Professional-grade appliance. Large feed chute. Handy accessory box.
Not as much speed flexibility as some other models, but a wide array of blades compensate for this.
Great for smoothies. Inexpensive.
Not as powerful as some competitors (400 watts); designed primarily for making smoothies.
Light and compact. Ten-cup capacity. Easy to use and convenient to store.
500-watt motor is of average quality. A small percentage of product failures.
Enormous food chute. Comes with a variety of user-friendly blades and accessories. Very generous warranty.
Heavier than cheaper models, but for most consumers, it still fits on the counter top.
A little powerhouse that doesn't take much space to operate or store. Has a handy drizzle basin for liquid concoctions. Comes in numerous fun colors.
Not for large portions, but this is a plus for some cooks. The lid is awkward to take off, put on, and tighten securely. A bit pricey for such a small model.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Between work and family, most of us don’t have time to slice a bunch of vegetables and other ingredients by hand for dinner every night. Before you throw up your hands and order pizza again, consider a food processor.
Food processors chop, slice, grind, and purée a wide variety of foods. If you purchase a higher-end food processor, you can also use it to juice fruits and vegetables, beat egg whites, mix cake batter, and knead dough.
With so many food processors on the market, it can be difficult to find the model that’s right for you. What size is best? How powerful should the motor be? Which accessories make a difference?
If you’re ready to purchase a new food processor, check out our top five recommendations in the matrix above. For an in-depth look at how to choose the best food processor for you, read our full shopping guide below.
For anyone who regularly cooks at home, a food processor is a great investment.
When preparing meals with fresh vegetables or other ingredients that require chopping, slicing, mincing, or shredding, a food processor saves you valuable time. It’s also handy for making homemade salsas and dips.
A food processor grates cheese, too, so you can purchase blocks of cheese instead of more expensive pre-shredded bags. You can also use a food processor to mix your own mayonnaise, salad dressings, and gravies. In many cases, you can whip up cream-based fillings for desserts, too.
Susan Sano Tuveson has been cooking for people for five decades. Educated in music, law, and languages, she left her legal practice to establish Cacao Chocolates in Kittery, Maine. A three-time Best of Seacoast New England winner, the shop was popular for its high-quality artisanal truffles flavored with unusual local ingredients.
There are two main types of food processors: full-size food processors and small food choppers.
A food chopper has a smaller capacity and less power than a full-size food processor.
As a result, food choppers usually cost less and take up less space on your countertop.
A full-size food processor is probably what comes to mind when you think of a food processor.
It can easily chop and slice vegetables, grate cheese, and purée dips.
Some models have more advanced capabilities, such as kneading bread dough or juicing fruits and vegetables.
The Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor comes with two bowls: a small bowl with a capacity of 2.5 cups and a large bowl with a capacity of 16 cups. The 16-cup bowl, which translates to 128 ounces, reflects the serious capabilities of this machine. When it comes to chopping and shredding, the Breville has three different blades and a total of five disks, all housed in a box that's been cleverly designed to sit on its side if necessary, to take up minimal space in your cupboard.
The best size for your food processor’s bowl or jar depends entirely on how large your family is or how many people you usually cook for. In general, it’s best to choose a bowl that holds at least nine cups.
However, if you routinely cook for groups larger than four, or if you like to make large batches of food that you can freeze, opt for a model with a bowl that holds 11 to 14 cups. In that same vein, if you’re only cooking for one or using the processor to make small amounts of food, a bowl that holds three cups is usually sufficient.
When you’re looking at food processor bowls, consider choosing a model with a maximum liquid line. This will keep you from adding too much liquid to the machine and causing leaks.
When it comes to chopping, slicing, and shredding, a food processor doesn’t need major power to get the job done. However, if you plan to use the appliance for other tasks, such as kneading dough, you’ll need a motor that’s stronger.
If you only plan to use your food processor for basic tasks, a 500- to 600-watt motor has all the power you need. For kneading dough, grinding meat, and other heavy-duty jobs, look for a food processor with a 700-watt or higher motor.
Food processors typically come with different blades to handle different tasks.
Most include an S-shaped blade for chopping, mincing, and puréeing, as well as a slicing and grating blade.
If you plan to use your food processor to make dough, you’ll want a plastic blade for kneading.
