Are Food Processors Good for Smoothies?

Smoothies are great for a sweet treat, on the go, or even in the morning for breakfast. But since I don’t have a blender, I’ve wondered, are food processors good for smoothies?

I decided to test it out, and here’s what I learned:

Food processors can make smoothies, but it’s not designed for it. It’s easier and more efficient to make a smoothie in a blender, but you can make it in a food processor if necessary. But if you add ice, be aware that a food processor will not crush the ice as smoothly as a blender.

But that’s just a quick snapshot. And there are a few tricks I learned that work a little bit better.

So in this article, we’ll explore those tricks. We’ll also answer a few follow-up questions, and talk about which blade attachment works best in your food processor.

Let’s take a look into the world of smoothies!

Can I use a food processor for smoothies?

Yes, you can use food processors for smoothies, although it may not be as completely pureed as it would be in a blender. And some food processors are actually a combo blender-food processor.

The best food processor that can do both is the Ninja food processor (click to see it on Amazon). Shocking right?

It is specifically designed to do both jobs perfectly. It uses the same base motor but has 3 different bowls for different purposes that fit on top. Over 8,000 awesome reviews can’t be wrong!

But Ninja blenders at least can be a little loud.

I actually have a recent article on Ninja blenders that goes into detail about their noise level. And what to do to quiet ANY blender that is too noisy.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Not all food processors are like this one, though. While you can still make smoothies in other food processors, the process is pretty different than a standard blender, and you might not get the exact results you’re looking for.

However, we’re going to take a look into that today.

A food processor consists of functions like crushing, grinding, and mixing. This makes the food processor perfect for crushing nuts and making sauces.

There are blade attachments that you can use in your food processor to make smoothies, juices, and much more. I’ll talk more about the attachments later in this article.

Let’s go over the basic steps of making a smoothie in a food processor first.

With the food processor running:

  1. Add any green ingredient first. This way, they blend properly.
  2. Add frozen fruit on top of this. The frozen fruit will give you the slushie feel to the smoothie.
  3. Add anything smaller on top of these two. Such as seeds, coconut flakes, protein powder, etc.
  4. Add your liquid. You can use milk or juice and if you want your smoothie thicker, add yogurt.
  5. Mix all the ingredients together. Scrape the food processor’s bottom and sides to make sure all your food is mixing properly then, blend it one more time.

It’s that simple. A little more complicated than a blender, but it’s all about the layers and making sure everything is mixed properly.

Can you blend frozen fruit in a food processor?

Yes! Frozen fruit is ideal for a food processor. This is because a food processor is better suited for the labor-intensive handling of solid foods. Chopping and slicing are what a food processor does best. Process frozen fruit by pulsing the fruit as you drop the pieces down the chute.

You can even make a juice or smoothie with frozen fruit in a food processor. It’s recommended to leave your fruit out for a few minutes, though. This way, the fruit isn’t as hard as ice when going into your food processor.

This is so the blades and bowl of your food processor can last longer.

While most food processors have the power for frozen items, there are a few out there that don’t. It’s always best to make sure your appliance can handle the job before putting yourself and your appliance at risk.

If your processor can handle ice or frozen fruit, then go ahead and put it in. Most people won’t use their processor enough for any damage from frozen fruit to occur anyway.

The main thing you want to watch out for is putting too much frozen fruit into the bowl and having the entire food processor turn into a block of frozen fruit. 

This will kill the motor, and once the motor goes, it’s time for a new appliance. So add your frozen fruit in small increments.

Which blade should I use in my food processors to make smoothies?

The metal S-blade is the best for smoothies when making a smoothie in a food processor. The plastic dough blade would wear or break quickly processing frozen fruit, and the other attachments simply wouldn’t work well with smoothie ingredients.

There are quite a few blades that you should familiarize yourself with in your food processor. So let’s do a quick rundown of each one and what they are best suited for.

