Food processors streamline food prep. They quickly dice onions, shred cabbage, grate cheese, and even knead dough. You can certainly do any of those tasks by hand, but a food processor does them in a fraction of the time.These powerful devices do come at a cost, though: precious real estate in your kitchen. A mini food processor is a worthy solution.
The best mini food processors perform all the same functions as the big guys, but with a much smaller footprint. When you go for a mini food processor, you won’t have to choose between allocating space for it and other crucial appliances, like a blender. Blenders and food processors both break food down with spinning blades. But, while blenders are ideal for smoothies and soups, when it comes to chopping, the food processor reigns.
Read on to learn how to choose the best mini food processor for your kitchen.
- BEST OVERALL: Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus Food Processor
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Hamilton Beach Mini 3-Cup Food Processor
- BEST PORTABLE: Kocbelle Wireless Electric Small Food Processor
- EASIEST TO USE: KitchenAid KFC3516OB 3.5 Cup Food Chopper
- MOST VERSATILE: Ninja Blender/Food Processor
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Mini Food Processor
The following sections detail the most important qualities to keep in mind when you shop for the best mini food processor for your kitchen. They will cover capacity, power, blades and accessories, and ease of cleaning, among other considerations.
While standard food processors typically have an 8- to 14-cup capacity, mini versions usually hold less than 5 cups.
When choosing a food processor, consider the number of people you feed in your household as well as the types of dishes you prepare. Since some mini food processors aren’t even large enough to break down a whole onion, something that small won’t be very helpful for heavy food preparation tasks. The size of the appliance itself is obviously a major consideration, but bowl capacity makes all the difference. In a larger bowl, you’ll chop more food at once rather than in batches.
While mini food processors may be purchased to save on kitchen storage space, they also have practical applications of their own. They’re great for small quantities of ingredients and come in handy for dressings, sauces, and baby food.
Electric vs. Manual
Standard-size food processors are almost always electric. But, some mini food processors are manual.
Manual food processors may also be called food choppers. These gadgets work like salad spinners. The user turns a handle or pulls a cord to rotate the blades. Smaller and more affordable than their electric counterparts, a manual model might be a good choice for camping trips or for use in a small kitchen with limited storage space.
Electric food processors are more powerful but tend to be larger and take up more space. If portability is a chief concern, some brands make cordless models to charge up and use outdoors or on the go.
A powerful motor is one of the key components of a high-quality food processor. Standard food processors run on 450 to 1000 watts. Mini food processors typically use between 250 and 300 watts. It’s important to note, however, that wattage isn’t always an accurate measure of a machine’s power. Motor wattage indicates how much electricity the device requires, but it says nothing of how efficiently that energy is used.
Some high-end food processors use induction motors that employ a magnetic field to conduct power. The result is a quieter machine that gives off less heat. Induction motors are common in standard food processors but relatively rare in the mini ones.
While blenders rely on the power of their motors to break down food, food processors depend on the sharpness of their blades. To chop and dice without completely pulverizing ingredients, a food processor needs sharp blades that won’t dull over time. These blades are almost always made of stainless steel, which won’t rust or corrode when exposed to moisture.
Most food processors come with an “S” blade, named for its curved shape. Some models come with additional blades for multiple functions, such as slicing, shredding, and kneading. These extra blades should be easy to change without any fuss.
Settings and Controls
It’s important that the food processor’s user interface be streamlined and easy to use. While the most basic mini food processors may only have an on/off switch, most models on the market offer at least two or more speeds plus a pulse function. Pulsing spins the blades in short bursts, which gives the user more control.
A food processor should make your life easier, not create more work. Look for a model that’s easy to disassemble and clean. You should be able to wipe down the appliance itself and toss the detachable parts into the dishwasher. So, make sure you pick a product with dishwasher-safe components. This shouldn’t be hard since the bowl, lid and blade are usually made of plastic and stainless steel.
Our Top Picks
Now that you know more about mini food processors, it’s time to start shopping for the best mini food processor for a small space. The following picks consider all the features above, including capacity, blades, controls, and additional features. Here’s a variety of choices for a top-notch mini food processor to suit most needs and budgets.
This 250-watt mini food processor from Cuisinart packs impressive performance into a small package. A reversible stainless steel blade allows cooks to both chop and grind without switching attachments. The BPA-free, 3-cup plastic work bowl and lid are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. The simple interface, with a wipe-clean touch pad, has just two buttons: chop and grind.
It’s available in several colors including yellow, red, pink, and chrome. At 9.25 inches tall and 7 by 5 inches wide, this mini weighs 2.2 pounds.
The Hamilton Beach Mini Food Processor holds 3 cups. With a 350-watt motor and stainless steel blades, it chops, minces, and emulsifies. Some food processors are frustrating to assemble and disassemble, but this model uses a simple stack and press design. The pressing action also powers the appliance, so there’s no buttons or extra settings. The lid houses an oil dispenser, which comes in handy for making salad dressings and sauces.
For compact storage, the cord wraps underneath the base of the appliance. It’s small and lightweight at 5.9 by 5.2 by 8.54 inches and 2.09 pounds. The bowl, lid, and blade are all dishwasher safe.
This tiny 1.3-cup electric food processor keeps countertops free of messy cords. Cordless and rechargeable, it includes a built-in 1200 mAh battery. A plastic sealing cover on the BPA-free glass bowl helps prevent spills. The nonslip rubber base holds the processor in place. This easy-to-use device operates in 30-second spurts: Simply press down on the lid to power it on, and release to stop.
It comes equipped with a scraper and a USB charging cable. The bowl and stainless steel blades are both dishwasher safe and easy to clean. It measures 4.2 by 4.2 by 8 inches and weighs 1.98 pounds.
KitchenAid’s user-friendly 3.5-cup mini food processor features two speeds and a pulse function on its simple interface. A blade-locking mechanism ensures the stainless steel blade stays in place when not in use. That means it won’t turn and get in the way while the cook tries to scoop the food out. The BPA-free plastic bowl includes an easy-pour spout. All detachable parts (bowl, lid, and blades) are dishwasher safe.
Like many Kitchenaid appliances—in addition to basic silver, black, and gray—this chopper comes in a range of bright, eye-catching colors to match any kitchen’s decor. It has a 36-inch cord, weighs 2.7 pounds, and measures 5.6 by 7 by 8.7 inches.
Ninja’s combination blender and food processor squeezes two kitchen appliances into a single footprint. On the larger side for a mini food processor, it also does a lot more than a typical mini. It includes a 6-cup pitcher for soups and smoothies, a 5-cup processor bowl, and a 2-cup chopper bowl. Each one fits onto the 450-watt power pod. The bowls include lids, so they double as food storage containers. All removable components are dishwasher safe and BPA-free.
FAQs About Mini Food Processors
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about food processors.
Q. Which is better, a blender or a food processor?
Blenders and food processors serve different functions. Blenders prepare liquid foods and beverages like smoothies and soups. Food processors break solid foods down into smaller pieces but don’t necessarily puree them.
Q. What does a mini food processor do?
Mini food processors dice and chop vegetables, crumble cheese, mince herbs, and mix sauces and vinaigrettes.
Q. What is the easiest food processor to use?
The KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper is one of the best choices because it has a simple interface with just three settings and an easy-pour spout to prevent spills.
Q. How long does a mini food processor last?
The lifespan of a food processor varies widely depending on the model. A well-made mini processor may last for more than 10 years.