Can You Use A Meat Grinder As A Food Mill?

Are you a cooking enthusiast who loves to experiment with different recipes in the kitchen? If so, then you know the importance of having versatile tools that can make your meal preparation process quick and effortless. Two such essential tools are meat grinders and food mills. While both are commonly used in kitchens worldwide, many cooks often confuse them with one another. This leads to one of the most frequently asked questions: “Can you use a meat grinder as a food mill?”

The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no. Although both tools may look identical at first glance, they have distinct features that set them apart from each other. A meat grinder is ideal for grinding meat into various textures to prepare burgers, sausages, and other meat-based dishes. On the other hand, a food mill is designed to puree or mash ingredients like fruits, vegetables and/or grains.

But wait. Is it possible to use a meat grinder as a food mill? The short answer is yes, but there’s a catch. To achieve this feat, you’ll need to attach a grinding plate with small holes on your meat grinder. However, keep in mind that while it may work for some softer foods like cooked vegetables or soft fruits, it might take longer than expected to achieve the desired consistency.

In conclusion, while a meat grinder is undoubtedly an indispensable tool in any kitchen arsenal, it cannot entirely replace the functionality of a dedicated food mill. If you need to mash or puree soft foods regularly, investing in a quality food mill would be your best bet. So go ahead and experiment with different recipes without worrying about mixing up these two fantastic kitchen tools.

What is a Meat Grinder?

This versatile device can grind meat, chop vegetables, fruits, and nuts into small pieces with ease.

At its core, a meat grinder is made up of three main components: a hopper, a screw conveyor, and a blade or grinding plate. The hopper is where the meat or other tough ingredients are placed, and the screw conveyor moves the material towards the blade or grinding plate for processing.

You have two options when it comes to meat grinders: manual and electric models. Manual meat grinders require physical effort to turn the screw, while electric meat grinders use a motor to power the grinding process. Some models come with attachments that transform your meat grinder into a sausage maker, cheese shredder, and even dough kneader.

When using a meat grinder, it’s essential to keep in mind that its primary function is still grinding meat. If you want to puree soft foods or create a smooth sauce, your best bet is to invest in a dedicated food mill. However, if you already have a meat grinder at home and need to grind some cooked fruits or vegetables, it can get the job done with some limitations.

Proper care and maintenance of your meat grinder will ensure it lasts for many years to come. Make sure to clean it thoroughly after each use and store it in a dry place.

What is a Food Mill?

If you’ve ever tried to make a smooth and flavorful sauce or puree out of soft fruits or vegetables, you know how frustrating it can be to end up with a lumpy mess. Luckily, there’s a kitchen tool that can help you achieve the perfect texture every time – the food mill.

A food mill is a straining and pureeing tool that is essential for any cook who wants to create delicious sauces, soups, and baby foods. It’s made of either stainless steel or aluminum and features a bowl with a perforated bottom and a crank handle that rotates a blade. As you turn the handle, the blade pushes the food through the holes in the bottom of the bowl, removing unwanted parts like seeds and skins while preserving the natural flavors and nutrients of the food.

Food mills come in different sizes, from handheld models to larger electric versions. While they’re typically used for soft foods like tomatoes, berries, and cooked vegetables, they can also be used for harder foods like potatoes and apples after they’ve been cooked. By using different-sized disks with varying hole sizes, you can adjust the texture of your puree to your liking.

One of the best things about food mills is how easy they are to use and clean up. They’re also incredibly versatile tools that can be used for multiple purposes in the kitchen. Whether you’re making homemade baby food or creating a gourmet sauce for your next dinner party, a food mill will quickly become your go-to tool.

While meat grinders may seem like a similar tool to a food mill, it’s important to note that they’re not suitable substitutes. Meat grinders are designed for grinding meat and won’t remove unwanted parts or preserve natural flavors in the same way as a food mill.

Differences Between Meat Grinders and Food Mills

It’s time to clear up the confusion between meat grinders and food mills. These two kitchen devices may look alike, but there are significant differences that set them apart.

Meat grinders are heavy-duty machines designed to grind meat and tough ingredients, like bones. They have a powerful motor and large grinding plates that can handle even the toughest ingredients. In contrast, food mills are ideal for processing fruits and vegetables. They have smaller grinding plates with tiny perforations that produce a finer texture, perfect for making smooth sauces and purees.

But that’s not all. The way these devices operate is also different. Meat grinders use a screw or auger to push ingredients through a tube and into a grinding plate. The grinding plate then works on the ingredients to produce the desired texture. Food mills, however, use a hand-cranked or electric blade that forces the ingredients through a perforated plate.

Cleaning can be another issue when it comes to these kitchen devices. Meat grinders have a more complex design, making them harder to clean, especially if meat gets stuck in hard-to-reach areas. Food mills have fewer parts and are easier to disassemble, making them simpler to clean.

Advantages of Using a Meat Grinder as a Food Mill

Look no further than your trusty meat grinder. While it may be designed for grinding meat, this handy gadget can also double as a food mill with several advantages that set it apart from traditional mills.

First and foremost, meat grinders are built to handle large quantities of meat, which means they can process fruits and vegetables just as easily. This makes them an excellent option for home cooks who need to process large batches of sauce or purees in a short amount of time. With different size plates available, you can adjust the thickness of your grind to suit your needs.

But the real advantage of using a meat grinder as a food mill is the consistent results it produces. The blades in the grinder break down food evenly, resulting in a smooth texture that is ideal for sauces and purees. Traditional food mills rely on manual labor to push the food through the sieve, which can result in uneven textures and inconsistent results.

