processor is a kitchen must-have -- no matter what size your kitchen
Food processors have long been a favorite kitchen appliance for chopping
and dicing veggies, whipping up dips and puréeing sauces. They also excel at
emulsions and, with the right blade attachments, they can save cooks time on
tasks like mixing and kneading dough, shredding potatoes, grating cheese, or
grinding meat. Some even have specialty discs for making French fries or for
ultra-fine veggie slices. Regardless of what you do in the kitchen, we can
guarantee that a food processor will save you some time.
Types of Food Processors
Full-Sized Food Processors
These kitchen workhorses typically have a capacity of 7 to 20 cups, and most come with a variety of blades and discs to handle just about any food prep task. This includes shredding discs for grating carrots or shredding potatoes, cutting discs for slicing, hooks for mixing dough, and, of course, several different blades for chopping, mincing, mixing and pureeing.
Mini Food Processors
Some of these little guys -- usually about a 2- to 5-cup capacity -- can outperform their big brothers when it comes to chopping and mincing. However, they just don't hold as much, and the smallest of them won't accommodate slicing or shredding discs. Mini food processors are often lumped-in with food choppers (see below), but they do more than just chop.
Some food choppers are small electric appliances -- not very powerful; just enough to dice up an onion or grind some nuts. However, many of the most popular are manual devices that you turn a crank to grind, or "slap" with your hand to chop up your ingredients on a cutting board. They make short work of small quantities of nuts, herbs, peppers and other foods when you just need a cup or less to toss into a recipe or salad. Casual cooks and those with poor knife skills love them for quickly and evenly dicing and mincing. They're particularly popular with people who don't like the tears that come from dealing with onions.
December 2016 Cuisinart recall
As this report was being prepared, Cuisinart issued
a voluntary recall of about 8 million food processors due to a faulty blade.
This followed reports of the blade cracking and breaking off into food. The
recall includes only some S-shaped blades with four rivets. Many models, even if
they have riveted blades, are not affected. If you're buying a new Cuisinart
food processor, you have nothing to worry about. If you have an older model,
you can check to see if yours is part of the recall at the Cuisinart website.
All of the Cuisinart food processors we recommend in this report have the newer
Do you need a food processor, or a different
Most of the complaints we found across the
board about food processors are that they don't perform well in processing recipes
that require a lot of liquids, like soups, salad dressings, milkshakes, drinks,
etc. They splatter and leak, users say. We largely discount these types of user
complaints when evaluating food processor feedback because they're not a fair
criticism -- food processors aren't really made for those types of jobs. If you
want an appliance that can puree soups and make milkshakes or thin sauces, you
want a good blender, and we cover those in our blender report. If you
just need to process fairly small amounts of liquids, say, individual cups of
soup or a single shake, see our report on immersion blenders. And, if
you want to make smoothies or juice drinks, you'll love our report on juicers.
Finding The Best Food Processors
"Food Processors and Choppers"
"The Best Food Processor"
To make our top picks in food processors, we analyzed the results of
professional tests from experts at ConsumerReports.org, Cook's Illustrated, TheSweethome.com
and TopTenReviews.com. They all thoroughly test food processors, seeing how
evenly and quickly they chop, mince, puree, grate and mix. They also give
feedback on noise and the stability of the unit while it's working. In
addition, we give quite a bit of weight to owner reviews because they are the
best resource for learning about real-world performance and long-term
durability. We pored over hundreds -- sometimes thousands -- of owner reviews
for each of the food processors we chose, weeding out feedback that was clearly
less helpful, and focused on trends -- both complimentary and critical. This
gave us a consensus of the opinions offered by thoughtful, knowledgeable users
that was extremely helpful in finalizing our selections. The results of our
research are our picks for the best food processors for every type of cook and
every size kitchen.
The best food processor
If you're like most people, you'll probably only use a few basic
attachments with your food processor, which is why the (Est. $200) is our top pick. It has a generous, 14-cup capacity and is simple but versatile
enough for most kitchens. The DFP-14BCNY includes a chopping blade and discs
for slicing and grating. Although it does not include a smaller bowl, in
professional tests its well-designed blades were able to handle even small
quantities without splattering or pulverizing them. If you need more tools, additional
attachments are available for this Cuisinart so you can customize it to your
needs. In fact, this food processor is also often referred to as the Cuisinart
In professional tests the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY performs very well in
every job it's given, getting particular kudos for handling pie crust and
cookie dough -- two very tough tasks for a food processor. However, it also
gets top marks for chopping vegetables, pureeing, shredding, slicing and
grinding. It's worth noting, though, that to process larger, bulkier items, you
will need to first chop them into manageable pieces so that they fit into the
feed tube. Also, as with the vast majority of food processors, all of the
machine's components must be fit together properly for the processor to turn on
-- this is necessary to ensure safe operation.
