Best food processor: Chop your way to easy meal prep

The best food processor for you will bring speed, precision and ease into your kitchen prep. Here’s what to look for.

We all want more time, and the best food processors can offer you just that. Kitchen appliances are usually designed to perform one job really well, and when it comes to food processors, that job is to speed up and improve your food preparation. Hand chopping is very tedious, and often not even the best solution. All the best food processors will be able to swiftly chop, slice, dice and mix. Suddenly salads, dressings and pestos will become quick and easy, allowing you to incorporate more fresh healthy foods into your diet.

The appliance market offers a wide variety of food processors to choose from so it is important to consider what type of jobs you want to accomplish in your kitchen, and therefore what features are a must. If multitasking is your preference you can find combination machines that offer more than just your basic food processing/chopping. If you are a frequent host of big dinners, investing in a larger-sized machine makes sense, and conversely, if you are a smaller batch home chef a smaller machine may be the best choice for your daily use. Not all machines are the same, in terms of quality, power, and function so it is important to consider both the machine and your intended use. Here are some of the best food processors currently on the market.

Things to consider when buying a food processor

When trying to find the best food processor for your kitchen, you want to first and foremost consider what you want the machine to do. The majority of tasks will be easily achieved with a few basic blades. Extras and accessories are neat, but pointless if you won’t use them. Higher quality stainless steel blades in combination with a powerful motor will help deliver the most precise slices, be able to handle tough jobs, as well as offer you the longest life span. Simple designs and dishwasher safe parts are also an important feature to consider before deciding on which machine to purchase.

How powerful should your food processor be?

The best food processors will be able to handle all types of jobs, from delicate slicing to chopping hard vegetables and mixing dough. Power wattage refers to the amount of electricity the machine uses. For example, a 1000 watt food processor uses 1 kilowatt for one hour of use. The higher the wattage, the more power and strength the machine has to tackle jobs without stalling. It’s important to note that if your machine’s power becomes overloaded you should turn it off and let the motor cool down before reusing. The major benefit of a higher wattage food processor is the machine’s ability to discriminate and control the quality of the cutting. In addition, this higher power can capably handle sticky and tough ingredients.

The majority of food processors have a pulse feature that allows for short bursts of power at optimum speed. This gives the user added control over the amount of processing the machine will do. This is a useful feature to prevent over processing your food items.

Best high-powered food processor: Breville BFP800BSXL Sous Chef 16 Pro Food Processor

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A high-powered model with precision cutting blades. Amazon

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With an impressive 1200 watts of power and a 16-cup capacity, this Breville food processor is capable of handling even the toughest of kitchen prep jobs. This machine lets you easily store all of the accessories in its storage box. Additional features include a variable slicing disc with 24 settings and a peeler disc.

Look for dishwasher-safe parts

The most effective food processors are designed to save you time and effort. However, the added time assembling and then cleaning after use can impact the overall convenience and practicality of these items. With this in mind, it is smart to look for a food processor that comes with detachable, dishwasher safe parts, as this ultimately will save a great deal of time and make the experience more satisfying.

When considering what materials hold up best in the dishwasher, you want to avoid materials that will tarnish, rust, shatter, or melt. High-quality stainless steel is the best choice for a dishwasher safe material. Plastic parts can be added to the dishwasher if they are deemed dishwasher safe by the manufacturer, but it’s best to place them on the top rack, which is further from the heating elements on the dishwasher. Also, it is best to avoid high heat settings if your dishwasher has those options (like a sanitizing mode) to prevent any melting or distortion of plastics.

Best dishwasher-safe food processor: Cuisinart Custom 14 Cup Food Processor

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A large-capacity model with extra-large feed tube and dishwasher-safe parts.

With a 720 watt motor, and a large capacity 14-cup bowl, this Cuisinart food processor is a very capable choice for most people’s kitchen prep needs. A large feed tube helps to cut down on pre-chopping of items before adding to the processor. Dishwasher safe parts allow for speed of clean up. Stainless steel chopping, slicing, and grating blades and a simple control paddle allow for on/off/pulse.

Juicer Combos

Who doesn’t like fresh orange juice? Or a fresh citrus marinade? Food processors and juicers are both really convenient machines to have in your kitchen and allow for many ways to create fresh and healthy foods and drinks. But truth be told, the more of these machines you have the less storage space available for anything else. Both food processors and juicers require a powerful motor, and the ability to chop—so it’s not a bad idea to consider a space-saving device that combines multiple functions.

While a solitary juicer may offer more functions specific to the art of juicing, if you are interested in mainly citrus juicing, it’s worth considering a food processor that has an attachment to handle that. It is possible to do other types of juicing, but straining would be required by the user. If your kitchen would benefit from traditional chopping as well as fresh citrus juices, it’s absolutely a safe bet to combine these devices in a juice combination food processor.

Best food processor for juicing: Braun FP3020 12 Cup Food Processor

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All in one model that also chops and juices.

This Braun juicer and food processor is a great space-saving choice. With a large 12-cup capacity, and 600 watts of power this machine will handle most kitchen preparation. Loaded with an impressive variety of attachment blades, this processor can grate, shred, slice, whip, knead, and chop. In addition, the citrus press attachment allows this unit to double as an electric citrus juicer.

