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Mandoline Versus Food Processor [moved from Home Cooking]

I do have a food processor & sometimes consider purchasing a mandoline, but I am on the fence about adding yet another gadget in the kitchen. Will this just become another gadget that stays in a dark corner of a drawer?

Do you have both? Which one do you prefer?

What do you use your mandoline for?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

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  1. I have both. The mandolin scares me, so I don't use it much. Maybe it's because I'm left handed. It's an Oxo, and I love their products, but I feel very clumsy with the mandolin.

    The food processor makes messier slices, but quicker. Sometimes I use the flat blade side of my 4 sided cheese grater to slice cukes.
    Maybe others have an Oxo mandolin who can give me advise on using it efficiently and safely.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jmcarthur8

      Consider getting a cut resistant glove like this one: http://amzn.to/Np2FR1 This is the one I have, it makes the mandoline much safer to use!

      1. re: SeaKoz

        I will do that. The price isn't bad, amd I think the clumsiness of using the vegetable holder is what my problem is.

      2. re: jmcarthur8

        I have an OXO mandolin as well. While I think it works great, I would caution those using it to use great care. My very first time using it (or any mandolin ever) I sliced the tip of my finger off. Two months later, it is still healing and extremely sensitive. I've used it since, but this time, when I get down to the smaller pieces I just set those aside and just use larger pieces on it. Not worth another finger! It's worked great to make small uniform pieces for my dehydrator.

      3. I have a bran which I researched and wanted forever but still haven't quite mastered. I want to but...it is hard

        1 Reply
        1. re: lovetalkinfood

          Which brand do you have?

        2. Why not just a knife?

          12 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Using a knife instead of a food processor or mandoline - yes, great idea, but my knives are so dull & I have not mastered the art of sharpening my own knives. There is a guy in another town that sharpens people's scissors & knives, but you have to take them to an exclusive kitchenware shop for him to pick up & they look at your shabby knives like, "Are you bringing THAT in here, my word!". Of course they want you to purchase a new set of knives while you are standing around looking sheepish.

            We tend to forget there are simpler ways of doing things that don't cost much money, use much electricity or take up much room. With that said, would someone tell me about a simple way to sharpen my knives???

            1. re: cstout

              I use a Chef's Choice #110 electric knife sharpener. I've had it for over 10 years, and just give all my knives a good going over every couple months. I don't know what pros do, but it works for me.

              1. re: cstout

                The easiest-to-use home sharpening devices (of the ones that work reasonably well, anyway):

                An accusharp or similar carbide-based sharpener
                - problematic/useless for hard Asian knives
                - Quick and easy
                - Cheap
                - Removes metal fairly quickly
                - Somewhat useful for some kinds of serrated knives

                A Chef's choice electric sharpener or similar design
                - More expensive
                - Also not too great on hard Asian knives, but not quite as bad as the Accusharp... still not recommended
                - Not quite as easy to use, but close
                - Similarly quick
                - Slightly better edge than the Accusharp, usually
                - Exaggerates the problems caused by full length bolsters
                - Also removes metal fairly aggressively
                - Not too great for serrated knives, though scallop-style serrations can get some benefit from it

                No pro sharpener worth a damn will criticize you for bringing in a budget knife. That's how he makes his money. If your knives are so shoddy that they won't take a decent edge (and, true, some knives won't), then he might gently suggest an affordable alternative, preferably not one that he or his associates are selling. I'm not a big fan of most sharpening services run by kitchenware stores - a lot of times, it's just a minimally-trained worker running a Chef's Choice electric sharpener in the back room.

                Here is a much more elaborate post about different sharpening options:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7971...

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  cowboyardee, wow - you certainly know a lot about knife sharpeners! Thanks for the comprehensive list of sharpening methods.

                  My knives are old knives that came from a butcher shop that closed. The blades are very thick & can be sharpened to a razor edge - only thing is the handles are thick wood & certainly have seen better days, but it just shows they were well used.

                  I would like to purchase a couple of Asian knives, but don't know which brand is best. I will search around on Chow to find a thread on that subject.

                  Just curious, how do you sharpen a mandoline????

                  1. re: cstout

                    For Asian knives, do you mean European style knives with Japanese hard steel? Or do you mean Japanese style knives with Japanese steel? Also, do you mean Asian knives as in any Asian knives? Or do you mean Japanese knives?

                    Do you have a budget for your inquisition of the Japanese knives?

                    For Westernized Japanese knives, Tojiro is a brand of good quality and nice price, especially the DP series:

                    http://www.cutleryandmore.com/tojiro?...

                    http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tojirod...

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Thanks for links, am really learning lot. Yes, any Asian knife will do, I just try to stay middle of the road in everything I purchase.

                      I would like one of those knives that slice tomatoes paper thin.

                      Maybe what I need is a good knive instead of a mamdoline. I sure like the "crinkle" edges on veggies though.