In spite of its large capacity, the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY has a smaller
footprint that comparably-sized food processors. Despite that, the Cuisinart is
described as extremely sturdy and durable; this food processor has been around
for years, and we saw very few complaints of breakage or other durability
issues, even over the long term. Many users who have owned the DFP-14BCNY for
many years say it has held up well over heavy use and is still going strong.
Experts agree that, for less than $200, this Cuisinart is a great value that
will go the distance.
If you don't need a 14-cup food processor, the 11-cup (Est. $160) is also an excellent performer in
professional tests, and users back up those results, saying it performs very
well in every task you set for it, including grating, slicing and shredding.
Bakers say it easily mixes even thick dough. If even 11 cups is more capacity
than you need, two smaller models -- the (Est. $135) and the (Est. $100) -- get similarly
All of these Cuisinart food processors are easy to use, come with a good
variety of discs, blades, pushers and covers, and all parts are dishwasher
safe. Like the Cuisinart DFP-14BCN, they are also highly durable machines,
which is a good thing because the one complaint we see over and over with Cuisinart
is that dealing with customer service can be a real pain -- the biggest blot on
an otherwise excellent overall record. None are affected by the December 2016 Cuisinart
heavy-duty food processor comes with lots of extras
If money is no object, you may want to check out the 14-cup (Est. $400). The BFP800XL is a top pick by more
experts than the Cuisinart, and gets equally good reviews by users. It also
comes with more accessories, like a second, smaller processing bowl -- which is
a great extra, so you don't have to dirty the large bowl when you just have a
small job -- a slicing disc; julienne disc; french fry disc; reversible
shredding disc; whisking disc; mini blade; dough blade; and cleaning, scraping
and storage extras. Reviewers say it slices with much more precision than the
The Breville BFP800XL food
processor is the stainless steel version, it also comes in cranberry red as the (Est. $400) and in black sesame as the (Est. $380). New for this year: a smaller (12-cup)
and less-expensive version of the Sous Chef, the (Est. $250). It gets reviews that are as good as its big brother,
although not as many, of course, since it hasn't been on the market long.
Still, if you want a heavy-duty food processor, but don't need the giant
capacity of the 14-cup Breville BFP800XL, the BFP660SIL is a great choice that
will save you a few bucks. However, it also comes with many fewer accessories,
just a blade and slicing/grating disc.
A good food processor can cost less than dinner for two
Although most top-rated, full-sized food processors cost at
least $100, we discovered one model that's very inexpensive yet still earns good
recommendations from users and professional reviewers: the 10-cup (Est. $60). Owners say it's easy
to use and clean, and has a large enough capacity for most kitchens, but takes
up a lot less space than most comparable food processors. This is due to a
unique design where the lid flips over to store right on the jar.
The Hamilton Beach 70760
has a fairly large feed tube, which helps cut back on prep
work -- you can put larger-sized items in without a lot of pre-chopping. This
food processor is pretty basic -- it includes a chopping blade and reversible
slide/shred disc, but most reviewers say that simplicity is one of the reason
they chose this model. The 70760 is not as powerful as a more expensive food
processor, but if you only use a food processor occasionally, or just for
chopping veggies or nuts, or making salsa -- jobs that don't require a lot of
power anyway -- this will do fine. The only real complaints we saw was that
it's noisy, and a few say it broke down within the first year, although,
considering its ultra-low price, there are very, very few of those reports.
It's not a dedicated food processor, but the (Est. $90) is an intriguing, fairly new, addition to the food
processor world. This is actually a blender with food processor and smoothie
attachments, and it's the only sub-$150 food processor to earn a Recommended
nod from ConsumerReports.org in their latest roundup. It's a smaller food
processor -- just five cups -- but it earns scores of Very Good for chopping,
slicing, shredding and pureeing, and an Excellent score for grating. This is
the smallest-capacity food processor we saw that includes discs for slicing and
shredding --- you usually don't see that in a food processor with a capacity of
less than seven cups.
While it can be a bit difficult to separate owner reviews specific
to the food processor attachment, those we found were mostly positive, with
users saying it makes quick, efficient work of slicing and shredding veggies
and herbs, as well as chopping nuts. The blender gets good feedback too, as
does the 20-ounce personal smoothie jar. All-in-all, if you don't need a food
processor with a ton of capacity or for heavy-duty tasks like mixing dough,
this could be an all-in-one appliance that adds a lot of value to your food
prep life. And if you just need a dedicated blender, be sure to head over to
our blenders report and check out our top pick there, the (Est. $200).