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The Best Food Mill Substitutes

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Some people find food mills bulky and old-fashioned. However, it is no secret that it is one of the best tools for making purees while separating the seeds and the skins.

But no worries if you need a food mill and don’t have one. Luckily, there are quite a few food mill alternatives. 

What are the best food mill substitutes? The best food mill substitute is a food processor. But you can reach the needed texture using a blender, potato ricer, colander, hand mixer, sieve/strainer, and grater. For certain dishes, you might need a combination of two tools to achieve the desired result

In this article, you will learn about food mill alternatives and how to use them. Moreover, you will get to know our top product picks in case you are looking into buying a tool or a piece of equipment that will do the job of a food mill. 

What Is a Food Mill and How Is It Used?

Developed in the early 20s of the past century, a food mill is a handy equipment that still holds its place in many kitchens. It is designed for pureeing and mashing food. Food mills are powered manually.  

With the results the food mill provides, it can be described as a cross between an electric blender and a food processor.

In fact, these items are basically the modernized versions of a food mill as using them requires electricity and no labor except for cleaning the devices after using them. 

A food mill is a three-part kitchen utensil usually made of stainless steel or aluminum. It is composed of a bowl, a grinding plate, and a crank. 

The bowl has a wide mouth and legs to keep it stable while using the food mill. It is also designed to fit over different sized bowls. 

The grinding plate is well-fitted into the bowl. It can be permanently attached to the bowl.

However, many food mills come with multiple plates with different size holes. They help to create different food textures. The perforated plates usually look like a colander. 

The crank, together with a metal blade, is located over the grinding plate. Food mills also have a long handle for convenient use. 

What Are Food Mills Used For?

If you think of a food mill as old-fashioned kitchen equipment, you will certainly change your mind after learning about the numerous tasks it can undertake.

Additionally, food mills are portable, require no electricity, and are easier to clean compared to hefty food processors or blenders. 

Here is what you can make using a food mill:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Applesauce
  • Tomato sauce
  • Fruit marmalades and jellies
  • Creamy soups
  • Spaetzle noodles 

In a word, you can use the food mill to make any vegetable and fruit puree where you don’t need the seeds and the skins. It is also an irreplaceable tool for those making baby food. 

Is There a Substitute for Food Mill?

There are multiple food mill substitutes.

From such ordinary kitchen tools as a grater and strainer to modern electricity-powered food processors and blenders, you can certainly find a food mill alternative that will provide you with similar results. 

The best substitutes for a food mill are a food processor, blender, potato ricer, colander, hand mixer, sieve (or strainer), or a grater.

We’ll go into these in more detail below.

No matter what tools you are using, the point is to achieve the right consistency. So, if you don’t want to buy a food mill, you don’t have to. 

How to Choose a Food Mill Substitute?

Primarily, there are two things to keep in mind when deciding on what tool or equipment you should go for as a food mill substitute:

1. What texture do you want to achieve?

Think whether the texture of the food you are going to make is achievable with the tool you are thinking of using.

If the purpose of the food mill in the recipe is to remove tomato skin and seeds, for example, you certainly won’t go with a ricer. In this case, a strainer would do a better job. 

2. How fast do you need the job done?

Some food mill substitutes require a lot more time and effort. Others get the job done quicker. A blender and a food processor, for example, are certainly faster. 

7 Best Food Mill Substitutes 

If the recipe you are following calls for a food mill and you don’t have one, don’t panic. There are several other kitchen tools you can use instead.

You are likely to have at least one of these at home:

RankSubstituteRecommended Product
1.Food processorHamilton Beach Food Processor
2.BlenderNinja Professional Countertop Blender
3.Potato ricerOXO Good Grips Potato Ricer
4.ColanderPriority Chef Colander
5.Hand mixer BLACK+DECKER Hand Mixer
6.Strainer/sieveWinco Strainer
7.GraterCuisinart Boxed Grater

Read on to learn what these substitutes are and when and how each of them can be used. 

