When the time comes when we need to do without the wonderful works of stand mixers and food processors, like in the case of mashed potatoes, we will be faced with only two best options which are either a ricer or a food mill.
This is to say that the only efficiency needed is a delicate touch of a powered piece of gear. There are no two ways about stepping up your mashed potato game than to use a food mill, or maybe a ricer.
Both could be your best bet. But which of them should you invest in?
In this post, I have gathered everything you need to know about a food mill and a ricer, their similarities and differences, advantages, and disadvantages.
But first, look at food mill vs ricer this way. Ricer looks like a press for garlic that comes with a perforated hopper and a lever at the top. When you force down the lever on your cooked food, the food finds its way out through the tiny holes of the perforated hopper, and there your fluffy and mashed potatoes go.
The food mill on the other hand purees and softens potatoes, berries, and tomatoes. It is a simple tool that has an interchangeable bowl of perforated bases. A hand crank is fitted to the bowl and this allows for the pureeing of your food, removing the skin, seed and allowing the puree to pass through the base.
It has a lever that allows your cooked food to pass through its tiny holes when applied with pressure. The Ricer name was coined from the holes that are as tiny as a grain of rice.
I will also show you in what situation you should use either a food mill or a ricer.
It may not be easy to decide which one deserves a spot in your kitchen, but at the end of this post, you will be able to come to a conclusion on which of them you should buy.
Let’s start by identifying the differences between the two low-tech tools.
The main differences between a ricer and a food mill
How they work
The main work of a food mill is to purée and strain soft items, like boiled potatoes or tomatoes, in one shot. A typical food mill is made up of a bowl fitted with a hand crank that rotates a plate. Ricer on the other hand works differently with its perforated hopper. It mashes the food instead of pureeing it.
A typical ricer features a perforated hopper. This is the place where you place your cooked food before applying pressure with a lever.
While the food mill has a simple constriction and not a too complex grinding mechanism, Food is forced through a perforated base and most of them feature interchangeable bases.
As you apply pressure to the lever of the ricer, the food is forced through the small, tiny holes which are almost the same size as grains of rice. Perhaps, that explains why it is called a ricer.
A special function of a food mill is to remove seeds from the fruit when making jams and remove skins from pepper and tomatoes when making purees.
The secrete of a well prepared fresh tomato sauce is the use of a food mill because it works by discarding skins and seeds while reducing the flesh into a smooth pulp.
If you are looking for something instead of a food processor or blender, then a food mill will surely cross your mind.
The ricer on the other hand gives a tiny long rice-like mashed look to the potatoes. It is not really a multipurpose tool, unlike the food mill that can be used to puree other foods like applesauce and blackberries.
People who use ricer can easily tell how simple it is to use and clean the tool. Since it consists of few moving parts and little assembling. Most durable ricers come at affordable prices, just as food mills do.
Similarities between a ricer and a food mill
Both a ricer and a food mill serve almost similar functions when it comes to working on cooked potatoes and produce the same result. Buying either will depend on whether you want your potatoes mashed, fluffy, or pureed.
Well, just to be clear, a ricer is a ricer and there are no other names to call it or functions to describe by it. But a food mill, in contrast, can be a multifunctional tool in the kitchen.
Where the similarity lies is when you talk about the results when you run potatoes through both of them.
Types and features of a ricer
For most models of ricers, the baskets are generally either round, about 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) wide.
There are some types of ricers though that have rectangular with a V-shaped bottom. Ricers that rounded basket with tiny holes may come with multiple disks that have different hole sizes.
If you intend to make spaetzle with a ricer, then the baskets with large-holed plates are ideal.
One problem with some ricers is that the disk becomes dislodged after each press, and it can be very fiddly and time-consuming having to reset the disk in place each time.
Where to buy the best ricer
In my opinion, choosing the best ricer is not difficult. The best ones available will not only produce a mashed potato that is evenly textured but a result that is light and smooth.
A very crucial consideration when choosing a ricer is the quality of materials used and the basic design of this gadget. This is because those two factors pretty much tell how easy the tool will be to use.
The first ricer I got to use required me to use more force than others. And I have learned to focus more on the number of openings at the bottom of the hopper than the size of the holes.
This is because more of the food can travel through once it is mashed, making the job easier.
Ricers for potatoes are sold in local culinary restaurant stores or online stores, and as I mentioned earlier, they usually come at affordable prices.
Now, If you appreciate the use of both the food mill and ricer, all you will want to be interested in is knowing when it is proper and required to use a food mill, and knowing when it is necessary to use a ricer.