                    2. re: cstout

                      "My knives are old knives that came from a butcher shop that closed."
                      _______
                      Old knives that take razor edges are cool, and any professional sharpener who doesn't think so should be viewed with suspicion and/or contempt. About those handles: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8241...

                      "Just curious, how do you sharpen a mandoline????"
                      ______
                      A straight blade from a mandoline can usually be removed from the device and sharpened on a whetstone without much trouble (if you know how to use a whetstone, that is). They are typically single bevelled - meaning the cutting edge is one-sided, and needs only to be sharpened on one side - and the edge seems to be around 20 degrees (this might vary quite a bit between different makers), though really you'd be examining the blade to figure out exactly how the edge is set and following that geometry (google 'sharpening, magic marker trick' for starters). If you're not decent with stones, it probably wouldn't be the first job I suggest trying. A good pro could handle the job without much trouble at all. A mandoline blade with a zig-zaggy edge.... frankly, that would be such a PITA to sharpen that you'd be better off just buying a new blade (though you technically could sharpen it using a small squared stick and some wet/dry sandpaper with a lot of brow furrowing).

                      "I would like to purchase a couple of Asian knives, but don't know which brand is best. I will search around on Chow to find a thread on that subject."
                      _________
                      There are a lot of threads on the matter. I was avoiding getting too elaborate about a tangential matter, but note that most of the hard knives I was thinking of are actually Japanese. There are some fantastic Japanese knives available at many price points, and what's best depends heavily on what exactly you're looking for.

                  2. re: cstout

                    Buy a cheap sharpening stone and practice. You don't have to have expensive stones or tools to sharpen a knife.

                    Your local hardware store probably has something that will work. Way easier than making the perfect biscuit.

                  3. re: ipsedixit

                    I use a knife. I am terrified of a mandoline and really find that just slicing with my knife is fast and easier.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      For the same reason chefs use them, to get very thin slices or slices of a consistent size or waffle cut slices or julienne--in much less time.

                      1. re: escondido123

                        I was just about to say that.

                        1. re: escondido123

                          A knife, a food processor and mandoline are very different tools and a good cook should have them because there are patiticulr jobs that that each excell at.

                      2. The food pro can slice if you have the disc but also chop and purée

                        I use a mandoline for things where I want a very consistent thickness but use a knife where that is not as important.

                        1. If you're interested in getting a mandoline, consider a Japanese Benriner. They're inexpensive, work great, and are completely safe when using the cutting guard that comes in the package. And they're easier to clean than a food processor. When storing I keep the guard over the blade with an elastic band in order to avoid accidentally getting a cut. The guard doesn't allow you to slice something as small as garlic. But I would use a knife for that anyway.

                          http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=a9_asi_1?...

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: VitalForce

                            +1

                            I have both FP and a Benriner. The FP has its uses but it doesn't do what a sharp mandoline will do. And even with pretty decent knife skills, and perfectly good and sharp knives, I like to use the Benriner from time to time for ease and uniformity with speed.

                            And the Benriner's so compact, it barely takes any room in the drawer.

                            1. re: VitalForce

                              I bought myself a Benriner a couple of years ago and I can't figure out how to use it. very frustrating. can't get the top slidy thing to work.. I've had people at my house who say just don't use it but I really would like to learn to use it the right way and then take it from there. The levers are confusing to me and I can't seem to get the right pressure down. If someone could direct me to a youtube video that would show me how to use a Benriner that would be cool.

                              1. re: lovetalkinfood

                                Levers? Do you have the large one? It has two set screws under the stage to adjust thickness. The regular one just has one set screw.

                                If one screw just adjust to the thickness you want. If it's the large mandoline just adjust both screws evenly to the thickness you want

                                By the "slidy" thing you mean the finger guard, right?

                                I don't use it until I get down close to the blade but it does work. Some abandon it and use a protective glove. I've learned to stretch my fingers out so the curve upward and can slice pretty far down but it's taking a risk I would suggest to others. If I want that last bit I use the guard

                                I'm sure there are plenty of vids out there just google it

                            2. I have both a food processor & a mandoline - I use the processor mostly for mixing doughs - pie crust, pizza, sometimes for carrots (carrot cake) and other fine blending jobs. The food processor comes out of its' cupboard about once per week.
                              I use the mandoline probably about twice as often as the food processor (the mandoline is a Boerner V-Slicer). It's great for getting an even dice or slice when prepping anything from burger condiments (pickles, onions - doesn't work for tomatoes) to salad, soup or stew ingredients. Onions are probably what it is used for most often, but it makes easy work of carrots, celery, potatoes, cucumbers, radishes, etc. as well.
                              If I've just got one onion to chop, I'll stick with a knife, but if I've got a ton of veg to prep, I'll definitely pull out the mandoline.
                              What I love about the mandoline is a) easy storage - it's slim enough to fit in a drawer, and b) easy to clean - I just run it under the hottest tap water possible & let it dry. I think you'll use it more than you expect.

