Food processors are one of the most versatile tools in any home cook’s arsenal. From pesto to hummus and beyond, they can turn an arduous knife task into a 30-second job. A good food processor will cut down your prepping time, so you’ll spend less time making your signature spinach dip and more time enjoying it.
Pro cooks are also fans of food processors. Juan Ocampo, executive chef of Village Vine in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, loves his food processor at home and work. “Good processors are versatile and essential for any kitchen worth cooking in,” he says.
In order to find the best models on the market, we put 19 food processors through various tests, measuring them on attachments, ease of setup, cleaning, and overall function. Sure, some things can be done in a good blender or immersion blender, but where those two fall short, a quality food processor picks up the slack. Read on for more details about which food processors made the cut.
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor
We loved this model from Cuisinart, giving it excellent marks across the board in all categories. We especially like how straightforward this food processor is; there are only two buttons — on/off and pulse, so there’s no fussing with confusing settings. It’s quick, efficient, and powerful.
When it came time to test the various attachments, we were thrilled with their performance. The standard blade was sharp and gave our onion an even, non-crushed dice. The grated attachment shredded cheddar cheese quickly and evenly with little amount stuck to the grater. There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to fitting the attachments: We noted some frustration with setup, but a quick glance at the manual helped the process. What’s more, the parts can be tossed in the dishwasher when done.
Price at time of publish: $250
- Dimensions: 9.38 x 12.5 x 15 inches
- Capacity: 14 cups
- Settings: On/Off, Pulse
- Dishwasher safe: Yes
Ninja Professional Plus Food Processor
For under $200, we were more than pleased with all the Ninja Plus Professional Food Processor’s extra features and attachments, especially since nearly everything is dishwasher-safe. There are several different buttons to find the perfect setting for every task. During our testing, the food processor chopped an onion with ease, sliced a zucchini evenly without crushing it, and grated two different kinds of cheese well.
The setup and attachments are not necessarily intuitive, and the blade sits farther up in the bowl, which can be frustrating. And with a smaller capacity than some of the other models we tested, it’s not the best-suited for bigger batch recipes.
However, despite this, we would not only recommend this model to a friend but would consider buying one for ourselves due to the features’ great value and overall usefulness. All in all, we think this food processor is a slam dunk.
Price at time of publish: $120
- Dimensions: 7.76 x 9.88 x 16.02 inches
- Capacity: 9 cups
- Settings: Power, Chop, Puree, Dough, Disc, High/Low, Pulse
- Dishwasher safe: Yes
Breville 16-Cup Sous Chef Peel & Dice Food Processor
Not only is this food processor from Breville simple to use, but it also comes with an array of attachments and features any home cook or frequent host would appreciate, including a dicing kit, peeling disc, five slicing discs, three blades, a spatula, two mixing bowls, storage box, and cleaning brush.
During our tests, we experienced even slicing, shredding, and dicing throughout, and we appreciated the base’s timer for sensitive tests. We did, however, find ourselves wishing there was an included grater attachment. Cleanup is simple: Place the removable parts into the dishwasher, and wipe the base clean with a damp cloth.
Price at time of publish: $550
- Dimensions: 8 x 10.25 x 17.75 inches
- Capacity: 16 cups and 2.5 cups
- Settings: Power, Start, Pulse, Timer
- Dishwasher safe: Yes
Related: The Best Personal Blenders, According to Our Rigorous Testing
KitchenAid 13-Cup Food Processor
This model from the trusted KitchenAid name has everything you’d expect from a high-quality food processor — plus the added bonus of the dicing kit. We saw an even grate on the cheese, uniform zucchini slices, and silky smooth aioli, but the onions were a letdown. We found the blade to be super powerful, and it doesn’t take much to chop the onion up. While some of the onion was chopped perfectly, other bits were almost pureed.
However, we loved the attachments and appreciated how simple they made every task. The design is intuitive, and as a bonus, everything but the base can be tossed in the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $200
- Dimensions: 8.7 x 10.25 x 17.43 inches
- Capacity: 13 cups
- Settings: Low, High, Off/Pulse
- Dishwasher-safe: Yes
Best Vitamix Attachment
Vitamix 12-Cup Food Processor Attachment
Everyone loves a Vitamix — including us. They’re known for their easy-to-use design and incredible durability. This attachment is no different. Like most Vitamix products, it can only be used if you already have a Vitamix base. That said, we think the price is worth the durability and longevity of the processor. The tests also proved how self-explanatory and straightforward it is to use.
