If you're finally ready to invest in a quality kitchen machine to up your game, I wouldn't be surprised if you're comparing a stand mixer vs. a food processor.
If you already have a food processor, should you still buy a stand mixer?
If you already have a stand mixer, should you still buy a food processor?
The answer to these questions is quite complicated but think of the food processor as an advanced food chopper and the stand mixer as a machine that mixes all kinds of ingredients.
If you're still confused about which kitchen appliance to buy first, then read on for an in-depth comparison of these two awesome kitchen inventions.
Common Things About a Stand Mixer and Food Processor
A stand mixer and food processor are alike in so many ways, which I'm sure adds to your confusion. To make an informed purchase, let's start with features that they share:
Both can be expanded with attachments.
Most of these attachments come optional at an added cost.
For example, the king of all stand mixers, the KitchenAid Artisan, can add its functions by adding attachments like ravioli maker, dough hook meat grinder, slow juicer, sausage stuffer, and ice cream maker, among others.
In the same vein, the blades and discs of food processors can be replaced in order to add functionalities.
For example, a dough blade can help with kneading and throwing dough, while a grating disc (see post) creates evenly grated cheese, carrots, and other ingredients.
Both a food processor and stand mixer can accommodate a blender attachment. A blender attachment instantly turns any of the two appliances into another kitchen equipment and, as a result, doubles the functionality as well.
Both can work as an alternative to the other, but not as good.
Stand mixers are designed originally for baking, which is why it is ideal for kneading dough, mixing batters, whisking eggs and cream. It can also mince ingredients, but it cannot chop or blend as well as a food processor.
Food processors are designed to make food prep significantly easier, so tasks like shredding, finely chopping, slicing, and grating food come out even and accurate all the time. While it can work in blending eggs and cream like a stand mixer, it cannot actually create peaks when whisking stuff. You can check out our earlier posts on top food processors for grating here, best food processors for kneading dough in this review, and the top picks for dicing in this article.
Stand Mixers vs. Food Processors
While these two kitchen appliances are similar, their tiny differences allow you to determine which is more necessary for your kitchen needs.
PROS and CONS of Stand Mixers
Note that this comparison doesn't involve a hand mixer, which does not have the same functionality as stand mixers or blenders.
Stand mixers are the best at kneading and other baking tasks, such as mixing, whipping, and blending food. Stand mixers are awesome because of their:
The problem with stand mixers is that the best brands tend to be extremely expensive (with a base price of about $1,000 or higher). Attachments are bought separately as well, so you'd have to pay more if you need extra functionalities.
Other disadvantages of a stand mixer include:
Choose Stand Mixers If...
- You plan to do a lot of baking (whether as a hobby, profession, or business).
- You're kneading a ton of bread, pizza, and other kinds of doughs
- You prepare big batches of food or recipes that require a lot of egg whites, such as pies, merengues, cloud bread, and so on.
- You find the attachments useful for your daily needs. (For example, you're into juicing and baking.)
Things to Look for in a Stand Mixer
If you decide to go with a stand mixer, make sure you find a model that has:
- At least 250W power
- Multiple mixing speeds that you can control
- Basic mixing hooks included (such as wire whip, whisk, flat beater, knead attachment, etc.)
- A size that fits your kitchen (while the KitchenAid Artisan is a sight to behold and is able to help you with most baking and mixing tasks, not every kitchen can accommodate its bulky size)
- A bowl large enough to accommodate your demands (this will vary depending on whether you're using the mixer for personal or professional purposes). Go with stainless steel bowls instead of ceramic or plastic.
- A splash guard, so you can scrape the bowl easily.
Pros and Cons of Food Processors
Food processors take out the pain of chopping, slicing, grinding, and other food prepping and cooking tasks you do on a daily basis.
A food processor also has a bowl, where you can just add all ingredients in one go. You can also "process" one ingredient at a time. Other benefits include:
The main problem with food processors is that they cannot handle liquid well. If you're planning to buy this appliance because you want to make smoothies non-stop, make sure you get a model with blender attachments. Or better yet, buy a quality blender instead.
While the stand mixer is able to manage liquid and create all kinds of sauces, the food processor does better with dips, salsas, and other recipes that call for tiny chunks to remain.
Other disadvantages of a food processor include:
Choose Food Processors if...
- You hate food prepping. (A food processor could bring the joy back into your cooking)
- You prepare a lot of fruits and vegetables.
- You have a business that requires a ton of grated cheese, shredded cabbage, minced onions, and so on.
- You don't own a blender yet, but do not want to separately purchase blenders and food processors.
- You won't be kneading doughs or planning to cook homemade pasta on this equipment.
Things to Look for in a Food Processor
If you decide that you'd need a food processor for all your chopping, grating, slicing, and grinding needs, make sure to find one with:
- At least 600W power
- Several discs and blades, so you have options for slicing/chopping your ingredients.
- Bowl big enough for your daily cook requirements
- Multiple speed controls
- A size that can fit the space on your countertop (a mini processor could work, but it would still depend on how often and for what type of food prep you'd need it for)
- Blender attachments and accessories if blending smoothies and juices is important for you
- Extended warranty
The difference between a food processor and blender or a stand mixer isn't really noticeable at first, but as you use them on a daily basis, you're going to experience them firsthand.
I can't give anyone advice to pick a food processor over a stand mixer or a blender. The decision isn't as simple as black and white. Because your needs may differ from mine, the advice I could give you is to decide what you need between a food processor or stand mixer, then choose from either these two brands:
- Stand Mixer: Kitchenaid Artisan is an heirloom appliance - you can use it as a workhorse and still pass it along to the next generation if you want to.
- Food Processor: Cuisinart Food Processors come in various capacities and designs; from the mini prep plus food processor to the massive Prep 11 Plus models, there is something for everyone's kitchens.
These are two solid kitchen equipment that has been tested by time. The one you choose is guaranteed to do a good job no matter the recipe you follow.