Food Mill Substitute: What To Do When You Have No Food Mill?

Searching for a food mill substitute that will satisfy all your expectations and will not compromise the texture of your favorite dish? Look no further!

My favorite tomato soup recipe calls for running the soup through a food mill at the end of preparation. It makes the soup extra creamy, so I have started using this trick for many other soup recipes as well.

You can assume how vital food mill is in my kitchen now, and can begin to realize how flabbergasted I have been upon finding out that my best friend, a dedicated housewife, has no food mill among her (otherwise quite diversified) kitchen equipment!

We were at her house for Thanksgiving holidays, and I was helping her in the kitchen. Among other things, my task was to prepare the soup for the quests. No need to say, there was absolutely no chance that I would, knowing what I know, serve soup that has not been perfected by a food mill, or at least something that can replace it at that moment.

Of course, we have turned to the internet to find food mill substitute, and here is what we googled out…:)

Before we start, check out Marta Steward's tomato soup recipe:

What Is a Food Mill?

Yep! There are some people, like my already mentioned best friend, who not only do not own a food mill but also do not have a clue what it is, what it looks like and what to use I for. For this reason, I have decided to dedicate a short section to explaining what the food mill is and what its purpose is.

  • A food mill is quite a versatile kitchen tool that serves to purée or grind food with no electricity needed. It consists of a bowl, bottom plate with holes in it, and a crank for crushing and grinding food.
  • Besides its primary purpose already mentioned here, a food mill is a real life-saver when you need to separate skin or seed from boiled or steamed vegetables or fruit such as tomatoes, potatoes, and apples.

Further Reading: Meat Grinder; Food Steamer


Food Mill Substitute: 5 Best Alternative Ideas!

As you could see from the previous section, a food mill is a practical kitchen tool worth having, but what if you do not have it when you most need it? Will you merely give up and not get the work done?

Of course not, you know that one visit to our site can solve all your kitchen problems and dilemmas, and this is no exception. As always, nothing is 100% indispensable, and therefore there are few alternative kitchen tools to replace your food mill with, and you surely have at least one of them in your kitchen.

So, what are the best food mill substitutes that will help you get the work done? Here they come:

1. Food Processor

Most of us modern homemakers own a food processor. It is a must-have kitchen tool for young mums! The good news is that food processor can replace a food mill too!

Namely, if you set your food processor to pulsating, its sharp blades will turn your food into a puree or creamy soup in no time at all. The texture will be almost the same as the one you would get when you use the food mill as well.

The problem is that food processor will not separate seeds or skin from your fruit or vegetables. You will have to put in some additional time and effort to do that, and you will need a sieve. The sieve will also help achieve the smooth texture. As an alternative, you can remove the skin and seeds prior to processing the food or use a fine-mesh strainer.

Needless to say, you will require electricity for the food processor to work. It will save you some energy you would have to use when operating with a food mill, but if you are out of electricity for whatever reason - it will do you no good!

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Saves both time and your energy
  • Easy to use

Cons

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    Cannot work without electricity
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    Cannot separate seeds and peelings
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    Will require additional tools (sieve, strainer) to achieve the same delicate texture like that of a food mill

2. Blender

A blender is a kitchen tool quite similar to the food processor; you know that I am sure. Most of the time people own either one or the other. Therefore, if you do not have a food processor but a blender instead, you can use it to replace food mill in a similar way you would a food processor.

Blenders have a pulse option as well, and their sharp blades will do the same job as the ones of a food processor. Therefore, blender is a great option when you want to puree or mash food, and it will do the job more quickly than the food mill as well!

Blender has the same downside as the food processor - it does not separate or remove seeds and peelings; you will have to do that either before or after you use it to process the food.

I usually peel the skins with a peeler or a knife before I put fruits and veggies in my blender, but you can use a sieve or a strainer afterward as well. Some modern high-speed blenders will turn almost anything into a fine, unified mass or liquid, but such models are usually more expensive, and not every household can afford them.

Once again, electricity is a must!

Pros

  • Time and energy saving
  • Some models do not require you to remove seeds and peels
  • Easy to operate with

Cons

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    You have to have electricity
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    Most of the time you need to remove seeds and skin from fruit and veggies on your own
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    Cannot process hot food

Word of Caution:

  • Make sure that you chill the food before you place it in the food processor or blender, especially the soup. Why? Well, otherwise you will end up with a kitchen looking like a horror movie murder scene! Processing hot liquids in your food processor or blender, will blow the lid clean off and send all the content flying all around your beloved kitchen!

