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Food Processor, Blender, or Mixer?

When you need a processor, and when to reach for another appliance.

By Deborah Baldwin and Kate Merker
Cuisinart food processor James Baigrie

When you need a processor, and when to reach for another appliance.

  • Chopping ice. It can dull a processor's blades. Take it to the blender.
  • Kneading dough. Processors are good at kneading bread and mixing cookie and pie dough. For bread, some prefer the slower knead of a stand mixer's dough hook.
  • Pureeing. Today's processors turn out smooth vegetable purees. Texture can be controlled with the pulse button, so you can get chunky salsa instead of V8 juice. Blenders' higher speeds make control more difficult. Hand-held immersion blenders can puree the contents of a pot while it's on the burner, meaning less cleanup.
  • Whipping. Food processors that come with a whisk attachment do a good job of whipping egg whites and cream but may be unable to create a thick cake batter. For that, you'll want a mixer.
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Quick Tip

How To: Whip Cream

To make whipped cream, beat ½ cup heavy cream with 1 tablespoon sugar until soft or stiff peaks form (as desired).