You might be wondering if you really need a food processor if you already own a top-notch blender. The answer lies in the type of food preparation you need to achieve. Both blenders and food processors are essential tools to have in your kitchen. However, there are certain kitchen tasks that one tool tackles more effectively than the other. And while some jobs are designed for a food processor but can be done with a blender (and vice versa), some aren’t recommended for either machine.
The main difference between a blender and a food processor is that blenders are designed to pulverize and combine mostly wet ingredients (smoothies, soups, and purees). While a food processor can combine wet and dry ingredients, it also can shred, chop, and julienne foods. You also have more precision when it comes to mixing ingredients like doughs, dips, and butters.
Now that we’ve confirmed you need a food processor, browse this list of our top picks for food processors to help you with your purchasing decision.
Best Overall Food Processor: Cuisinart Elite Collection 2.0 14-Cup Food Processor
This Cuisinart Elite Collection 2.0 food processor is thoughtfully and beautifully designed while still allowing you to achieve peak performance in the kitchen. There are a couple of unique features of this machine that you won’t find anywhere else. The first is the 4.5-cup inner-bowl insert that allows for smaller jobs. Another distinctive feature is the dough button. This button slows the powerful 1,300w motor and allows for continuous mixing of dough without worrying about it breaking up. This also works nicely with delicate dressings and is surprisingly quiet for how strong it is. Also, the removable, washable gaskets of the patent-pending SealTight Advantage System is an attractive feature. This processor is a bit steep in price, but if you plan on doing a lot of from-scratch cooking, it’s an excellent investment.
Best Hybrid Food Processor: Magic Bullet Kitchen Express Blender and Food Processor Combo
Maybe you feel like you shouldn’t have to choose between a blender and a food processor. Well, with the Magic Bullet Kitchen Express Blender and Food Processor Combo from Nutribullet, you don’t. Swap out the 3.5-cup work bowl for one of two 16oz blending cups for smoothies or homemade soups. This system also comes with a reversible slice/shred disc, a stacked chopping blade, a dowel to push food through the shoot, and a to-go lid to drink your smoothies on-the-go. At just $70 dollars, there is a lot of value for your money in this system.
Best Value Food Processor: Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor
This Hamilton Beach food processor is a best seller on Amazon and has over 17,000 ratings with an overall 4.5-star rating. People love this machine because it’s very affordable for a larger capacity processor. They also are wild about the bowl scraper feature that saves time and clean-up, and reduces waste. We are inclined to agree with the reviewers. This isn’t the most powerful or high-tech food processor out there, but if you’re looking for one that can handle the occasional simple job, this Hamilton Beach food processor can’t be beaten.
Most Versatile Food Processor: Braun 12-Cup Food Processor
Although this Braun model may resemble a dated food processor that will remind you of one your parents bought in the 70s, it performs well and is highly versatile. It comes with nine different attachments that will let you slice, grate, whip, and kneed with the best of them. This processor can also double as a juicer thanks to its citrus press tool. The knob control system allows for precise speed adjustment and easy pulsing.
Best Mini Food Processor: Ninja Food Chopper Express
Portion control is at the forefront of many people’s minds these days. This 2-cup Ninja Food Chopper Express will prevent you from overdoing it and is great for whipping up a quick homemade salsa, dressing, or sauce.
Best Small Batch Food Processor: KitchenAid 5-Cup Food Chopper
If 2 cups is a bit too small, but you’re trying to not overdo it, this KitchenAid 5-Cup Food Chopper may be right up your alley. It’s lightweight and stores easily thanks to the in-bowl accessory storage and convenient cord wrap. This model has two speeds and a pulse option. The pour-spout feature makes it great for making homemade dressings and sauces.
Best Mid-Sized Food Processor: KitchenAid Easy Store 9-Cup Food Processor
This KitchenAid 9-cup Easy Store food processor is the daddy of the 5-cup food chopper. It has a similar design, sans the pour spout. The one-click engagement system and easy-lock lid make for simpler cleanup and overall use. Like the 5-cupper, this one has two speeds and a pulse feature, though backed by a more powerful motor. It comes with one multi-purpose blade and two multi-purpose discs, so there are less parts to keep up with.
Best Large Capacity Food Processor: Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor
This powerful, 720w Cuisinart food processor is the closest you’ll get to commercial-grade. It has two options, on and pulse. So, you’re going to need to get pretty skilled with the pulse lever if you don’t want your food liquified. The “less-is-more” design of this processor is the reason why it’s the second choice for professional kitchens that don’t want to spring for a Robot Coupe. It comes with a stainless-steel slicing disc, a shredding disc, and a chopping blade. It has an extra-large feed tube with a hollow dowel that will let you slowly add in oils and other liquids if you need to emulsify dressings or sauces.
Best Professional-Grade Food Processor: Robot Coupe R2N CLR Continuous Feed Combination Food Processor
If you’ve ever worked in a professional kitchen, you probably know why this appliance is considered sacred. It’s not only because of the price tag, but because it is an integral cog in the overall food production machine. This 840w, 1,725 rpm beast can shred a 10-pound log of cheese in under three minutes and make three quarts of garlic aioli. The polycarbonate batch bowl is virtually indestructible, though prep cooks can find a way to break anything. It’s unlikely you will need something this powerful (and heavy) for your home. But, if you want to process like the pros do, this one is for you. Just be prepared to drop a large chunk of change.
Best Manual Food Processor: Zyliss Easy Pull Manual Food Processor
This manual food processor by Zyliss is perfect if you need to work out your delts even while cooking or are living “off the grid” hardcore. The pull-handle design with silicon ring for stability makes this device as powerful as you are (or think you are). However, don’t pull too hard because you could risk damaging the cord-retracting mechanism. This 3.1-cup manual food processor is perfect for camping or whipping up some pico de gallo in your cubical. Zyliss also offers an impressive five-year warranty on this little guy.
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