How much cupboard space do you have?

Not every job in the kitchen requires a large volume cup and a big heavy machine. Often, a smaller food processor is the best and fastest solution, and one that you will get the most use out of. Even if you are blessed with an abundance of cabinet space, the sheer act of unboxing and setting up a very large machine (nevermind also cleaning it and putting it all away) can be a deterrent for small daily food prep jobs.

Most small batch daily cooking requires small portions. Whether mincing onions and garlic, making sauces and dressings, or dicing up nuts, often the portions you are working with are small. Smaller portion food processors are also typically more budget-friendly, so it is useful to consider this type of food processor if you anticipate you will be most likely using the machine for these small daily jobs.

Best small food processor: KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper

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Compact, everyday use model with dishwasher safe parts.

This KitchenAid food chopper with a 3.5-cup bowl is a quick way to simplify your kitchen prep with 2 speeds and a pulse button to control the size of chopping. The small size makes this easy to store and use for everyday jobs. This chopper is available in more than a dozen colorways to easily coordinate with your kitchen aesthetic.

Should your device perform more than one function?

If space is a concern, and convenience a must, then it makes sense to invest in a food processor that can fill multiple roles in your kitchen prep. Beyond just processing food or making juice, some devices can surprise with additional functionality that quickly takes them from helpful to necessary. So many people miss out on culinary adventures simply because the prep seems so daunting—but a processor that makes any step along the way easier will open doors.

It’s not easy to find a device that does many things, much less many things well, but those that do typically prioritize user-friendliness, and convenient cleanup. These are important considerations as a lack of either one will make just the thought of reaching for your processor a chore, and that defeats the purpose.

Best versatile food processor: Ninja SS201 Foodi Power Pitcher 4-in-1 Device

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Don’t waste more counter-space if you can get one device that performs multiple cooking functions.

Meet your new kitchen assistant. The Ninja SS201 not only handles food processing and juicing, but it can also crush and chop, and make dough. The accessories are dishwasher safe, and it comes with its own cleaning brush for more stubborn ingredients—plus there are 6 pre-set Auto-IQ programs that switch between jobs with a simple button push.

FAQs

The best food processors should be durable, sized appropriately, easy to use, and powerful enough to handle your home kitchen prep work. Consider the following frequently asked questions to help determine which model of food processor is the right choice for your kitchen.

Q: How do I determine how much power I need for my food processor?

Typically, food processors range in power from 500W to 1000W. A rule of thumb is 700W and above should handle most jobs. Smaller, easier jobs consisting of softer foods do perfectly well at the low end of the power wattage spectrum. On the higher end (wattage closer to and above 1000W), you get more professional quality. With a higher power motor, the processor should be able to handle even the most difficult kitchen prep, including tough fruits and veggies, frozen items, and dough.

Q: What size food processor should I buy?

Typically, food processors range in power from 500W to 1000W. A rule of thumb is 700W and above should handle most jobs. Smaller, easier jobs consisting of softer foods do perfectly well at the low end of the power wattage spectrum. On the higher end (wattage closer to and above 1000W), you get more professional quality. With a higher power motor, the processor should be able to handle even the most difficult kitchen prep, including tough fruits and veggies, frozen items, and dough.

Q: What type of blades and attachments do I need?

The best food processors can handle a wide variety of kitchen prep jobs. Across the board, any food processor will offer an S-shaped blade for chopping, and a disk for grating and slicing. Higher-end models will offer better quality blades that will remain sharp for years of use. In terms of extras, some food processors come with a dough blade, juicing attachment, and specialized julienne disks.

Q: How can I find a food processor that is easy to use?

Ease of use will make you more likely to enjoy your food processor and more likely that you will actually use it frequently. Fewer controls to navigate makes a unit easier to use—so if convenience is key, you really don’t need much more than an on and off switch and pulse function. Dishwasher-safe parts will also be easier as it will make your clean up quicker.

Best affordable food processor: What you get for under $50

There are options for budget food processors with some choices in the below $50 range. Typically if you don’t need a large capacity bowl, professional-level power, and a lot of bells and whistles, you can purchase with confidence in this range. The Hamilton Beach 8-Cup Compact Food Processor offers a moderate-sized bowl capacity of 8 cups, which should be good for home chefs that don’t often cook for large crowds. The plus side of a small machine is also the ease of storage in your cabinets. This processor offers a basic 450W of power and the ability to alternate between low and higher speeds. Two blade options allow for a reversible disc that will slice and shed, and an S-blade that will puree, mix and chop. This budget choice is a good basic tool to assist in common cooking recipes that require slicing, shredding, and pureeing.

The bottom line on shopping for the best food processor

Your cooking preparation will be faster and more professional with the right food processing machine. The best food processors can offer you a plethora of chopping and slicing options, along with extra time to enjoy your meal. Whether you want professional-level power and the ability to cook for a crowd, or a small time-saving machine for your countertop there are many quality options to consider. You just need to decide which one will fit your lifestyle and fit into your kitchen.