A handheld food processor is a device that is small enough to be lifted or held in one's hands and is used to chop or puree food. Unlike countertop food processors, a handheld food processor does not usually have a large bowl in which the food is chopped; instead, it just releases the processed food through a chute where it can be collected in a separate bowl or pan. Some designs are small and may actually have a small compartment for food to be placed in before it is chopped by the blades, although the compartment generally is very small so the machine does not become burdensome to lift and use. Another type of device that is sometimes called a handheld food processor also is known as an immersion blender, and it is a long cylinder that has a rotating blade on one end that can be placed directly into a bowl or pan to chop or puree food.
One type of handheld food processor is designed to be a lightweight version of a countertop model. These usually have a motor that is contained in a small base that turns a cylinder-shaped blade known as a drum. The drum can have different patterns cut into the surface that will chop food in different ways. Above the drum, there may be a small chute that is used to feed ingredients into the handheld food processor, where gravity will push the food against the drum. The chopped food drops into the center of the drum and then rolls out of the machine through another chute once processed.
Another type of handheld food processor looks like a small, compact cylinder with a transparent compartment on top. This processor is designed to chop small amounts of food and is very light, allowing it to be picked up and shaken or emptied as needed. The motor for the unit is in the base of the cylinder, with a set of blades on top of that. The food is placed in a chamber on top of the machine, where the blades are, and a lid is secured on top. After the food has been chopped, the processor is lifted and inverted to empty its contents into a dish or pan.
Sometimes an immersion blender is called a handheld food processor. This is a long, thin, stick-like device that has a pair of blades on the bottom of the unit that usually are partially covered by a protective shield. The unit is placed directly into food, after which the blades are activated, chopping or pureeing the food in the container in which it is sitting. Unlike other types of handheld food processors, however, an immersion blender is not as effective at chopping dry ingredients and usually requires some liquid to allow the food to move toward the cutting blades.