Mixer vs. Food Processor: Which One is the Best for Me?

A kitchen gadget definitively makes your cooking easier–whether you’re preparing something special, or just for your daily meals. Having a mixer or food processor allows you to save time and effort, improving your dishes quality and increasing your menu options. But which one is the indicated?

Nowadays you can find appliances that perform more than a single task. A food processor can be used to mix pizza dough but, is good enough if you want to prepare bread? The best way to define which one suits you, is taking in mind these two issues: What do you cook or make most of the time? And which hand appliance are you substituting? This guide will help you find out.

Food Processors

This appliance replaces the knife, the mandolin, the grater, and the grinder. It changes the ingredient’s consistency (breaks food down). If you love cooking meals from scratch and want to ease the work done, this is the right kitchen aid for you.

Most of them have a pulse button for speed controlling and come with accessories (like interchangeable blades) to increase its versatility. Some models also include paddles for kneading purposes.

The best usage is for chopping or slicing vegetables, or for grating cheese or bread. It is also useful for preparing vinaigrettes, and rough mixtures like hummus or a taco’s pico de gallo. They are also good for puréeing some foods.

With the right attachment, food processors are also useful preparing single doughs, especially those that need low (or none) air incorporation, and low heat transfer to mixtures like pizza, pie crusts and certain kind of cookies or cake batters.

This type of machine is not useful for liquefying process. Nevertheless, in some models, you can find an attachment for such purpose. If your intention is to enjoy a smoothie or prepare a good shake, perhaps this is not the correct aid.

Your food processor must:

  • Have the proper bowl capacity
  • Be provided with interchangeable blades for each purpose:
    • Slicing
    • Chopping
    • Shredding
    • Grating (at least in two different sizes)
  • Have a blending attachment
  • Be equipped with a beating accessory and kneading paddles

“Do you need a large or a mini food processor? It mainly depends on how much you are going to use it. Bigger appliances come with more accessories–becoming more useful and versatile–but in some cases kitchen’s space could be a problem.”

Mixers

A mixer is an appliance specially designed for baking preparations. It replaces the hand beater or the spoons, used in pastry. The main purpose of a mixer is to put the ingredients together, while insufflating air into the mixture.

There are two kinds, hand mixers which are smaller and stand mixers (also called kitchen machines). Depending on the model, they come with standard beaters, balloon beaters, and dough hooks, for bread preparation. A bowl is also included in all stand mixers, but not necessarily on hand models.

The mixer is the best gadget for all related baking procedures. Beating egg whites, creaming butter and sugar, whipping cream, mixing cake batters or kneading bread dough, the mixer is just perfect. For pizza, pie crust or cookies mixers are also a winner, mostly because the final product has the best finishing than prepared with food processors.

Mixers are not useful for blending, or any preparation which implies a substantial change regarding food consistency. Always keep in mind that they were designed for baking purposes.

Your stand (or hand) mixer must:

  • Have easy access to controls while you’re mixing
  • Be provided with a time counter
  • Be stable when standing
  • Have splash guards
  • Have dough hook
  • Bring a balloon beater

“Do you need a stand or a hand mixer? First of all, consider the time you are going to spend baking–remember that if you are using a hand model, you must hold it as long as needed (In bread dough preparation this could become a challenge). Also, keep in mind that some mixing procedures require you use both hands. Finally, your counter or kitchen space would determine your selection.”

Differences between Mixers and Food Processors

The obvious one is that mixers don’t chop, grate or slice anything. For comparison between mixer or food processors, you have to consider their ability on the baking field. In the case of food processors, they can afford such tasks when the dough doesn’t need to lift. Also, they’re not designed for being turned on beating for half an hour.

On the other hand, although the mixers are well designed for pastry purposes, in some cases they can increase the heat of food while beating. This means that for pie crusts, the single and quickly pulse in a food processor will put butter and flour together perfectly without damaging the crust.

Whatever Your Selection is, Always Keep in Mind Your Product’s Musts:

  • Prefer those provided with stainless steel attachments
  • They have to be easy to set up and use
  • Have storage space for the attachments
  • Usually, these are noisy machines, try to choose a noiseless one
  • The user’s guide has to be understandable, with clear safety, containing capacities and use instructions
  • Be easy to clean (dishwasher friendly if possible)
  • Have multiple speed options, with pulse button
  • Soft and safe grips, with easy access to controls at any time
  • Easy to storage if it’s not needed
  • Be compatible with your location energy regulations and characteristics

The Verdict

If you are chef or cook, a mixer machine is a must among your appliances. It depends on your kitchen or counter space, the frequency that you will use it and the kind of preparations for the model you’re finally going to purchase.

On the other hand, if you want a kitchen aid which permits you to perform several procedures to ease the way you cook, the food processor is the right option for you. Remember in this case that you can do some baking, but it will always be light work and no such complicated preparations.

Finally, if you’re an all-around cooker and are considering if having a mixer or food processor, you better consider having both, each one suiting the best of your needs and desires.