Can A Blender Be Used As A Grinder?

There are a few essential kitchen gadgets that everyone should have. A blender is one of those items. It can do so many things, from making smoothies to grinding spices.

But can a blender also be used as a grinder? The answer is yes. Whether you want to make a fresh batch of salsa, grind up some meat, or blend spice mixes, a blender can do the trick—if you know how to use it.

But, before getting into how to grind with a blender. Let’s start with the differences between a blender and a grinder.

Blender grinder differences

A blender uses blades to chop up its contents, while a grinder crushes them into smaller pieces. The major difference between the two is that a blender’s primary function is to puree or liquefy food, while the primary function of a grinder is to reduce food into fine particles.

A grinder is generally used for grinding coffee beans and spices and has an electric or manual crank mechanism for rotating one or more surfaces that cause the substance to be crushed. A blender does not have this crank mechanism but is simply a jar with blades inside.

Blenders are sometimes used as food preparation tools in combination with other kitchen utensils such as strainers or whisks. This can be useful for cutting down the messiness of some cooking preparations and helps prevent ingredients from spilling out of shallow containers.

How do you grind with a blender?

If you have to use a blender to grind dry ingredients, the method is simple, put the items in your blender. Try not to overfill the jar or cup to avoid overheating the blender motor. Blend on pulse mode. Follow these instructions for the best results.

  1. Dry the blending jar or cup before putting dry ingredients to avoid lumpy grind or flour.
  2. Use the coffee or spice grinder attachment with the blender for a better grind.
  3. If you have a nutribullet or any bullet blender, use the milling blade (flat blade) assembly. These blades push the ingredients up along the sides to fall onto the blades for perfect consistency.
  4. Avoid using the extractor blade (cross blade) assembly to grind hard seeds and grains in bullet blenders because they will damage the plastic container/cup.
  5. If using a Vitamix blender (wet container), do not blend ingredients for long. Avoid grinding grains or seeds with high oil content for longer times. They may become butter rather than flour. Get a dry container for your Vitamix instead.
  6. You can freeze the dry ingredients overnight for better blending. Freezing will make the grains brittle for efficient crushing. There will also be no risk of overheating or buttering nuts.
  7. Use a high-powered blender, at least 1000W, to grind dry items.
  8. Use a tamper for pushing grains towards the blades for a fine grind. If a tamper is not available, use a rubber spatula instead (without a lid, be careful not to touch the blade assembly).

Ninja countertop blenders with stacked blade assembly are not very good to be used as a grinder. With Ninja blender, you will get very coarse flour.

Use a dedicated attachment with the ninja blender to blend dry grains or seeds.

Vitamix, Blendtec, and Nutribullet will work great for grinding nuts and seeds to smooth and powder flour. Nutribullet 600W with a milling blade is the perfect choice if you want small batches of powdered dry ingredients.

You can also grind meat in a blender. For a detailed guide read how to make ground meat in a blender.

Can you use a blender to grind spices?

Yes, you can grind spices in a blender. Blending spices at home allow you to get fresh and pure powdered spices. You can have any combination of mixed spices for your recipes.
For spices, always use dedicated attachments, a dry container with the Vitamix, milling attachments for hand blenders, and small cups for bullet blenders.
A separate container to grind spices with a blender is necessary because most jars contain BPA-free plastic. These containers absorb the odor and taste of the spices and will ruin your next smoothie or other tasty recipe made in that pitcher.

Can I grind wheat/Corn in a blender?

Yes, you can grind wheat berries and dry corn grains to wheat flour and cornmeal with blenders. You can use a Vitamix or Nutribullet blender. The Ninja won’t fine grind the flour. Not sure if you could use a coarse grind for baking.
Vitamix users who need flour regularly to make homemade cookies and bread loaves. A dry blade container will be a better option for fresh, high quality, right out of the blender, preservative-free fine powdered flour every time.
You can preserve the flour for longer in a zip lock bag for longer use.

Can I use a blender to grind coconut?

Yes, you can grind coconut in a blender. Follow these steps to have a finely grated blend of coconut.

  1. Remove the outer, dark skin from the coconut meat.
  2. Cut the white copra into smaller pieces.
  3. Put pieces of white coconut meat in the blender jar.
  4. Blend it using pulse mode. 
  5. Stop when consistently blended.

Remove the ground coconut with a spatula. You can save it for later use or mix it with milk for making coconut milk.

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