Adventures in Healthier Eating with 2 Kids and a Picky Husband

Ask Roni: My Thoughts on Blenders

Posted by 4 years ago 16 Comments

Dear Roni,

I am writing to ask for your personal advice and review of food processors and blenders.

Cooking has become my almost full-time hobby this summer when I’m not working. I am truly inspired by your blog and have liked everything I’ve made so far from your recipes. However, I find that a lot of my cooking goals from your recipe index, along with every other blog that I follow, call for a food processor or blender, and mine just won’t suffice (I tried making hummus and ended up with many large chunks).

Do you use a Magic Bullet? How does it work for you? Do you think it’s worth investing in a Nutribullet, Vitamix, or something else very fancy?

I am a college student, and certain expenses just aren’t practical for me. I also don’t want to make an investment and have it go wrong. What would you recommend for brands or appliances? Maybe I should just get a mini food processor for now? Thanks so much for your consideration! I’m learning a lot from you!

Very sincerely,


Hi Tera!

Your email totally made me smile! I’m so glad you are having fun in the kitchen and that my site has been inspiring. Nothing makes me happier. Well, nothing except my kids eating what I cook for dinner without complaining. ;)

I would love to give you my thoughts on blenders and food processors. I consider myself cheap and low tech in this area so keep that in mind as you read my thoughts. I know lots of people who swear by their Vitamix but I just can’t see spending that much money on a blender. I get it, it’s powerful, but there are tricks you can use to make super smooth smoothies and soups in something as inexpensive as a Magic Bullet.

I’m basically the opposite of a kitchen snob because I want to make cooking at home more accessible, not less. And telling people they NEED a $600-plus piece of equipment to make a recipe just bugs me.

Now that I got that out of my system, I will step off my soapbox and answer your questions.

Do you use a Magic Bullet? How does it work for you?

I do and I worked it to DEATH. Click here and you can see all the recipes I used it with and those are just the ones I shared! The great thing about the Bullet is that it’s upside down and uses a small motor. This allows you to pick up the unit preventing that dreaded spinning of blades when you don’t have enough liquid. If you don’t know what I’m talking about click here to see how I make soft serve in it with frozen bananas. It may be an “off label” use of the appliance but it works for me.

I also use it to make green smoothies. The trick is to blend any greens with your liquid first and then add the remaining ingredients and ice cubes. That way you don’t get spinach or kale chunks in your smoothies.

Overall, the Bullet works great for everyday, small jobs. It’s easy to use, easy to clean and lets you get away with a lot even without liquid. Hey, I even used it to make no-bake cookies last year! 

Do you think it’s worth investing in a Nutribullet, Vitamix, or something else very fancy?

I guess I kind of already answered this. I really don’t think you NEED a VitaMix. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it rocks, but I’d rather make do with $60 bullet and use the money I saved on a mini-vacation or something. That’s just how I’m wired.

That being said I did receive this Ninja system as a gift and I do like it. It came with single-serve cups and the large blender has 2 blades stacked on top of each other making it really good for large batches of soups and such.

It also came with another attachment that I honestly never used and probably never will. Like I said, I’m kind of low tech in this sense. If a recipe requires a lot of processing and gadgets I generally stay away.

As for your mini food processor question, I had one when I first started cooking but didn’t use it much. It’s not powerful enough to liquify stuff and if I wanted chunks or just a chop, I’d end up just using a knife. Kind of like I did for my recent noodle recipe. Sure, I COULD have used a processor but why dirty another appliance? My knife and cutting board worked just great.

If you could only buy one thing, I’d probably go with the Magic Bullet. It’s fairly inexpensive and can be used for lots of different jobs.

Anyone else is welcome to chime in in the comments. I’m sure many will disagree with me. Any Vitamix fans out there? Would love your thoughts. I never owned one so I’m only speaking from the price perspective.

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I’d love to hear your story or thoughts on mine.

