Is a Food Mill the Same as a Ricer?

Is a Food Mill the Same as a Ricer?

Not long ago I purchased a food mill and my friend was confused as to why I did because I already owned a ricer. She thought they were both did the same thing. Whether you are looking to upgrade your kitchen or you are part of the people like my friend that confuses a food mill to a ricer or vice versa then you have come to the right place to get clarified.

Is a Food Mill the Same as a Ricer? The food mill is not the same as a ricer, although they are both none electronic devices, they still are different and perform different functions. The food mill can grind, puree, sautee, mash find deeply while also removing the seed and skin while the ricer is limited to mashing and ricing.

The ricer looks like a giant garlic press in appearance and somehow functions the same way and it has perforated holes which food most especially potato is pushed through to come out looking creamy and fluffy and it’s functions are limited, unlike the food mill which is big and more comprehensive, consisting of a big bowl and hand crank for crushing and grinding food.

Similarities and Differences between a food mill and a ricer

Differences between a food mill and a ricer Similarities between a food mill and a ricer
Ricer Food mill
  1. The ricer when mashing potatoes does a better job than the food mill. The food that comes out after being mashed is creamy and smooth. The ricer is delicate on the potatoes and only ruptures the cells once giving a finely, creamy, and fluffy mesh.



  1. The food mill on the other hand crushes the potatoes and unlike the ricer is a bit more aggressive. Some people say the potatoes mashed may appear gummy.


They both are used to mash potatoes as well as other foods along with the fact that they are both manually operated.




2. The ricer is safe and easy to use. Just attach the Hooper to assemble and it is ready to use to mash whatever you like



2.  The food mill can be a hassle to assemble as there are more parts.



3. Along with being easy to disassemble, the ricer is quite easy to clean. All you need to do is remove the two parts to clean 3.  The food mill is not that easy to disassemble and it is not a quick thing to do. Cleaning it also takes time as there are more parts.


4. The ricers features are limited and it is less functional 4.  The food mill has many extensive features and functions from pureeing, grinding to sautéing, training, and much more
5. The ricer is constructed to mashing and ricing some soft foods.


5.  The food mill grind sautés, purees, and much more in a deep way unlike the ricer, and it also separates the seed and skin from the food
6.  The food mill is bulky and can be hard to store as it occupies countertop space
7.    The ricer is cheaper than the food mill


7.  The food mill is more pricey than the ricer


Food mill description and parts

Is a Food Mill the Same as a Ricer?

The food mill is a piece of kitchen equipment used for grinding, pureeing, mashing, sauteing foods into sauces, soups, etc it removes the seed, stem, and skin from the food as well and can be used when canning and preserving to make a smooth puree.

A typical food mill consists of three parts, the bowl, the perforated disc/plate which acts as the sieve, and the hand crank with a metal blade attached. The food mill has legs that are used to set it over a bowl or pot to make it stable while you are using it to process food.

Most food mills often come with interchangeable sieving discs to achieve either a fine, medium, or coarse grind. The mechanism of the food mill would like this, when the food is poured into it and the hand crank is turned, the food would be mashed into the perforated disc at the bottom and strained through the sieve into the bowl placed under it.

The seed, skin, and debris can be brought up to the top of the grinding plate when you are done grinding so it can be disposed of by reversing the direction of how you turned the hand crank.

Rice mill description and parts

Is a Food Mill the Same as a Ricer?

This is a piece of kitchen equipment used to process potatoes and other foods by forcing them through tiny perforations on it and they come out with a texture similar to rice. The ricer is also known as a potato ricer and the common varieties of a ricer resemble a large garlic press.

The potato ricer can be used to process either sweet potatoes or white potatoes along with processing other types of foods like turnips, parsnips and even making small amounts of baby food. Most potato ricer will come with choices of the disc and each disc will have a different hole size and the size of the disc will determine how fine or coarse the mash will turn out.

The parts of the ricer are as follows, the two long handles with one having a perforated basket at the end and the other one having a flat surface that fits into the basket.

Boiled potatoes or another chunk of food is placed inside the perforated basket, the two handles are pressed together and this forces the food to be pressed through the perforations. This quick easy mash results in a creamy, smooth result.

What is a food mill used for?

The food mill uses are extensive and below I will be listing some of its uses.

For making applesauce

Before I purchased my food mill, I would usually remove the seed and skin from my apples myself before processing them in a sauce. That was time consuming but the food mill sales you the time and effort of peeling and coring the apples. Simply put then in the food mill and process it.

For making tomato sauce

Purchasing my food mill was the best option because I stopped using the store bought ones but rather made them myself. Just run your tomatoes through the food mill to achieve a smooth red sauce that is free from seed and skin.

