Anyone who cooks at home knows how time-consuming and repetitive it can be to cut up ingredients by hand, especially if there is a large amount of food to prepare. The fastest and easiest way to overcome this challenge is with a food processor. The food processor was invented in 1971 by Frenchman Pierre Verdon and later refined by the founder of Cuisinart in 1973. Since then, hundreds of thousands of food processors have been sold worldwide because people everywhere realize the value of having such an efficient tool in their home kitchen.
Is it better, though, to have a food processor or a blender? Apart from price, which can range from $40 to more than $300, there are considerations of size, power, and available features in different models. Read on to learn about some of the best food processors for home cooks, whether that cook is you or someone else.
- BEST OVERALL: Cuisinart FP-8SV Elemental 8 Cup Food Processor
- RUNNER-UP: Braun FP3020 12 Cup Food Processor
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Stack & Snap Food Processor
- BEST MINI FOOD PROCESSOR: Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor
- BEST LARGE FOOD PROCESSOR: Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef 16 Pro Food Processor
- MOST VERSATILE: Ninja Mega Kitchen System (BL770) Blender/Processor
- BEST 12-CUP: GE 12-Cup Food Processor
- BEST ATTACHMENT: Vitamix 12-Cup Food Processor Attachment
- BEST PORTABLE: Mosaic Food Chopper
- BEST FOR COFFEE BEANS: KTMAII Food Processor Blender Combo
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Food Processor
Some of the major factors to consider when choosing the best food processor for your home cooking needs include bowl capacity, motor power, types and numbers of blades, and more.
A bigger bowl capacity means you can make large batches of whatever you’re preparing. It also means the appliance will take up more room in your kitchen. A very large bowl might also be an issue for washing; it might be clumsy washing by hand or take up too much room in your dishwasher. Some models feature an additional mini-bowl (or two) with their own blade sizes, which comes in handy for small batches.
Standard-size food processors have about an 8-cup capacity. Small or mini food processors have a 3-cup to 5-cup capacity, and commercial processors can have up to a 32-cup capacity. Of course, even if you create a lot of leftovers, you can always save them for another day with the right storage containers.
There may be nothing more frustrating than having a tool that just isn’t powerful enough to get the job done. Perhaps worse would be burning out the motor when you’re only midway through the job. If your food processor needs to perform challenging tasks like chopping nuts, kneading dough, or pureeing stubborn ingredients, you’ll benefit from a more powerful motor.
For a larger food processor, make sure the motor has at least 450 watts of power behind it for basic vegetable preparation and at least 1,000 watts for tougher jobs like kneading dough. Crushing ice will require a motor that is much more powerful, closer to 1,500 watts. If it’s a small or mini food processor, a 250-watt to 300-watt motor should do the trick. An induction motor—which provides torque via electromagnetic induction fields—can provide stronger, more reliable power and is less likely to burn out compared to other motors.
The most common blade in a food processor is known as an “S” blade due to its shape. An “S” blade can be a straight edge or a finely serrated blade that is ideal for quicker, more even cuts.
Food processors also have specially designed disk blades that attach near the feeding tube/chute, which are excellent for thinly slicing vegetables or meats. Other blades include shredding disks for foods like cheeses or potatoes and hard, plastic blades for kneading doughs for pizza or cookies.
The most important function of any food processor is to chop ingredients with high efficiency and speed. A single curved blade spinning at high speed is the core method to achieve this goal. If the food processor’s motor is strong enough, a continuously spinning “S” blade will eventually puree your ingredients.
Larger, more sophisticated food processors offer a wider variety of functions. In addition to the standard chopping feature, these models can perform functions like blending smoothies and crushing ice. Overall, more power behind the blade means more functions that will be available to you.
The most basic food processors have a simple one-touch, single-button operation that causes the internal blade to spin until deactivated. A second button allows for pulse activation that enables you to have more immediate control over the amount of processing required since the pulse button only works when you’re applying pressure to it. The best food processors for home cooks feature controls that make them easy and comfortable to use.
Lid and Feeding Tube
A feeding tube—also called a chute—with the capacity to handle various shapes and sizes of ingredients can prove very useful. Consider a large vegetable like a carrot as an example. Because carrots come in all different sizes, it saves time and effort to not have to cut them up before putting them in the food processor. Many models also feature adjustable sizes for the feeding tube, so you don’t have to cut pieces to roughly the same size before processing. Still, remember to always use the plunger to push the ingredients down toward the spinning blades; never use your fingers.
The lid should fit tightly with a strong enough seal to avoid leaks yet not so strong as to be difficult to open and close frequently. Look for lids with a safety feature that prevents the food processor from operating if the lid isn’t locked.
