January 25

Food Mill Vs. Food Processor | Which of the Two Appliances is More Versatile?


Author: Gisele Perez
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Food Mill Vs. Food Processor; deciding which one to buy can be a challenge. The food processor is perfect for grating cheese, slicing vegetables, making pestos and salsa, grinding nuts into butter, and even kneading pizza dough.

And then there's the food mill, which is best for separating the skins, seeds, stems, and peels of fruits and vegetables, pureeing soups and sauces, making mashed potatoes, tomato sauce, or applesauce.

If you are confused about the two, read the entire guide. I’ll be sharing my take on the advantages and disadvantages of a food mill vs. a food processor.

Food mill with yellow food

What is a Food Mill?

A food mill is a handy kitchen appliance that helps you turn your food, fruits, and vegetables into palatable dishes such as sauces, jams, and jellies.

Its bottom has holes separating the pulp from the seeds, stems, skins, and other ingredients.

What is a Food Processor?

A food processor is a versatile kitchen tool that is used for chopping vegetables, slicing, shredding, mixing, and pureeing food. They are invaluable kitchen devices that can save you a lot of time and effort when it comes to meal prep, unlike a food mill.

Differences between a Food Mill and a Food Processor


When choosing between the mechanical food mill and a food processor, consider their uses and the end results you want to achieve.

 Food processors are better if you want to quickly chop, grind or puree ingredients for recipes, while food mills are suited for baby food, hot and cold food, extract seeds, smooth puree, soups, just to name a few.

A Food Miller Uses

A food miller is ideal for pureeing food into sauces such as tomato sauce or applesauce. It can also be used to process fruits and vegetables. Food mills are especially useful for removing seeds from fruit pulp and skin from tomato pulp.

Food mill qith orange food

It can also be used to make mashed potatoes, baby food, hot or cold food, or fresh recipes that require a finer consistency.

Tasks typically performed by Food Processors include:

  • Slicing: slicing vegetables into thin pieces
  • Grating: grating hard cheeses like Parmesan, medium cheeses like Cheddar, or soft ones like Mozzarella.
  • Shredding: shredding cabbage or carrots into very thin strips.
  • Mixing: Mix dry ingredients together.
  • Chopping: chopping nuts or meat into small pieces.
  • Pureeing: pureeing fruits and vegetables into liquid form.
  • Grinding: grinding meat into mincemeat or hamburger meat.
  • Whipping: whipping egg whites into stiff peaks of foam to make desserts such as meringue cookies and mousse cakes.
  • Specialized food processors are also available for making breadcrumbs or grinding coffee beans in order to prepare coffee drinks such as cappuccinos or espressos.

As you can read above, a food processor has more uses than a food mill; hence it wins in this category. This is why a food processor is versatile kitchen equipment since it can help you prepare a lot of dishes in your kitchen.

Food mill with a woman standing beside it

Mode of their Operation

Both a food mill and a food processor have the same basic function of processing food, but they operate in different ways and produce different results. A food mill uses a hand crank or an electric motor to crush food that has been placed in the bottom of a bowl. A food processor cuts, chops, and purees foods using blades in a bowl.

How Does Food Mills Work?

This is done by placing the food mill over a big bowl or pot and pushing the ingredients into it via the perforated bottom with the crank or handle. The food mill blade, which is attached to its handle, compresses, scrapes, and sweeps food with each turn.

Food mills come in two varieties: the hand-crank version and one powered by electricity. The hand-crank version is quite inexpensive and does the job just as well as the electric food mill. The manual hand-crank version of the food mill is almost identical to what your grandmother may have used in her kitchen.

Food mill

However, it is labor-intensive, time-consuming, and only processes small batches of food, unlike an electric model or a food processor.

The electric food mills are usually more expensive than the manual crank model, but they offer some advantages. The electric models prepare large batches of food or can mash a lot of boiled potatoes at ago. They also have a continuous feed feature that allows you to add ingredients as you process them, instead of all at once, plus they process food quickly and easily.

How Do Food Processors Work?

Food processors are appliances that are used to chop, shred, and puree ingredients in a snap. They do so by using sharp blades that spin at high speeds.

When you buy a food processor, you will get different blades, such as a shredding blade and a slicing blade (see all about slicing potatoes here).

Best 8 Cup Food Processor

The shredding blade works best for shredding cabbage or carrots, while the slicing blade works best for slicing thin slices of potato or carrot. The more advanced models also come with a blade for grating cheese and for kneading dough.

Apart from a blade, a food processor consists of a bowl, a feed tube where the ingredients are added. A blade (usually located in the bottom of the bowl), a pusher also at the bottom of the bowl, is used to push food towards the blades, an on/off/ pulse switches, and a motor area.

To operate the food processor, fill the bowl with the food you wish to process. Place the bowl on the base of the unit and fasten it in place. Then, turn on the unit with its corresponding switch. The food will be chopped or pureed as long as you keep it running.

Food processors are safer to use than a food mill; they quickly prepare large batches of food and ease.

Hard and Soft Foods

Food mills are suited for pureeing foods that are softer such as fruits and vegetables, while food processors are ideal for processing softer and harder food such as fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, tomatoes, potatoes, cheese, just to name a few.

What Is a Substitute for A Food Mill?

Suppose you're looking to replace your old food mill. In that case, there are several kitchen gadgets that can do the job perfectly. Food mill substitutes include a blender, a cheese grater, a potato ricer, an electric mixer, a blender, and a food processor.

Is A Food Mill Better than a Food Processor?

Lots of cooks say the food mill is a better choice for pureeing food.

However, a food processor does almost everything a food mill does and does it faster and with less mess. You can even use the bowl of your food processor as an extra-large mixing bowl. Plus, you can use it to grate cheese and make bread crumbs.

The food processor is also a safer choice because it has an interlock safety device that protects you from operating the machine when it is not locked properly.

Food Processors Are Easy to Clean

Just like with a potato ricer, the food mill has smaller holes which makes it harder to clean than the food processor. With the food processor, you can just scoop out the sliced or diced food and rinse off any food that might be left behind.

About the author

Gisele Perez

When not giving in-home, hands-on cooking classes, or developing recipes, Gisele "cooks" wonderful posts for us. She writes about various topics related to cooking appliances and cooking methods.


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