If you want to start making better dishes in the kitchen, you need to get yourself a food processor. Don’t underestimate this appliance: despite being relatively small, it’s a huge help in the kitchen.
Food processors come in all shapes and sizes. In a nutshell, they dice, slice, grind, shred, and puree foods. They also thoroughly mix ingredients and can even knead dough. The fancier your appliance, the more use you can get out of it.
So, what is the best food processor in the market? We’re bringing you this article today to help you answer that question. First, we’ll review the top ten gadgets out there. Then, we’ll show you a food processor buying guide detailing the key components and settings you’ll want in your machine. Lastly, we’ll be answering frequently asked questions about this useful kitchen appliance. By the end, you’ll know exactly which model to get.
1) Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor: Best Overall Pick
The winner of the “best food processor” award goes to the Hamilton Beach 10-cup processor. It has several useful features, great online reviews, is sturdy and durable, and comes with a pretty affordable price tag. It’s a great staple appliance for beginner and somewhat experienced cooks.
This processor has a capacity for ten cups worth of food. That’s a pretty reasonable amount. It’s perfect for day-to-day family-style cooking and even entertaining!
It also comes with a reversible disc. One side slices foods while the other shreds them. On top of that, the S-shaped blade is suited for chopping, mixing, and puréeing. These features are pretty important, since they will give you more freedom in the kitchen.
In terms of mechanics, the Hamilton Beach processor has a 450-watt motor with two speeds. It also has a pulse function, for when you want larger, even chunks of food.
A cool added feature is the built-in bowl scraper. It sits on the lid of the processor and when you rotate it, its arms reach into the bowl and remove any food that may have gotten stuck to the sides of the bowl.
Lastly, the feeding chute is large enough to handle you adding ingredients as the processor does its job. You could fit half a block of cheese at once, speeding up the chopping, mixing, and puréeing process.
- Wide feed tube
- Built-in bowl scraper
- Two motor speeds and pulse function
- Versatile blades and disc
- Easy to clean
- Loud when chopping and puréeing
- Moves around the counter when working
2) Ninja Food Chopper Multi-Purpose 16-Ounce Bowl: Budget Pick
If you’re looking for a really affordable processor, you can’t do any better than the Ninja Food Chopper. Costing less than $20, it does a decent job when it comes to chopping and mincing foods.
The bowl has a small capacity of 16 ounces (or two cups). After all, this is an inexpensive processor meant to give you a helping hand in the kitchen. Regardless, it’s still useful when you want to grind, chop, or mince vegetables, herbs, and other similar ingredients.
This Ninja Food Chopper model has a 200-watt motor. It only has one motor speed, but it works like a charm. It’s a good, simple appliance to make sauces and dressings with, for instance.
One of our favorite things about this model (despite the price) is how ergonomic and smart its design is. Its power head is easy to handle and the large chrome pulsing button gives you complete control over the machine. Press it down for the blades to start working and let go of it when you’re done using the processor.
The non-slip bottom is also a nice feature to have. The rubber-like base stops the processor from moving around the counter while it’s chopping large chunks of food. You should still keep an eye on it while it’s going, but at least you’ll feel more secure that the gadget won’t fall to the floor, break, and make a mess.
- Easy to clean and store
- Simple to use
- Good non-slip base
- Satisfactory at chopping veggies
- Clean design
- Not having several motor speeds limits what you can do with the processor
- Blades may not be strong enough for harder foods
3) Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor: Premium Pick
If you can afford to splurge, get yourself the Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef processor. The $499 price tag is a good match for this powerful and versatile machine. Plus, it’s one of the best-rated food processors out there, making it a good investment.
Its 1200-watt heavy-duty induction motor is powerful enough to chop even the hardest foods other processors can’t handle. Despite it only having one speed option and a pulse setting, the Breville processor lets you choose how you want your chopped food to come out.
That’s thanks to the eight multi-function discs that come with the machine. Install the one you like most and wait for the processor to finish cutting your food to perfection. When you make the most of this functionality, you can end up with slices as thin as 0.3 mm or as thick as 8.0 mm.