In addition to different types of blades, the most common attachments or accessories for food processors include:
- storage boxes for safely stowing away unused blades
- mini bowls for smaller batches of ingredients
- blender bowls for more liquid ingredients
Some food processors offer mixing glasses that use their own specially designed blending caps for making smoothies.
Our Top Picks
Every home cook has different standards, ambitions, and needs for what he or she would like to accomplish in the kitchen. Meeting the criteria listed above, these recommendations for some of the best food processors can help you find a model that suits your meal preparation plans.
It’s hard to separate the term “food processor” from the Cuisinart brand, and this 8-cup model is one of the best food processors for most households. It’s compact and light enough to store easily in a pantry, and it won’t dominate counter space in a small kitchen.
But when it’s time to work, this machine gets the job done quickly and reliably each time. It has a 350-watt motor and two speeds. The handy pulse feature is essential for allowing cooks to moderate the texture of whatever they’re processing. The 8-cup bowl has convenient and clear graded measurement markings along the side, so users can skip the extra dishes and nail recipe amounts exactly.
In addition to the S-blade attachment for processing inside the BPA-free plastic bowl, the machine also comes with two round slicing attachments. One is for medium-size shreds and the other makes a finer cut. A wide feed tube and plunger make it safe and easy to guide food into the processor for pureeing or slicing without the mess. And all removable parts can be washed in the dishwasher.
- Capacity: 8 cups
- Motor power: 350 watts
- Dimensions: 7.6 inches long by 9.58 inches wide by 15.19 inches deep
- Measurement markings on the bowl
- 2-year warranty
- 2 speed controls
- Pulse feature
- Lower power motor than others
Get the Cuisinart 8-cup food processor on Amazon or at Target.
This powerful and top-rated food processor can really do it all thanks to the nine attachments for everything from kneading dough to shredding cheese coarsely. There’s even a whipping hook to make fluffy whipped cream without the arm workout. And despite the powerful 600-watt motor, this machine is remarkably quiet.
The 12-cup BPA-free plastic bowl offers ample room for feeding a crowd, and all of the removable parts, including the many attachments, are dishwasher-safe. The processor also has a whopping 15 speeds, which gives users full control over the blend at all times. Plus, the handy preset speed function ensures that cooks won’t overmix or over blend anything.
Home cooks of all levels appreciate the sleek design and German engineering that make this one of the most versatile heavy-duty food processors available.
- Capacity: 12 cups
- Motor power: 600 watts
- Dimensions: 14.9 inches long by 11.3 inches wide by 15.4 inches deep
- Includes 9 attachments
- 1-year warranty
- 15 speeds
- Wide food chute
Get the Braun food processor on Amazon.
Not only is this 12-cup-capacity food processor versatile and easy to operate, but it can prep food for a family meal. The 450-watt, two-speed Hamilton Beach model has an extra-wide feeding tube that can fit larger foods, like a whole avocado, for quick, easy processing and less prep time.
The “Stack & Snap” in the product name refers to a unique assembly system that doesn’t require twisting and locking the bowl to the base like other food processors. This patent-pending system allows for a faster and easier setup. The bowl seamlessly snaps into the base without concern about whether it’s correctly secured and functional.
This food processor is also one of the lightest of all models in its class at only 6.57 pounds, making it much easier to move and store. A more powerful motor would be an improvement for a food processor of this size, but if culinary ambitions are modest, then it is a solid buy for not much money.
The machine comes with a standard S blade for processing ingredients as well as a reversible disc for slicing and shredding items like carrots, cheese, and other veggies into thin, delicate pieces. After use, the bowl, blades, and top are dishwasher-safe. To clean the motor, simply use a damp cloth.
- Capacity: 12 cups
- Motor power: 450 watts
- Dimensions: 16.25 inches long by 9.55 inches wide by 8.76 inches deep
- Dishwasher-safe parts
- Includes slice/shred disk
- Pouring spout to prevent leaks
- Wide feed tube
- All-plastic construction
- Food can get trapped inside safety tube
Get the Hamilton Beach food processor on Amazon or at Target.
One of the biggest complaints about food processors is how much room they take up on the kitchen counter. For those looking for a machine that saves time and effort processing a few simple ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and herbs, a juggernaut is not necessary.
This 250-watt model from Cuisinart is a 3-cup-capacity food processor measuring only 5 inches by 7 inches and weighing a little over 2 pounds. With this compact size, it’s easy to find space for it even in the most crowded kitchen, and buyers will still have the convenience of owning a food processor. However, if power is needed for the task at hand—such as grinding coffee beans—any food processor this small will likely come up short. The bowl is dishwasher-safe and includes a specially designed spatula.
