The Best Food Processor Buying Guide With Reviews 2018

cuisinart-dfp-14bcny-food-processor
Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY

Whether you are just learning to cook, are time-crunched when preparing meals, or consider yourself a foodie who’s favorite pastime is tinkering in the kitchen, food processors are incredibly handy tools to have on hand. Available in a variety of sizes and often with a slew of additional functions, these workhorses can help with everything from chopping nuts and mirepoix, to slicing and shredding veggies as well as pureeing things like sauces, hummus, nut butters, vinaigrettes, and more. With so many different models and features available it can be tricky to decide which food processor is best for you. We’re here to help! Our guide is the one stop shop for everything you need to know during the buying process, including the results of our testing and reviews of some of the best food processors available on Amazon. We also cover how to decide which type food processor would best suit your needs and the features that matter the most.

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REALSIMPLE'S FAVORITE PLACES TO BUY HOME APPLIANCES

6 OF OUR FAVORITE Food Processors
1 BEST OVERALL

Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY

cuisinart-dfp-14bcny-food-processor Photo by amazon.com

This classic model still does an incredible job and is one of the best choices for most home cooks. It has a huge 14-cup capacity that easy handles a variety of kitchen tasks from perfectly even and fast chopping or shredding to mixing up double batches of your favorite dough. With a quiet but strong 720 watt motor, extra large feed tube, responsive pulse feature, sharp blades, and a simple to understand setup and design the Cuisinart 14 Cup Food Processor delivers near professional results. It was also one of the few models that didn’t leak liquids! We found this food processor to be easy to clean and easy to store with only two disks for shredding and slicing vs a multitude of complicated attachments. Here at Real Simple we’re always big fans of staying organized–Cusinart even offers disk storage containers to keep things tidy. One downside, there are no adjustments for thickness in slicing which is a feature that some find handy. This is also the largest model in our roundup so you’ll want to make sure you have space to store it for easy access.

2 BEST VALUE

Hamilton Beach Stack and Snap 70725

stack-snap-food-processor Photo by amazon.com

With a uniquely simple design unlike other food processors, a large 12 cup capacity bowl, and slicing and shredding disks at a phenomenal price; the Hamilton Beach Stack and Snap is our Best Value food processor. The “Stack and Snap” design eliminates awkward twisting, turning and locking mechanisms for the bowl and top and to make setup fast and super simple. It also offers two speeds, a pulse function, and a handy pour spout on the bowl to reduce messy drips. It performed fairly well in our tests although we did need to scrape down the sides of the bowl pretty frequently for even pureeing. This model’s “Big Mouth” feed tube enables you to process larger foods and make kitchen prep even faster by reducing pre-cutting. Another clever feature, the disc attachment is reversible and labeled, which makes setup much less confusing than other food processors and minimized the number of extra parts. We’re also fans of the tidy cord storage and stay-in-place suction cups on the bottom. With only a 450-watt motor we’re a little concerned about the longevity of this food processor. But if you’re on a budget or don’t plan to be using it too frequently we think it makes a fantastic choice.

3 BEST MIDSIZE FREQUENT USE

KitchenAid KFP0722ER

kitchenaid-kfp0722er-food-processor Photo by amazon.com

While many manufacturers offer inexpensive mini food processors we found the KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Mini Food Processor to be the sturdiest and highest quality of the lot. It chopped vegetables quicker and more evenly than other models and has additional helpful features too. For example, most basic mini chops don’t offer a way to slowly add liquid ingredients for emulsified preparations like vinaigrettes and mayonnaise as this KitchenAid food processor does in the “Drizzle Basin” on the lid. In addition, it has two speeds as well as a pulse function and a convenient wind up cord. This model is the perfect option for singles or small families, those with limited kitchen storage or counter space, people who don’t want to invest in a higher priced machine, or who simply don’t cook very often and just want to be able to quickly chop or puree small amounts of ingredients. It’s also available in 12 bright colors to add a little cheer to your kitchen prep. So while you can’t knead bread or shred ingredients in it this model will serve you well for quick small-batch kitchen prep tasks

