Is the Vitamix dry container worth it?

Vitamix dry bladesThis is a common concern when buying a Vitamix machine. Do you really need the Vitamix dry container? The dry blades are shaped to push ingredients up, in order to minimize packing into the bottom corners. The dry container will fit any current Vitamix machine, including the “next generation” ones. (See this post for a comparison of the current models.)

I’ve heard salespeople selling Blendtec machines say that an advantage of the Blendtec is that it does not need a separate container to grind dry items, whereas with the Vitamix you “need to buy a second container.” It turns out that this is not true, and it’s just a sales tactic. The standard Vitamix container will do a perfectly good job of grinding grain, as I will show in the video below.

The real reason to get a dry container is that grinding very hard items like grains will pit and scratch the inside of the pitcher near the blades. In addition to the aesthetic “cloudy” marring of the container, the scratches make the container more likely to hold smells. You can get rid of lingering odors by running the machine with vinegar or a few drops of bleach in water, but it’s nice to not have to worry about that. I’ve never run anything garlicky in my pitted up dry container, but I did grind cinnamon in it a while back, and I can still faintly smell it.

Having a second container is also convenient because to grind grains the container needs to be totally dry, and if you made a smoothie in the morning the container might still be wet. Sometimes I end up using both containers for a single recipe, such as mega muffins.(Although if you just had one container you could dump the dry mixture into a bowl and then re-use the container.) If you are going to get a second container, it might as well be one with blades optimized for dry ingredients.

For these reasons the dry container is worthwhile, as long as you plan on grinding dry things like grain. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can get away with just using the single container, and possibly deodorizing it when needed. (Over time, depending on what you blend, your wet container will probably get scratched up as well, just not nearly as fast or as much as with grinding dry grains. I suspect that things like chia seeds in smoothies can scratch it, but I think that the scratching is reduced if you do not put the seeds at the very bottom, so I now generally add chia seeds to the middle of my ingredients instead of the bottom.)

I’ve always used the dry container for grinding grain, but this past weekend I decided to test a wet blade. I was surprised at how good a job it did of grinding 1-2 cups of wheat berries at a time, which I used to make pancakes and bread. The only difference I noticed was during the bread kneading I found the dough did not “lift” off the blades as much, but it still worked.

For the video I ground one cup of wheat berries for one minute in a container with the standard “wet” blades, and then pushed it through a sieve to see if there were any unground bits. There were a few, but they were small enough and few enough to not be a problem for my purposes. (In fact, when I used the same strainer on flour I ground for the same amount of time with my dry container, there were actually slightly more unground bits!) If you are looking to make a really fine flour you could stop the machine and stir the flour packed into the corners back in using a chopstick, and blend a bit longer; if you want it extra fine you could sift it.

Vitamix warns that you should not blend dry ingredients for longer than 2 minutes because the heat could damage the container. 1 minute to 90 seconds is generally all you need. I further avoid heating by storing the grain in the freezer so it starts the grinding process cold.


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Comments

Is the Vitamix dry container worth it? — 204 Comments

  1. I will be buying the container for dry grinding of garbanzo beans. If I am grinding a couple of cups at a time, do I need the tamper to push the beans down?

    • Generally you don’t need a tamper for dry grinding. I have not tried grinding dry beans though, so I’m not 100% sure if a tamper might help.

      I have a non-Vitamix-sanctioned technique that I use when trying to maximally grind dry grains. Use at your own risk, but if you pay close attention it should be fine…. I use a chopstick to knock the top corners of the flour down into the center where the blades are. (When dry grinding in the dry container you will get a sort of hole in the flour in the center where the blades are.) Just make sure you hold the chopstick well above the blades…. Never do this with a wet blend, because wet blends form a vortex that sucks things down into the blades. In my opinion the chopstick works better than a tamper would, but you of course have to pay attention because there’s no flange preventing it from going all the way down to the blades. (To be on the safe side, you could also only use the chopstick after stopping the motor….)

    • For nut butter, the wet (regular) container is better than the dry blade. (Because ultimately you’re blending it into a thick liquid.) The dry blade would be better if you want to make nut flour.

  2. I have been wanting to make coconut flour out of my left over coconut pulp but don’t have the extra money for the dry container. Now with Thanksgiving coming and family that eats only Gluten Free I want to try and make the flour anyways. Did you ever try this with coconut pulp? Do you think I will have a good result? TIA

    • I have not made coconut flour, but I think the normal container should be able to handle it. My guess is that the difference is that you may be limited to smaller batches in the wet container compared to the dry container. (The dry container has blades that push dry ingredients up so they do not get as compacted in the corners.)

    • I had my mom take my fresh chestnuts that I had roasted and cooled and she made flour with the wet container and it is beautiful so i don’t see why you can’t use another pulp to do it. just don’t use a lot and do less at a time.