There is nothing bad about having both items in your kitchen. Once you can place a priority of one over the other, you can be able to decide which is worth your shot.
Types and features of a food mill
There are two major types of food mills which are the manual food mill (hand-cranked) and the electric food mills. The manual models usually come very affordably like ricers and they feature a smaller footprint.
A major consideration when using manual food mill models is that the labor required to process the food can be a little much.
Electric models, on the other hand, will save largely in labor. They usually come pricey and will require larger space considerations for storage.
Manual Food Mills are Great for processing small batches, will requires manual labor to extract puree, and food is pushed through the mill when the user cranks the handle.
Processing large batches with a food mill will be easier with electric models as they take the labor out of extracting puree. They are powered by an electric motor that pushes the food through the mill and can be more expensive than manual models.
Where to buy the best food mill
More attention is needed when buying a food mill, maybe this is why more people prefer buying ricer because the latter does not come round with a lot of considerations before purchase.
Since food mills have the same features, it can be difficult to point out the few important difference in the way they perform.
How you choose a food mill when buying is different from the things you look out for when choosing a ricer. All these contribute to their differences.
When buying a food mill, it is important to look out for ones that features handle and hooks or loops for hooking onto a bowl as they let the mill perch on or hang inside a bowl.
The processed food will fall into the bowl and not onto the counter or wherever the food mill is placed upon.
You should also look out for ones that come with two or three Interchangeable disks. Each of these varying interchangeable discs comes with different sizes of holes just like the baskets in ricers to achieve different textures.
Considering the capacity of your food mill is another hard to ignore factor when making a choice. You should go for a deep, generously sized food mill because they will allow you to finish the job in one or two passes instead of in small batches.
If you consider all these I have noted, you will see that it takes the best buying guide to make the perfect choice when buying a food mill. Thankfully, this post HERE contains a full, detailed review of the best food mills to invest in today.
In what situation should I buy a food mill?
Point-blank, if you want to make tomato sauce, a food mill is the sure way to go and not a ricer. A food mill is that perfect, terrific tool for removing the skin, pulp, and seeds while collecting all juices.
While it works well for mashing potatoes, a sure bet to use a food mill is also for grinding up apples to make applesauce.
Food mill eliminates the headache of picking out seeds.
In situations where you need to make jellies and jams and utilizes more of the fruit, you need a food mill, no doubts.
Downsides of using food mills
Just as with most kitchen tools and appliances, there are certainly some disadvantages to using a food mill added to the fact that some of them can be big and pricey.
What makes a ricer have an edge over a food mill is the fact that no drawer can house the latter. Food mill features interchangeable plates that can be difficult to assemble, disassemble, and clean
Some people do not like the soup-like quality of mashed potatoes made in a food mill. I can not say why for sure, though. But what I can be a little sure about is that some food mills made for home use can often be flimsy and difficult to use.
Maybe it is better to agree with what most people say on reviews that to get the most out of food mills, one should opt for electric models. Although they are larger and more expensive, they are sturdy and can easily process large batches of food without requiring much effort.
In what situation should I buy a ricer?
It appears ricers are made for just one or two functions which makes it unclear for me to conclude that they are versatile tools.
Since they are specially made as potato ricers, they work excellently well for mashed potatoes, even better than a food mill.
The potatoes pass through the little holes without crushing the granules and releasing the starch w
There is an obvious difference when you make mashed potatoes with a ricer and when you do with an electric mixer.
If you want a mashed potato that is lighter, fluffier, and creamier, then using a ricer is a sure bet.
Downsides of using potato ricers
They are designed to work on potatoes, this tells pretty much that they are not as versatile as a food mill. You will be spending your money on a tool that will singularly help you to make mashed potatoes, and that is all.
Whereas, a lot can be achieved with a food mill. People debate that you can still press other soft food items through it to make simple purées. True, but have you think about it that some vegetables need something a little more forceful to break down their tough fibers.
When I also consider the fact that a ricer can only handle the flesh of about one potato at a time, it seems to be a waste of time to buy the tool.
If you intend to prep a larger batch of food for an event or holiday, or maybe for commercial purposes, please do not buy a ricer.
In popular opinion, and analyzing how they are made to function, ricers are only good for day-to-day use.
The final verdict on food mill Vs Ricer
After all said and explained, the question that should be asked is, which of the two tools is best for you? A ricer? Or a food mill?
The true and valid answer is that it depends on the particular needs of your kitchen.
While a ricer is the best to pick when considering spuds and space, buying a food mill will fill your mind when you have space, the cash, and ready to do a whole lot with just one single tool.