However, to prevent the massive amounts of spam I was receiving I have turned off comments on any post older than 5 days old. If you'd like to leave me a note regarding this post or anything really try me on twitter (@RoniNoone,) my Facebook page, or even IG (@RoniNoone) I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. I never thought I'd have to do this but it's gotten way out of hand and comment management has become simply too time consuming to manage.



There are 16 comments so far. Join in on the conversation.

    Joanne Earle

    August 15, 2013

    Oh boy...I soooo disagree. I LOVE my Vitamix. I used a Magic Bullet while away from home and there is no comparison. It's worth the big bucks because it will last forever and ever.


    August 15, 2013

    First off, I hope you keep doing Ask Roni because it's so much fun! I remember watching your videos where you'd answer reader questions, but not sure if you still do those anymore. I have the same Ninja system you have, minus the single serve cups (got it a few years back) and I also have a Magic Bullet. Love them both, but use the Magic Bullet way more because it's easier to clean. My mom has a VitaMix and she loves it and so do I, but I can't justify the cost at this time. I have a Cuisinart food processor as well, but again, I rarely use it because it's a pain in the butt to clean and I'd rather be hanging out with my family than doing the darn dishes. So, as a college student if you're on a frugal budget, I'd suggest getting a Magic Bullet. I saw this on a frugal blog today, but haven't ever used it so I don't know how awesome it is, but here's a link if you want to check it's a Hamilton Beach single serve blender that's on sale right now at Target


    August 15, 2013

    I have an Oster from Costco (it's around $38) and it makes great smoothies etc. They are smooth and chunk free! I can't justify buying the Blendtec or the Vitamix. If I burn out the motor on the Oster... I'll just buy a new one. It's pretty amazing for the price.

    Matt @ Your Living Body

    August 15, 2013

    I have an amazing blender from Cuisinart (it does everything, even make soup). However, I really want a Nutri Bullet just for the simplicity of it.

    Carrie @ Season It Already!

    August 15, 2013

    I spent $100 on a nice Classic Cuisinart Food Processor (after reading lots of reviews!) and it's one of the best investments I made for my kitchen. I don't need a blender, because I just use the FP. I can make smoothies in it, or my own homemade dressings, pestos and sauces. Sooooo worth it.


    August 15, 2013

    I always use a stick blender for smoothies, soups, pestos etc - I LOVE IT. My Cuisinart one came with a mini food processor too. It's super easy to clean and store (if you are a college student, space is probably at a premium). I have a blender, but rarely use it unless I'm doing big jobs.

    Julie B

    August 15, 2013

    I have killed the motor on my Magic Bullet 3 times. I followed the suggestions of not overfilling and such to a T. Now i am saving up for a Ninja Pro system. I have a std blender of which i never use and it just collects dust. When in need to blend something in a large batch i use my Cuisinart food processer. It works great!

    Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

    August 15, 2013

    I adore my Vitamix, but I get that it's a major investment. Since I'm single, I gifted it to myself a couple of years ago as a combination Christmas/birthday gift to myself. I love that I can use it to do everything from "freezing" a soft-serve ice cream, making hot soup, making fresh nut butters, etc. Prior to the Vitamix, I had a smaller Ninja blender (mine didn't have any accessories or anything) that worked fine. I just wanted something more powerful. As for the mini food processor, I totally agree with Roni on that one. I have one an basically never use it. I found it was quicker & easier to just use a knife than to have to get out the mini FP and then have to clean it afterward.


    August 15, 2013

    I had a NuWave Twister - just like a magic bullet - that I worked to descruction and so I needed to buy a new one, but could only find the magic bullet. I was going to get that, but unfortunately, in order to get the blade that I use most - the flat milling blade - I would have to buy the big 17 piece box set which is much more expensive than the smaller single shot box set that only gives you the cross-blade. So I was thinking, that I might as well go one step up and get the nutribullet for just a bit more money. I am suficiently happy with it, as it does the main job I wanted it for, but really don't think it is at all what it is worked up to be. I will certainly always use my vitamix if I want something well-pulverized. I prefer the size of the Magic Bullet to the larger Nutribullet. In the end, I would say it really depends on what you are using it for. If it is something you use all the time and will be using all the time for many many years, I say, start saving for a vitamix, but for now, the Magic Bullet could be just fine as long as you don't need things very very well pulverized.

