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Here Are Some Food Mill Substitutes That You Already Have

The versatility of a food mill in handling several kitchen tasks like grinding or puréeing food makes it one of the favorite tools in the kitchen. I don’t have a food mill in the kitchen but this doesn’t stop me to get the same work done. The good thing about these awesome food mill substitutes I am going to show you is that they consist of common kitchen tools you probably already have. This is great news.

There might be additional steps like peeling and seeding that should be done prior to the milling step but rest assured these substitutes produce results similar to that of a food mill.​

5 Food Mill Substitute Options

You likely have food mill substitutes in your kitchen right now. Potential food mill substitution recommendations include a food processor and sieve combination, a blender, a strainer and spoon combo, cheese grater and hand mixer combo, or a potato ricer! Read below for details.

What is a food mill?

A food mill is a kitchen tool that is used to mash food and puree food. It is often used to mash potatoes, create soups and sauces. Think of it as a combo strainer and masher. The strainer portion is there to keep any seeds or skin from getting into your puree.

Is a food mill the same as a food processor?

Food mills and food processors are generally quite different in nature. A food mill is more of a physically mechanical device and not electrical. You can take them apart and easily clean them and unlike food processors, you don’t have to worry about them getting wet. A food mill allows you to strain debris from your sauce as you are making it. A food processor combines everything as you are using it. So consider if you want all of the skin, seeds etc in your mixture or whether or not you want to strain such items out.

5 Awesome Food Mill Substitutes

1. Food Processor-Sieve Combo

First on my list is the food processor and sieve combination. This pair can help you puree any food and achieve a texture very close to a puree processed from a food mill. This is made possible by the food processor’s sharp blade that grinds the food in a fast pulsating motion

The sieve allows you to have a uniformly textured puree as it screens the product from the food processor. One thing to take note when using this alternative though is making sure that seeds and fruit and vegetable peelings are not included in the food processing.

For this alternative, you might need to use a fine-mesh strainer to separate the seeds and peels first before processing. Unlike the usual food mill which works mechanically, this alternative would require electricity for it to work.

So for those that do not have the time and energy to put in mechanical work by moving the lever back and forth in a food mill, this alternative might be perfect for you.

However, if you are looking for a kitchen tool that can process food with a very fine texture like that of a food mill, this combo lacks flexibility in that department because you have limited control on the resulting texture in a food processor.


      • Easy handling
      • Fast and time-saving
      • Versatile


      • Not mechanical, requires electricity
      • Requires manual separation of seeds and peelings
      • Texture cannot be fine-tuned

2. Blender

If a food processor is not something you have in your disposal, then you might have a blender. You can use the pulse option in your blender to mash or puree your food. Using a blender for grinding food is actually faster than the regular food mills.

But just like our first combo alternative, the vegetable and fruit peelings have to be removed first before pulsing the food on high speed. You can easily do this though through a peeler, a knife simply through a fork.

If your blender is like what most modern blenders today, they you can also use its high-speed options to turn vegetables and fruits into fine liquid.

My friend once tried blending seeded unpeeled tomatoes in her high-speed blender and it resulted to a smooth and fine puree but the traces of peel were visible. To achieve the desired texture, it is best to peel and remove the seeds first when using this substitute.


      • Easy handling
      • Faster and very time-saving
      • Can produce finer puree (almost liquid in form)
      • Requires minimal effort


      • Not mechanical, requires electricity
      • Requires manual separation of seeds and peelings

3. Strainer and Wooden Spoon Pair

If you are not into using electricity for food processing and would rather choose to do manual labor, then this feed mill substitute can work for you.

Instead of a food mill with a mechanical contraption that pushes food to the mill for crushing, this alternative makes use of a wooden spoon instead to do most of the work. The mesh strainer helps in separating the food from the pureed ones and making sure that you achieve a uniform texture

When making your own version of a homemade tomato sauce, press down your fresh tomatoes through your fine mesh strainer using the wooden spoon. Continue the pressing motion until you reach the texture you desire.

You can also choose a finer mesh strainer if you want to have a creamier and finer finish. Because all the work is done manually without the help of a mechanical contraption, it takes longer time to finish.

It also requires a pre-processing step of peeling your fruits and vegetables first. It is also quite challenging to yield consistent results because it heavily depends on your manner of pressing down through the strainer.

It also has limited applicability and works best for your tomato sauce recipes. This is why to make sure your puree is free from any tomato peelings, you can blanch your fresh tomatoes first in boiling water for a good minute and immediately transferring them into cold water for another minute.

This sudden change in temperature in its environment makes tomato peels to come off easier. Check out this YouTube tutorial for a more detailed demo on how to blanch your tomatoes.


      • Cheap
      • Can produce fine puree (depending on degree of pressing)


      • Requires manual peeling first
      • Texture cannot be fine-tuned
      • Limited applicability
      • Requires more time and energy

4. Cheese Grater and Hand Mixer Combo

Up to this point in our list, we have only talked about food mill substitutes that can be used to achieve different textured processed food. This fourth alternative on our list is actually a bit more specific in terms of its application.

A cheese grater and hand mixer combination can be used as a substitute to a food mill when you’re dealing with potatoes and tomatoes as these are softer food. Your cheese grater can be used to scrape down your potatoes and tomatoes.

For this to work effectively, you might need to boil your ingredients first before grating so that it would softer and cheese-like in terms of consistency. For a detailed instruction on preparing your potatoes, check out this YouTube tutorial using only a knife and a kettle with water to boil.

After grating your ingredients, the hand mixer comes in to whisk down the grated vegetables to achieve your desired texture.When working with potatoes, extra care is needed not to crush or whisk the potatoes too much to have a fluffier consistency.

If you’re considering this alternative but don’t have a cheese grater on hand still, I would recommend purchasing one that is of commercial grade one because these types are less likely to rust.


      • Easy operation
      • Texture can be fine-tuned


      • Limited applicability
      • Partly not mechanical and requires electricity (for hand mixer operation)
      • Requires more time and energy

5. Potato Ricer

Here is another food mill substitute that is best to use when dealing with a small batch of potatoes. The potato ricer can also be used to produce some of your favorite vegetable purees. The mechanism for this substitute is surprisingly simple.

You just need to load cut potatoes or vegetables into the ricer hopper and press using the handles to produce mashed food. Potato ricers can actually create a smoother puree when the potato or vegetable peelings are not included during the processing.

Although its name already claims potato-processing, the potato ricer can also work for cooked tubers, squash and other dense fruits like apples. It does not play well with the juicier ones like tomatoes and oranges.

As its name already suggests, this is the best substitute for producing mashed potatoes however it could only process small amounts at a time. This kitchen tool is compact and easy to use perfect for beginners and has limited space on their kitchen countertops.


      • Easy handling
      • Compact and space-efficient
      • Fast and time-saving
      • Manual operation, no electricity requirement


      • Limited applicability
      • Cannot handle large volumes
      • Requires manual separation of seeds and peelings from pulp


These are just some of the many alternatives to the good old food mill. These five shortlisted substitutes, however, have already proven their worth in my kitchen and in kitchens in other parts of the world.

It might require additional steps prior to processing like manually peeling and seeding first. But it is a compromise to having a food mill that could do it on its own. Most of those I’ve listed here are not mechanical devices and require power to run.

For those that do not have the energy to manually do the labor and the time to do so, choosing the electrical alternatives can be a great help. These substitutes helped me a lot in times of cramped schedule and tiring days.

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If there are still other alternatives that you think could work as good as the ones listed here, let other people know in the comments section below. I also love to hear what other techniques you used that made using these substitutes easier and more efficient in the comments.

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