Three best food processors
Whether you're a culinary wizard, weekend chef, or daily family cook, chances are you wouldn't mind cutting down on the time spent in the kitchen. When it comes to time-consuming and often dreaded meal prep like chopping, shredding, slicing, and grinding, the right food processor can do all the work for you -- and in record time to boot.
Indeed, a food processor is a worthwhile addition to any cook's culinary arsenal. But with a mind-boggling variety of food processors on the market, all offering different functions, features, and sizes, choosing the right one can be tough. Need a little help? Our guide below will point you in the right direction, and it includes a few product recommendations to aid you in your search.
Considerations when choosing food processors
Food processor bowls come in a variety of sizes, ranging a few cups to four quarts. When selecting a bowl size, consider the volume of food you prepare most often. For instance, a small food processor can be handy for making a batch of salad dressing or sauce or if you typically only cook for one. If you need a daily helper for family meals, it's wise to opt for a bowl that holds at least nine cups. If you like the idea of prepping large batches of food in advance, then a bowl that holds two or three quarts might be a better option. Larger food processors offer more versatility in terms of how much or little food you're able to prep on any given day, but keep in mind that these also require more counter and storage space.
Food processors typically come with a multifunctional S-shaped blade to chop, grind, purée, and mix. Most also offer either a single reversible disk for slicing and shredding or a separate disk for each job. High-end models sometimes come with additional blades for added versatility. Keep in mind that most mini food processors or choppers don't come with a shredding/slicing disk, so if this is important to you, consider purchasing a larger food processor. Although all food processor blades will eventually need to be replaced, food-grade stainless steel is by far the most durable and effective.
A food processor doesn't have to be a powerhouse to be efficient. However, for heavy-duty use, such as grinding meat or kneading dough, a high-powered motor is a necessity. As a rule of thumb, a 500- to 600-watt motor is sufficient for average jobs, while a more powerful motor of 700 watts or more will be required for tougher tasks.
Typical food processor settings include On, Off, and Pulse. For finely chopped results or smooth purées, simply leave it on until the desired consistency is reached. For a coarser texture, use the Pulse setting in brief bursts to avoid liquefying your ingredients. Premium or high-powered food processors may come with additional speed settings for specialized tasks.
Food processor features
Chute: Full-size food processors come with a chute that allows you to safely feed ingredients into the bowl while it's running. A wide chute is a desirable feature in any food processor because it eliminates the need to chop produce and other foods into smaller pieces before adding them to the bowl.
Controls: Whether you choose a food processor with levers, buttons, or digital touchpad depends on your preference and budget. While all of these will get the job done, a digital touchpad provides a sleek look and is also easier to clean.
Attachments and extras: High-end food processors often come with additional accessories for added convenience and versatility. Depending on the model, these might include bowls of varying sizes, specialized attachments, and blades for whipping, juicing, julienning, cutting french fries, and more.
Care: For easy cleaning, opt for bowls and blades that are dishwasher safe.
Food processor prices: While there's a food processor for every budget, the size, features, and power will have a direct impact on the overall cost. Small food processors and choppers typically cost between $30 and $40. Medium-size models with basic features generally range from $50 to $99. Food processors that offer a larger size and extra power and/or features understandably cost a bit more and are typically priced from $99 to $380 and up.
Q. What's the difference between a food processor and a blender?
A. While features can vary from model to model, blenders are generally designed for use with liquids (think smoothies, soups, and sauces), while food processors excel at making quick work of chopping, grinding, shredding, or slicing solid foods.
Q. Are high-end food processors with extra features worth the cost?
A. This really depends on your personal needs and preferences. A quality food processor with various attachments can replace multiple appliances while saving valuable counter and storage space, too. However, if you've already invested in several appliances and feel satisfied with your kitchen's existing setup, a good-quality, basic food processor might be all you need.
Food processors we recommend
Best of the best: Breville Sous Chef
Our take: Boasting superior power, size, and versatility, this high-end option delivers everything you could ask for in a food processor, and then some.
What we like: Powerful motor and generous size. A host of handy attachments and extras can easily replace multiple appliances. Sleek and modern.
What we dislike: Nothing.
Best bang for your buck: Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY
Our take: A premium food processor that offers dependable quality, heavy-duty power, and fantastic versatility for a reasonable price.
What we like: Multiple accessories coupled with a powerful motor effortlessly take on a wide variety of tasks. Quiet operation. Sturdy.
What we dislike: User manual could be more detailed.
Choice 3: Hamilton Beach Food Processor
Our take: An ideal option if you're on a tight budget but still want an efficient food processor for simple tasks.
What we like: Decent power for everyday use. Good capacity with a small footprint. Affordable, effective, and easy to use.
What we dislike: We'd prefer a wider chute.
Erica van Blommestein is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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