In spite of coming with so many different parts, the Breville machine is easy to store away. It comes from the store inside a storage box, where you can fit the machine and all the blades and discs it comes with.
On top of all that, the S-shaped disc can handle more kinds of food and can help you prepare them up to your standards. Using it means you can choose to chop, mince, or purée foods.
Another key feature is the fact that the bowl has a whopping capacity for 16 cups worth of food. In addition to that, there’s also a built-in timer you can program so that the processor turns off once the timer rings.
Lastly, the feeding chute is super wide, allowing you to drop larger ingredients into the bowl, which in turn cuts down prepping time.
- Powerful 1200-watt motor
- Eight multi-purpose discs
- Versatile discs and blades
- Built-in timer and LCD
- Wide feeding chute
- Easy to clean and store
- Non-skid rubber feet
- Steep price
- Customer support leaves something to be desired
4) Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Processor: Runner Up
This Cuisinart processor is pretty ingenious, so much so that it nearly snatched the best food processor award. That should tell you how handy and sturdy this unit is.
One of the main features of this appliance is its 14-cup capacity. That’s a great-sized bowl, roomy enough to help you prepare large holiday meals. On top of that (quite literally), there’s a wide food chute you can use to add ingredients to the bowl without having to turn off the processor and opening it up.
This unit has a 750-watt motor, one blade speed, and a pulse function. That may not seem like much, but because it comes with two discs and a versatile blade, you get quite a lot of control over what you’re working with.
On top of all that, this Cuisinart appliance is also easy to use. Since the blades and discs aren’t adjustable, there’s very little setup to use it every time you get it out of storage. Despite all that, it still delivers quality results.
Another great feature is the machine’s ability to knead dough. You can skip out on the laborious hand-kneading and still have delicious homemade pizza or bread. This a quality not many processors have at this price point.
- Spacious 14-cup bowl
- Easy to use and put away
- Good 750-watt motor
- Dependable multi-purpose discs and blade
- Wide feeding chute
- Some nooks may be hard to clean
- Some plastic latches may break off after a while
5) Braun FP3020 Multi-Purpose Kitchen Processor: Worthy Mention
German appliance manufacturers are well-known for making high-quality, sturdy gadgets that last people decades. The Braun FP3020 processor certainly fits that stereotype, as you can gather by the thousands of glowing customer reviews online.
For starters, its high-performing 600-watt motor is powerful enough to handle hard vegetables and other tough ingredients, such as dough. Since the machine comes with seven blades—for slicing, shredding, grinding, mincing, puréeing, kneading, and whipping—you can make plenty of recipes without needing any fancy utensils on the side.
Another great feature is its two locking systems: the bowl locks to the motor base and the lid locks onto the bowl. This is great because it prevents nasty spillages over the buttons of the machine and all over your counters and walls.
Moreover, since the bowl has a capacity of 12 cups, you can whip up family-sized meals. It’s even large enough to make dips and sauces for parties you’re hosting.
But we’ve saved what could be the best for last: you can tinker with the 15 adjustable blade speeds. Choose how quickly or how slowly you want the blades to rotate so that you can end up with perfectly processed ingredients.
- 15 adjustable blade speeds
- 12-cup bowl capacity
- Seven adjustable blades
- Two-way locking system
- Powerful motor
- Dishwasher-friendly parts
- Easy to assemble and store
- Quiet and discreet while running
6) KitchenAid Mini Food Processor
Going back to more simple and affordable food processors, we have the KitchenAid Mini unit. While it’s not the fanciest gadget on the market, it gets the job done and is a beginner-friendly appliance that’s easy to use.
When you spend as little as $49.99 on a food processor, you’re bound to get a smaller bowl. This one has a capacity of three cups, but don’t let that get you down. If you usually only cook for two or three people, this will still serve you well.
This gadget has a 240-watt motor, which is just good enough for chopping vegetables, herbs, making dips, sauces, and dressings. However, if you’re wanting to knead dough with your processor, you’ll have to look for another product.
