How to Choose the Best Food Processor for You

by Véronique Raymond
food processor

Food processors are multi-purpose kitchen gadgets that can streamline many kitchen tasks you usually have to do manually. They are a great addition to busy households and can help budding master chefs prepare fancy, complex meals with minimal prep work. There are numerous reasons why adding a food processor to your kitchen repertoire is a good idea, but choosing one specific model can be a challenge.

With so many options to consider with various price points limiting features according to individual budgets, it’s no wonder you may want a little help finding the best food processor for you. This food processor buying guide will help you make the right choice with no guesswork.

 

What Is a Food Processor

A food processor is a kitchen appliance that handles a variety of repetitive food preparation tasks. They can handle all sorts of prep tasks including shredding, dicing, chopping, slicing, pureeing, mincing, and even kneading and grating. They add incredible versatility to your arsenal of kitchen tools without taking up much counter space or requiring multiple gadgets.

Food processors use thin circular blades called disks to switch between tasks such as shredding and pureeing. Though they can only be used on dry ingredients, they can make liquid side dishes like pesto, dips like hummus, smoothies, or soups and sauces by adding your liquids after the dry ingredients have been chopped and mixed. They are most commonly used for veggies like carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, and onions, but they can handle a variety of firm produce like potatoes and celery as well as things like cheese.

food processor

Features to Consider When Buying a Food Processor

Feed Tube Size

A food processor will have a feed tube at the top where you’ll use a pusher to push your food down to the blade inside the machine. Not all feed tubes are the same width. Mini food processors may have a feed tube that is only one inch wide, while larger countertop models may have a three-inch feed tube. Naturally, the larger the width of the feed tube, the more efficiently you can prep your ingredients since there is less prep work for larger food pieces. Sometimes, you’ll find a food processor that has multiple feed tube and pusher sizes that can adapt to all of your vegetable sizes. You should prioritize a wide feed tube both for efficiency and easier cleaning.

Ease of Cleaning

Though food processors make for a much more efficient kitchen, they do require more cleaning than the old knife and cutting board method. That said, many of the components of your food processor, including the feed tube and pusher, work bowl, and cutting blades will most likely be dishwasher safe. A good food processor will usually include the specific type of brush you need for cleaning the non-removable parts so that you can maintain your appliance safely and properly.

Versatility

The versatility of your food processor is largely determined by the number of discs included. The standard disks are the chopping blade, slicing disc, julienne blades, and shredding/grating blades. Many food processors can also knead bread dough and pizza dough with dough blades, but these usually need to be purchased separately. The most basic food processors may only have an S blade that can be used for things like slicing, chopping, and grinding, so even the smallest size food processor can still perform a number of tasks. Many blades will be reversible for maximum versatility with fewer pieces to keep track of.

Size/Cup Capacity

When choosing the size of your food processor, your family size will most likely be the biggest influence. If you’ll be making small batches for yourself or a couple, a small capacity such as 2 cups may be perfect. However, you may need a large capacity if you have a family of four or more and regularly make large batches of prepped ingredients for meals. In many cases, your food processor will have multiple bowl sizes included, which can help when you’re preparing several different food types at once in various capacities.

Another consideration you’ll need to make when choosing the size of your food processor is the size of your kitchen. A small kitchen may not have the storage space for a 14-cup food processor, while a larger kitchen would be able to accommodate that plus a variety of accessories and attachments.

Speed Options

Speed options help make your food processor more precise when handling various ingredients. A food chopper that moves too fast may mush ingredients, but operating at too low of a speed is inefficient and ineffective. Though most food processors only have one speed, some may have two. Another option to look for is a pulse setting that allows you to manually control the blade’s activity. This feature is a blessing when you’re making a chunky dish like salsa and want to carefully achieve the right consistency.

Accessories Included

Home cooks that value versatility and efficiency will want to pay special attention to the attachments and accessories included. Aside from the standard blades discussed above, there are a few extra attachments that might come in handy:

  • Potato rasp for grating parmesan, coconut, potatoes, nutmeg, and more
  • Jug blender for blending and pureeing
  • Citrus press/juicer
  • Mill for grinding coffee beans, herbs, and more
  • Whisk for beating eggs, batters, etc.
  • Multiple bowl sizes for varied food prep
  • Storage case for keeping things organized instead of loose in your cupboard

Blade Lock

The blade lock is a minor feature but can make your life a lot easier. This feature locks the blade in place so it won’t spin in circles when you’re scooping out your dry ingredients. Not only does this keep you safer but it also makes it easier to thoroughly empty out the mixing bowl.

Brand/Price

One of your main considerations when shopping for a food processor will be your budget. Though many factors influence the cost of a food processor, the brand you choose will play a part in a major way. Higher-quality brands like Cuisinart, KitchenAid, and Breville are leaders in the kitchen appliance space, and their larger food processors will set you back more than $100. Other brands like Hamilton Beach and Ninja also have more affordable options closer to $50 that are ideal for those on a tighter budget.

YOU MAY ALSO READ

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.