make it your own. 

Frozen drinks
If you love frappéed frozen coffee drinks or frozen cocktails like watermelon sangria, daiquiris, or frozen coconut margaritas then you will need a powerful blender. For frozen ingredients, opt for a blender featuring an ice-crush setting, such as the KitchenAid® K400.

What to Make With Your Food Processor?

Dry ingredients
Food processors are designed to chop, slice or grate dry ingredients without the need for the addition of a liquid.

Bread crumbs
Dried or day-old bread can be coarsely or finely ground into breadcrumbs. Try adding herbs to enhance the flavour.

Many food processors such as the KitchenAid® 9-Cup Food Processor come with a specialized dough blade to knead without adding heat. Use the pulse setting and make sure that you do not overdo it. Over-kneaded dough will have tough gluten strands and will not rise as intended.

Shredding cheeses
In only minutes, the shredding disc can help you get freshly shredded cheese to add to your casseroles.

Fresh cheese tends to melt better and offers more flavour than many pre-shredded options in the store.

Shredding veggies
The shredding disc has another purpose. It can also be used to shred a variety of vegetables to use in salads, hash brown potatoes or to create a memorable coleslaw for your family barbecue or picnic.

On a counter are radishes, a cucumber, some cucumber slices and a bowl of dip on top of a cutting board. Behind it is a black KitchenAid food processor, a dish cloth and a bowl filled with salad. In the background are various potted plants on shelves, large windows and a potted plant on the windowsill.

Pesto, pâté, & tapenades
A food processor can make quick pesto sauces, pâtés, or olive tapenades. Simply combine roasted garlic, spinach, lemon and cashews to make a delectable and versatile spread or topping. You control the texture and can leave some ingredients chunkier if you want to.

Riced cauliflower or other vegetables
Ricing vegetables is an easy way to reduce the carb intake in your diet, or to add some versatility and uniqueness to a recipe. The food processor’s sharp blades can finely chop florets to make a broccoli-cauliflower blend. Or you can chop vegetables so that they are the size you prefer.

On a counter is a blue KitchenAid food processor with the lid next to it. There is also a cauliflower and a bowl with an orange vegetable. In the background are potted plants on shelves and another potted plant on the windowsill.

Mincing meat
If you don’t own a meat grinder or the food grinder attachment for your KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, you can still mince your choice of meats in your food processor. Use the quick pulse function until the meat is your desired texture.

Never mince meat in a blender as the raw cuts will get wrapped around the blades.

And there you have it; differences to know when comparing a food processor vs. blender.

Personal Blender Jar for Your KitchenAid Blenders
You can purchase a 16-oz Personal Blender Jar Expansion Pack for your KitchenAid® K150 or K400 blender*. Use this jar to blend your smoothie and then drink it on the go. It comes with a resealable, screw-on lid, making it easy to transport and drink from.

*Compatible with the KitchenAid® K150 and K400 blender models, sold separately.