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What Can I Use Instead of a Food Mill?

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

Food mills are often additions to the kitchen and can save the day when making soups or mashing potatoes. If you’ve found this article, maybe you’ve just read a recipe that says ‘use a food mill.’ But what do you do if you don’t have one? Luckily for you, there are convenient food mill substitutes that don’t require going out and buying a brand new piece of equipment.

In fact, you probably own the necessary equipment in your kitchen already!

What can i use instead of a Food mill?

The best food mill substitutes are Food processor, blender, cheese grater and potato ricer. Wooden spoon is also a good food mill alternative.

Easiest Food Mill Substitutes

1. Food Processor

Food processor

Many people have a food processor in their kitchen, even if they don’t have a food mill. The food processor works a little differently than a food mill, in that the food processor will grind up everything all together, rather than allowing for the straining that makes a food mill so handy.

If you’re making a puree, you can use a food processor rather than a food mill, but you have to keep something in mind. The food processor doesn’t allow for straining, which means you should consider using a sieve as well. After processing your food in the food processor, funnel it through the sieve and — voilá! — you have a puree.

Why it’s Great

  • The food processor is an effortless way to break down food into its most basic, particulate form. Used with a sieve, the food processor makes a very smooth puree.

Things to Consider

  • The food processor doesn’t have a strainer component to it like the food mill. As such, you must use a sieve.
  • Food processors are more limited in use than food mills. If you don’t have either, consider which one makes more sense for you to buy. Food processors’ pulsate mode means they can turn food really fine, but the lack of a strainer limits the food processor’s capabilities.

2. Blender

Maybe you’re asking, “okay, but what can I use instead of a food processor?” There are several alternatives if you own neither a food processor nor a food mill.

One of these is a blender. A blender set to pulse mode works just as well as a food processor, but with a caveat. The big wide blades are different from the food processors, and as such, you’ll need to be sure you remove the seeds and peels before placing your items in the blender. This means more work for you. However, if you don’t own a food processor and don’t want to venture into the realm of much manual labor, the blender is a great choice.

Why it’s Great

  • Almost every kitchen has a blender, and this is a really low-maintenance food mill substitute.

Things to Consider

  • You must remove seeds and peels before placing items in the blender. This means more front-end work for you.
  • The blender won’t be able to process hot food.

3. Old-Fashioned Wooden Spoon and Strainer

Wooden spoon

How did we make purees before the days of electricity and food processors? We did it by hand! This old-fashioned method is the classic food processor: A wooden spoon mashing things against a strainer. The problem with this method is that it requires a bit of gumption to mash your veggies against the strainer, but this is a terrific alternative if you don’t have the electric appliances required to process food.

The good news about the strainer is that it will capture the peels and seeds nicely, meaning your puree will be as smooth as if you used a food mill. Another plus side is that you can feel like a true pioneer of the American West, making a puree for your hungry family.

Why it’s Great

  • You can’t even call it a kitchen if you don’t have a wooden spoon and a strainer. Everyone can use this option.
  • No matter what happens, this alternative will always be available. If you’re without power, no worries! The wooden spoon runs on 100% Human Spirit.
  • Because you’re mashing your items in the strainer, you don’t have to worry about peeling or seeding them. The strainer will catch all that so that only the fine puree remains.
  • Good workout

Things to Consider

  • We like to joke about it, but, really, this method is a lot of work. Your arms will be tired afterward and some people just won’t have the strength to mash their vegetables appropriately.
  • This takes a lot more time than the other options on our list.

4. Potato Ricer

Potato ricer

If you have a potato ricer on hand, this can be an excellent substitute for the food mill. If your recipe specifically calls for mashing potatoes this is, of course, your best option. However, you can use a potato ricer to make purees from a wide variety of vegetables such as squash, apples, and all kinds of root vegetables. These can all be pureed very nicely in the potato ricer.

One thing to note is that the potato ricer won’t be good if you’re using juicier goodies like tomatoes. The potato ricer also works best if you peel the veggies and remove their seeds first — this will lead to a much smoother puree.

Why it’s Great

  • If you’re mashing potatoes, this is a better alternative than even the food mill.

Things to Consider

  • The ricer won’t be good for really juicy things like tomatoes.
  • As with the blender, you’ll need to seed and peel whatever you want to use in the potato ricer.
  • Capabilities are limited, and if you want to make a puree, this will not be your best option.

5. Cheese Grater

Cheese grater

Okay, I think this is a really fun food mill alternative. Using a cheese grater as an alternative to a food mill can be a really fun way to make your puree if you don’t have any of the other alternatives we’ve mentioned.

To utilize this option, you’ll want to use the cheese grater’s coarse side to grate a potato or any veggie of your choice into a bowl. Then, use a hand mixer or a wooden spoon to mash together the little bits until you have a nice, even puree.

To make a really smooth puree, you can use a sieve as a final defense against peels.

Why it’s Great

  • Easy to do. No finicky mechanics.
  • Will work for dry and wet items.

Things to Consider

  • You need to be very careful when using the hand mixer. If you use too much force with this, the puree will go flat, making it less tasty.
  • This takes quite a while. Though it’s not as labor-intensive as the wooden spoon, the cheese grater will easily use up a perfectly good afternoon.
  • The versatility of the cheese grater is limited.

Food Mill? Who Needs It!

As we saw above, there are great food mill substitutes just sitting around in your kitchen. All you need to do now is make that lovely puree or mash those delicious potatoes.

If you don’t have a required piece of equipment, never fret. There are usually alternatives lying right under your nose. We hope this article has helped you with some creative ways to make your soup or mash your potatoes if you don’t have a food mill on hand. Good luck!

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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