A blender is an essential kitchen tool to have for everyday use. However, some alternatives are available if you don't have a blender or prefer not to use one. We've researched some of the best food processing alternatives to use if you don't have a blender, and in this post, we will go over them.
Here are the ways that you can puree, chop, and blend foods without using a blender:
- Use a food mill
- Use a chinois strainer
- Try an immersion blender
- Use a chef’s knife
- Use a cheese grater
- Boil the food and mash it with a fork
- Use a rolling pin
- Use cheesecloth and mallet
If you're in a pinch, it helps to know how to efficiently processed food without using a blender. Some of these methods may take a bit longer than a blender, but the results are just as great. Continue reading to learn more about several blender alternatives to food processing.
Best Blender Alternatives
1. Use a food mill
Food mills are used to mash and puree soft foods manually. Mills operate by use of a hand crank and a perforated plate that pushes the food through the plate, turning choppy and course parts into soft and smooth portions. On average, a food mill can run anywhere from $20 to around $50. If you're looking for a way to puree steamed vegetables or a faster way to make mashed potatoes, here's a good option to consider.
2. Use a chinois strainer
Chinois strainers work very similarly to food mills, as they also have perforated holes in which food is pushed through. The difference between the two is that a chinois requires that you manually push the food through the slots using your hand as opposed to a crank as with the food mill. This is another great way to puree food for soups or to juice soft fruits.
3. Try an immersion blender
An immersion blender can function as a great blender alternative when you're in a pinch. You can mix liquid and solids to create dips, merengues, and creams. You can also use it to chop up nuts and soft vegetables for making soups, pasta, and other meals. Immersion blenders are fairly versatile kitchen appliances, and they work intensively to break down food quickly. If you're looking for an alternative that can wear a number of hats, here it is.
4. Use a chef’s knife
Most blender functions can be done with a chef's knife, granted it might take more time. Chef knives are perfect for chopping and mincing both hard and soft foods. Whether you're looking to cut up vegetables, nuts, or fruit, a chef's knife can get the job done. If you need versatile functionality, it's best to go with a quality chef's knife that is sharp enough to cut through thin skins or hard outer shells.
5. Use a cheese grater
It may sound surprising, but you can actually use a cheese grater for more than grating cheese and peeling potatoes. Cheese graters can be used to shred numerous vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and fruit. They can provide a great alternative to breaking down vegetables into lighter and smaller pieces. Just be sure to watch your fingers when you're working with small vegetables, as you don't want to scrape them on the sharp edges.
6. Boil the food and mash it with a fork
Need a quick way to break down your food? Here is the simplest and easiest way to get blender results without any additional equipment. If you need to make a puree, sauces, smoothies, jams, or dip, consider simply boiling the food in a saucepan for about 5 to 10 minutes and then using a fork to mash it up.
Boiling the food will break down the fibers in the vegetables or fruit, making it super easy to mash with a fork. You can also use a potato masher as well. If you prefer a smooth or finer texture, consider pushing the food through a sieve afterward.
7. Use a rolling pin
Here is another method to consider if you need to break down solid or hard food into smaller pieces. To use a rolling pin as a blender substitute, simply place the food in a plastic Ziploc bag and then set it on a cutting board. Next, glide the rolling pin back and forth over the Ziplock bag until the food reaches the desired consistency.
You can also boil the food beforehand to make it softer. This alternative is perfect for breaking down biscuits, cookies, or other pieces of bread for pie crusts.
8. Use cheesecloth and mallet
You can also use a cheesecloth and a mallet to break down vegetables, nuts, and fruits manually. While this method will undoubtedly be one of the noisiest methods to use, it's definitely effective. Start by placing your foods on a cutting board.
Next, cover the cutting board with a large cheesecloth, take the mallet, and give the food a good hammering. The cheesecloth will prevent the food from flying all over the place, and the more you hammer the foods, the smaller the pieces will be. This is especially effective for breaking down nuts and pureeing vegetables.
Can you make smoothies without a blender?
Yes, you can make smoothies without a blender. Here are the steps to do it.
1. Mash soft fruits
Before making your smoothie, grab a handful of soft vegetables or fruit to use. Make sure that the vegetables or fruit are ripe enough that you can easily break them down manually or with another utensil. Some of the easiest fruits to use include mango, banana, kiwi, and pears. You can also use blueberries and raspberries.
Use a mallet or potato masher to break down the fruits before preparing the smoothie. Be sure to check the fruits for any large chunks to prevent them from being caught in your straw when drinking your smoothie.
2. Choose a protein
If you plan to make a protein-free smoothie, then you can skip this step. If not, consider adding a protein powder or a tablespoon or two of chia seeds, peanut butter, or yogurt to the smoothie.
You may want to do a small taste test first to make sure that the protein isn't too sweet to drastically alter the taste of the smoothie-- especially if the protein is peanut butter.
3. Decide on the best liquid to use
You'll want to use a liquid that is rich enough to make the smoothie creamy. Liquids ideal for smoothies includes milk, rice milk, or almond milk.
You can also use coconut water as well as other fruit juices such as apple or orange juice. If you prefer to keep the sugar content low in your smoothie, consider adding sugar-free almond milk or soy milk to the smoothie.
How to Crush Ice Without a Blender?
Wondering what to do about the ice for your smoothie's texture? Since you don't have a blender for this recipe, it's helpful to know that you can still add crushed ice. Some of the previous tactics do apply, such as crushing ice with a mallet and cheesecloth or using a Ziploc and rolling pin. Get all the best methods here: 5 Ways to Crush Ice without a Blender.
4. Combine the ingredients
Next, pour all of your ingredients and into a blender bottle. Then, take a spoon and quickly stir the ingredients together so that the fruits can absorb the liquids from the liquid.
5. Shake the smoothie
Next, place the top on your blender bottle and add a cup or two of crushed ice. Next, shake it for about one to two minutes--this will help give the smoothie a smoother consistency.
Can you use a mixer instead of a blender?
Yes, though a blender is more ideal for chopping and cutting, a mixer can be a substitute. This is a great option if you need to puree fruits, make jams and sauces, or vegetables to make soups and fillings.
It helps to dice up the food with a chopping knife first and even soften it before using the mixer to help create a smoother consistency.
Can you puree by hand?
The easiest way to puree by hand is to use a mallet. To puree your fruits or vegetables, simply place them in a plastic bag and strike them several times with the mallet until they are completely broken down. You can also boil them first for a super smooth consistency.
Wrapping Things Up
We hope that this post has helped illustrate the various alternatives that you can use in the event if you find yourself without a blender. And remember, a chef's knife can be your best friend when it comes to blender-like food preparation.
Before you go, be sure to check our other posts: