The Best Food Processor
When you’re cooking up a storm, a large, high-quality food processor is a must-have. In mere seconds, it can chop vegetables or blitz a bunch of parsley into dust, and some can even knead bread dough for you.
If you’ve never used one of these popular kitchen appliances, you may find there’s a bit of a learning curve to properly utilize that slicing blade. But once you master the operation, you’ll never again find it too much trouble to slice spuds thinly for scalloped potatoes, shred carrots for salads, or grind peanuts and almonds to make your own nut butters at home.
We’ve recently re-tested the best food processors and added new products to this guide, which confirms the Cuisinart “Custom 14” DFP-14BCNY is still the top chopper on the market. It gives top-notch performance without hogging too much kitchen counter space. With 14 cups of capacity, this food chopper is perfect for home cooks. However, if you’re looking for a more stripped-down experience, we’ve got plenty of other options.
Here are the best food processors we tested ranked, in order:
- Cuisinart “Custom 14” DFP-14BCNY
- Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef 16 Pro
- Black & Decker FP4200B-T
- Cuisinart Stainless Steel 13-Cup SFP-13
- KitchenAid 14-Cup Food Processor
- KitchenAid 7-Cup Food Processor
- Hamilton Beach 70580 Big Mouth Duo Plus
- Oster Designed for Life 14-Cup
- Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor with Bowl Scraper 70820
- Black and Decker FP2500 PowerPro Wide-Mouth
The Best Food Processor
Cuisinart was the first food processor sold in the U.S. and, in our opinion, the Cuisinart “Custom 14” is the best on the market today. It excelled at almost every task, chopping onions and slicing tomatoes as well as a razor-sharp chefs’ knife and kneading pizza dough into a smooth elastic ball.
Shredding mozzarella was the only chore at which it faltered. Although it shredded without stalling, like every model we tested it failed to produce shreds evenly.It’s not small, but the nearly 16-inch tall Cuisinart will fit under a cabinet, and at 17 pounds it isn’t too heavy to move around.
The operation is simple: There are two large levers to press, one to run the processor continuously and then shut it off and one for pulse. In addition to the basic chopping, mixing and dough blade, it comes with shredding and slicing discs. To use the discs, you attach them to a stem that sits in the bowl. Be aware that it’s a little tricky to click them into place.
The food chute locks into place at the rear of the bowl, which is slightly inconvenient when you’re feeding in food but makes it easier to see what’s happening in the bowl during processing. As the tube is large, there’s no need to cut a block of mozzarella or a beefsteak tomato in half before processing them. While it’s running, the Cuisinart is so quiet it won’t shut down conversation in the kitchen.
The Custom 14 is easy to clean: Cuisinart is the only manufacturer that goes beyond just “dishwasher safe” and actually encourages you to wash the parts in the dishwasher. It’s available in white or black with stainless accents or all brushed stainless steel. A disc storage unit, a flat lid, other size shredding and slicing discs, and whisk attachments can be purchased separately.
Breville Sous Chef 16 Pro
In terms of pure performance, the Breville Sous Chef 16 Pro was hands down the best food processor we tested. It offers extra power; a larger, 16-cup blending bowl; and nicer features compared with the Cuisinart Custom 14. And it performed well in every test, especially excelling at slicing. The Sous Chef powered through an entire russet potato in less than a second—noticeably faster than any of the other models. And despite its power, the Sous Chef was the quietest of the bunch at kneading dough. But it’s oversized and significantly more expensive than the Cuisinart, and it comes with a bulky bundle of accessories that you may not need.
The Breville Sous Chef diced tomatoes and onions evenly, and it chopped nuts to a more consistent texture than the Cuisinart. The Sous Chef’s grater disk shredded soft mozzarella cheese easily. And though we’re not huge fans of the mini bowls on most of the big processors, we liked the Sous Chef’s 2½-cup bowl best among the ones we’ve tried. Deeper than the others, this bowl has a design that seemed to make uniformly mincing fresh parsley easier.
The Sous Chef’s thoughtful design was what really sold us on this machine. We love how the bowl fits flat on the motor base. Other machines require you to fit the bowl over a shank on the base, but the Sous Chef has a flat attachment, with the shank attached to the inside of the work bowl. This means that, if you like to cook by ratio, you can put the bowl on a kitchen scale and measure ingredients into it with the blade attached, and then seamlessly connect the bowl to the motor base. If you’ve ever struggled to fit a blade over a pile of flour in a processor bowl, you’ll appreciate this design feature.
Black & Decker FP4200B
In spite of its rock bottom price, the Black and Decker 3-in-1 Easy Assembly 8-Cup Food Processor wowed us with its ability to mince, chop, and slice.
During our testing, large ripe tomatoes needed to be cut in quarters to fit into the processor’s feed tube, but they still came out in perfectly uniform slices, ready to be arranged around a salad bowl or tucked between slices of mozzarella.
This Black and Decker was even able to knead dough quickly and efficiently without the machine “walking” on the countertop.
The working bowl is particularly easy to position on its base. With this machine, you get only one attachment besides the chopping blade: a reversible slicing and shredding disc that can be stored within the machine. Also, you can pop the parts in the top rack of the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
Cuisinart Stainless Steel 13-Cup Food Processor
Another good choice for a large chopper to perform a variety of cooking prep chores is the Cuisinart Stainless Steel 13-Cup Food Processor. It’s just one cup smaller in capacity than our top pick.
It too can be relied upon to cut cleanly and give even results whether you’re slicing potatoes for an au gratin, mincing herbs, or kneading pizza dough. The feed tube is large enough to hold a block of mozzarella but can be adjusted to be thin enough to accommodate a pepperoni.
To operate this machine, you must be sure to align all the parts, but it’s easy to quickly get the hang of it and they turn and lock into place smoothly. And unlike the larger Cuisinart, the feed tube is in the front, making it easier to add food.
With this model you get both a large 13-cup bowl and a smaller 4 ½-cup one, chopping and kneading blades, a slicing disc that adjusts for 7 different thicknesses, a shredding disc that reverses for thin or thick shreds, and a plastic spatula.
A case to corral all the accessories is also included but that means you have to find storage space to keep it, too. Dicing and spiralizer accessories are available and they work well but they do have lots of small parts that you also have to assemble and store when you’re not using them. As long as you find room in the top rack, all of the parts are dishwasher safe.
The KitchenAid 14-Cup Food Processor is a bit of an investment that will occupy considerable space in your kitchen. It has a footprint of 11 x 11 inches and stands 17 inches tall—too high to keep under a cabinet. It also weighs 21 pounds. The blades and discs, plus a cleaning brush, come in their own decidedly not-small case. Plus you get a 4-cup mini bowl and a dicing kit in a container that will also need storage space.
Unfortunately, the KitchenAid’s performance lagged behind those of similar size and price. It chopped, minced, and ground evenly but not quite as finely. While it sliced uniformly, its feed tube was small and a beefy tomato and pound of mozzarella had to be halved before processing. If you make lots of pizzas and bread, this is definitely not the food processor for you.
It struggled to knead and danced alarmingly across the countertop, knocking over other items in its path. Surprisingly, the dicing attachment only creates a small dice with soft foods like tomatoes, fruits, or hard-boiled eggs and not hard veggies. Around the edge of the lid, there’s a trough that traps food and is particularly difficult to clean, especially after processing soft items like cheese or hard-boiled eggs.
On the plus side, the slicing disc can be adjusted from the front of the machine; when you want thin strips of cucumber and thicker ones of tomato for the same salad, you won’t have to stop and change the blade. Unlike the others we tested, the chute doesn’t lock into the lid, which makes it especially easy to use. The motor noise is downright pleasant. Available in silver, slate, white, black, and red.
KitchenAid 7-Cup Food Processor
The KitchenAid 7-Cup Food Processor was designed to be an easy to use moderately-sized model for everyday tasks. In our tests, it chopped onions cleanly and evenly, minced parsley into dust, and ground almonds into a fluffy powder. It created clean slices of pepperoni and long beautiful shreds of cheese. However, it didn’t slice tomatoes perfectly evenly. Worse though, when it came to kneading yeast dough, it stalled and couldn’t finish the task.
