Buying Guide for Food Processors
Why buy a food processor?
Food processors are versatile kitchen gadgets that will liven up, streamline, and complete your cooking routine. They allow you to chop, slice, shred, or otherwise cut up large quantities of food very quickly, saving you lots of preparation time. Many can serve other common cooking functions, such as kneading dough, making pie crust, and beating egg whites. They can also be used to grind meat, create homemade sauces and dips, or even make soft-serve ice cream. For those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen, often make large quantities of food, or like to meal prep, a food processor is a must-have.
What should you look for in a food processor?
- Size: Food processors are available large and small, with a wide selection of bowl capacities. Whether you’re cooking only for yourself or for a whole party of people, you should have no trouble finding a food processor that fits your needs.
- Functions: If you’re someone who cooks or bakes quite often, you may wish to invest in a food processor that can do more than cut and chop food. There are options available to do things like knead dough, beat egg whites and batters, and make juices or nut butters. You can also find food processors that are designed for quick assembly or are dishwasher-safe.
- Price: Like many kitchen appliances, food processors can range quite a bit in price depending on the quality of their material, additional features, and other factors. When shopping for one, you may find it helpful to have a budget in mind and to know how often you plan to use your food processor.
- Power: The higher a food processor’s wattage, the more powerful it will be. The more powerful the food processor, the better it can handle thicker or tougher foods. Chopping food alone doesn’t require much power, but if you plan to use your food processor for more heavy-duty tasks like mixing dough, you’ll want to buy one with a higher wattage, closer to 700 watts.
What’s the difference between a food processor, a food chopper, and a blender?
While food processors, food choppers, and blenders all assist with food preparation, they have a few key differences. A food processor is designed to handle a whole assortment of different tasks, from chopping and slicing to shredding and mixing. They typically come with a range of attachments and accessories that allow you to do different kinds of prep work, such as chopping nuts, slicing vegetables, and making dough. They’re ideal for tasks that require precision, such as making pie crust or chopping onions finely.
A food chopper, on the other hand, is a smaller and simpler device that is designed specifically for chopping vegetables, fruits, nuts, and herbs. It is often manually operated and can be a good choice if you only need to chop a small amount of food or if you have limited storage space. And a blender is a high-speed appliance that is designed specifically to purée, mix, and blend ingredients together. It is particularly good at creating smoothies, milkshakes, and soups. Blenders are typically equipped with a tall, narrow container that helps create a vortex that pulls ingredients toward the blades, ensuring that everything is evenly mixed.
Our Picks for the Best Food Processors
Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor
This is a high-quality and high functioning food processor for the budget-conscious.
Pros: This food processor boasts stainless-steel blades, a 450-watt motor, and a bowl that can hold up to 12 cups of chopped food at once. The bowl is also sealed to prevent any liquids from seeping out. Besides the main S-shaped blade, the reversible disk along the bottom can slice and shred depending on which side is facing up. The feed chute on the lid is big enough that you can slide whole foods (such as tomatoes) through instead of cutting them in halves or quarters beforehand, saving you further prep and processing time. The “stack and snap” design doesn’t require you to lock or twist the device into place, which makes this food processor easier to use. A simple function guide is included to help you figure out which buttons and blades to use for whichever function you need your food processor to serve at any given time.
Cons: As great as this food processor is in many ways, some reported that food particles would get trapped in difficult-to-clean areas of the product; even though it’s dishwasher-safe, this may make it harder to keep clean. It’s also quite a loud and noisy product, so it’s not a great choice for anyone who is noise sensitive.
Bottom Line: This food processor is a great option for those who are in the market for a high-quality food processor but don’t have a couple of hundred dollars to drop on new kitchen appliances. Just be prepared for a lot of noise, and give the bowl a little extra elbow grease when cleaning.
Ninja BN601 Professional Plus Food Processor
This is a powerful 1,000-watt food processor that can change functions in just a few seconds.
Pros: This large, powerful food processor was designed to be able to change functions in mere seconds. All you have to do is switch the disc or blades at the bowl’s center post, and you’re all set to go. In addition, four programs come preset, so all you have to do is touch a button. This food processor is also quick and easy to clean, either in the dishwasher or by pulsing some warm water and one or two small drops of soap inside. The bowl can hold up to 9 cups of food, and you can expect consistent and precise cuts for loads great and small. The 1,000 peak watts of power allow you to perform all kinds of heavy-duty tasks, including mixing up to two pounds of dough in as little as 30 seconds. The blades are plenty sharp, and the whole machine is quite easy to set up.