3. Wooden Spoon & Strainer Duo

If you have no electricity and you don't mind putting in some extra effort into manual labor, wooden spoon and a strainer duo can be a perfect combo for you to substitute a food mill.

If it's any consolation, using a wooden spoon and a strainer will not only puree your food but also separate seeds and skins from fruit and vegetables you are mashing. Of course, you'll need to break some sweat, but not more than you would by operating a food mill’s lever back and forth. 

The pureed food will have a perfectly even, the uniform texture you will enjoy. And, of course, all your soups will be heavenly creamy, especially if you use a finer mesh strainer!

How does it work? Let's take my tomato soup for example.

  1. I place fresh tomatoes in the mesh strainer and use the wooden spoon to push them through strongly. Do it slowly, or they might literally explode under pressure and make a mess out of your kitchen.
  2. Continue pressing the tomatoes until you get all the juice and content out, and only seeds and skin remain in the strainer. The texture will depend on how you do this, so do it with care if you want a fine and creamy tomato puree.

Be patient, it will take time, especially if you want good results. Unfortunately, this method has limited applications. Anything with tomatoes will do though!

Pros

  • No electricity needed
  • Good pressing technique results in fine texture
  • Budget-friendly method

Cons

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    Can be applied in only a few cases
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    Requires your energy
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    Takes much time in comparison with other methods

4. Cheese Grater & Hand Mixer Duo

Cheese grater and a hand mixer are a great duo if you need to puree softer food such as boiled potatoes or fresh tomatoes. In fact, most ingredients do need to be cooked before grating so that the texture you achieve can be cheese-like and soft.

You simply scrape softer veggies or fruit into the coarsest side of a cheese grater, and then, if you find that the texture of your puree is not as fine as you would want it to be, use a hand mixer to achieve a texture you want. Be careful not to overdo it, especially if you use an electric mixer, or you will crush the ingredients too much and ruin the otherwise fluffy consistency.

Make sure that you wash the grater immediately after you have finished the work. You need to wipe it dry too, or otherwise, it will rust quickly. The commercial grade cheese graters are less prone to rust, but more expensive as well.

Pros

  • This method results in fine texture
  • Easy to master

Cons

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    Limited application
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    Requires quite some time and effort

5. Potato Ricer

Logically, potato ricer can do a great job at pureeing potatoes, and thus makes an ideal substitute for food mill in this case. However, the possibilities of the potato ricer do not end there; it can be a good food mill alternative in many other situations too. 

How does this method work? It is simple.

  1. Start by slicing and cutting your veggies or fruit into small pieces.
  2. Next, place those pieces into the ricer hopper. Do not overdo it but instead, put them in small volumes.
  3. Finally, use your strength to press the ingredients and mash them. No need to say that for the best results you need to peel the veggies and fruit and remove the seeds. The resulting puree will be smooth and finely textured.

This method works great for mashing or pureeing squashes, apples, and tubers. Food filled with natural juice, such as tomatoes or oranges, should not be used with the potato ricer.

The greatest thing about this food mill alternative is the ease of use - even your kid can safely do it! Unfortunately, you cannot use this method for a significant number of ingredients; and it will consume too much of your precious time and energy.

Pros

  • No electricity needed
  • Works great for small volumes of food
  • Does not require much space in the kitchen (great for vacations too!)
  • Easy to master

Cons

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    Works only with certain food
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    The peelings and seeds need to be removed manually

Find The Best: potato mashers; potato ricers

My Final Thoughts

I am glad to know that I will never have a problem with a missing food mill anymore.

I'll just use one of the food mill substitutes listed here. I am sure that there are even more food mill substitutes out there, so do share if you know them!

Spread the knowledge and let me know which food mill substitute I have suggested here has worked best for your favorite recipe! 🙂

Barbara Whitney
 

For the last 20 years, I’ve been cooking, preparing, researching, and gathering recipes, tools, and knowledge about food and the way we prepare it. Raising two lively boys and spoiling one great husband later, it’s safe to say that I’ve optimized my kitchen to deliver the best possible meal, no matter the occasion.

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