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The Best Food Processors…

The Best Food Processors

The best food processor quickly chops, kneads, shreds, and slices ingredients to save you time when preparing food. We consulted experts and gathered top-rated processors, then put them through tests to determine their strength, efficiency, and user-friendliness. In the end, we found three machines we could rely on, whether cooking for one or for the whole family.

The 3 Best Food Processors

Best for
Most Kitchens

Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor

Cuisinart

This processor impressed us with its excellent results and user-friendliness, making it a great choice for expert chefs and beginners alike.

Pros
Quality results
Compact
Easy to clean

Cons
Tricky assembly

Why we chose it

Quality results

The best machines can give us high-quality results — finely minced vegetables, and ready-to-go pizza dough — in seconds. And while the BLACK+DECKER, Oster, and Hamilton Beach models were all speedy, only the Cuisinart and the Breville prepared our food at chef-level quality, neatly chopping through a pound of vegetables in 10 seconds.

The Cuisinart particularly excelled because it came closest to actually kneading the pizza dough instead of dragging it around the top of the bowl. In our chop test, after a quick pause to scrape the inside of the pitcher, the Cuisinart gave us even, fine, textured vegetables with only a few fast taps of the “pulse” button. This efficiency meant we were ready to move on with our recipe in seconds — unlike the KitchenAid, which still needed more chopping time after we leaned on the pulse button for 30 seconds.

And when we put our top picks through one last test to see how well they sliced a ripe tomato and shredded mozzarella, the Cuisinart demonstrated that its attachments weren’t just for show. We received thin slices of tomato and a very fine shredding of cheese within seconds.

Cuisinart Results for Food Processor

Compact

At first, we liked the BLACK+DECKER’s and KitchenAid’s extra storage boxes for their discs and blades, but they take up almost as much space as the machine itself. We ended up preferring how compact the Cuisinart is: All of its attachments fit inside the bowl easily, so its accessories don’t clutter up our countertop or get lost in the depths of a cupboard.

Processor Collage for Food Processor

All of the Cuisinart’s accessories can fit inside the bowl for storage (left), while the Breville (center) can’t comfortably fit both its blade attachments. The Hamilton Beach model, right, can also store its extra parts within its bowl.

Easy to clean

If you don’t have a dishwasher, the Cuisinart’s bowl and lid are smooth, making cleanup as easy as scraping off the food — there are no hiding spots for scraps and bacteria.

Points to consider

Tricky assembly

The only drawback to the Cuisinart is that it can be a little tricky to assemble. If you put food in the pitcher before it’s on the base, sometimes the blade won’t set properly, and you’ll need to rotate it into position. The lid also locks the pitcher onto the base, and you won’t be able to remove the pitcher unless you take off the lid first.


Best Upgrade Features

Breville BFP660SIL Sous Chef 12 Cup Food Processor

Breville

The Breville’s design upgrades it from a simple machine to a versatile cooking aid.

Pros
Design quality
Liquid capacity

Cons
Less effective accessories
Heavy

Why we chose it

Design quality

Where the Breville really stands above the competition is in design quality. The Breville simply felt nicer to use than the other food processors we tested. All processors have plastic bowls, but the Breville’s is made of sturdier plastic, and its handle is comfortable to hold and carry around. Both the pitcher and feeding tube allow you to measure volume in cups, ounces, and milliliters right inside the processor — no preliminary measuring required. The Breville also has assembly guidelines to help you lock everything in with a satisfying click instead of fumbling to line up parts just right.

Liquid capacity

If you’re planning on running soup through your food processor, the Breville has the largest liquid capacity of our top picks, so you won’t need to split your recipe into tiny batches. It holds up to 4 cups of thin liquid without spilling, and the Breville’s bowl is liquid-tight. We didn’t have to worry about unintended leaks, unlike the Cuisinart, whose hollow stem (which fits the blade onto the motor) limits it to 3 cups of thin liquid.

Points to consider

Less effective accessories

The results of our accessories test were a little more mixed: The Breville successfully shredded mozzarella, though not as finely as the Cuisinart, and some of the soft cheese got stuck in the lid. And though we eventually got some nice slices of tomato from the Breville’s slicer, the first two pieces came out crushed.