4 BEST DESIGN

Breville Sous Chef 12-Cup Food Processor

breville-sous-chef-food-processor Photo by amazon.com

With a modern look, simple assembly and a plethora of thoughtful, upscale design features we recommend the Breville Sous Chef 12-cup food processor for Best Design. The unique variable slicing disc has 24 precise settings from paper thin (0.3mm) to thick cut (8.0mm) to let this model serve as an easy and safer to use mandolin for perfectly sliced potato chips and more. A robust 1000W motor is the strongest of all food processors we tested with an extremely generous 10 year motor warranty - so wearing it out won’t be an issue. This model performed very well in all our testing with its extremely sharp blades but the thoughtful design features were what really won us over. For example - the work bowl slides smoothly into place, pours perfectly, and doesn’t have a hole at the bottom center, making it easier to empty and clean with no leaking. The feed chute offers three different sizes to accommodate evenly feeding foods straight against the attachment disks for perfect slices. The smallest feed tube is also a measuring cup so you can measure and add directly into the bowl. One small quirk, this model can handle 12 cups of solid ingredients but can only handle 8½ cups of liquids. It’s also a splurge price-wise and the most expensive food processor in our roundup. But if high design and high performance are things you value, you won’t be disappointed with this food processor.

To note: An XL 16 cup Pro version of the Sous Chef is also very highly rated and popular in online reviews–but at over $100 more in cost and a whopping 10lbs heavier it requires a significant investment in cash and storage space!

5 BEST MINI MULTIFUNCTION

Ninja Precision Processor With Auto-Spiralizer

ninja-precision-processor-auto-spiralizer Photo by amazon.com

If you don’t own a mini chop and spiralized veggies are a frequent ingredient in your cooking the Ninja Precision Process and Spiral is a fantastic food processor choice for you. With all the features of a mini food processor plus a unique add-on spiralizer attachment, this reasonably priced model will serve double-duty in your kitchen. A 3.5 cup work bowl and Ninja’s unique multiple blade make quick work of chopping small batches of nuts, veggies, and also pureeing everything from sauces to salad dressings. A small opening in the lid lets you add liquid while processing. This model’s big differentiator is the included “Auto-Spiralizer” that easily produces piles of spiralized vegetables and fruits. It even offers two unique spiralizer disks for both thinner spaghetti and flatter/thicker fettucine. Suction cups at the 400-watt base keep the machine stable while in use and a handy included brush makes it easy to clean nooks and crannies (the parts are also dishwasher safe). It’s smaller work bowl size means you’ll have to work in batches if you’re cooking for a crowd. It also took a little fiddling to set this food processor up the first few times we used it, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be churning out zoodles in no time.

6 BEST MINI CHOP

KitchenAid Mini Chop

kitchenaid-mini-food-processor Photo by amazon.com
While many manufacturers offer inexpensive mini food processors we found the KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Mini Food Processor to be the sturdiest and highest quality of the lot. It chopped vegetables quicker and more evenly than other models and has additional helpful features too. For example, most basic mini chops don’t offer a way to slowly add liquid ingredients for emulsified preparations like vinaigrettes and mayonnaise as this KitchenAid food processor does in the “Drizzle Basin” on the lid. In addition, it has two speeds as well as a pulse function and a convenient wind up cord. This model is the perfect option for singles or small families, those with limited kitchen storage or counter space, people who don’t want to invest in a higher priced machine, or who simply don’t cook very often and just want to be able to quickly chop or puree small amounts of ingredients. It’s also available in 12 bright colors to add a little cheer to your kitchen prep. So while you can’t knead bread or shred ingredients in it this model will serve you well for quick small-batch kitchen prep tasks.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A Food Processor

The Right Food Processor For You

Choosing the best food processor for your needs can feel a bit overwhelming. You may already own an older or smaller model and are trying to decide if you should upgrade to a model with newer features. Or maybe you’re simply looking to add a food processor to your repertoire to help with kitchen prep.  The main things to consider and help narrow the field are what capacity food processor you need, which functions matter most to you, and how much you’re willing to invest.

Size

A first step is to determine the volume of food you’ll want to be able to process in one batch as well as where you’ll want to store your food processor. No matter what size you decide on it’s important to keep it somewhere handy for easy access so it will get plenty of use!  If you frequently need to process small batches of ingredients, you might want to consider getting a mini food processor - even if you have a full-size version. A mini model will handle smaller quantities more efficiently, and its smaller size means it’s easier to move around, store, and clean.  They’re perfect for little jobs like chopping one onion, making a cup of dressing or pesto, or chopping nuts.  If you’ll be cooking for larger groups of people, making multiple batches of dough, or want a food processor that can handle additional tasks like grating and slicing you’ll want to go with a larger model with a bigger work bowl. Our tip: It’s always best to go up a bit in bowl size if you’re not sure to enable added cooking flexibility.

Cooking Tasks

It’s important to consider what types of cooking tasks you’d ideally want your food processor to help with.  A food processor is the best tool for quickly chopping and pureeing things that would be more tedious to do by hand.  Some models offer additional features like grating, spiralized vegetable options and variable width blades that mimic the slicing of a mandolin. Food processors are also wonderful for blending soft or wet ingredients like tomatoes for batches of pasta sauce, making pizza dough, or for preparing homemade mayonnaise and vinaigrettes.