In terms of speed, you can make the blades rotate at two different speeds. On top of that, you also have a pulse setting great for chopping food into larger, even chunks. This means you can make anything from creamy hummus to chunky pico de gallo.
Lastly, this is a surprisingly easy unit to clean. All parts except for the motorized base are dishwasher-friendly, making cleanup refreshingly easy.
- Easy to clean and store
- Good for small households
- Takes up little counter space
- Available in 18 colors
- Dishwasher-friendly parts
- Too small for large portions
- The motor isn’t strong enough to handle large chunks of food
7) Cuisinart Elemental 8-Cup Food Chopper
The Cuisinart Elemental is one of the best food processors out there for its price point. Its manufacturer is trustworthy and it has amassed thousands of positive reviews online. Just because we’ve ranked it as number seven doesn’t mean you should check it out!
The 11-cup capacity is a big silver lining. It has enough room for family-style meals. It’s even spacious enough to handle entertaining- or holiday-size meals. The wide food chute is also a plus, since you can add ingredients to the bowl hassle-free and save time in the kitchen.
Its 550-watt motor is also a key feature. A powerful motor such as this one can handle large portions of food and manages to process even the toughest vegetables.
This Cuisinart model comes with an adjustable disc so that you can chop or shred foods. It also includes a blade suited for kneading, mixing, or chopping foods into medium or fine bits.
Another perk of this product is its patented two-way locking system. The lid seals the bowl, preventing spillages, and the blade locks into place to avoid any kitchen accidents.
Lastly, this processor has two blade speeds: high and low. You can also take full advantage of the pulse setting for when you want even chunks.
- Two blade speeds and a pulse setting
- Sealing bowl and locking blade
- Reversible chopping and shredding disc
- Versatile blade
- 11-cup bowl capacity
- Wide feeding chute
- Customer support isn’t helpful with repairs
8) Ninja Blender and Processor QB1004
The last Ninja product on our list is one of our favorites. It’s affordable, works great, but most importantly it acts as much more than just a $50 food processor.
The first thing you’ll notice about this unit is that you can interchange parts. It comes with a small 16-ounce food chopper bowl, a 40-ounce processing bowl, and a 48-ounce blender bowl. Depending on what you’re making and the quantities you’re working with, you can choose which bowl to use.
The motor itself runs on 450 watts, which makes this a reasonably powerful machine. You can process a variety of foods, from hard vegetables (such as potatoes) to softer foods (such as herbs and tomatoes).
Using this gadget is surprisingly easy. There are no on-and-off buttons. All you have to do to start using the Ninja machine is assemble the blade, plug it into an outlet, seal the bowl, and press down on the chrome pod. The pulse technology will work on chopping, puréeing, and mincing your foods.
To make your life even easier, cleaning up after you’re done using the Ninja food processor is a breeze. All parts, except the motor pod, are dishwasher-safe.
- Easy to use and store
- Easy to clean up
- Sturdy 450-watt motor
- 6-cup bowl capacity for the pitcher
- Versatile blades
- More than just a processor
- Only has a pulse setting
9) KitchenAid Exact Slice KFP1133CU 11-Cup Food Processor
We’re charting into more expensive territory with this Kitchen Aid food processor. Since this unit is manufactured by a trusted brand, you can rest assured it’s a good investment. If that weren’t enough, you also have hundreds of glowing online reviews giving this product five stars.
The motor on this one is 380 watts, a downgrade from similarly priced KitchenAid gadgets, but it still gets the job done. The two blade speeds and pulse setting, however, are good features to have in this processor. They give you more control over what you’re doing in the kitchen.
One feature we love about this model is the sealed lid. Along the rim of the lid, there is a rubber ring designed to prevent the bowl’s contents from spilling out and causing a mess all over your counters.
But perhaps the most ingenious feature is the ExactSlice system. On the side of the processor, you’ll find a knob you can drag left and right to adjust how you want your food to be cut. If you slide it all the way to “Thin,” you’ll end up with nearly paper-thin slices. If you slide it the opposite way toward “Thick,” you’ll end up with hearty slices.