1. Food Processor 

Recommended: Hamilton Beach Food Processor
Check Current Price On Amazon

A food processor is a common kitchen appliance. And it is one of the best food mill substitutes as you can turn any fruit or vegetable into a smooth mixture in no time.

Whether you want a fine or coarse puree, you can achieve it with a food processor. 

The Hamilton Beach food processor is one of the best on the market. You can achieve different textures with this appliance due to its reversible disc. One side of the disc shreds while the other slices. The stainless steel S-blade, on the other hand, is perfect for pureeing.  

Here are a few other features that make this food processor worth a buy:

  • It has a bowl scraper attachment.
  • The capacity is 10 cups.
  • Cuts down the prep time as it fits larger pieces.
  • Operates at two speeds and has a Pulse feature. 

How to Use: Pureeing food with a food processor is straightforward. You need to have a sharp blade on and process the food until you reach the desired texture. The food processor will work well for making potato mash and creamy soups. 

The only problem that you may encounter when using a food processor instead of a food mill is that it doesn’t separate the seeds and the skin.

But this is a problem you can easily solve. Peel the fruits and the vegetables before processing them. If you mind the seeds too, strain the mixture. 

2. Blender 

Recommended: Ninja Professional Countertop Blender
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If you don’t have a food processor, you most likely have a blender in your kitchen. A countertop or a handheld immersion blender will do the job of the food mill much faster. 

The Ninja Professional countertop blender is a good option if you are looking into making a two-in-one purchase – a kitchen appliance that will do the job of a blender perfectly and substitute a food mill.

With its total crushing technology, you can achieve smooth mixtures with this blender. From silky smooth soups to creamy sauces, the Ninja countertop blender will take care of it all. 

This blender also has:

  • 72-ounce capacity
  • 6-blade assembly for faster crushing and smoother finishes 
  • A dishwasher-safe container 
  • Three speeds – Low, Medium, High, and a Pulse setting 

How to Use: When using a blender as a food mill substitute, use the Pulse function to reach the puree consistency you need. 

As with the food processor, the blender doesn’t remove the seeds and the skin. So, you have to put in some extra work and peel the fruits and vegetables before blending them. A strainer will help you get rid of the seeds. 

3. Potato Ricer

Recommended: OXO Good Grips Potato Ricer
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A potato ricer is one of the best food mill alternatives that you can use without electricity and a little effort.

If you like manually operated tools, then buying a ricer instead of a food mill will save you space and time. A good ricer can get the job done faster than a food mill. 

This OXO Good Grips potato ricer is a good pick. Here’s why:

  • It is made of durable stainless steel material.
  • The handles are soft-grip and non-slip.
  • It is dishwasher-safe.
  • The non-slip knob helps to fit the ricer over bowls comfortably. 

How to Use: Food mills are many people’s preferred method of making mashed potatoes. They make it fluffy and smooth. A potato ricer also results in a very fluffy texture. However, it doesn’t make the potatoes as smooth as you may like it. 

But mashed potatoes are not the only thing that a ricer is for. You can use it to make all kinds of baby food, applesauce, hummus, guacamole, and much more.

Things you should avoid mashing with a ricer are juicy fruits and vegetables, including lemons, oranges, and tomatoes. 

Use a strainer after mashing other fruits and vegetables with a ricer if you want to get rid of the seeds. 

4. Colander

Recommended: Priority Chef Colander
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The grinding plate of a food mill resembles a colander. So, it makes perfect sense to use a colander as a food mill substitute as it will give you similar results.

The only drawback is that you will need to put in lots of manual effort. But the good thing is, a colander is then easy to clean. 

If you don’t have a colander either, you should certainly get one as this perforated strainer is an irreplaceable utensil for straining pasta and rinsing vegetables and fruits. 