For making mashed potatoes

With the smallest holed disc inserted, the food mill can yield very fluffy potatoes.

For making creamy soups

A food mill excels here. When the cooked, roasted, or steamed ingredient is processed with the food mill, the texture that would be achieved will be more airy and Lighter than what a blender will do.

For making spaetzle

Easily make that homemade noodle wish without wasting much effort

For making baby food

Avoid mill is essential when it comes to making baby food. Simply cook your food and then run it through the food mill to puree very quickly.

For grounding meat

The features of the food mill also extend to grinding your cooked leftover meat. You do not have to own a meat grinder to achieve this.

For making bean dips

From chickpeas, pinto beans, black beans, cannellini beans, etc can be easily processed into a smooth consistent paste by the food mill while also removing the skin.

What is a ricer used for?

Although the ricers features are limited, it is still helpful for all kinds of kitchen tasks.

For ricing /mashing potatoes

This is the most common use of the turns the potatoes into thin fine shreds resulting in a lighter and fluffier texture. Using the ricer enables the potatoes to be smashed only once as this way the cell wall of the potatoes is less likely to break open.

Frozen spinach

Frozen spinach is known to retain water thereby potentially making your food watery if solve this problem, put the thawed frozen spinach in the ricer, and squeeze it. This removes way more water if it was done by hand.

For mashing carrot and cauliflower

The potato ricer doe not just mash only potatoes. The cooked mashed cauliflower ends up looking similar to mashed potatoes. Consider using it to mash carrots.

For mashing eggs for egg salad

Save your self the effort of dicing or mashing the eggs by hand, easily just put the hard boiled egg in the potato ricer and start mashing.

For tomato sauces

Not only the food mill, but the ricer is also handy here too. Cooked tomatoes can be put in the ricer to remove the skin.

What I like about the food mill

The food mill like we have established is a very extensive kitchen tool. What I like about the food mill is it goes beyond just mashing potatoes. It purees and strains together soft foods. Not only does it remove seeds and peel the skin from fruits like berries and apples for jams, skin from peppers for pureeing, removing the skin and seed from tomatoes, it also makes soups, spaetzle and so much more.

I love how I do not have to use any store bought tomato for my tomato sauces or apple sauce as I can just bring out my food mill and process a fresh batch ready to use or can it for storage. The perfect equipment for someone looking for a simple substitute to a blender or a food processor.

What I dislike about the food mill

With all the amazing functions the food mill has, there are quite a few draw backs to owning and using one. I found that it can be quite bulky thereby taking up kitchen counter top space.

The food mill unlike the ricer can not fit into any kitchen drawer. The interchangeable disc proved to be a hassle when assembling and dissembling and it was a little bit hard to clean making me rethink using it when preparing a quick late night dinner.

Most people will agree to not like the texture of the mashed potatoes done by a food mill and some models of food mill made for home use can be flimsy. I would advise opting for a commercial food mill as they are very sturdy.

What I like about the ricer

Now what I really love about the potato ricer is the way it breaks down the potato into a fluffy and smooth mash without rupturing the cells more than once as they are processed through the perforated base unlike the food mills, whisk, stand mixers, or even the potato masher.

The way the ricer processes the potatoes makes sure they would not come out being gummy but instead fluffy and light. I also like that not only is the ricer easy to use and clean, there are few parts and very little assemble needed to be done. It is also very cheap and compact making it easy to be stored in any large drawer or cabinet.

What I dislike about the potato ricer

The potato ricer although some people and myself include will argue that it is not a unitasker, it is still limited as it is designed to work on potatoes. The potato ricer was not built to handle food that has tough fibers and cell walls so even though you can use it to puree some soft food, most vegetables needs something more forceful.

But it was designed as a unitasker So if you really love mashing, then it is best suited for you. Along with the fact that it has limited functions, the ricer can only handle one Potato at a time and this is not efficient when preparing large quantities of mash

Can a ricer be used instead of a food mill?

The ricer can be used as a food mill substitute especially when dealing with small batches of potatoes. Not only mashing potatoes, but it can also be used to puree some vegetables as well and it works for cooked tubers, squash, and some dense fruits like apples. with that in mind, it does not work well with juicer fruits or vegetables like oranges or tomatoes.

Can a food mill be used instead of a ricer?

The food mill can be used as a substitute for the ricer. The ricers main feature is to mash potatoes which it does very well but when you do not own one, a food mill can do the task.

Although it is more aggressive than the ricer, it will produce a super smooth and fluffy texture.

In conclusion

We have already established that the food mill and ricer are not the same thing. While showing what they both are used for, I also talked about what I like and disliked in them. When you want to purchase either of them, it should solely depend on your kitchen, recipes, and the one that suits you best.

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