The working bowl is very easy to position on the base and the controls are easy to depress. Unlike most food processors, which require that you turn the lid to lock it into place, it has a lid that attaches to the bowl on a hinge and is then latched into place on the other side. It was designed like this to be easier to close and to avoid having to remove the lid entirely when you stop to stir or add ingredients and then leaving a mess on the countertop.
However, unlike other testers, I found it slightly annoying to insert the lid into the hinge and latch it in place. Perhaps because I am so familiar with these kitchen gadgets, and accustomed to turning the lid to lock it, I find that method easier.
All of the parts fit neatly inside the bowl for storage and can be washed in the top rack of the dishwasher. If aesthetics are a big concern for you, the KitchenAid is a beautifully finished product and is available in two shades of black, white, silver, and red.
Hamilton Beach 70580 Big Mouth Duo Plus
The 12-cup Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Duo Plus Food Processor can mince parsley and grind almonds with the best of them. However, it was weak on some tasks, leaving a big percentage of pepperoni unsliced and cutting ripe tomatoes so thinly they fell apart.
The Hamilton Beach is not designed to knead heavy yeast doughs.
Considering its price and lightweight it would be a decent choice for family meal preparation if the cook isn’t looking for precision results.
It comes with a smaller 4-cup bowl that you could use to turn an avocado into guacamole or mince a few cloves of garlic.
The Hamilton Beach is definitely not a statement piece for your countertop and gunk can collect around the control buttons making it nitpicky to clean. Also, don’t be surprised if the kids cover their ears when they hear it whirring. This machine is loud.
Oster Designed for Life 14-Cup Food Processor
There’s a lot to love about this model. For starters, it had the most thorough manual of all we tested. In the back of the base, there’s a storage compartment to hold the chopping and dough blades and the stem. However, you do have to find a place to stash the reversible slicing and shredding disc as well as the 5-cup bowl that converts it into a mini chopper.
On basic food processing tasks like chopping onions, mincing parsley, and grinding almonds it did as well as the much pricier models. However, when it came to slicing, it didn’t yield uniform results and left large chunks of pepperoni sitting on top of the slicing disc unprocessed.
And on kneading pizza dough, it really fell behind the top-rated food processors. In order to mix the dry and liquid ingredients, we had to stop and give it an assist with a spatula. Although the Oster ultimately turned out a workable ball of dough, as it kneaded, it rocked in place and sounded like a space ship getting ready for blast-off.
We also discovered that liquids leaked out from between the lid and the bowl and into crevices on the base, leaving us with a big mess to clean up.
This reasonably-priced model can handle basic kitchen prep but isn’t recommended if you want to whip up made-from-scratch pizza and breads.
Hamilton Beach Stack and Snap Food Processor with Bowl Scraper
While the Hamilton Beach Stack and Snap Food Processor with Bowl Scraper is proficient at chopping, mincing, shredding, and slicing evenly, it doesn’t cut as cleanly as our more highly-rated models. The edges of pepperoni came out slightly ragged and parsley a bit wet and mashed.
It did a fine job of kneading dough, once we stopped and stirred the ingredients but the machine rocked quite a bit as it worked.
However, what really made this model fall to the bottom of our list is its ease of use. The lid was difficult to put in place and before using the model, you have to bring a large locking arm up over the lid and snap it on. In addition, the lever controls are a little tricky to use.
This food processor comes with both a reversible shredding disc and a slicing disc that can be adjusted to six different thicknesses and a dough blade. It also comes with a bowl scraper attachment but as it doesn’t reach down into the edge, where food is most likely to accumulate, the scraper didn’t provide much help.
You also get a storage box to hold the discs and dough blade, which can sit under the food processor when it’s not being used. All of the parts are safe for dishwasher cleaning.
Black & Decker FP2500 PowerPro Wide-Mouth
You’ll know right away that the Black and Decker Power Pro Wide-Mouth Food Processor isn’t in the same league as the more expensive models.
When you slide the bowl and lid into place, they move stiffly and figuring out how to use the lid and chute is a challenge.
It didn’t chop onions evenly and mangled mozzarella. Although it has “wide-mouth” in its name, we had to cut our pound of mozzarella in half to fit it in the chute. This food processor is not designed for kneading dough.
Also, inside the lid, a crevice traps food, especially sticky stuff like cheese, making cleanup a lot of work.