  3. I would love to make chickpea flour, so was hoping to use the dry container to make chickpea flour (since i don’t have the dry container and have no other use for one other than this) have you tried this? would love to know your results, and how much you used. thank you!!

      • I have not tried making chickpea flour with either container. I suspect that it will work. The main caveat is that it will likely scratch up the bottom inside of your wet container. If you don’t mind that, you should just give it a try. Dry chickpeas are cheap! 🙂 I would start with 1 to 2 cups of chickpeas.

  4. Going away from flour for a moment I have just read that you should make icing sugar with the dry blade. I only have the wet blade and if you add a teaspoon of cornflour to your sugar the icing (confectioners) sugar comes out perfect.

    • I have just bought myself one today Sandra and so far I have made oat milk. My next project is making bread, oat bread I think. How are you doing ?

    • Yes. They have a bit of a strong flavor, but I’ve heard from plenty of people who blend them. They’re not going to hurt the Vitamix.

  5. I just bought a dry blade container. Do you think I could grind dried Turmeric into a fine powder in it or will that damage the container?

    The turmeric pieces can be cut into small pieces before grinding

    • The dry blade is shaped differently. The wet blade pulls ingredients down the middle in a vortex, whereas the dry blade is designed to push ingredients up and away from the blades to minimize dry ingredients packing into the corners.

  6. wonder if I can grind grain into 48 oz container. I am in need of a smaller container and leaning toward the 48 oz primarily because I have read that it is a bit more stable on the pro 750. I would grind grain only occasionally so don’t intend to get the dry container (though the QVC sale is tempting).

    • The 48-oz container would grind grain identically to the 32-oz wet container shown in the video above, so yes it is possible.

      In my opinion, the greater stability of a 48-oz container is a non-issue though. I’ve used the 32-oz containers extensively for years, and I’ve never had any issue with them being unstable.

  7. Hi, have you been using the wet container to blend dry stuff pretty often since you made the post? Wondering if it wears out the blend or motor? Thank you.

    • Since I have a dry container, that’s what I use when I do dry blends.

      That said, I am confident that using the wet container for dry blends would not wear out the motor any more than normal use would. (In fact, dry blending is generally easier on the motor.)

      As for the wet blades, they *might* get more worn after a lot of dry blending; I’m not sure.

      The one effect that I am confident of is that the lower walls of the container get more scratched by dry blends.

  8. on the flip side of the dry container, have you ever used the dry container to blend small amounts of wet items, eg., dressings, etc. I realize it will throw it up, just curious.

  9. I have both the wet and dry Vitamix containers and have not had your success with making flour or powdered sugar. Rice flours are still a bit grainy as is the sugar (and I’ve tried doing it in both the wet and dry containers). Also, I’ve had trouble making almond butter–it turns into almond flour. Perhaps the quantity of nuts you need or speed isn’t working? Also, you can taste the difference in flour texture (grainy) in the recipes. Any suggestions? I’m really disappointed, as I’m a big food processor user and am trying to justify the expense of just grating parmesean cheese and making smoothies.

    • I haven’t tried making rice flour, but I’ve made various other flours. I’ve found the best results with the dry container and grinding 2 cups of grain for 1 minute at maximum speed. Not sure how that compares to what you were doing.

      I have made powdered sugar, and for that, I’ve had success with blending smaller amounts. Try blending it longer if you want it more fine, but don’t go for more than about a minute. If you were blending multiple cups at once, maybe try blending less at a time?

      For almond butter, there are a couple things to keep in mind. Roasted nuts will turn to butter much more easily. If you use raw, you will most likely need to add some sort of other oil. I’ve made almond butter with roasted almonds a number of times in the Vitamix wet containers, and I’ve never had problems (and didn’t need any extra oil). That said, the almond butter recipe on Vitamix.com calls for added oil, so I guess that makes it work more consistently (maybe there’s variation in almonds, and I’ve just had good luck with the kinds I get). You can also mix in some other nuts that turn to butter more easily: roasted peanuts and roasted pecans both work more easily than almonds. It’s best to make nut butter in a wet container. The ideal volume is 3–4 cups of nuts for the 3-inch blade C-Series containers, and 4 cups of nuts for the 4-inch blade wide G-Series containers.

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    • You can, although I have not done it. It will likely scratch up the inside of the container, giving it a cloudy appearance.

      My understanding is that it will work as well as a standard blade coffee grinder. So if you don’t mind about scratching up your container, it could be a good way to simplify your kitchen and not need a separate coffee grinder. (People who are super-serious about coffee use burr grinders, which yield a more even particle size.)

    • You can, but Vitamix warns that grinding hard spices can damage the blade.

      I’ve successfully ground cinnamon, although it stained my container and made it smell like cinnamon for a while.

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