We all love to have some fresh and healthy homemade dishes. They fill our tastebuds with joy while ensuring proper nutrition for our bodies. However, preparing these dishes from scratch is quite a tedious job! Slicing the fruits, shredding the vegetables, or mincing the meat manually takes a lot of energy.
That is why we have food processors!
This versatile device solves all of these problems at the same time by providing different mechanisms in one place. You can use it to chop, slice, shred, grate, mince, and more! But what if you need these functions but your food processor is suddenly not working?
Let us introduce you to nine possible food processor alternatives that can get you out of this problem. They are arranged in order of convenience so that you can find the most efficient ones faster.
9 Food Processor Alternatives
The easiest and most effective replacement for a food processor would be a blender. It essentially does the same job of turning fruits and vegetables into a puree, or mincing meat. The blade placed in its center plays the main part by cutting up large pieces into smaller ones or grinding them all the way through!
Nowadays, these blenders come in sets including one or two extra parts to complete more kitchen tasks. So you can easily get multiple functionalities from the same device!
Generally, a blender is used for preparing juice, smoothie, puree, and similar forms where most of the consistency is like liquids. However, you can also use it to make a bit drier versions of such processed food items. Either reduce the water content while blending or put the puree through a sieve later to get rid of excess liquid.
Unfortunately, blenders cannot be used for kneading dough which is a major function of food processors. Working with these devices may also take up more of your time than it would with processors.
Cost: Blenders are typically less expensive than food processors, making them a great option on a budget.
Space: Blenders take up less counter space than food processors, making them easier to use on a kitchen countertop.
Speed: Blender blades can process food much faster than food processors, so they are great for making pureed food and blending other softer foods.
Limited Functionality: While blenders puree and blend well, they are less versatile than food processors.
Mess: Blenders can create a lot of mess, as they tend to splash food around when processing liquid ingredients.
Noise: Blenders are noisy to operate, and this is distracting and unappealing in a quiet kitchen.
The mixer is another efficient option if you are looking to get the maximum done with minimum effort within the shortest possible timeframe. They come in many designs so that every user finds the perfect structure for bringing their recipe to fruition.
You must have seen the electric mixer - either at a shop or on some YouTube video showcasing a delicious recipe. There is also the simplest version which is essentially just a whisk. The manual hand-held mixer has been in use for decades, primarily to beat eggs or mix baking ingredients to achieve a fine texture.
Both of these are very popular nowadays for preparing baked items. They help with aerating concoctions of milk, flour, and butter. Besides, you should have no trouble storing them since these mixers are very compact in size. Especially compared to food processors, they can save you a lot of space.
Versatility: Mixers as substitutes for food processors can be used to do various tasks. A mixer can knead dough for bread, whisk egg whites, and make whipped cream.
Speed: A mixer can mix ingredients faster than a food processor, which can be beneficial when you are in a hurry.
Cost: Mixers tend to be less expensive than food processors, making them a cost-effective option.
Size: A mixer is larger than a food processor and can take up more counter space.
Difficulty: Mixers require a bit more skill and practice to use than food processors do.
Cleanup: A mixer has more components than a food processor, making cleanup more time-consuming.
It can save your time since you don’t have to set up the device for this particular function. Since its job is so particular and the accompanying working principle is so simple, all you have to do is put the original pieces of food through the chopper. Then just collect the chopped pieces into another bowl for later use.
Another advantage of having a chopper is its minimal storage space. Because the device follows a straightforward mechanism and is built without any complex parts, you can store it anywhere with ease. Many of them come with boxes already so you don’t have to worry about preserving the chopped pieces somewhere else.
Speed: A food chopper is a kitchen tool that can chop food in a fraction of the time it takes to do it by hand. This makes it an excellent option for busy cooks who want to spend less time chopping.
Portability: Kitchen choppers are much smaller and lighter than food processors, so they’re easy to take on the go. This makes them an ideal choice for camping or day trips.
Versatility: Most choppers come with multiple chopping blades and attachments, allowing you to easily chop various ingredients.
Capacity: Choppers can only handle small quantities of food, so they're not suitable for making large batches.
Noise: Choppers tend to be noisier than food processors, so they're not ideal for those who are sensitive to sounds.
Cleanup: Choppers can be a bit more challenging to clean than food processors, especially if you're dealing with sticky ingredients.
Grinders have been in use since the 19th century! This veteran of processing foods has gone through many makeovers over the decades and now primarily appears in their electric variations. You can rely on these compact modern grinders to cut, mash and crush different food items.
Similar to mixers, they too come in many varieties to satisfy each customer group. Some of them specialize in mincing meat while some work the best with nuts. When it comes to food processor substitutes, the meat one will probably seem more effective than others.
Compared to blenders and mixers, grinders are surely much heavier and thus, tougher to move. So you will probably want to keep it in one place that is convenient for your cooking routines. Use this device to turn food into fine powder like flour, or sticky pulps like rice.
Efficiently grinds hard and fibrous ingredients
A kitchen hand grinder is easy to clean
Kitchen grinders cannot process large amounts of ingredients
Not suitable for making dough or purees
5. Large grater
One of the main reasons why food processors are so popular and useful is their versatility. This single device is capable of cutting the food in different sizes or mincing the pieces in multiple ways. As a result, you have complete freedom of shaping the meat, fruits, or vegetables according to your preferences.