Budget

Prices for food processors vary wildly from $20 for budget mini-chops sold at the supermarket to upwards of $400 for luxury models. There is plenty of value available in between— especially if you won’t be using your food processor very often. Considering how much you’re willing to spend will let you get the biggest bang for your buck feature and size wise and help winnow down the models that might be the best fit for you.  Some low priced large models deliver a weak performance, feel unstable, and make a lot of noise.  However, you can spend as little as $50 for a high quality mini chop that will do a fantastic professional-level job for you.

What to Look for in a Food Processor?

At its most basic, a food processor consists of a work bowl sitting on a motorized shaft that spins an S-shaped blade in the bowl for chopping. But a host of other features are important and should be considered as you decide on the best food processor for you.

Feature Description
Blade Performance How sharp the blades are and how evenly they chop, mince, process, slice, or grate.
Additional Functions Many models offer unique “nice to have” functions beyond just a chopping blade.
Feeding Mechanism How and when the food processor allows you to add foods to the processing bowl.
Stability/Safety How securely the top latches on, whether there’s bouncing and movement on the counter, how neatly excess cords can be stored when in use.
Motor Strength A strong motor for less seizing and to quickly power through high volume foods or for frequent use.
Ease of Use Your food processor should be simple to assemble, run, cleanup, and store.
Capacity The amount of processed food a model can handle, both solid and liquid.

Blade Performance

The best models should have blades sharp enough to chop vegetables and herbs evenly without puree-ing them, grate cheese uniformly, slice cleanly, and finely grind bread crumbs, nuts, and other dry ingredients. That means the blades and grating disks need to be sharp out of the box and remain sharp over years of use. They should also be able to mix liquid and soft ingredients evenly without “mixing gaps” between the blade and the bowl to avoid the need for constantly stopping and scraping the sides or leaving part of your mixture unblended.

Additional Functions

Many food processors offer a host of additional functions beyond a single-speed chop. Pulse buttons or speed adjustments are helpful to slowly and safely chop to the desired granularity. Extra blades to shred, grate, slice, julienne, and spiralize are also often offered. Some models even allow for adjustments of width/thickness of slicing and shape/size of grate or spiralized vegetable, even while processing. Other models come with nesting work bowls to essentially serve as both mini chop and full sized food processor in one. Some even offer juicing attachments with work bowls that serve as measuring cups featuring easy-pour spouts.

Feeding Mechanism

Most high quality food processors have a lid for the bowl with a feed tube for inserting food to be chopped, diced, sliced, ground, pureed, or even kneaded (in the case of dough). Feed tubes with adjustable sizes allow you to easily add long or large ingredients like carrots or potatoes and keep them upright against spinning blades for clean and precise cuts. A mechanism for adding liquids through the lid while the machine is processing is a huge plus. You’ll often need to drizzle oil, water, or other liquids into dry or wet mixtures while processing to create a smooth finish.

Stability/Safety

High-quality food processors have strong motors and solid bases that anchor them to the counter so that they can mix heavy yeasted doughs and other thick foods without jumping aruond. Some smaller models have suction cups to help keep them still on the counter. Many food processors also have safety locking mechanisms in the lid—they won’t allow the machine to be started while the blade is exposed. Some models feature gaskets or sealed work bowls to keep wet ingredients from leaking out and splashing you or the counter while processing.

Motor Strength

The number of watts of the motor determines the strength of the food processor. Weaker models tend to seize up or stop when they try to process heavy foods like double batches of dough or hard cheese. They’ll also wear out more easily with regular use and make a lot more noise when they’re processing.

Ease of Use

You want a food processor with intuitive and clear controls, simple assembly and bowl/lid locking mechanisms, and easy cleanup. Dishwasher safe parts are a must. A mechanism to store accessories is wonderful to keep things organized and handy for use while a cord winder keeps counters tidy. One of the best ways to assess the ease of use of a particular model is to read food processor reviews online.

BOTTOM LINE

A food processor is a fantastic time-and-effort saving prep tool for just about any kitchen, no matter the size of your space or how frequently you think you’ll need it. And once you start using your food processor to speed through kitchen prep you’ll wonder what you did without one! With such a wide variety of sizes and features at a range of price points there’s sure to be a model that suits your needs. The time you’ll save preparing ingredients, the ability to easily and less expensively make so many dishes yourself, and not needing to purchase costly pre shredded, grated, and sliced ingredients will quickly make your investment worthwhile.