The results of our tests were consistent and up to par: It performed well across the board, especially in our aioli test. There is nothing this product really couldn’t do. Multiple blade attachments and the signature Vitamix base give you control of the speed very well, and it powerfully chopped or sliced through each kind of food. Ultimately, you can use it for any chopping, slicing, shredding, or emulsifying needs.
Price at time of publish: $200
- Dimensions: 8.5 x 12.75 x 11.75 inches
- Capacity: 12 cups
- Settings: Slicing, Coarse/Fine Shredding, Chopping, Dough Mixing, Emulsifying
- Dishwasher safe: Yes
KitchenAid KFC3516ER 3.5 Cup Food Chopper
While this model wasn’t one of the products we tested, we would be remiss not to include it in our top picks. With almost 20,000 five-star reviews, KitchenAid’s 3.5-Cup Food Chopper is a fan-favorite for smaller space kitchens — or any household that doesn’t need the large cup capacity of some of the other models.
Its simple and straightforward design features two speeds and pulse for coarse or fine results, and it comes equipped with a locking blade, handle, and pour spout for easy serving. Though small in size, its blades are mighty powerful and can quickly chop, slice, and even puree in an instant.
At only seven inches wide, its small footprint can sit comfortably stowed away in a cupboard or on a countertop. We love that it comes in over 15 colors, allowing you to match its color to your kitchen personality. When it’s time to clean up, simply pop the bowl into the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $60
- Dimensions: 5.6 x 7 x 8.7 inches
- Capacity: 3.5 cups
- Settings: 2 Speeds, Pulse
- Dishwasher safe: Yes
Our Favorite Food Processor
The Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor was our favorite for its simple design and especially effective attachments. If you’re looking for the best design and already own a Vitamix, the Vitamix 12-Cup Food Processor Attachment is perfect for nearly any task.
Factors to Consider
Pesto for one or spinach dip for a crowd? What size food processor will best suit your needs depends on what type of projects you want to use it for and how big your household is. No need to take up extra cabinet space with a large capacity model if your household is only one or two people and you will not be using it to make big batches. However, if you have a large family or like to meal prep, a larger capacity will be well worth it.
Manual versus Electric
Most food processors are electric, but there are some great manual models. A manual food processor is handy for small, quick jobs and is a time-saving alternative to endless chopping by hand. They’re usually much smaller in size, taking up much less space. They’re not for everyone, though; they struggle with things like sauces or recipes that require a smooth or blended texture. Electric models are much better suited for these types of tasks. Manual food processors also require some brute force, so the physical ability is important to consider.
Features and Added Accessories
When looking for a new food processor, it’s essential to think about how you’ll use it. Are you interested in shredding your own cheese, spiralizing zucchini, or using a dicing attachment? Looking to knead bread? If so, seeking a model with extra features and accessories will be worth the price. But if you don’t plan to use your food processor often or know you only want the basics, a pared-down model will be a better fit.
Nobody likes to clean up, but knowing what clean-up for each specific model entails can help you make a better decision based on your needs. For example, some models are hand-wash only, while others have dishwasher-safe components. In addition, some models can be tricky to take apart and put together. That said, if they have other features that are more desirable, that might not bother you as much. Knowing what breakdown and cleanup look like for each model will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Our Food Processor Tests
To find the best food processors, we tested 19 different models side by side. We started by assessing the difficulty of set up, noting how helpful the manufacturer’s provided instructions were, if the food processor includes various attachments, and how easy or difficult it is to assemble and disassemble them.
We then put each food processor through five tests: Dice an onion, grate a block of cheddar and parmesan cheese, slice a zucchini, and make a batch of mayonnaise. Through these tests, we were looking to see if there was any lack of uniformity or tearing on the edges, how much food was left behind, if there was any amount of food stuck to the bowl, and of course, the quality of the end product. Finally, we washed each processor based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Ultimately we rated each food processor on design, ease of use, cleaning, effectiveness, and overall value.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a food processor used for?
The answer to this question is a nearly endless list. Food processors are handy tools that can whizz up sauces like homemade aioli, pesto, vinaigrette, and more with just a few pulses. Thicker paste-like items also come together quickly in a food processor, whereas a blender might struggle to fully incorporate ingredients without extra liquid (think hummus or even pizza dough), Food processors can also make quick work of cumbersome chopping tasks. You can even chop nuts, make breadcrumbs, and DIY cauliflower rice in your food processor. Mince onion, carrot, and celery for a classic Italian Bolognese in the time it takes to heat up the pan! A food processor can also replace a box grater, mandoline, and even many knife work tasks with some strategic use.