S-Blade:

Is also known as the chopping/mixing blade. It’s used mainly for coarsely chop, grate, mix, and puree food.  Some food processors come with this blade and are commonly identified by the blades being close to the middle and stacked.

Shredding disc:

This is meant more for shredding things like cheese, cabbage, potatoes for hash browns, or even carrots for carrot cake!

Slicing disc:

This is meant for slicing things like cucumbers, potatoes, zucchini, and much more.

A combo of slicing/shredding:

This can commonly be found sold with a food processor, and it can do both at once! These are all called discs because they aren’t open blades but rather circular discs with certain grooves.

Dough blade:

As you can imagine, this disc is used for making dough and is usually made of plastic. It’s shaped like the S-blade, but a little smaller and is not sharp like the S-blade.

It’s made for kneading rather than slicing, cutting, or shredding. It’s great for making bread or pasta.

You can get these as attachments or get them with your food processor. These attachments bring your food processor to life and really give it that place in your kitchen.

The food processor can do so much, and if you’re on a budget or only have the room for a blender or a food processor, you should try the food processor.

You’ll be able to do more with it than you think.

Which is better, a blender or food processor?

A food processor is more versatile than a blender and makes the better choice when it doesn’t make sense to buy both. A food processor can handle most blender duties, but most blenders cannot do things like chop nuts or grind fresh herbs.

Both blenders and food processors have their qualities and purposes for the kitchen that can help you cook.

It’s all about the power and the blades that come with the appliances. Both have their own spots in everyone’s kitchen, though.

Blenders are the better option when it comes to using a lot of liquid, such as a smoothie, soup, or juices. A food processor is meant for more solid food that requires more power and force behind the blades. It’s also great for slicing and shredding.

The line between these appliances is very blurred, though, and it’s easy to find one or the other that can do both jobs while saving space in your kitchen.

But a good food processor is often a lot more money than most blenders. So are food processors worth it?

I have a recent article that talks about whether food processors are worth it or not, so you can make up your mind about which is better. I checked in with 5 of the most world-renowned chefs out there to get their opinions.

Simply click the link to read it on my site.

Both are equally amazing products that should be given a try. You might find that you can do things with a blender that you can’t with a food processor and vice versa.

Can I put ice in a food processor?

You can put ice in heavy-duty food processors because most of them can handle ice, but you might see cloudiness in the food processor bowl after continuous use of crushing ice.

But this is because it depends heavily on the food processor you have.

Much like a blender, if there isn’t enough power behind the blades, all you’ll be doing is stressing your food processor’s motor. That being said, there are food processors that can handle ice efficiently.

However, people use food processors every day to make perfect crushed ice. Whether it’s ice for cocktails, snow ice, or slushies, you can make it with a food processor.

There are steps you can take to make sure you don’t put stress on your motor, though.

If you do small batches of ice and use the pulse feature on your food processor, you’ll see better results.

The pulse option puts less stress on the food processor’s motor by giving it small breaks in between pulverizing your ice.

There are accessories that you can buy to help lessen the load of the motor as well. However, these tend to make the food processor louder than normal, even when crushing ice.

For small amounts of ice, you may even want to try an immersion blender.

I have a recent article that goes over the sound level of immersion blenders so you can understand exactly how loud a blender gets just doing its thing. 

Just click the link to read it on my site.

If you have the will to do something and do the research beforehand, you can do almost anything with a food processor.

Go out and make something amazing!

Did I cover everything you wanted to know about food processors?

Food processors are a better and more powerful version of a blender, but that doesn’t mean blenders are useless. There are some things that a blender does better than a food processor.

Food processors are not suitable for making a good smoothie. If you’re looking to make a dip, on the other hand, a food processor is perfect for that.

Blenders aren’t better or worse than a food processor either; they both have qualities that make them worth having a place in your kitchen.

If a food processor is all you got, there are ways to make it work!

Just remember that a food processor is meant more for solid food and things that would take a more powerful blade.


Photo which requires attribution:

ReadyToProcess by Amy Stephenson is licensed under CC2.0

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Content