Breville Results for Food Processor

Heavy

The Breville is meant to be a countertop staple, and with its heavy weight, you wouldn’t want to move it around often. It’s our heaviest pick, coming in at 16.75 lbs — just above the Cuisinart’s 14.5 lbs, and easily outweighing the 6.5-lb. Hamilton Beach. This sturdiness helped the Breville stand steady as it worked through dense dough and tough carrots, but it makes lifting it more of an arm workout.


Best Budget Food Processor

Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Stack and Snap Food Processor (70725A)

Hamilton Beach

Our budget processor does all of the work of machines four times its price, with good results for a beginning chef.

Pros
Admirable performance
Easy assembly

Cons
Lackluster results
Hard to clean

Why we chose it

Admirable performance

While the Hamilton Beach can’t quite compete with the Breville and the Cuisinart, we were impressed by how well it did compared to many of our other test processors. It performed admirably in the pizza dough and chopping tests, with only a brief second of struggle as it powered through the dense dough ball.

During the chop test, we found all three settings — Slice/Shred, Puree/Mix, and Pulse to Chop — were fairly aggressive. A short tap was enough to send the blades spinning in a way that felt much faster than the Cuisinart or the Breville. The result was a slightly louder and shriller processor, but it made short work of turning our vegetables into a fine mince.

Easy assembly

The Hamilton Beach also resolves one of the most common frustrations of owning a food processor: the frequent battle to lock in each piece perfectly. As advertised, the bowl stacks and the lid snaps into place without the fumbling assembly that seems to be a rite of passage for beginner users.

Points to consider

Lackluster results

However, the Hamilton’s cheaper price shows up in the quality of its results. We had to cut the chopping test short to prevent nicely minced onion from becoming mashed onion, but somehow we were still left with large slices of garlic. And of our three top picks, we weren’t impressed by the Hamilton Beach’s dual-sided shredding and slicing disc, with some of the results making us wish we’d done it by hand instead.

Hamilton-Beach-Chop-for-Food-Processor

When we used the Hamilton Beach attachments, our tomato came out mostly smashed, and nearly half of our mozzarella ball failed to make it through the shredder, getting stuck between the disc and the lid.

Hard to clean

All of our top picks are dishwasher-safe, but if you need to hand-wash or quickly wipe clean between different types of food, Hamilton Beach takes a little more work. It hosts a few ridges that trap food, making it the hardest of our picks to clean.

Guide to Food Processors

How to make the most of your food processor

Adjust your slice size

Gilletz told us that getting a thinner or thicker slice, or a finer or coarser shred, is less about the blade and more about how much pressure you use on the feeding tube. Rather than purchasing more accessories, practice applying different levels of pressure as you input the food.

Freeze the cheese

If you’re using your processor to tackle a cheese-related recipe, try freezing the cheese first. Sticking soft cheeses (like mozzarella) in the freezer for 15 minutes or so to firm up makes them easier to shred.

Avoid starches and egg whites

Our expert only called out two foods that she would not recommend trying out in your food processor: starches and egg whites. Mashed potatoes will still have to be done by hand, as they turn gluey under the blade, and while there are egg-whisk attachments you can buy for your food processor, Gilletz recommends sticking to your hand mixer to get a better result.

Spin with some soap

Gilletz told us the secret to a faster cleanup: Once the processor is scraped clean, put water and a drop of soap into the bowl, then press “On.” You can also run most processors through the dishwasher, but you’ll want to avoid leaving on stickier food (like pizza dough).

Food Processor FAQ

Is there a difference between a blender and a food processor?

Yes. A blender is for turning food into liquids, like smoothies or milkshakes. A food processor can do more delicate work like chopping (without pureeing) and kneading. There are some specialty blades you can add to a blender that will produce results similar to those of a food processor.

Can I put ice in a food processor?

It depends on the recipe. In general, putting ice alone into a food processor could damage the blades. However, the risk is lower when other ingredients are added — it’s perfectly fine to add ice to a sorbet or ice cream recipe, for instance.

Do you need a dough blade for a food processor?

Our expert told us that dough blades were unnecessary, and when we went back and tested the Breville’s dough blade, we came to the same conclusion. The duller blade took a minute longer to bring the dough together into a ball, and it still only chopped the dough instead of kneading it. You can use the standard blades to get the same job done.

The Best Food Processors: Summed Up

Our Other Home Product Reviews

After hours of speaking with chefs, bloggers, and kitchen wizards, we’ve found the best in a variety of home products:


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