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food processor vs. immersion blender

  • c

After doing without a food processor or an immersion blender for years, I suddenly find myself in possession of both. I won a new Kitchen Aid immersion blender and Santa brought a large Cuisinart food processor from William Sonoma. It's an embarassment of kitchen riches, but the question is will I really use both? I need to decide whether to keep the food processor within a few days due to a rebate deadline.

About my cooking style, I do more cooking than baking, like to experiment, do not enjoy complicated clean-up (who does), and do a fair amount of preserving/pickling in the summer.

Advice from the chowhounds would be so helpful....

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  1. I use both and love them, but how can anyone tell you if you will? I suppose if you only want to blend things, the immersion blender would be fine to keep. But it can't slice veggies or mix pie dough. I'm not sure what pickling has to do with either, unless you're slicing veggies, in which case you've maybe answered yourself.

    Have had my Cuisinart more than a couple of decades now and it's still going strong. If I had to choose I'd keep it over my stick blender, but then again you can't immerse a food processor in a pot of soup. So if you're asking for votes, I vote for you to keep both.

    1. I also vote for both. They do complimentary things; I don't see them as competing. As far as cleanup, the immersion blender is the easiest thing ever to clean. Just whirr it in the soapy sink!

      1. I vote for both but I do use the immersion blender more.

        1. Keep them both. Over time one's cooking techniques, and repertoire change. You'll be prepared.

          1. I agree with the others, keep both. We used to use the immersion blender a lot when we made our own baby food. Now we use the food processor more...love it for making pesto.

            1. Another vote for both! I use my immersion blender often, but it really works best for liquidy things (soup! sauce! etc). I've managed to make hummus and pesto with it, but that work is better handled by a food processor. And I've heard great things about food processor pie crust (although for whatever reason I like to make my crust with a pastry cutter).

              1. Yet another vote for keeping both. They're both basic, versatile equipment that every kitchen ought to have. The food processor can knead dough, grate and slice potatoes and vegetables, chop nuts, puree pate, etc. The immersion blender can puree hot soups and sauces in the pan, make quick hummus or pizza sauce right in the can, etc. There's a little overlap but not much, and each one does several useful things that no other appliance can really do.

                1. Agreed! But based on your leaning towards baking, the food processor is sounding better.
                  I use my immersion blender for soups and sauces. Aside from being able to blend hot foods in their own cooking vessel, I'd say a regular blender can do 95% of the things an immersion blender can do (And I'm assuming you have a regular blender already). Being able to puree something on the fly, while still on the stove is great. Butternut squash soup and dressings are what I use it for most.
                  I get less use out of my food processor because of the hassle factor. I just don't have time or counter space for it. I have always kept it high up above the cabinets and used it only for special cooking projects. But if you have a nice one with good attachments I think it could be indispensable just the same. Especially when doing pie crusts and cookie doughs if you're a baker.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chowchau

                    OP actually said, "I do more cooking than baking."

                    That said, I don't really see a FP as more useful for a baker. I lean toward baking in my own kitchen, yet I can literally go months without using my processor. And even when I do use it, it's usually for cooking, not baking. This week I used it to shred potatoes for latkes, for ex.

                    As for my immersion blender . . . I use it more than my processor, but certainly they aren't interchangeable.

                  2. I don't find the two to be interchangeable. They both have a place in my kitchen.

                    1. Hi, cgh:

                      I'm with rasputina on this one: they're completely different animals, and both are worth having. IMO, there's more crossover 'twixt a FPO and a stand mixer.

                      However, in my normal cooking existence (where I'm not cooking for more than 4-6 people), I find that I use my FP less and less. I find them to be just as much work as doing the tasks manually when you figure in the storage, cleaning, clutter, etc. So, if an armed kitchen-robber stuck a pistol in my ribs and stole the FP, it'd be OK with me.



                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        Hi Kaleo,

                        Your input echos what I was thinking. Thanks for taking the time to post.

                      2. Thanks to everyone for being so helpful with their advice. I do lots of reading on the chowhound boards and post replies when I have good information, but I've never posed a question like this before.

                        Based on the fact that the immersion blender was a give away (Martha Stewart show audience), I have decided to keep both items. I think that the food processor will be helpful in preparing foods for preserving. Last summer, my neighbors and I got together to do all kinds of preserving. For things like peach salsa, peach poppy seed salad dressing, bread and butter slices, and some of the jams we made, I think the processor will be great. The same group is also doing winter soup exchanges, so I will have lot of opportunity to compare the two appliances side-by-side on pureeing.

                        Thanks again!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: cgh

                          I think you have made a good decision. We use both, plus a blender all the time. For the food processor, one of the best books I have come across is by Abby Mandel. We own it and I buy and give copies as gifts. It is really a nice book chock full of ideas, recipes and tips. You can find it on eBay under Abby Mandel Cuisinart. I hope it helps.

                          There are others that just as good but I found this to be the most comprehensive.

                          Try this link:http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_kw=ab...

                        2. cgh, I want to share with you that I make at-home lattes with my immersion blender. I heat the milk in my microwave in a glass big enough to accommodate the blender and not completely filled up. Then I take my immersion blender to the heated up milk and pulse it up and down. That creates the froth. Then I pour in espresso made in my stovetop espresso maker. Bob's your uncle.

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: cgh

                              YW. More money in your pocket, less in the Siren's.