What Is The Best Substitute If I Don’t Have A Food Processor?

When you’re looking to do major kitchen food prep, sometimes a food processor really helps. You can use them to tackle big chopping jobs and cut down on lots of manual labor time.

But, you may be asking, what if I don’t have a food processor?

Not all of us wish to invest in a large, high-end appliance, but there are more affordable options that you can use in place of a food processor. And, you can still get all your slicing and dicing done like a pro!

In this article, we’ll go over how to use a blender, a mixer, or a grinder — and even a few machine-free options — as the best substitutes for a food processor

Blender jar full of fruits and vegetables


Can I Use a Blender in Place of a Food Processor?

Depending on the task you wish to accomplish, a blender is a fantastic substitute for a food processor. Especially a powerful one with multiple sharp blades like the Ninja Professional Countertop Blender.

What even is the difference between a blender and a food processor you ask? 

The simplified answer is that blenders will serve you better when dealing with liquids and food processors can handle more solid kitchen jobs.

Blenders typically run much cheaper than food processors, so if you’ve got one sitting in a cupboard or on your countertop — here’s how (and when) to use it as a food processor substitute!

You’ll likely have to work in smaller batches than you would with a food processor’s large mixing bowl. But, with a little patience, the blender will still mince, chop, or puree much quicker than doing it by hand. 

Use the puree (or just the highest setting) to turn freshly-cooked veggies into baby food.

Need breadcrumbs?

Use the “pulse” option on up to one slice of bread at a time. 

You can even shred cheese in your blender if you cut a block of cheese into 2- to 3-inch chunks first!

What a blender absolutely cannot do? Knead bread dough for you. 

If you’re interested in purchasing a blender for your home, check out Which Vitamix Blender is Best to Buy ?

Or read: What is the Best Ninja Blender?


No Food Processor or Blender? No Problem!

Your next option — standing or hand mixer. 

hand mixer

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These are the best substitute for a food processor or blender if you need something aerated. Think mayonnaise, hollandaise, egg whites, or any combination of flour, butter, and milk/eggs!

Some standing mixers come with dough hooks, so they can also knead your bread for you like a food processor.  

Check prices and read reviews for the best-selling Kitchenaid mixers on Amazon here.

Standing mixer

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Related: Which KitchenAid Mixer is Best For Me?

Don’t have any of these appliances so far? 

Keep reading for even more options!


Another Alternative to Blender — a Grinder.

So, no food processor. No blender. Not even a stand or hand mixer to be seen.

How about one of those handy little grinders? The ones you generally use for your coffee beans in the morning? 

Be sure you clean it out first! You don’t want to grind up fragrant herbs and spices only to have your dish turn out gritty with coffee grounds.

Those grinders are usually strong enough to handle chopping grains or nuts as well. You’ll just need to work in small batches, of course.


How To Do What a Food Processor Does… By Hand!

There are three (well, technically four) other items in your kitchen capable of helping you process some food. 

The first is a rolling pin. 

Rolling pin

Rolling pin

This method works best for when you need something crushed. Crumble crackers, chips, or cookies. But it will also work on soft (cooked) foods.

Seal the ingredients in a plastic bag — a resealable one, otherwise the food may squeeze out and make a big mess! Take your rolling pin and go back and forth over the bag. When everything inside is crushed or smooshed uniformly, you’re done! 

The second (and third since it’s two separate pieces!), a mortar and pestle.

These have been around a long time. Traditionally, you use a mortar and pestle to grind up herbs or make spice blends. 

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You can use yours for nuts, marinades, guacamole, and even pesto!

The fourth method is one of those boxed graters. You may be used to only pulling it out when you need some freshly-grated cheese. But this kitchen tool can do some fun stuff with vegetables, too!

Use yours on potatoes for hashbrowns, to shred carrots for cake, or grate fresh ginger for stir fry! If you’re on a low-carb diet, you can also use the grater on zucchinis to use as “noodles” or “zoodles” if you will. 


Substitutes for the Rolling Pin Method

But wait...there’s more!

If you really need something smashed, try cooking your food a bit longer so it’s extra soft. At a certain point of boiling, potatoes almost mash themselves! Use a potato masher if you have one, a fork if you don’t.

And if you have none of the above options for slicing, dicing, or chopping — surely you have some good sharp knives! Put on some tunes and get to practicing your julienne skills. 

In need of a new set of knives? Check out this affordable stainless steel knife block set from Amazon.


Conclusion

Now anytime a recipe calls for a food processor, you’ll be prepared! Nothing can stop you from creating healthy dishes that the whole family will love. Or impress guests with gourmet meals.

Making a meal at home can be an excellent way to bond with your loved ones. Science shows that cooking for yourself is both better for your health (hello weight loss!) and cheaper than dining out.

Don’t let lack of a food processor slow you down in the kitchen. Use these five awesome substitutes anytime you need to chop, mince, grind, shred, or puree! 

Last update on 2020-07-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API