Smoothies are quick, nutritious and range from being a refreshment to full meals. They are incredibly versatile, and can be made using a variety of fruits, vegetables, bases and add-ons. The smoothie’s versatility doesn’t end at just its contents, however. You can create satisfying smoothies using a food processor simply by making some small changes in the order you add ingredients compared to making smoothies with a blender

While it may be more common to make smoothies in the blender, if you don’t have one, you can use a food processor to achieve similar results. You’ll still be able to use a variety of ingredients and liquid bases, though you may not get the same smooth and creamy smoothie that you get with a blender.

Black KitchenAid® Food Processor on counter surrounded by smoothie ingredients

Can you use a food processor as a blender?

Even though blenders and food processors each have their specific functions and aren’t interchangeable for all recipes, food processors can be used as blenders for some things. Blenders, like these available from KitchenAid, are typically the preferred appliance for making smoothies, soups, sauces and other recipes with wet ingredients, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get great results with a food processor as well. Just remember that you may not get the same smooth and creamy results that you would using a blender, especially if adding seeds and leafy greens.

 

Food processor next to bowl of berries

How to make a food processor smoothie

When making your smoothie, make sure that you don’t overfill the work bowl so that all the ingredients are processed thoroughly. Large fruits like oranges or broad leaves like kale should be halved or quartered while smaller fruits and greens like berries or spinach leaves could be thrown directly inside the bowl. Your food processor’s multipurpose blade will purée all your smoothie ingredients with ease.

Step 1: Add any leafy greens first

Because leafy greens like spinach and kale are packed with tons of nutritional value, they’re great for smoothies. However, they tend to be bulky and prone to not mixing properly, so you’ll want to add them first to make sure they break down completely. If working with large leaves, cut or tear as needed to allow them to fit in the food processor more comfortably. Pulse greens until thoroughly and evenly chopped.

Step 2: Mix in the fruit of your choice 

Your fruit doesn’t have to be frozen, though it will give it a nice cool and thick consistency. On the other hand, fresh fruit will give you a great burst of flavor when it’s freshly chopped. Excellent fruit choices for smoothies are bananas, papaya and pineapple but you can use just about any of your favorite fruits. Check that your leafy greens are completely chopped, then use the feed tube on top of your food processor to add it while on Low.

KITCHENAID TIP:

If you want to smooth out the consistency of your food processor smoothie, adding ripe avocado, coconut milk or coconut cream will smooth out the texture.

Step 3: Add any health boosters

Any seeds, powders, oats or flakes you want in your smoothie should be added during this step. What you choose to add is entirely up to you, though some good options are bee pollen for energy, chia seeds for protein and spirulina for antioxidants. Other ingredients like ground ginger can enhance flavor. Add boosters one at a time, and pulse mixture to ensure everything is evenly incorporated. If you’re looking for inspiration, this green chia smoothie recipe would be easily adaptable to your food processor.  

Step 4: Add sweeteners 

At this point, you’ll want to start introducing some of the thicker liquids like sweeteners into your food processor. Honey, agave and maple syrup are the most common options, and will create a smoother consistency while also providing additional vitamins and minerals. Process on Low to make sure all your ingredients get fully coated with your sweetener when you add it into the mixture.

Step 5: Add a liquid base 

Your liquid base can range from water to milk or any dairy alternative like coconut milk. Kefir and Greek yogurt are also great and will give your smoothie an added creaminess and richness. Experiment with this delicious peach cobbler smoothie recipe.

Step 6: Bring together your revitalizing refreshment 

Your smoothie is almost finished, so scrape down the sides to make sure everything gets mixed in properly, processing on High for a smooth purée. Because a food processor is not a blender and technically purées, don’t be alarmed if your smoothie has a slightly different consistency as its blender counterpart, since you may still see small particles of ingredients, like bits of kale or tiny pieces of fruit. If it’s a thicker consistency you can also consider making it a nutritious smoothie bowl.

Step 7: Remove the blade 

Since you’re using a food processor, before serving, remove the blade and carefully scrape off any smoothie left on it using a small rubber spatula or spoon. Set the blade aside and pour into a tall glass to enjoy!

Silver KitchenAid® Food Processor on counter with carrots and blue backdrop

Food processor smoothie tips & tricks 

When using your food processor to make a smoothie, you’ll want to remember to stick to the order of the steps above. A food processor works differently than a blender, so the consistency and overall thickness of your smoothie will depend greatly on the order of your ingredients. 

For a smoothie that has more of a cool, refreshing profile, work with frozen fruit. Food processor blades don’t spin fast enough to crush ice effectively, but if you still want that creamy texture, freezing your fruit is a great way to achieve this result. Strawberries, blueberries and bananas are especially good for freezing.

If you want to make a big batch of smoothie for back-to-back days of nourishing breakfasts, it’s better to do it in smaller batches so you don’t overfill your food processor. Your ingredients won’t mix as well if the work bowl is overcrowded, which is why you should also slightly crush any of the bulkier pieces of fruit, and give a rough chop to all the greens. Your smoothie should be jam-packed with goodness, your food processor shouldn’t.

Bright kitchen featuring a silver KitchenAid® Food Processor with work bowl containing watermelon

Recipes from Yummly

Expand your mixing game with some of our favorite Yummly recipes. Whether it’s a warm summer day and you’re looking to cool down with a rosemary watermelon strawberry smoothie, or looking for a decadent pick me up like the pumpkin spice latte smoothie, Yummly has a wide selection of recipes to keep your smoothie rotation fresh. Even better, you can easily adapt any of these recipes to make in your food processor by adjusting the order of ingredients and using the mixing process above.

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