As often happens with reasonably priced, good-quality machines, there is not one single element of the Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor that sets it apart from the rest. Rather, it's all the elements together that make this product a fantastic buy. Some owners rave about the juicer, some praise its reliability, some can't get over the variable speeds and ease of cleaning. Add all these features up and you've got a top food processor — at an excellent price.
A food processor has a chute that allows you to add food to the bowl while the appliance is running.
Choose a model with a wide food chute. You can put large chunks of vegetables and other foods through a wide chute, and you won’t have to cut your ingredients beforehand.
Most food processors have three settings: on, off, and pulse. The pulse setting allows you to turn on the machine for brief periods so you don’t over chop, purée, or grind your ingredients.
However, some food processors have additional speed settings to accommodate heavy-duty tasks. If you plan to use your appliance for more than chopping, puréeing, and grating, look for a model with extra speeds.
Food processors either have levers, buttons, or digital touchpads for controls.
Levers and buttons are easy to use, though they can be difficult to clean if spills occur.
A touchpad is just as user-friendly, and it’s extremely easy to wipe clean after use. For this reason, it may be worth the extra investment.
Some food processors come with work bowls in several sizes, so you can process different ingredients without having to stop and wash the bowl. Depending on how you plan to use your food processor, you may want a model equipped with a juicer and/or whipping attachment.
For the most versatile food processor, choose a model that has special settings to do blender jobs like making smoothies and crushing ice.
When processing hard items, drop the food into the jar through the tube. This will prevent the hard items from getting stuck underneath the blades before you even start processing.
If you want a food processor that’s easy to clean, make sure the bowl and blades are dishwasher safe so you don’t have to clean them by hand.
Remember, the blades of your food processor will not remain sharp forever. In fact, blades usually dull out way before the motor goes bad. So replace your blades every couple of years at least.
The wide food chute is one clear advantage of the Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor. Such a big "pusher" can sometimes be a drawback if you're working with finer ingredients, but the Breville includes a small pusher as well (it doubles as a measuring cup). The manufacturer has also taken safety and spillages into account with the silicon-sealed bowl that locks into the machine.
Food processors are available at a variety of price points, depending on the size and power of the appliance.
A full-size food processor that can chop, slice, and shred large quantities of food will set you back between $99 and $380.
You can purchase a mid-size food processor for $50 to $99.
For a small food chopper, expect to pay between $30 and $40.
Don’t fill up the food processor’s bowl before placing it on the base. The blade won’t fit properly. Set the bowl on the base with the blade in place, then fill the bowl.
Always cool any cooked foods before placing them in a food processor. If the ingredients are hot, they can discolor and melt the plastic section of the blade.
Never fill the food processor more than half full with liquid. If there’s too much liquid, it can seep or splash out the sides when you turn the processor on.
For consistency and even blending of foods, roughly chop up food items before putting them in the food processor’s jar.
Remember to scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl when you’re puréeing or chopping. Ingredients can stick to the sides and not get puréed or chopped with the rest of the food, leaving you with uneven results.
While you may think mainly of chopping and slicing veggies in your food processor, don’t overlook it when you need help with sweets. A food processor can break up cookies and graham crackers into crumbs for pie crusts and toppings, whip up cheesecake batter, and chop nuts quickly and effectively.
Don’t fill a food processor’s jar all the way to the brim. Ideally, you should fill it to three-fourths of its capacity and then process.
For the best results, choose a food processor with stainless steel blades. They are the most durable and offer the best performance.
Q. Do I need a food processor if I already have a blender?
A. While there’s some overlap between what a food processor and a blender can do depending on what models you have, a blender is typically meant for blending recipes that contain a significant amount of liquid. A food processor is meant for chopping, slicing, and grating solid items. You can’t replace a food processor with a basic blender.
Q. What determines how well a food processor chops?
A. A food processor’s pulse speed plays the biggest role in how well it chops. The pulse needs to be strong enough to move the ingredients around the bowl but short enough that it doesn’t completely pulverize the food.
Q. How can I tell if a food processor will be easy to store?
A. For convenience, it’s best to keep your food processor on your countertop. However, if you plan to stash it in a cabinet, the size of its base and bowl are the biggest factors in how easy it will be to store.
Mini food choppers are usually the easiest to store. With full-size models, look for one that comes with a case for its blades and attachments so you don’t have to store them loose in a drawer or cabinet.