- 11-cup bowl capacity
- Adjustable thickness of slices
- Sealed lid and bowl
- Two blade speeds and one pulse setting
- The motor isn’t as good as you may be expecting for a processor of this size
- Some outside plastic parts aren’t sturdy
- Not powerful enough to knead dough safely
10) Hamilton Beach Mini 3-Cup Processor
The last item on our list is the simple, easy-to-use Hamilton Beach Mini processor. This appliance takes a different approach to preparing ingredients and opts for a more straightforward, minimalistic, and affordable route.
The 350-watt motor can handle chopping and mincing vegetables and herbs perfectly. Since there is only one blade (and no reversible discs), you’re left with an outstanding gadget to cut down prep time in the kitchen.
You’ll mostly use this machine to chop, dice, and mince ingredients. For instance, using this chopper, you wouldn’t ever need to suffer through tears when cutting onions. You’d also never have to struggle to get perfectly fine pieces of garlic for your dishes. It’s a real time saver.
But you can use the Hamilton Beach mini chopper to make dips, sauces, and dressings as well. The built-in oil dispenser is a great help when it comes to this. You can make guac and hummus in just a few minutes with this handy appliance.
Lastly, getting started using this machine is a breeze. There is no need to lock the components to one another. Hence, there’s no twisting and unscrewing. Set it down on your counter, make sure it’s assembled correctly, place the ingredients inside the cup, and that’s that!
- Dishwasher-safe parts
- Easy to assemble and use
- Easy to store
- Minimum counter footprint
- Affordable and efficient
- Handy oil dispenser for sauces and dips
- Can only perform a handful of tasks
- There are no fancy settings or functions
What Is a Food Processor?
After going through these reviews for the best food processors, you may still be wondering what exactly a food processor is. How does it work? What recipes can you make with it? And what tasks are not suited for it?
Simply put, a food processor is one of the best helping hands you’ll ever have in your kitchen. It can do a bunch of things, from shredding blocks of cheese to puréeing dips. But keep in mind that it’s not a blender! We’ll get into that in a moment.
How Food Processors Work
Food processors are appliances powered by an electric motor. This is the heaviest part of your processor. It converts electric power into motion, by making the blades spin around really quickly.
The most basic models work just like that, in a simple way. But when you spend a few dozen dollars more on one, you can expect a more complex machine. Many processors come with an array of appliances, namely discs.
You’re supposed to install slicing or shredding discs inside the bowl, almost touching the lid. Then, as you push food down the feeding chute, the blender does the prep work for you.
How to Use a Food Processor?
You don’t need to understand the inner workings of your gadget to work it. Luckily, using a food processor is incredibly easy. Even though these machines vary from model to model, they all work in a similar, straightforward way.
- Plug the processor’s power cable into an outlet.
- Place the foods you want to prep inside the bowl.
- Close the lid and make sure it’s secured in place.
- Turn on the processor to the setting you want to use.
If you’re using a shredding or slicing disc, you need to assemble it in place before step one. Make sure it’s secure and then close the lid. Turn on the processor and carefully add the ingredients you want to prep down the feeding chute. Make sure to use the plastic chute pusher when doing this.
What Does a Food Processor Do?
If you have a good-quality processor and some accessories, you can do dozens of things with your appliance. That’s why they’re such a good investment. Here are a few answers to your burning question “what is a food processor used for?”:
- Chop herbs and vegetables finely
- Thinly slice vegetables
- Prepare creamy or chunky dips
- Whip up salad dressings
- Grind a variety of meats
- Purée thick, rich sauces
- Julienne vegetables
- Grind nuts and seeds
- Cut butter into flour
- Knead dough
If you keep reading, you’ll find many more out-of-the-box ideas on how to use your food processor. And we include tips on how to use your appliance to make delicious recipes you may never have made before!
Are Food Processors and Blenders the Same?
Quick: what’s that kitchen appliance that has a glass bowl, quick-moving blades, and that turns solid foods into something else? If you answered a food processor, you’re right. But if you answered a blender, you’re also correct.