Another benefit of using a meat grinder as a food mill is its cost-effectiveness. While food mills can be pricey, meat grinders are often more affordable and can serve multiple purposes in your kitchen. By investing in one tool that can grind both meat and fruits/vegetables, you’ll save money and space in your kitchen.

Finally, using a meat grinder to process nuts and seeds can be more efficient and cost-effective than buying pre-ground options, making it an excellent choice for individuals with certain dietary restrictions such as paleo or keto diets.

Disadvantages of Using a Meat Grinder as a Food Mill

If you’re thinking about using your trusty meat grinder as a food mill, it’s important to consider the disadvantages before you start. Although it may seem like a convenient solution, using a meat grinder for milling other types of food can lead to several issues.

Firstly, meat grinders are not designed to mill anything other than meat, so they may not have the necessary features to effectively mill fruits or vegetables. This can result in your food not being ground or pureed to the desired consistency, leaving you with lackluster results.

Moreover, the grinding plates used in meat grinders are often too coarse for certain types of food. Attempting to mill softer foods such as berries or tomatoes can result in the food getting stuck in the grinder or an incomplete milling job.

Cleaning a meat grinder after each use is crucial to prevent cross-contamination and ensure that it functions properly. However, cleaning a meat grinder after milling vegetables or fruits can be time-consuming and require more effort compared to cleaning an actual food mill. In contrast, most food mills can be easily disassembled and cleaned in just a few minutes.

Lastly, investing in a meat grinder solely for milling purposes may not be cost-effective in the long run. Meat grinders tend to be more expensive than food mills, and if you plan on using it infrequently, it may not be worth the investment.

Tips for Using a Meat Grinder as a Food Mill

Using a meat grinder as a food mill can be a fantastic way to grind and puree food items. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all meat grinders are created equal, and some may not be suitable for use as a food mill. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your meat grinder when using it as a food mill.

Choose the Right Type of Meat Grinder

Choosing the right type of meat grinder is crucial when using it as a food mill. Ideally, you’ll want to use a grinder with a fine grinding plate, as this will produce a smoother puree or sauce. Before attempting to use a meat grinder as a food mill, make sure that the grinder has the necessary attachments and features to perform this task effectively.

Cut Your Ingredients into Small Pieces

Cutting your ingredients into small pieces before feeding them into the grinder is essential. This will help prevent clogs and ensure that everything gets ground up evenly. You may also want to consider alternating between harder and softer ingredients to help keep the grinder running smoothly.

Work in Batches and Clean Your Grinder Between Each One

To prevent cross-contamination and ensure that your puree or sauce is as smooth as possible, work in batches and clean the grinder between each one. It’s also important to use a food pusher or tamper to help guide the ingredients through the grinder and prevent any accidents or injuries.

Adjust the Speed and Pressure of the Grinder as Needed

Depending on the type of ingredients you’re working with, you may need to adjust the speed and pressure of the grinder to achieve the desired consistency. Experiment with different settings to find what works best for your recipe. If you’re unsure, start with a slower speed and gradually increase it until you reach your desired consistency.

Experiment with Different Types of Foods and Recipes

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of foods and recipes. With practice and experience, you can learn how to use your grinder to create a variety of delicious and nutritious dishes. Whether you’re grinding vegetables for soup or pureeing fruits for dessert, a meat grinder can be a versatile and valuable tool in your kitchen arsenal.

Alternatives to Using a Meat Grinder as a Food Mill

We’ve got three alternatives that will make your food preparation easier and more efficient.

First on the list is the hand-cranked food mill. This device is specifically designed to puree and strain foods such as tomatoes, apples, and potatoes. With interchangeable disks that produce different textures from fine to coarse, you’ll have complete control over the texture of your final product. While it may take more time than using a meat grinder, it’s a great option if you’re looking for a consistent texture.

But what if you don’t have a food mill at hand? Fear not. You can use a blender or food processor instead. Although they aren’t specifically designed for straining, these appliances can still be used to puree and chop foods. Simply blend or process the food until it reaches the desired consistency, then strain it through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. This method may require multiple batches depending on the quantity of food being processed, but it’s still a viable alternative.

Lastly, we have the potato ricer. It’s typically used for mashing cooked potatoes but can also be used to puree soft fruits and vegetables. The ricer produces a smooth puree without any chunks or seeds. Simply place the food inside the ricer and press down on the handles to force it through the small holes. This method is perfect if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to puree your favorite fruits and veggies.


To sum up, meat grinders and food mills are both indispensable kitchen gadgets, but they have different functions. Meat grinders are crafted to grind meat into various textures, whereas food mills are perfect for pureeing or mashing soft foods like fruits and veggies. However, it is possible to use a meat grinder as a food mill by attaching a grinding plate with small holes. Although it may work for some softer foods like cooked vegetables or soft fruits, achieving the desired texture can take longer than expected.

While using a meat grinder as a food mill has its advantages such as cost-effectiveness and consistent results, there are also drawbacks to consider. Meat grinders may not have the necessary features to effectively mill fruits or vegetables, and the grinding plates used in meat grinders are often too coarse for certain types of food. Additionally, cleaning a meat grinder after milling vegetables or fruits can be time-consuming and require more effort compared to cleaning an actual food mill.

If you’re searching for alternatives to using a meat grinder as a food mill, consider investing in a hand-cranked food mill or using a blender or food processor with a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Another option is using a potato ricer which works well for mashed potatoes and other soft foods. Whatever method you choose, remember that experimenting with different types of foods and recipes is key to finding the best tool for your needs.