The PriorityChef colander will be a practical addition to your kitchen thanks to these features:

  • It is made of stainless steel. 
  • It has a 12-cup capacity.
  • The handles are durable and have a comfortable design. 
  • The colander is dishwasher-safe. 

How to Use: The colander will help you separate the seeds and the skins. If the holes on your colander are on the larger side, it will not catch very small seeds, such as tomato seeds. But for fluffy mashed potatoes, the colander will well.

All you need to do is to push the boiled vegetables through the perforated strainer using a wooden spoon or a spatula. You can also make tomato sauce with a colander.

For best results, remove the skin before pushing the tomatoes through the strainer. 

5. Hand Mixer 

Recommended: BLACK+DECKER Hand Mixer
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Using a hand mixer alone won’t provide you with smooth-textured mixtures. In fact, you can’t just start mixing roughly chopped food. You need to prepare the food first by cutting it into very small pieces. This method works for such soft foods as boiled potatoes and tomatoes. 

The BLACK+DECKER hand mixer, despite being on the affordable side, is quite powerful. This is a good option if you are looking for a hand mixer to undertake cooking tasks and be used instead of a food mill when needed. 

Here is what you should know about this hand mixer:

  • It has 5 speeds and a power boost setting.
  • It is designed to rest comfortably on your working surface and over the bowls. 
  • The handle provides a comfortable grip.
  • The beaters are dishwasher-safe. 

How to Use: As we have already mentioned, the hand mixer should be used in combination with another tool to achieve a smooth consistency.

Finely chopping food will take a lot of time and effort. Thus, it is recommended to grate your products before you start mixing them. 

The combination of a hand mixer and a grater is great for making soft purees. This technique may be the most time-consuming. However, if you don’t have a food mill, you can certainly use this alternative method of making purees. 

When making mashed potatoes, don’t overdo it with the mixer. Otherwise, you will turn the fluffy puree into a gluey mixture!

6. Strainer (Sieve)

Recommended: Winco Strainer
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If your colander provides a result that is not as smooth and fine as you would like it to be, go with a mesh strainer, i.e. a sieve.

This strainer from Winco will meet your expectations if you need a high-quality strainer thanks to these features:

  • It has a stainless steel mesh.
  • The diameter of the strainer is 8 inches. 
  • The handle is wooden and securely attached to the mesh. 

How to Use: The technique of using a fine mesh sieve instead of a food mill is similar to that of the colander method. You need to push the mixture through the sieve using a wooden spoon.

The only difference is that unlike the colander which can let small seeds through, the sieve will separate them too. This makes the sieve and wooden spoon duo perfect for making smooth tomato sauce. 

A fine mesh sieve can also help you create lump-free soups if you have already blended your mixture but need to perfect it. 

7. Grater 

Recommended: Cuisinart Boxed Grater
Check Current Price On Amazon

If you have none of the above-mentioned tools and appliances in your kitchen, but you need a food mill substitute for a mash or tomato sauce, look for a grater. You most likely have one hidden in a kitchen drawer somewhere. 

Box graters work better for this reason as they are convenient for grating larger amounts of vegetables or fruits. Flat graters may be tiresome for making larger portions of food. 

The Cuisinart Boxed Grater is a great option if you are missing this kitchen essential:

  • It has four sides. You can shred, grate, and slice food with this grater. 
  • It is made of stainless steel and is rust-proof. 
  • The handle has an ergonomic design and provides a soft grip. 

How to Use: The grater can work as a food mill substitute only in very specific cases. To achieve a relatively smooth consistency with a grater, you need to be working with softer foods. 

A grater can be a good alternative for a food mill whenever you are working with boiled potatoes. Grate the potatoes and use a fork to further mash the potatoes. For a smoother finish, you can use a hand mixer. 

The grater will also work in case you want to make tomato sauce or a tomato-based soup. Make sure to peel the tomatoes before grating. 

Up Next: How To Fry Leftover Mashed Potatoes

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