                              1. I have both, I mainly use the mandoline for shredding cabbage for sauerkraut.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: rasputina

                                  When I had to make (tons of) cole slaw at the bagel shop, I sliced the cabbage on the meat slicer. No problems.

                                2. I have both & use both for different tasks.

                                  Food processor is used mostly for chopping, blending, doughs, etc.

                                  Mandoline is used mostly for paper-thin perfect fruit & vegetable slices & more attractive julienne/shreds.

                                  1. I have both a food processor and a mandoline. I use the food processor for grating, chopping and mixing dough mainly. I use the mandoline for when I need to make many thin slices, like for potatoes au gratin.

                                    I find that I use the mandoline much more often after I bought a protective glove for my hand and don't need to use the useless food holder any more. It was a good tip that I got from a fellow chowhounder. I believe the glove is made out of teflon and can be ordered from Amazon.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: NE_Elaine

                                      Many of the golves are Kevlar if they're not steel core. I don't think teflon offers a lot of protection.

                                      1. re: mikie

                                        Thanks Mikie - you are exactly right!

                                        That is what I get for posting late in the evening.

                                    2. I use a food processor, a mandolin, and a knife, which I use is mostly determined by what kind and how many slices I need. For example, for Thanksgiving I slice a lot of celery for dressing, I'm not that picky on the exact thickness, so the slicer in the food processor works best. If I want consistant thin slices of something, and a fair amount of them, then the mandolin is my choice. If I'm cutting an irregular shape or dicing onions or the like, then the knife seems to work best.

                                      We recently traded in the cheap plastic mandolin we had for a Rosle slicer, it's not as versitle, but it's compact and easy to use, so I grab it much more often than the old mandolin I had.

                                      1. Have an inexpensive mandolin... Mouli, I think. Have had it fro years and still very sharp. Has a guard-thingie to keep you fingers away from the blade. Has inserts to do a julienne, a "french fry" cut, and 3 different thicknesses of slices... from thin to thinnest.

                                        Bought a Cuisnart mandolin... at thrift store, cuz clean and cheap. Didn't care for it at all and redonated.

                                        1. I have a food processor, a mandoline, and several great knives. Which one I use depends on my prep goal. The fastest is, of course, the processor. My mandoline gives me greater control of exactly how super thin or fairly thick I want the slices. Occasionally some veggies turn out to be PITA on the mandoline because they "chip" as the hind part of the slice reaches the blade and leave a thick end. It doesn't happen with any one vegetable all of the time, but can happen with several vegetables sometimes, and that's when I'll switch from mandoline to food processor. The much higher speed doesn't do that. I can julienne with both the mandoline and the food processor, but with the food processor things come out with a slight arc to them. I can also get a finer julienne with the mandoline. If I want uniform length to something I slice on the mandoline or in the food processor, then I use a knife to cut a block to the length I want. Fancy cuts are easy with either. For carrot "flowers" for soups or salads, simply peel a carrot, slice five lengthwise "V" grooves around the carrot, then slice them into "flowers." Kids love it! I hope writing this doesn't hex me, but my mandoline is now 52 years old, and I've never cut myself with it. (Knock on wood) It's a Benriner, and they still make them. They are very inexpensive compared to the stainless steel "professional" mandolines available, and I often see chefs on TV using Benriners. That always makes me smile! You absolutely get your money's worth out of them. And then some! And just for the record, all these years later, I can still get replacement julienne blades that fit! Gotta order some...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                            Great post Caroline1. I saw on Amazon there are 2 sizes, what is the dimension of yours?

                                          2. Hey everyone, your comments are great. As usual, there is no stone left unturned when you all get through with a subject, which makes Chowhound a great place to be. Thanks for posting.

                                            1. Since I got my Breville food processor with the variable slicing I have not touched my mandolin. With my old processor, slices came out poorly. Ditto with julienne.

                                              1. I use a mandolin, I am moderately terrified of it but it takes up less space than a food processor. Usually I just chop or grate or whatever with a knife of box grater. I have a small automatic chopper for making pestos and stuff. Used to have a food processor that was an attachment to a blender - I don't miss it. A good quality food processor would be wonderful though I just cant figure where to put it.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: JTPhilly

                                                  We have a ton of gadgets, including food processors and mandolines. They each have their uses. When I want to slice a few onions paper-thin, nothing beats the mandoline for ease and speed. Ditto tomatoes, cukes, celery, potatoes, etc. The food processor is great for chopping and some slicing tasks, but it lacks the precision of the mandoline.

                                                  1. re: ferret

                                                    Agreed. I do like the FP for quickly grating cheese but I rarely use it for slicing anymore.

                                                2. I have both and which I use depends on what I am making. I also have a hand held Kuhn Rikon small mandolin. It is for very thin slices. It is quick and easy as is my julienne cutter. it looks like a veg. peeler but cuts small julienne strips.

                                                  I do have a lot of one purpose gadgets but with 40 years in the kitchen supply, china crystal,linens business it is not surprising. Also I like to talk knowledgeably about the products.

                                                  Retired now but still keep my hand in.