6 best food processors
Chop, knead, slice and dice, whether for a meal or for decorating a dish, these multi-tasking machines need a place in your kitchen
Since “#cleaneating” has not stopped trending on social media, it’s easy to feel inspired to whip up a healthy meal at home. Often that means vegetables. And, that means, slicing, dicing and chopping. If you’re not a sous chef, however, it can either take quite a bit of time and maybe even a couple of cuts on your fingers.
To skip all that hustle and bustle, a food processor can provide a practical alternative that’s worth investing in. Prices vary, but functionality makes a big difference. A few things to consider are power, accessories, blades and versatility.
Whether you need onions chopped (say goodbye to crying a river), carrots sliced, or cheese shredded, it’ll be done with a push of a button.
These choptastic machines come in different qualities, bowls, blades and sizes, so we’ve made appetizers, entrees and desserts, swapped blade after blade and made a little bit of a mess in the kitchen, all for the sake of seeing how they performed. These six came out on top of the list.
1. Cuisinart Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor: $249.95, Williams Sonoma
The first thing to keep in mind with this one is its size and weight. The 13-cup bowl and the base of the machine aren’t something you can squeeze in to tight spaces, and with its 21lbs, it’s among the heavier food processors. Plus, there are several accessories included in the storage case such as an adjustable slicing disc, a reversible shredding disc (for medium or fine consistency), a dough blade, a dicing disc, a chopping blade and a cleaning tool.
As for its performance, it didn’t disappoint. The versatile functions came in handy when making veggie burgers, salsa or cookie dough and left no chunks behind.
There’s also a 4.5-cup bowl for preparing smaller portions. Also, the wide mouth can swallow whole fruits and vegetables, saving you time on pre-slicing.
A great feature we found was that the blades lock in tight, making it easier to pour the food out of the bowl without it falling out. Each part is dishwasher safe, but if you wash them by hand, be careful, because the blades are super sharp.
2. Breville Sous Chef™ Plus: $399.95, Williams Sonoma
Personally, I was never a big fan of slicing vegetables — took too much time, couldn’t cut them even and more often than not I’d end up with a band-aid on my finger. This food processor has been in constant use. The zucchini and carrot curls are a great substitute for pasta and making a Ratatouille (a French-stewed vegetable dish) has never been quicker and easier. Since I’ve never used such a multi-functional food processor before, when I opened the box, I first reached for the manual. Each blade has its own name and purpose, so I’d recommend giving it a read before you begin chopping in full gear. And, that’s all you’ve got, full gear. There’s a pulse button, but besides that it only has one speed for everything. They could’ve added a low option as well.
3. Vitamix A3500: $599.99, Williams Sonoma
If you’re looking for a hybrid food processor that can also work like a blender, this Vitamix passes the test. From making nut butters (think homemade cashew butter… yum) and blending shakes to chopping vegetables and blending soup, it’s very convenient to use. We loved its modern look and touchscreen high-tech design. The five built-in speeds each has a programmable timer, which can be set to automatically stop when blending is complete, so you don't have to monitor its progress. There’s also a pulse button that’s ideal for mincing and chopping. Something stuck on the side? No worries, it comes with a temper that makes it easier to press thicker mixtures towards the blades. The fifth program is a very convenient self-clean option. Just add water and dishwasher soap and the machine does the job for you.
4. 9-Cup Food Processor with ExactSlice™ System: $259.99, KitchenAid
If we’re talking kitchen appliances, KitchenAid is among the most reliable. I’ve used several other products from this brand before, and they’ve all had high-quality performance. This food processor whizzes just as well. With the ExactSlice™ feature you can slice vegetables thin or thick to use for not only cooking but decoration too. It seemed to have a great versatility-to-price ratio. With four different blades it’s one of the worthiest machines for your buck.
5. Hamilton Beach, 14-Cup Big Mouth Deluxe Food Processor: $79.99, Hamilton Beach
This sleek and powerful processor doesn’t come with a long list of blades, but beyond the two basics there’s one bonus you’ll love: a French fry disc. It’s a fitting choice when you want to make a large batch of fries for the whole family. You can even skip the pre-chopping as the large feeding mouth will fit a whole bell pepper or even a medium-sized potato. It’s a bit old-fashion with a twisting speed lever, but it’s nice to have three speeds to use besides pulsing.
6. Black+Decker Easy Assembly 8-Cup Food Processor: $25.92, Walmart
Compared to the other multipurpose machines, this food processor keeps it simple, hence the lower price. Instead of having confusingly many blades, it comes with the basics: an S blade for processing and mixing and a dual-sided disc for slicing and shredding. It’s easy to assemble and clean, and the blades work exceptionally. However, if you’re looking to get more creative in the kitchen, this might not be enough. Also, the mouth of the feeder tube isn’t too large, so you’ll have to pre-slice fatter fruits or vegetables in order to fit them in.
Verdict: best food processors
What you get for the price of the Hamilton Beach is absolutely worth it. It’s an ideal investment for an everyday kitchen use. The Vitamix will be your good looking best friend if you want to blend, chop and enjoy smoothies. But for more comprehensive chef work, it’s best to move on to some fancier choices that have more versatile options. Go for either the Cuisinart or the Breville. Although their performance level is very similar, and you’ll have all your food processing needs met with either product, it was the Cuisinart that made it to the top of our list.
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