Will a food processor blend? Will a blender process food? Let's settle the food processor vs blender debate once and for all, eh? Time to mix things up!

woman using a blender to make smoothies, from Shelf Cooking

Let's say you have a $100 Amazon gift card, and you can only buy one item for your kitchen. Would you choose the food processor or the blender? Would you try to game the system and squeeze both into that budget?

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Before you decide, let's go over all the pros and cons of both appliances! We're going to compare the features, break down the differences, and share our opinion on which one to buy if you're short on space. We promise to make this fun, so who's with us?!


blender with fruit, from Shelf Cooking

Okay, let's kick this conversation into gear with a bit of a primer on the blender! Besides making smoothies and milkshakes, what can that little beauty do? Well, the short answer? It depends! Every model is a bit different, and the pricier versions tend to have more power. Assuming you have a run of the mill blender, here's what you can expect:

  • Number of Blades – The typical blender has just one blade.
  • What You Can Make – Blenders are perfect for whipping up pancake batter (have you tried our mini German pancakes?!), smoothies, dips, shakes, salsas, salad dressing, and sauces.
  • Average Cost – According to Consumer Reports, on average, blenders range from $60-$270. You can find a bargain-buy for as little as $30, though.
  • Size/Capacity – It depends! Some hold as little as two cups, and others can hold up to 14.

In general, blenders are great at crushing. If you're using them to crush larger foods, it's best to break them up into bite-sized pieces. The blade in a blender isn't built for chopping! On the other hand, food processors were made to chop, which brings us to the Food Processor 101 portion of this lesson!


riced cauliflower in a food processor, from Shelf Cooking

While blenders crush, puree, and blend, food processors slice, dice, and puree. Other than making baby food, what can you do with a food processor? Again, it depends on the model you have! Let's assume we're talking about a run-of-the-mill food processor. Here's the 4-1-1:

  • Number of Blades – Most food processors come with multiple blades and attachments so you can slice, shred, grate, and dice. All things the blender can't do!
  • What You Can Make – Food processors are great for making sauces and dips, too. Unlike the blender, they're perfect for making fruit or veggies purees, hummus, shredded cheese, shredded meat, or chopped/diced veggies. You can also chop nuts or make a mean apple or pumpkin butter with a food processor, too.
  • Average Cost – A high-quality 12-cup food processor costs around $180, but you can find smaller, more basic versions for as little as $50.
  • Size/Capacity – Most food processors hold anywhere from 7 to 16 cups. In general, a full-sized food processor will hold more than a blender.

Now that you know the main differences between the two let's decide which one you need! Coming up next, we're settling the age-old kitchen appliance battle.


tiny home kitchen, from Shelf Cooking

If space, or budget, is a concern, then you may be wondering which appliance you should choose if you can only have one. Before you can answer that question, you should consider a few things.

  • Storage Space – How much room do you have on the counter or in your cabinets?
  • Usage – Do you make a ton of smoothies? Puree your own baby food? How you plan to use the tool will help you decide which one is worth it!
  • All-in-One – Would an all-in-one solution make more sense? If space isn't a concern, we suggest springing for a system that offers food processing and blending capability! This Ninja blender set is around $160 on Amazon, which is a great deal.

And for all our RV-life and tiny home peeps, here's an option! This portable blender is just the right size for smoothies, costs just $20, and charges via a USB port. It's the perfect solution for nomad foodies! Need a food processor for that tiny home, too? This mini Ninja chopper hardly takes up any space but has enough power to grind meat.


Now that you have all the facts, it's up to you to spread the knowledge! Friends don't let friends mix up their blenders and food processors. 😉

Once you've had a chance to process all the info (we couldn't resist), let us know where you stand in the food processor vs blender debate. Are you on team blender, team food processor, or a fan of the combo appliance? Leave a comment below!

Image with text that reads "blender vs food processor" from Shelf Cooking

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Happy chopping!