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. 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 that’s something any model can do. Even the cheapest models slice vegetables beautifully and lightning-fast.
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.
Vegan cooks rely on food processors 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. Freshly-ground flour produces unbelievably tasty breads. In fact, breads made from store-bought flour can’t compete any more than month-old ground coffee can compare to freshly-ground.
Buying Advice for Food Processors
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. Mini-choppers are the cheapest home appliance going. They instantly handle small tasks like making salsa or dicing onions for spaghetti sauce. They require almost no counter space. Additionally, cleanup time is nothing since there are only a few parts to remove and clean.
We’ve gathered several great food processor choices below. For more guidance on kitchen equipment, check out our kitchenware page.