Best Food Processors of 2020
A food processor helps you prepare healthy, vegetable-packed meals with ease. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best food processor for your specific needs.
Any Way You Slice It, A Food Processor Is a Must-Have for the Kitchen
What if you could have a nutritious, vegetable-packed meal without having to spend 20 minutes chopping and dicing? A quality food processor is all you need to make this fantasy a reality.
Perhaps you've made the decision to buy a food processor, but you're not sure which one to choose. There's no one-size-fits-all option, as everyone needs different things from their food processor. For instance, someone who wants a food processor solely for chopping veggies is going to require a different model from someone who wants a food processor to churn peanut butter and knead bread dough.
The good news is, your team at BestReviews is here to help. We test items in our labs, perform extensive product research, consult experts, and gather information from existing owners—all so we can bring you the most thorough product reviews possible.
When you're ready to buy a food processor, please scroll up to view information about three of our favorite models. But first, read on for our full food processor shopping guide. We'll tell you all you need to know about finding the perfect food processor for your kitchen.
What Does a Food Processor Do?
Most people already know that food processors are great for chopping vegetables. But easy chopping isn't the only benefit. A food processor can also do the following:
● Knead bread
● Make emulsions, such as mayonnaise
● Mix cake or pancake batter
● Churn nut butters
● Roughly puree ingredients (for dips, sauces, etc.)
● Whip cream
● Beat egg whites
Food Processors 101: The Basic Components
You don't need to take a college course to learn food processor basics, but it does help to have a working understanding of a food processor's components.
A food processor comes with at least one bowl. When shopping for a new food processor, pay attention to bowl size, which is usually measured in cups.
Mini food processors have bowls with a capacity as small as two to four cups. This is adequate for small jobs such as mincing herbs or chopping a few cloves of garlic, but it's not ideal for chopping a large quantity of vegetables for a family dinner.
The largest food processors have bowls with a capacity of 14 to 20 cups. This is the perfect size for a home cook who's entertaining or batch-cooking, but it's not much use when you only want to chop a single onion, as small amounts of food will sit under the blades and not get thoroughly processed.
Blades and Disks
Most food processors come with a variety of blades and disks to perform different tasks.
● Standard blades are used for straightforward chopping and pureeing tasks.
● Blunt blades are used for kneading dough.
● Juicer and blender blades are used for liquefying ingredients.
● Most food processors also come with disks for tasks such as slicing, shredding, and julienning.
● A food processor with multiple blades and disks will also likely include paddles or beaters for beating egg whites and whipping cream.
Food processors have either analogue controls—knobs, dials, switches—or digital touchpad controls. While there's no difference in performance, we prefer touchpad controls, as they're much easier to clean. To clean a digital touchpad, you simply wipe the surface with a cloth; there are no nooks and crannies in which spilled ingredients can get stuck.
The chute, or "food tube," allows you to feed ingredients into your food processor without having to stop the engine and remove the lid.
● Basic food processors tend to have small chutes; you must chop larger fruits and vegetables before you can insert them.
● Some high-end food processors have extra-large chutes; you can add large tomatoes and whole onions to your food processor without having to chop them into smaller pieces first.
A food processor's power is measured in watts. The most powerful food processors have over 1,000 watts of power, whereas basic models have only 400 or 500 watts.
The more powerful your food processor is, the more efficiently it does its job.
● The blades on a food processor with a higher wattage are less likely to jam.
● It's much easier to get a smooth puree when you use a food processor with a higher wattage.
● High-wattage food processors can tackle heavy jobs (like making peanut butter) without burning out the motor.
Most consumers should look for a food processor with at least 600 watts of power. If you plan to only use it to chop veggies, however, you might be able to get away with a lower-wattage food processor.
Tips for Success
Follow these tips and you'll soon be processing food like a pro.
● Make sure you set the bowl of your food processor on the base and put the blades in place before adding ingredients. Otherwise, the blades won't sit flush.
● Pay attention to the max fill line on the food processor bowl to make sure you don't overload it with ingredients.
● When chopping dry ingredients, use the pulse button rather than running the food processor continuously. Only pulse for about one second at a time, repeating until you get your desired consistency.
● Avoid putting very hot ingredients in your food processor, as this could melt the plastic parts.
How Much Should I Spend on a Food Processor?
You can find food processors to suit all budgets, but how much should you expect to pay for a good one?
● $30 to $50: Basic food processors with small- to medium-size bowls and low-power motors often fall into this price bracket. An entry-level food processor like this would be fine for occasional use, but if you have the budget, we recommend spending a bit more on a midrange food processor.
● $50 to $100: You can find some high-quality and powerful food processors in this middle range. However, the food processors you find here may have small bowl sizes or come from lesser-known brands.
● $100 to $300: Many high-end food processors are found in this range. These are powerful, well-made appliances that should suffice for most home cooks. Nevertheless, some people may prefer to spend a little more—especially if they'll be using their food processor daily for heavy-duty tasks.
● $300 to $600: In this top tier, you'll find many first-rate food processors. These models are extremely powerful—usually packing over 1,000 watts—and have all the blades, attachments, and extra features you could hope for.
Food Processor FAQ
Q. Can I use a food processor to make pastries?
A. Yes, you can use a food processor to make pastries if you stop running the food processor as soon as the dough comes together. In fact, many chefs prefer to use a food processor for this task, as pastries tend to come out best when they're kept cool and aren't handled too much.
Q. Are food processors easy to clean?
A. Food processors are easy to clean. You just need to wash the bowl and any blades or disks you've used once you're done. Many food processors have bowls and blades that are dishwasher-safe.
Q. Should I choose a food processor with straight or sloped sides?
A. The bowls of most food processors have straight sides, but some are sloped so they're narrower at the bottom and wider at the top. Food processors with sloped sides are actually inferior to their straight-sided counterparts. The reason: Sloped sides can result in split emulsions and foods that aren't evenly chopped.