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Food Processors

Stand Mixer vs Food Processor | Which Appliance Will Meet Your Needs?

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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.

food processor

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.

yellow stand mixer

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 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.

lunch making

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. 

Pros

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:

  • Versatility. Stand mixers can do a lot of things beyond the basic mixing, kneading, and whipping. The extra functions would vary based on the brands you choose. Some have a pizza dough attachment; others do not. Some have space for add-on blenders, while smaller models may not.
  • Strong Build. Stand mixers like KitchenAid are built so solidly that the warranties these manufacturers offer to go as long as 10 years. For countertop kitchen equipment, this is an impressive offer. Stand mixers are sturdy; they have a strong base (with suction to keep it from moving).
  • Hands-free and mess-free use. Stand mixers are equipped with a big bowl and a rotating head that does its job without you controlling them. This means when you knead bread, grind meat, mix the batter, or follow any recipe, you'd be able to add ingredients with both hands and with less mess as possible.

Cons

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:

  • Requires a big cupboard/counter space
  • Too heavy to move around regularly
  • It can be inconvenient if you plan to bake small batches
  • Cannot chop or puree food
kitchen gadget

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.
stand mixer

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.

Pros

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:

  • Slice vegetables evenly and perfectly every time.
  • Blender attachments allow you to crush ice and blend smoothies to your heart's content.
  • Ideal for making dips, cooking soups, and mixing

  • Avoid redundancy. (You can say goodbye to several tools like your box grate, grinder, mandolin, or mortar and pestle).
  • Time-saver (lets you chop food, whisk a ton of eggs)
  • Come in a wide range of capacity (pick based on your cooking requirement. Some mini processors are as small as the blend-and-go bottles used for blending instant smoothies)

Cons

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:

  • You cannot fill up the food processor to the top (like you would a blender). If you bought a mini processor, this could be a problem if you're preparing food in bulk.
  • Speed controls tend to be basic (low, medium, high)
  • Limited range of design available on almost all food processor brands and models
whisking

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
ideal bowl size

My Recommendations:

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.

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