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.
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 Consumer Reports, Cook's Illustrated, Wirecutter,
Reviews.com, Good Housekeeping, Serious Eats and Top Ten Reviews. 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
In addition to seeing what the experts have to say, 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. 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
The Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY is the top pick at Wirecutter, Reviews.com, Top
Ten Reviews, and at a well-respected professional test kitchen; it's also the
budget pick at Serious Eats. In testing the 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
As with the vast majority of food processors, all of the Cuisinart's components
must be fit together properly for the processor to turn on -- this is necessary
to ensure safe operation. However, some owners find lining everything up just
so to be a sometimes finicky process. Others note that you have to use the
various attachments a few times to learn how everything fits together. Still,
reading the instructions and getting comfortable with the assembly and
disassembly of the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY goes a long way toward easing that
The Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 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. $155) 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. $150) 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
(top rack only for plastic, though). 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.
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. $400). If you don't need a 14-cup food
processor, the (Est. $300) is a smaller
(12-cup) and less-expensive version of the Sous Chef. It gets reviews that are
as good as its big brother, but 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 testers: the 10-cup (Est. $40). It's the budget pick at Reviews.com,
earns a 5-star rating at Good Housekeeping (with no "cons" noted),
and lands about middle-of-the-pack after testing at Consumer Reports.
One issue that drives pretty much everyone crazy when it
comes to food processors (especially Cuisinart models) is that everything has
to be lined up perfectly, an often finicky assembly process, before the motor
will engage. The Hamilton Beach 70725 "Stack
and Snap" design makes that a much simpler assembly, and the handy
function guides on the base walk you through all of the other steps.
Beyond ease of use, though experts and owners
say the Hamilton Beach 70725 is a top performer, even on challenging tasks like
chopping nuts and kneading dough. It's not quite as sturdy as some more
expensive, high-end food processors, but, for the price, it's a great choice
that will be fine for most kitchens.
The (Est. $90) is an
intriguing, fairly new, option for those that want a single appliance that does
the job of a food processor and a blender in one. It's not a dedicated food
processor, but instead a blender with food processor and smoothie attachments,
and it's the only sub-$150 "food processor" to earn a Recommended nod
from Consumer Reports. The food processor attachment doesn't have much capacity
-- 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 option 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).