While this little machine doesn’t have the wide food chute found in larger appliances, it does have two small holes in the top that are perfect for drizzling in oil as users whip up homemade mayonnaise, definitely an impressive trick.
- Capacity: 3 cups
- Motor power: 250 watts
- Dimensions: 5 inches long by 7 inches wide by 9.25 inches deep
- Very light
- Includes cleaning spatula
- Dishwasher-safe parts
- No shredding blades
- No food chute
Get the Cuisinart Mini-Prep food processor on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
With an extra-large 16-cup capacity, this food processor from Breville boasts the interior space to handle a considerable amount of food, which makes it one of the best professional food processors for home cooks. A smaller bowl included with this model comes in handy for recipes that yield smaller amounts. A 5.5-inch super-wide adjustable feeding tube can accommodate a variety of ingredients without compromising safety, while a 1,200-watt powerhouse motor can slice through almost any kind of food that’s fed into the machine.
Choosing among three blades and five multifunction disks, this model can cut up ingredients in a variety of ways. All the bowls are BPA free, and the brushed stainless steel exterior is a breeze to clean. The food processor also includes a space-saving storage box for housing all the attachments and cleaning tools, which can be stored vertically or horizontally depending on available kitchen space.
This model is larger and heavier than the competition, and there isn’t much it can’t do to meet any slicing, chopping, dicing, shredding, and kneading needs.
The smaller processing bowl, multiple blades, and slicing discs as well as the super-powerful motor make this the best large food processor for avid home cooks looking for an appliance that does more than puree. Though it’s a bit bulkier than other models, this great large food processor can be relied upon for any number of jobs in the kitchen.
- Capacity: 16 cups
- Motor power: 1200 watts
- Dimensions: 17.5 inches long by 10.9 inches wide by 8.9 inches deep
- Included mini bowl
- Integrated timer
- Accessory storage box
- Includes cleaning tools
- Can be difficult to store
Get the Breville food processor on Amazon or at Bed Bath & Beyond.
Shoppers looking for a one-and-done purchase that will allow them to process fluffy pestos, blend chewy cookie doughs, and puree bright and healthy fruit smoothies need look no further than the Mega Kitchen System from Ninja. The system includes one powerful (1500-watt) motor base with a 72-ounce pitcher-style blender, an 8-cup food processing bowl, two travel cups with lids, and a dough hook.
The motor base has four blending speeds: blend, mix, crush, and single-serve, and the blender blade has a smart tree design that ensures food at every level (not just the bottom of the pitcher) gets pureed. Bakers will love that the machine is built to knead two pounds of dough smooth and elastic in 30 seconds. And for cooking inspiration, turn to the 31-recipe booklet for delicious drinks, baked treats, shareable dips, and more.
All of the blending parts are dishwasher-safe, and the machine has a slim profile that fits under standard kitchen countertops for storage.
- Capacity: 8 cups
- Motor power: 1500 watts
- Dimensions: 18.3 inches long by 9.6 inches wide by 15.7 inches deep
- 4 blending functions
- Includes travel cups
- Includes recipe book
- Includes dough blade
Get the Ninja food processor on Amazon or at Best Buy.
A 12-cup capacity is a great size for households of four or more, and this GE processor also comes with a few accessories that make it great for more than just whipping up hummus or guacamole.
In addition to the 550-watt stainless steel motor base and 12-cup blending bowl, the processor also includes a dough blade, emulsifying dish, french fry slicer, grater, cleaning spatula, and a mini chopping bowl. This smaller bowl is especially useful for making sauces, dressings, and dips without having to scrape down the sides with a spatula constantly.
The processor has two speed settings that are easily controlled using the smooth stainless steel dial on the front as well as a pulse setting to prevent overprocessing. Despite the impressive collection of accessories, features, and the quality construction, this processor has a reasonable price tag.
- Capacity: 12 cups
- Motor power: 550 watts
- Dimensions: 16 inches long by 12.5 inches wide by 10.3 inches deep
- Stainless steel construction
- Includes mini chopping bowl
- Includes cleaning spatula
- Pulse feature
- Not as powerful as other 12-cup processors
- Only 2 speed settings
Get the GE food processor on Amazon or at Best Buy.
For home cooks who already own a powerful Vitamix from the Ascent and Venturist collections, this attachment will save them from buying an entirely new appliance. It easily snaps into place on the blender motor base and harnesses the power of the motor to process as quickly and efficiently as buyers expect from Vitamix.
All of the following is included: the BPA-free working bowl made from highly durable Eastman Tritan plastic, a sharp S blade, two reversible slicing and shredding discs, two food pushers that allow users to move food safely into the machine while it’s running, and a storage case to keep everything clean and organized. This bowl has an exceptionally large food chute, which offers plenty of room to grate whole vegetables without extra prep work.