Both kitchen devices look similar and seem to do similar things. That’s why so many people ask themselves “Is a blender a food processor?” It’s a legitimate question!
The answer to that is no.
What’s the Difference Between a Food Processor and a Blender?
What makes them two different appliances is what they can be used for. Blenders are great at some things while processors are much better at others.
For starters, you can’t use liquids in a food processor. Things will end up spilling and making a big mess. Of course, you can still prepare dressings and dips, but you can’t mix water, ice, and fruits in most processors. You’d use a blender for that.
At the same rate, you could try chopping veggies in a blender, but the result would not be pretty. The same applies to shredding cheese and kneading dough using a blender.
However, there is some overlap between the two appliances. “Can a blender be used as a food processor in some instances?” Well, yes! You could try making dips in a blender with good (or mixed) results.
How to Pick the Best Food Processor for You?: Buying Guide
To help you pick the best food processor for your needs, we’ve put together this buying guide. We have highlighted the most important features to look for when shopping around for this appliance. The more boxes it ticks, the safer your investment will be.
First, ask yourself how much food you need your processor to handle on most occasions.
If you typically cook for one or two people, a 5-cup processor is good enough. But if you need to prepare meals for a larger family, you’ll want to invest in a processor that has at least an 8-cup capacity.
Remember, the larger the appliance, the pricier it usually is. If you’re on a tight budget, you could get a smaller-capacity machine and do everything in batches. Sure, it will take longer to get everything done. But you’ll stick to your budget and the results will be the same.
Number of Speeds
Some food processors give you a dozen blade speeds to choose from while others only have one speed setting. The difference between these two models is that the former will give you more control over how your food turns out. The latter doesn’t give you that flexibility, but that model also costs less.
If you think not having as much control could be a dealbreaker for you, look for a machine with more than one or two speed settings. If it’s not a big deal, you can save dozens of dollars by missing out on fancier settings.
This is a crucial step when buying any electric device: check that the motor is actually good. The higher the wattage of the motor, the more powerful it is. In this case, an 800-watt motor can handle tougher and harder foods than a 280-watt motor could, for instance.
Are you wanting to chop raw sweet potatoes, for example? You’d be better off doing that in a powerful processor. But if what you want to slice is a tomato, you can do that with a less powerful machine.
Why spend money on an appliance that doesn’t even do its job right? To avoid getting stuck with a useless model, read online customer reviews. Who better to tell you how a machine holds up with time?
Easy to Store & Easy to Clean
A Food processor makes our life in the kitchen easier. But if you have to spend hours assembling it, disassembling it, cleaning it, and storing it away, is it really that useful? Always look for units that have dishwasher-safe parts and straightforward locking and unlocking mechanisms.
Types of Food Processors: What Food Processor Do I Need?
There are essentially three types of electric-powered food processors. They vary in size, price, and practicality.
The first type of food processor we’ll go over is the minimalistic, simplistic type. These units typically have one speed setting and one set of blades. You won’t get any fancy accessories and add-ons. That’s why they’re the cheapest and some of the smallest models available. Don’t take any of this the wrong way: they still get the job done and are perfect for small kitchens.
The second type is the complex, all-in-one processor. These models do a lot more than just grind, purée, and chop. They usually come with a variety of accessories, from multiple blades to multi-purpose discs. You can use these units to knead bread, whip egg whites, and a lot more. They’re the most expensive appliances on the market. They also take up a lot of counter space and storage room.
Perhaps the rarest kind of processor is the hand-help one. You’d be forgiven if you confused them for mere food choppers. They don’t come with any accessories, LED displays, multiple speed settings, or anything even close to that. They’re modest and good enough for beginners in the kitchen looking to only save a couple dozen dollars.
What to Make with a Food Processor?: Top Recipes
Curious how you can use your food processor? We’ve got some ideas, and we’ve even included our favorite recipes to make with your brand-new kitchen appliance!
