A food processor is a miracle kitchen appliance—one that reduces ten minutes of grating or chopping to thirty seconds. Its various attachments can slice, chop, grate, grind, mix, and purée foods. Note that cheaper food processors don’t come with the blades to do all these things, but the true forte of a food processor is slicing vegetables and every model on the market excels at that.
Most of the things food processors do can also be accomplished with a cutting board, a chef’s knife, and a grater—and food processors require more clean-up time than is needed for these hand-tools. But the added cleanup time is more than made up for if you’re preparing a lot of food. So the more food you make at one time, the more value you’ll get from a food processor. If you’re making a stir-fry for four people, a food processor can easily knock fifteen minutes off the time you’ll spend in the kitchen.
In vegan kitchens, food processors are often used to make hummus, pesto, chopped or grated vegetables, and puddings. If all this isn’t enough, you can use a food processor to grind wheat berries and other whole grains into flour that, if used right away, will produce unbelievably tasty breads—breads made from store-bought flour can’t compete any more than month-old ground coffee can compare to freshly-ground.
Inexpensive yet capable models start in the neighborhood of $30, while prices for high-end units go up to $150 or so. More money gets you a more powerful motor, a more stylish design, more cutting tools, and a metal rather than plastic body.
If a food processor is too much horse for you, consider buying a food chopper instead. These can be had for a pittance and can instantly handle small tasks like making salsa or dicing onions for spaghetti sauce. They require almost no counter space, and cleanup time is nothing compared to a food processor since there are fewer parts to deal with and less to clean.
We’ve gathered several great food processor choices below. For more guidance on kitchen equipment, check out our kitchenware page.