If you have a separate device for mincing meat, you can utilize large graters to cut up the produce. One of these will be able to offer you several ways to chop the fruits and vegetables. So you can enjoy a versatility closer to that of food processors.
At the same time, remember to handle these graters carefully since holding them the wrong way can injure you. Sliding the produce over its sharper edges can easily result in cuts on your hand. That is why you need to be mindful while using it.
Another drawback of graters is that you will need to spend more time to get the same result here compared to food processors. So you should increase your cooking period and adjust the daily schedules accordingly.
Cost: Larger graters can be much more affordable than a food processor, making them an ideal choice for those on a budget.
Portability: Graters tend to be much smaller than food processors, which makes them easier to transport and store.
Versatility: Graters provide a range of coarseness options, so you can choose the perfect texture for your recipe.
Time: Grating by hand can be time-consuming, especially for larger pieces of food.
Safety: Graters require a bit more caution than food processors, as there is a greater risk of cutting yourself.
Efficiency: A food processor may be the better option if you're looking to speed up the grating process.
6. Mortar And Pestle
Mortar and pestle are very popular in Egypt and the Asian regions since ancient times. It is in fact an important part of their culture since it has been used for centuries to crush spices. After this mechanism made its way to the western world, culinary enthusiasts here have made good use of it to make their recipes more flavorful.
If all the options discussed above are unavailable to you for some reason, you can try out mortar and pestle for grind food items. While it may not be as effective and can take up a lot of time, it is still a probable solution.
Versatility: The mortar and pestle are versatile and can be used to grind, mince, and mash various soft ingredients. This makes it great for multiple recipes, including sauces, salsas, and pastes.
Control: The mortar and pestle allow you to control the texture of the ingredients more precisely than a food processor. You can grind them to a fine consistency or leave them coarser if desired.
Quality: The ingredients you grind with a mortar and pestle retain more flavor and nutritional value than those ground by a food processor since the ingredients are not exposed to heat and oxidation.
Time-consuming: The manual labor involved in using a mortar and pestle can be time-consuming and is not always ideal for recipes that have tough ingredients.
Messy: A mortar and pestle can be messy, as the ingredients tend to fly out of the bowl as you grind them.
Not ideal for large batches: A mortar and pestle can be a bit unwieldy for grinding large batches of ingredients and is better suited for smaller quantities.
7. Rolling Pin And Plastic Bag
This is one of the better alternatives to a food processor. Its working principle is very simple and yet effective enough to be a viable option. All you need to do is place the food item inside a plastic bag and then apply the rolling pin on it.
The bag needs to be re-sealable so that you can close it before crushing the product and obtain the resulting pulp easily after that. Use a smooth sturdy surface for this process to succeed. The best items eligible for this method include chips, cookies, and chickpeas.
A possible pitfall here is un-crushed parts of the food remaining inside the bag. But you can easily solve it by using the flat surface of your rolling pin on these pieces and pressing them accordingly.
Cost: A rolling pin and a plastic bag are much more cost-effective than a food processor. If you're on a budget, this is an excellent option for food prep.
Versatility: You can use a rolling pin and plastic bag to make various dishes, from mashed potatoes to chicken cutlets.
Safety: Using a rolling pin and plastic bag eliminates the risk of cutting yourself on a food processor’s sharp blades.
Time: It takes a lot more time to use a rolling pin and plastic bag than it does to use a food processor.
Cleanup: Cleaning a rolling pin and plastic bag can be a hassle, especially if you’re dealing with sticky ingredients.
Difficulty: It takes a lot of skill and practice to correctly use a rolling pin and plastic bag.
8. Cook Until Soft
The last resort before going fully manual is relying on the good old firepower. This option definitely does not apply to cut the food items. Rather, it is aimed at making the puree of those items to prepare a dish.
Cook or boil the food until it gets so soft that the pieces can’t hold themselves together. The heat from your stove will keep making them squishier. Eventually, you will end up with some perfect mashed-up fruit or vegetable pulps. You can also add spices and condiments to make a mouth-watering concoction.
If it is not becoming soft fast enough, you can try using a simple fork or a potato masher to hasten the process. However, this process does take a very long time. So you may need to hold on to your patience a little tighter!
Knives are undoubtedly very useful in many aspects. However, when it comes to finding food processor replacements, these shine the lowest.
While using them is not that complicated, it takes a lot of physical effort, sweat, and hand cramps. Besides, making a puree this way is almost impossible. All you can do with knives is cut the vegetables, fruits, and meats in certain shapes.
But if you really have no other option and are scraping the bottom of the barrel, knives are definitely the way to go. Remember to be mindful of where your hands are going since you can easily suffer from a painful wound while chopping foods with knives.
Since food processors are electric kitchen appliances capable of doing multiple tasks, choosing replacement devices with similar capacities is the ideal solution.
That is why we recommend blenders, mixers, and grinders as the best alternatives to a food processor. These will minimize your manual labor and improve efficiency at the same time.
About the Author
Tamara J. Sims
As a seasoned kitchen and food writer, Tamara has a remarkable ability to weave words together, transporting readers to the heart of the culinary world. Tamara’s articles are written with an engaging blend of insightful commentary, honesty, and real-world examples based on personal experiences. She has the ability to captivate seasoned food enthusiasts and novice cooks alike.
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