    Janet Sarandon

    August 18, 2013

    Well, this is informative. I would like to try Magic Bullet instead of Vitamix. Thanks for sharing this! :-)


    August 18, 2013

    I have this one!! its really good and easy to clean :) when I got it it was only about £19.99 in store - amazon seems to be dearer!


    August 20, 2013

    Great post. I too love reading "Ask Roni." I agree that it's important to keep cooking easy and accessible. And if a recipe requires too many ingredients or gadgets, I just keep going. Life is too short and the older I get the more I appreciate keeping things simple in the kitchen and everywhere else. That being said, I did take the big plunge and invest in a VitaMix a couple of years ago. And I do love it. I've burned up several $50 dollar blenders in my life so far and decided it was worth it to me. (It helps having a husband who is a big believer in buying something once and keeping it forever. He is still using the briefcase he bought when his 30-year-old son was a baby and driving the car he bought before he was born!) Every time I turn it on to make a smoothie or puree a soup it makes me smile. But it's definitely a kitchen luxury, not a necessity!


    August 21, 2013

    I use something like the Bullet but it was only $19 from Target, it's by a company called Bella. I've had it for about 3 years now and I haven't had a problem with it. My mom recently got a Bullet and let me use it a time or two and I really couldn't tell the difference between what her contraption created and what mine did except the fact that she paid far more for her's than I did for mine. As far as the mini food processor goes, I love mine to shred stuff like chicken for my salads. I make a few pieces of chicken, shred it all, and then I'm good for the work week so that I'm spending less time in the kitchen. The one I have is super small but works well. Rival brand and was only $7 at a Black Friday sale a few years ago.


    August 28, 2013

    I have a Magic Bullet and I love it! It's perfect for all the little every days jobs. The only problem I have with it is that it doesn't blend ice cubes very well. My fridge make crushed ice though, so I just put some of that into my smoothies and the bullet blends that well enough. It's also great for making spice pastes and grinding nuts/seeds. I also have a heavy duty full size food processor that cost more than I want to admit... I don't use it as often as the bullet, but it's great when I want to process larger quantities or chop large quantities of veg for something like a chutney. It's also great for shredding veg to go into a coleslaw. I wouldn't consider it a necessary part of my kitchen, but I'm glad I have it because it does make some jobs a lot easier.


    September 1, 2013

    We have a generic Magic Bullet and a Ninja Master Prep Pro. Hardly use either but love the Ninja. It grinds pretels, mixes smoothies with frozen fruit, and more with no problem.


    November 24, 2014

    I know this is an old post, but I finally caved and bought a vitamix. first, it only cost $300 due to sale on the refurbished model, which comes with 5 year warranty. second, thats after burning out two oster blenders and trying out my brothers vitamix, which was essential for a few items I make regularly. it got to where I was planning trips to my brothers house just to use his blender, and that's when I realized it was absurd. I'm not, however college student poor, plus I don't move every few years or live with strangers who steal kitchen equipment when they move out. I'm not a smoothie person, and its fall/winter so I'm not making ice cream, but pesto, mint chutney, berry sauce, hot sauce, mango lassi, smooth soups, hummus, lemon curd, are all not just faster in the vitamix, easy cleanup, but flat out better. I can use mediocre mangos and still get a smooth lassi, the sauces taste better, and I can use raw ingredients instead of cooking the nutrients out. I suspect there are food processors that can do as much, but its the easy cleanup that keeps it on my counter. I do a quick rinse/ soap, and put it away, no disassembling the base or futzing with sharp blades.