I’m willing to bet you have never used a food mill. It is even possible that you have never heard of a food mill. But, these handy kitchen gadgets have been around for a long time. There have been periods of history where they were one of the most popular kitchen tools. Now though, they aren’t as common and have been replaced by electrical machines that require less work to use. But, I think, they still have an important place in today’s kitchen. So, here are 16 food mill uses you probably weren’t aware of.

General Uses for a Food Mill

Food mills are basically a food grinder with a built on strainer. Softened foods are added to the top of the machine. The food is then ground by a metal disk with teeth that is turned by cranking a handle. As the food is ground, it is forced through a strainer leaving behind seeds, skin, and larger particles.

This process mashes and purees food by breaking it up into smaller pieces. Most food mills come with different sized discs to make foods with different consistencies. If you have ever tried to substitute another kitchen gadget for a food mill, you will quickly realize there is no substitute.

Specific Uses

Food mills are pretty inexpensive so buying one for even casual use isn’t a bad idea.  Here are all the cool things you can do with a food mill:

smooth pea soup1) Puree Soups

Food mills are a great choice for making pureed soups. Here is the best reason why: you won’t need to remove seeds and skin prior to cooking. The food mill will do that for you! Just saute some veggies until tender and then simmer in broth or other liquid until soft. Once soft, run the mixture through a food mill a few times for a smooth, consistent pureed veggie soup. You learn more about making pureed soups in this article.

2) Make Apple Butter

Often, when making apple butter, small pieces of apple skin, core, or seeds make it into the pot. Also, because apples are fibrous, they don’t always cook down the same. Using a food mill will filter these larger pieces out into a smooth, sweet apple butter.

3) Make Apple Sauce

A food mill is great for making applesauce for the same reasons as apple butter! You don’t even need to remove the skins first. Just cook until soft, use a medium grinding disc for smooth, consistent applesauce. You will also notice no lumps which means the tools are a great choice for pureeing food for seniors with swallowing difficulties.

baskets of berries at the market4) Puree Berries without Seeds

Hate seeds from blackberries and raspberries in your jams and fruit purees? Use a food mill with a fine sized disc to strain them out while pureeing them!

5) Mash Potatoes

How do you feel about lumps in your mashed potatoes? If you like them, go ahead and jump to the next use. But, if you don’t, run cooked mashed potatoes through a food mill. You’ll get a lump-free, soft mound of mashed potatoes. Just add a little milk and butter! Oh! and no need to peel them first!

6) Make Tomato Soup

Lovers of tomato soup often don’t want seeds and skin in their soup. They can give an off-putting consistency and the seeds get in the teeth. Use a food mill to process tomato soup for a velvety texture free from tomato skins or seeds.

baby eating baby food from spoon7) Make Your Own Baby Food

Food mills make great baby food. Just cook the vegetables in liquid until very soft and then drain them. Put the veggies through the food mill with the finest disc for smooth, natural baby food. No need to worry about chunks of choking your baby.

8) Lump-Free Gravies

Run hot gravies through a food mill to remove those annoying lumps, drippings, and other chunks. It will come out as smooth as those jarred gravies.

9) Cranberry Sauce on Thanksgiving

If your turkey day preference is soft, jelly-like cranberry sauce, then use a food mill. It processes out both the skin and seeds. Although, I personally prefer mine chunky style 😉

10) Remove Hulls While Pureeing Beans

Pureed bean dishes and bean pies can be a total pain to make because of the hulls of the beans. Even after soaking the beans and draining them, hulls seem to make it through. But, using a food mill will puree the beans and remove the hulls at the same time.

watermelon sliced in half11)  Juice a Watermelon

Many great tasting summer cocktails, call for watermelon juice. Watermelon wine is another great use for watermelons. A food mill will juice the watermelon while removing the seeds at the same time.

12) Make Hummus

A food mill makes a smoother, velvety hummus than you can get with a food processor by filtering our pine nut hulls and chunks.

13) Rehydrated Chiles

Many fine mexican recipes call for rehydrated chili peppers. Food mills easily separate the pulp in rehydrated chiles from the seeds and skin.

14) Puree Without Aerating

High-speed blenders and food processors whip a lot of air into fruits and vegetables during the puree process. This extra air changes the volume which may be important for baking recipes where accurate measurement is important.

strawberry gelato in dishes15) Seed-free Sorbets and Gelatos

Use a food mill to make sorbets and gelatos without seeds, skins, or fibrous pulp.

16) Home Canning

Processing fruit and vegetables for home canning in a food mill removes seeds, fibers, and skins. No need to remove them manually yourself! Just cook the food until soft first.


As you can see, there are many helpful uses for a food mill in the kitchen.  Many of these uses will have you pureeing food like a professional chef! These useful devices do the work of two or more machines by pureeing vegetables and fruits while straining at the same time. They are particularly helpful with tomatoes, seeded fruits, and even for mashing potatoes.

Do you have a food mill that you like to use? What are your favorite food mill uses? Please share them in the comments below!