Cooking can be a challenge, especially when there are so many different tools and machines. You may wonder if you can use some devices for multiple actions, so you can avoid spending a fortune on several kitchen items. We will dive into specific kitchen gear to find out more.
There are several brands of food processors, all with multiple features. However, most will work as a mixer. Food processors have a long list of functions you can use while cooking. These include:
- And more
Now that we know what a food processor is capable of, we can explore each of these functions. It is also important to note there are a few instances where a standard mixer is preferable instead of a food processor. Read on to learn more about this topic.
Most food processors are primarily used to chop, mince, or puree food. There is a huge list of recipes made easier by these machines doing the hard work for you. Here are a few things food processors can do to help with complicated recipes:
- perfectly mince onions for homemade salsa
- mince meat for hamburgers or sliders
- chop vegetables for a fresh salad
- puree fruits and veggies for homemade baby food
- quickly chop nuts for any dessert
- And much, much more
The possibilities are seemingly endless, with a reliable food processor. They can mix ingredients for a wide variety of recipes.
However, the level of mixing from a food processor may not be enough for certain dishes. We will take a further look at these special cases.
Although mixing is doable with a food processor, it can only mix ingredients to a certain level. Because a food processor uses a blade attachment, you may be pureeing your ingredients while trying to mix them.
This makes it great for recipes like hummus or pesto, but may be problematic for other dishes.
For example, if you are working with bigger chunks of ingredients that need to stay that size, a mixer might be a better tool for you.
While a food processor would be a great help for cutting ingredients for homemade salsa, using it to mix everything could leave you with a salsa smoothie. For such recipes, it may be more effective to mix ingredients in a different way.
Another situation that may require a mixer would be when mixing batters and dough. Certain cake batters specifically have to be mixed enough to get all the air out of the batter.
If too much air is in the mixture, your cake will have large holes throughout it after it bakes. It's easy to mix batters too much, or not enough. A standard mixer would make the process simpler.
When dealing with dough, it is possible to knead it with a food processor, but only if it has a dough blade attachment. The dough blade is what will knead the dough rather than cut through it.
If the food processor you have does not have such an attachment, you will need to use a standard mixer. If the dough you make seems too sticky, the post Dough Is Too Sticky - What To Do? may be helpful.
Food Processors vs. Blenders
Knowing all the functions a food processor has may leave you asking why you would need other common kitchen items. One such item you may think is a blender.
If a food processor can cut, mix, and puree, why bother buying another item that does the same things? It depends.
The simple answer is that, in most cases, food processors and blenders can do the same tasks. If you don't have a blender but want to make a smoothie, you can use the food processor.
If you don't have a food processor but want to mince certain ingredients, you most likely can with a blender. However, one will be better equipped for specific functions and foods than the other.
Foods with a tougher texture will be more effectively sliced and chopped with a food processor because of the bigger and sharper blades.
Fruits intended for a smoothie are best liquified by a blender. Though you can use them interchangeably in a pinch, both will yield better results if they stick to their main functions.
Best Food Processors
If you are looking to purchase a food processor, you probably want to know which is the best option. This greatly depends on your specific needs. Most food processors will do everything listed earlier in this post.
If those functions are all you need, something like this food processor should work perfectly. Check this out on Amazon!
If you need a processor that can knead dough, you will need to get one that has a dough blade attachment, as previously mentioned. Here is a great option for a food processor with a dough blade. Check this out on Amazon!
The good news if you are in the market for a new food processor is you don't have to spend a fortune if you don't want to. Depending on what your needs are, you could spend as low as $20.
However, if you are buying for a restaurant, it may cost a few thousand. The average range for household food processors is $20-$400.
The less expensive processors are going to be the smaller ones that aren't capable of doing as many functions. If all you need is something to help with daily chopping and slicing, this is all you would need.
If you wanted something with multiple attachments to perform a variety of tasks, you could be looking at something closer to $400.
Is It Worth It?
While we know you can use a food processor as both a blender and mixer in most cases, there are limitations, as previously discussed. If these limitations would affect you, you may wonder if it is worth having a food processor.
Blenders and mixers can do everything the processor can and may even do a few things better, so why bother with a third device?
One thing to consider is the price of one item versus two will usually be cheaper. It is possible to spend more on a food processor than you would on both a mixer and blender.
However, you'd most likely be getting one high-quality item instead of two low-quality items. A highly rated blender and mixer can cost a few hundred dollars.
If you already have a mixer, blender, or both, the food processor can still be a great investment for your kitchen. Most processors are relatively small, making them easier to use daily.
The ease of use, besides the speed at which it can chop and slice, gives you more time to spend on other parts of a recipe or gets your meal finished quicker. Either way, they can be extremely helpful.
Another great perk is that most are fairly durable. Depending on which brand you get, how often you use it, and what types of food you put it in, food processors will usually last for a few years.
For more information on how long they last, check out this blog: How Long Does A Food Processor Last?
Food processors are capable of many different functions and can be used in place of both a mixer and a blender. They may not be the best option for some recipes you may be tackling in the kitchen.
However, these products can be versatile and used in a large variety of ways. They are great machines to have on hand for your daily cooking needs.