How We Tested
To find the best food processors, we first tested seven full-size products over the course of a few weeks. More than a year later, we reevaluated the products and added three more to test, for a total of 10. Each appliance was rated on how well it chopped onions, minced parsley, ground almonds, sliced potatoes, tomatoes, and pepperoni, shredded mozzarella cheese, and cut potatoes into julienne strips. In those that were designed to knead dough, we made pizza dough, too.
Since these machines can be complicated at times—especially if this is your first time food processing—we spent a lot of time poring over each of its manuals. Did it explain how to use the processor thoroughly or did we still have to experiment to determine how to assemble the parts, use the attachments, and process specific foods?
We also considered whether it was easy to lock the lid onto the work bowl and use the controls and how much of a racket it created when running.
While we didn’t include size in our ratings, we took it into consideration as once you see what it can do, you may want to give your food processor a permanent place on your countertop. We also checked whether or not these food choppers include a storage case.
We did not evaluate mini food processors (mini choppers) for this guide, but we’ll look to those in the future.
What is a Food Processor?
A food processor is a kitchen appliance that’s known for quickly chopping all your vegetables into mini food bits. But it can do more than chop! It mixes, purees, emulsifies, grates, and shreds all your ingredients. There are two main features that set this appliance apart from others in your kitchen—its settings and its blade.
Most food processors come with base settings that include pulse and puree. Pulsing allows you to chop ingredients in short bursts—this is best used when adding large chunks to the processor, as it allows you to chop or puree them down to a manageable size. Even if you’re going to eventually puree the ingredients, it’s a good idea to pulse the big pieces first so they don’t get stuck in the blade.
On the other hand, when you puree in your food, the blade blends ingredients continuously. This is the perfect setting for making pesto or tomato sauce. Most processors allow you to control the speed of your puree—typically with high and low settings. A high speed will emulsify your ingredients more, while a low speed will leave you with chunkier bits.
High-end models may also come with more advanced chopping options, but for the most part, these standard settings work perfectly. It’s more important to have a powerful model, which is one of the key aspects we tested in this guide.
What’s the Difference Between a Grating Disc and a Slicing Disc?
Food processors have a removable blade, which not only makes cleaning much easier but allows you to use a variety of specific attachments. You’ll want to use your standard blade for pulsing and pureeing, but the following are two common attachments that are helpful for other food prep.
Grating Disc: A grating attachment works well for items like carrots, potatoes, and cheese. To use it, remove the standard blade and place the grating disc on the middle spoke in your processor. Reattach the lid, then remove the pusher from the feed tube—that’s the little “chimney” that allows you to drop ingredients into the processor. Hold the pulse button and add your ingredients. You should use the pusher to press your ingredient further into the processor. Do not use your fingers!
Slicing Disc: To slice an ingredient, follow the same steps as grating, but use the attachment that has a thin slicing line across it. You can use this attachment to shave Brussels sprouts, make potato gratin or slice up other vegetables.
How to use a food processor
It can do everything short of actually cooking your dish. Here are some quick tips on how to use it to its fullest potential.
- Chop dry ingredients: Use the pulse feature to chop larger foods into small pieces. Press and release the button until you’ve reached the desired size. This can be done to anything from onions and carrots to nuts.
- Puree wet ingredients: Use the puree setting to combine wet and dry ingredients and create an emulsified consistency. Hummus, for example, is easy to make in your processor.
- Mix and blend ingredients: Remember when we were talking about pastries? Your processor isn’t limited to savory dishes—you can make cookie or pastry dough or knead bread dough in your processor, as the blades can chop and blend cold butter into dry ingredients.
- Don’t mash potatoes: Please don’t mash potatoes in your food processor. Chop, shred or grate raw spuds, but don’t use the appliance on cooked potatoes. When you use a sharp blade to mash potatoes, it breaks down the enzymes in the cooked vegetable and makes them unstable. This leads to gluey potatoes and very sad spirits.
How Do I Clean a Food Processor?
There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that food processors can take some work to clean. There are a lot of pieces to remove and soak, and some components have nooks and crannies that are difficult to fully clean. There are a few easy-to-clean models available if you’re not one for careful scrubbing.
The good news, however, is that all the pieces are removable, and many can go in the dishwasher.