While they might seem similar, processors and blenders are actually pretty different. There are a few functions that they have in common, and there are some that are combination blenders and processors.
What’s the Difference?
The differences might seem pretty slight on the surface, but if you start spending a lot of time preparing food, they’ll become very obvious very quickly. The blender is designed for soft foods and liquids, such as fruits and soft vegetables. It is designed to blend or mix them together. Processors are designed to slice, shred, grate, mix, or chop hard or soft foods. If you’ve ever watched a processor being used on a cooking show or in a professional kitchen, you’ll often see the chefs reducing hard breads to flour or using a dough hook attachment to mix together dough.
Blenders tend to be tall and narrow, which makes them suitable for mixing soft things. The narrow shape means that liquids and foods are pulled into the middle of the container where the blades are spinning. There are many blenders, however, that are also optimised for crushing ice.
A food processor has a very sharp blade and a wide bowl, which makes it perfect for chopping food and many other applications.
What about Attachments?
Processors also tend to be a little more versatile than blenders. Since they have the wider bowls, they are more useful for different applications. Many of them come with dough hooks, or the dough hooks can be purchased separately. A dough hook allows you to throw all of your wet and dry ingredients into the bowl and turn them slowly until they form dough. This could take you quite a while to accomplish by hand, but with the processor, it’s pretty effortless.
A julienne blade is also a very popular attachment. A julienne is a fine chop into slices; usually, this is done for vegetables. It takes a pretty considerable amount of time and skill to get a good julienne; however, with a julienne blade, you can pull it off easily with your processor.
Whisking discs are also very popular. They are not actually blades but, instead, are whisks that mix and aerate ingredients. This is especially useful for liquids. For example, eggs have to be whipped pretty quickly to make fluffy omelettes. Old cookbooks used to advise you to whisk until your arm was too tired to whisk anymore. This incorporates the bubbles in the egg that allows the egg to rise when cooked. With a whisk attachment on your processor, you can do that without any elbow grease at all.
A blender is great for making drinks and for blending up some kind of puree. Powerful blenders with certain blades are great for shaved ice or chipped ice. However, they will never match the versatility of a processor. The new wide-mouthed processors allow you to toss your ingredients into the bowl, pick the appropriate attachment, and whip up great-tasting food with little effort.