The million-dollar question: “Can you make smoothies in a food processor?” Unfortunately, you can’t. That would involve a lot of liquid and perhaps a few chunks of ice. Food processors just aren’t good with that combo. You’ll be better off throwing your smoothie ingredients in a blender.
You can make cauliflower rice in a food processor with the blade attachment. Process it at three-second intervals until the cauliflower gets that fluffy rice-like consistency. You can also use the grater attachment, if you’d like.
Making cauliflower is a great idea if you’re on a low-carb diet or if you want to incorporate more veggies into your diet. Try making this Mediterranean Cauliflower Rice side—it’s healthy and flavorful!
Alternatively, you could use your processor to make a Cauliflower-Crust Pizza! It’s the perfect gluten-free option.
Can you grind coffee beans in a food processor? Yes, you can! If your processor is sturdy enough, you can skip out on getting a coffee grinder and just use your good ol’ processor.
Here’s an idea to change up your morning routine on a warmer day: have a cup of cold brew coffee with some milk of your choice! It’s as refreshing as it gets.
We’re getting into more general ground: what veggies can you prep using this appliance?
Can you dice potatoes in a food processor? Absolutely! Just make sure your processor is sturdy enough that it can handle raw potatoes. Dicing or even grating potatoes this way, you can make delicious homemade hashbrowns.
Can you shred carrots in a food processor? Yup. Shredded carrots are nutritious and add crunch to any dish. They’re great in rainbow salads, Vietnamese rice paper rolls or in pretty much any wrap recipe!
Can you dice tomatoes in a food processor? Sure you can. Just make sure to hit the pulse button at short intervals. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a tomato purée, which can be great for some things, but not so great in salads.
Can you spiralize with a food processor? As long as you have the spiralizing disc, you can. Spiralized veggies are a great low-carb substitute for pasta noodles. You can make a yummy Saucy Zucchini Spaghetti dish that’s still healthy.
Can you make margaritas in a food processor? Well… Not really. Theoretically, if you have a high-speed processor, you can make your favorite happy hour dish at home. But we can’t guarantee the result will be satisfying. Why? Because the answer to “Can a food processor crush ice?” is no in most cases.
Can you make a cake in a food processor? Most certainly! There are many steps to getting your cake batter ready, but a processor can handle most of them. “Can you cream butter and sugar in a food processor?” Yup, check. “Can a food processor whip egg whites?” It can!
Final Words: Is a Food Processor Worth It?
Let’s be objective and look at the pros and cons of these appliances. Are they worth the price?
- They’re relatively inexpensive gadgets
- Even the simpler models are great at cutting down prep time in the kitchen
- The fancier units are super versatile
- They’re great for making dips and sauces
- They work just as well as a coffee grinder
- You can’t make smoothies with them
- They can’t crush ice
All in all, we think they’re great machines! Now that that’s established, let’s move on to the question: “What is the best food processor?”
- For small projects: KitchenAid Mini Food Processor
- For large families on a budget: Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Processor
- For the most variety of recipes: Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef
Frequently Asked Questions on Kitchen Processors
Q: Can a food processor dice foods?
Yes, it can. Just make sure you’re using the pulse setting for a few seconds at a time so you don’t turn softer foods into mush.
Q: How to sharpen food processor blades?
When your food processor’s blades get too dull, you can sharpen them using a knife sharpener. Hold the sharpener over the edge of the blade. Then, move it away from you in long strokes. Continue this movement in a see-saw motion four or five times. Make sure not to apply too much pressure on the blades so they don’t break.
Q: How much is a food processor?
You’ll find food processors available at a wide range of price points. The cheapest model on our list costs $20, which is a great deal. The most expensive model here costs almost $500.
Q: Can a Vitamix be used as a food processor?
Assuming you want to use your Vitamix blender as a food processor, we wouldn’t recommend it. Blenders are great for handling liquids but not so much when it comes to raw veggies and bread dough, for example.
Q: Are food processors dishwasher safe?
Beware, not all parts can go in the dishwasher! Each model is different, so look for the manufacturer’s description.