Cons: The large size of the food processor, while great for big batches, may take up a lot of counter space, and the auto shut-off feature can prove annoying when processing for longer periods of time. Additionally, the sharp blades pose a safety risk, especially the S blade, and there is no storage container for them. This processor is also not ideal for smaller tasks, like slicing zucchini or cucumber without cutting them to fit in the tube.
Bottom Line: Overall, the Ninja Food Processor is a powerful and versatile machine that can handle tough ingredients and large quantities of food. It has good safety features, is easy to clean, and comes with different blade sizes and cuts for processing food.
Cuisinart DLC-2A Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor
This food processor might be small but it still performs its job admirably and is convenient to clean to boot.
Pros: This is a versatile and compact kitchen appliance that can chop and grind small quantities of food with ease. Its extremely sharp blade and fast processing speed make it a powerful tool for quickly preparing ingredients for your favorite recipes. One of the standout features of this food processor is how easy it is to use and clean. Its simple design and intuitive controls make it easy for anyone to operate, and the removable parts can be easily cleaned by hand or in the dishwasher. The compact size and lightweight plastic construction ensure it takes up minimal counter space and can be easily tucked away in a cabinet or pantry when not in use. And despite its small size, this food processor excels at puréeing, chopping onions and garlic, and making patties. Its powerful motor and sharp blade make quick work of even tough ingredients, and the resulting texture is consistent and uniform.
Cons: The plastic bowl and lid of this food processor are a bit on the flimsy side and may crack, which could affect the product’s longevity. The lid doesn’t provide a watertight seal, so liquid ingredients may cause a mess, and the loud and high-pitched noise during use can be uncomfortable for anyone sensitive to loud noises. Some also had difficulty attaching and aligning the lid and bowl, which may prove frustrating.
Bottom Line: Not everyone wants or needs a large food processor with an 8+ cup capacity. For those who cook only for themselves or a few people at a time and have limited kitchen space, the Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor is a great choice.
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor
This sleek, modern-looking food processor packs plenty of power and size and comes with extra blades for different chopping needs.
Pros: As you might expect from a premium food processor, this is a powerful product that provides effective performance. It has a strong motor that ensures it can handle any food processing task with ease, and its safety features guarantee that it is assembled correctly before use; the safety mechanism ensures that all parts are correctly connected, so you cannot take any shortcuts to avoid any risks of accidents. Another significant advantage of this food processor is its ability to purée effectively. It produces consistent results when puréeing different foods, making it a reliable and efficient kitchen appliance. Additionally, the product is compatible with the old “Complete DLC-7 Disc Set,” which makes it easy to find replacement parts. Moreover, the product is easy to reassemble, which is crucial as the blades are incredibly sharp.
Cons: The product may require time-consuming trial and error to find the right settings or methods to chop vegetables instead of puréeing them. Additionally, it may have difficulty with certain types of food, such as zucchini, and get slices stuck on the top of the disc.
Bottom Line: This premium food processor’s powerful performance, effective food puréeing capabilities, safety features, compatibility, and ease of reassembling are all significant pros that make it an excellent kitchen appliance. The product is reliable, efficient, and safe and is sure to make food preparation easier and more enjoyable.
Zyliss Easy-Pull Food Processor
This manual food processor is both portable and easy to use, making it an ideal choice for dorm rooms, campers, and other similar venues.
Pros: Whether you want a food processor that you can use while on the go or you want greater control over the chopping process, this manual model is great tool for those who have small jobs that require finely diced food. Its size makes it easy to store and handle, while its sharp blades and easy-to-pull design make it effective and convenient to use. The product is particularly well-suited for chopping garlic, onions, and jalapeños, making it a good choice for everyday cooking tasks and dips and sauces. The sharp blades make chopping a breeze despite the lack of electrical power, while the easy-to-pull design also makes it a great option for those who want to avoid the hassle of setting up and cleaning an electric food processor.
Cons: Be sure to always rinse out this food processor during cleaning, as the top of the chopper can trap water during washing. The need to remove the bottom booster blade to take off the blade sheath can also be a tricky task and may pose a risk of injury due to the sharp blades. Many also noted that it needs a good amount of extra pressure to chop tougher foods.
Bottom Line: This ZYLISS food processor is an excellent alternative to its classic electric cousins. Not only is it less expensive, but it is also less bulky, making it ideal for small kitchens or for those who don’t need a large and/or electric food processor.
In summary, a food processor is a powerful and versatile kitchen appliance that can make food preparation tasks much easier. With its range of attachments and capabilities, a food processor is an essential tool for any home cook or professional chef.