The Self-Detect base that sits between the blender and food processor bowl adds an extra layer of safety. It ensures that no blades will spin unless everything is in its place.
- Capacity: 12 cups
- Weight: 6.17 pounds
- Dimensions: 11.75 inches long by 8.5 inches wide by 12.75 inches deep
- Includes reversible slicing discs
- Includes 2 food pushers
- Self-Detect technology
- Only compatible with Vitamix bases
- Does not include motor
Get the Vitamix food processor attachment on Amazon or Vitamix.
Don’t be fooled by this machine’s diminutive size. This mini food processor can take on meat, whole vegetables, and nuts. It’s designed differently than other food processors with the motor on top of the blade and working bowl.
To use, simply set the blade in the bowl, add food, position the top and motor in place, and press down on the large button on top. There’s only one speed setting, but the bottom makes it easy to pulse and control the texture of food. In addition, the clear BPA-free plastic bowl allows cooks to keep track of how things are progressing inside.
This great vegetable chopper also comes with a blunt plastic blade. Add a handful of garlic cloves and give them a whirl for a few seconds; it’s amazing how easily the peels slide right off. For cleanup, all of the parts except the motor are dishwasher-safe.
- Capacity: 5 cups
- Motor power: 400 watts
- Dimensions: 9.65 inches long by 8.86 inches wide by 7.28 inches deep
- Easy to store
- Small blade
- Only 1 speed setting
Get the Mosaic food chopper on Amazon.
Few food processors on the market can crush ice, but this model from KTMAII is one of them. This 650-watt machine can quickly pulverize ice into snow for frozen drinks or snow cones. It also doubles as a coffee grinder for fresh, fragrant beans every morning.
The attachments include a grinding cup, juicer, stainless steel chopping blade, dough blade, emulsifying blade, and reversible slicing/grating disk. The main bowl has a 7-cup capacity, which is a bit smaller than other processors of this size, but the powerful motor and variable speeds give users ultimate control and offer incredible precision.
The machine weighs just over 12 pounds and has a fairly compact design that makes it easier to store than larger-capacity processors. The parts are dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
- Capacity: 7 cups
- Motor power: 650 watts
- Dimensions: 18.5 inches long by 9.84 inches wide by 14.96 inches deep
- Stainless steel construction
- Pulse feature
Get the KTMAII food processor on Amazon.
You truly can’t go wrong with the Cuisinart 8-cup food processor. It’s not too bulky to store, sits on a powerful motor base, and comes with the accessories you’re most likely to use regularly. But if you’re looking for something a little larger that won’t break the bank, the Hamilton Beach food processor is a great alternative with even more power and the same handy accessories.
How We Chose the Best Food Processors
To find the best food processors for every kitchen, we performed extensive product research as well as product testing. We started with the best-rated food processors available and narrowed down our list according to product descriptions and customer ratings and reviews. In particular, we looked at price, motor wattage, brand reputation, how long the models have been on the market, design, functionality, and accessories.
We looked at negative and positive reviews as well as reviews from longtime owners and first-time users to understand the full experience of using each product. We aimed to include products from a range of price points, sizes, and uses to ensure that there’s a great food processor on this list for every kind of home cook.
The Advantages of Owning a Food Processor
With a food processor in your kitchen, you can expand your culinary repertoire in all sorts of ways. These powerful appliances have sharp, fast-moving blades and squat bowls that pulverize hard and soft ingredients alike. In addition to blending, pureeing, and chopping, many food processors also come with disk attachments that allow cooks to shred, grate, and thinly slice ingredients like vegetables and cheese with minimal prep work. From sauces to soups to doughs, the culinary possibilities are pretty endless with a great food processor on hand.
- One machine to chop, puree, and crush ingredients.
- Reduce prep work for your favorite recipes.
- Easy to clean, thanks to dishwasher-safe parts.
If you’re new to food processors, read on for a few frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers about these handy appliances. As always, refer to the instructions that come with your food processor very carefully and follow them to ensure safe and efficient operation. Many manufacturers often include a toll-free number or Twitter handle if you have further questions after reading this guide.
Q. What is the difference between a food processor and a blender?
A blender is more suited to liquid contents like smoothies or shakes, whereas a food processor is better equipped to handle solid foods that require labor-intensive prepping, such as slicing or dicing.
Q. What should I look for when buying a food processor?
Features to look for include power, versatility, blade types, bowl sizes, and control options.
Q. What size food processor do I need?
The size of food processor you need depends on the amount and types of food you wish to prepare.
Q. Can I put ice in a food processor?
Only put ice in a food processor if it is specifically designed for it; otherwise, you’ll dull the blades and possibly damage the bowl.