I've been using these alternatives instead of a food processor – they're surprisingly good

No appliance can beat a food processor at its own functions, but these come close

Braun immersion blender in white on a countertop with a blending cup and some fruit beside it
(Image credit: Amazon)

In an ideal world, whenever you need to use your food processor, it's ready and waiting. However, if yours has gone bust and you haven't managed to replace yours yet, you'll want to know what to use instead of a food processor to get the best results.

Whilst I would always recommend a food processor for dicing, slicing, and chopping, it's not the only appliance in your kitchen that can handle these tasks. Some blender food processor combos can cover all your food processing needs. In fact, sometimes in the blender vs food processor debate, the blender comes out on top.

As someone who's recently downsized, I've been looking for options that can cover my food processing needs without having to buy a separate appliance. I've tested some of the best immersion blenders and standard blenders to see whether they can stand up to food processors. Here are all the food processor alternatives you need to know about.

What to use instead of a food processor

Cuisinart Mini Prep Pro Food Processor on the countertop with onion beside it

(Image credit: Future)

We've been testing blenders, immersion blenders, stand mixers, and more to find the best appliances to use instead of a food processor. Whilst they might not be perfect for every kind of job, they'll be able to cover specific needs that you might have. I'll go through each one with some of my tried-and-tested recommendations too.

Can a blender replace a food processor?

Smeg personal blender in cream on a countertop with a smoothie bottle beside it

(Image credit: Smeg)

A blender can't replace a food processor in every single task that it performs. However, it does come pretty close. The two appliances could be siblings: they work with blades, motors, and work bowls or pitchers.

If you need a substitute for pureeing and emulsifying, you're in good company with blenders. In fact, blenders will often be better and more thorough at creating smooth results. Your blender will also be better for soups, sauces, and smoothies. 

Of course, a food processor will chop onion, whip up dips, and make nut butters much better than a blender. The different levels of blades and rotation directions are better for thoroughly slicing up ingredients that have lower liquid content. However, if you have a powerful blender and you can use the pulse functions to cover all those tasks.

If you're making doughs, chopping big vegetables, kneading, slicing, and grating, your best bet is to use a food processor. Blenders won't come close to covering these functions. My rule is that as food gets chunkier and more fork-friendly, you'll need your food processor.

If you want a blender that can replace your food processor, you'll want to look at some of the best blender food processor combos. Here are some of my favorites.

Can an immerson blender replace a food processor?

Vitamix immersion blender

(Image credit: Amazon)

Immersion blenders are some of the best kept secrets when it comes to kitchen appliances. Immersion blenders cover all the same functions as normal blenders and, oftentimes, they'll come with accessories.

When I first moved to my urban apartment, I didn't bring my trusty food processor with me. Instead, I invested in a Smeg immersion blender, which comes with a mini food processor attachment, a masher, a whisk, a blending pitcher, and more. This is actually pretty common and most of the best immersion blenders on the market have similar offerings.

Of course, immersion blenders are smaller and less powerful, so you won't be able to maximize on the capacity of bigger food processors, but they're great for small, quick tasks that you don't want to create a lot of washing up for. Here are my three favorites.

Can a stand mixer replace a food processor?

Kitchenaid food processor attachment slicing apples for an apple tart which is sat in front of a navy blue KitchenAid

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

You might not expect stand mixers to appear on a list of what to use instead of a food processor, but stick with me. These days, manufacturers and innovators are making attachments that can transform your stand mixer into multiple different appliances. One of these is, of course, the food processor attachment. 

Not every food processor attachment for stand mixers is worth buying, but the KitchenAid food processor attachment (available at QVC) is truly incredible. You can use your stand mixer to mix, whip, knead, and mash, then, add on the food processor attachment and you can grind, grate, shred, and slice. I've done a deep dive into all the KitchenAid accessories worth buying and I think you'd be surprised at some of them.

What are the other alternatives to a food processor?

KitchenAid food chopper

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

It might sound like a bit of a cheat, because a food chopper is essentially a smaller stand mixer, but it's a great alternative if you're short on space. These are often made to have small capacities and one blade, but they can still chop and puree. If you need to slice, shred, and dice, you'll want to look elsewhere.

Some hand mixers also come with accessories which you can use to cover some functions of food processors. This is a bit of a stretch and the main function that you can use your hand mixer as a substitute for will be kneading.

If you're happy to do some manual labor, there are other accessories that you can enlist to help you out. Some of the best knives, kept sharp and shiny, will be really useful for you. As will a good masher (this Kitchen Innovations set from QVC is brilliant), a good grating tower (I recommend the Alessi Todo), a mortar and pestle and more. Below, I've done a table for all of the alternatives and which functions they can help with.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 ChoppingPureeing/mashingMixingShredding/GratingSlicingKneading
BlenderIf you pulseYesYesNoNoNo
Immersion blenderYesYesYesDepending on attachmentsDepending on attachmentsYes
Stand mixerDepending on attachmentsDepending on attachmentsYesDepending on attachmentsDepending on attachmentsYes
Food chopperYesYes, but it's slowerYes, but it's slowerNoNoNo
Hand mixerNoNoNoNoNoYes
Mortar and PestleNoYesYesNoNoNo


Is it worth buying a food processor?

If you have the space for one, a food processor is a kitchen essential. I'd put it high-up on my list of appliances that every kitchen needs. However, for the times when you don't have one, it's good to know what to use instead of a food processor.

Can I mix food without a food processor?

You'll get by without a food processor, but the reason that they're useful is that they save you a lot of time and effort. Chopping an onion takes just seconds in a food processor, but it can take you minutes by hand. The more food you need to chop, dice, and slice, the more time you save with a food processor.

Laura Honey
eCommerce Editor

Laura is our eCommerce editor. As a fully qualified barista, she's our expert in all things coffee and has tested over thirty of the best coffee makers on the market. She has also interviewed Q-Graders and world-leading experts in the coffee industry, so has an intimate knowledge of all things coffee. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she studied English at Oxford University. Whilst studying, she trained as a master perfumer and worked in the luxury fragrance industry for five years. Her collection of home fragrance is extensive and she's met and interviewed five of the world's finest perfumers (also known as 'noses'). As a result of this expansive fragrance knowledge, she always puts quality and style over quantity and fads. Laura looks for products which have been designed simply and with thoughtful finishes.