What’s the difference between a food processor and a food chopper?
The fundamental difference between a food processor and a food chopper is that a food processor is electric, and a chopper is manual. Food processors use an electric blade to quickly buzz up ingredients in the bowl; it’s easy to get smooth and homogeneous textures with the food processor’s power. A food chopper can be engineered in a few different ways, but in general, you manually apply downward force, and a blade pushes through the food. These are a smart choice for dishes like a salad, where everything needs to be bite-sized or cubed potatoes to cook at the same rate. However, you cannot successfully produce things like curry paste or hollandaise with a food chopper — two things an electric food processor can do.
Can you use a food processor as a blender?
The short answer here is: kind of, yes. The two aren’t totally interchangeable, but you can squeak by if you only have a food processor and are without a blender. A food processor doesn’t perform as well as a blender for things like smoothies or icy drinks, and it won’t be able to fully break down things like small seeds or flecks of veggies skins, but it will do a passable job. If you’re looking to make your signature Tuscan kale pasta sauce that usually comes out an even, brilliant green with no trace of bits of kale, know that it’ll be a bit more ‘rustic’ in a food processor.
Is there anything that shouldn’t be prepped with a food processor?
Food processors are incredibly versatile, but a few things are better left to other appliances. When you turn a food processor on, the blades create a force that moves the food much farther up the sides than the initial fill line. Because of this, recipes with a lot of liquid or anything hot are not ideal for food processors as they can make a disastrous mess or even burn you. On that note, never put hot nuts fresh from the oven in a food processor. Not only can they melt the plastic (those babies get hot!), but the hot nuts will take on a gummy, less-than-ideal texture in the food processor.
While a food processor’s blade is razor sharp, avoid putting things in the bowl that will dull or damage the blade. Things like meat with bones, dry beans, frozen food, or anything with pits or hard seeds are major no-nos. In terms of safety, it’s imperative that you never put any sort of utensils into the processor while it’s on. Once it’s off, avoid any metal utensils, they can damage the blade. Instead, nylon or silicone utensils are best for the blade and are much better for scraping every last bit of goodness from the bowl’s walls.
How do you clean a food processor?
When it comes to cleaning, it’s always best to defer to the user manual. You’ll usually find detailed, specific cleaning instructions there. Beyond that, a good guideline is to take everything apart into its smallest pieces, gently wipe away any large chunks, and then carefully wash with warm soapy water. It’s important to let all the parts air dry as moisture can get trapped in small nooks and crannies that hand drying can miss. When cleaning the base, start by using a dry towel to knock off any surface debris. Then, use a towel dampened with warm water to carefully wipe down the base to avoid areas like the cord or the crevices around the buttons. Some models might have dishwasher-safe pieces but always check the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure it is safe.
What Didn’t Make the List
- KitchenAid 5-Cup Cordless Food Chopper ($85 at Amazon)
- Magimix Food Processor ($449 at Magimix)
- GE 12-Cup Food Processor ($99 at Amazon)
- Cuisinart Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor ($200 at Amazon)
- Black & Decker Power Pro Wide-Mouth 10-Cup Food Processor ($75 at Amazon)
- Breville Sous Chef 12-Cup Food Processor ($300 at Amazon)
Results Still Simmering
- Cuisinart Complete Chef Cooking Food Processor ($700 at Amazon)
- Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor and Vegetable Chopper ($60 at Amazon)
- Cuisinart DLC-10SYP1 Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor ($130 at Amazon)
- Oster 10-Cup Food Processor with Easy-Touch Technology ($69 at Walmart)
- Magiccos 14-Cup Food Processor ($179 at Amazon)
- Waring Commercial Food Processor with LiquiLock Seal System ($753 at Amazon)
- Hamilton Beach Bowl Scraper 10-Cup Food Processor ($63 at Walmart)
- OXO Manual Food Processor ($37 at Amazon)
- Braun 12-Cup Food Processor Ultra ($200 at Amazon)
Nick DeSimone wrote and compiled this piece. They have spent nearly a decade working in professional kitchens and have used nearly every brand and model of food processor during that time. Nick also used data collected by our Food & Wine professional product testers. Our testers are dedicated culinary professionals who are committed to unbiased, thorough testing.