We all have those moments when cooking can go from a labor of love to just plain labor. Between grocery shopping for ingredients and meal prep to execution and plating, even the most devoted home chef can experience a cooking burnout from time to time. Luckily, there’s a handy kitchen appliance to help you out along the way — particularly in the meal prep department — to make things go a lot quicker and more smoothly on your off days: a food processor.
What is a food processor?
Designed to help cut you prep-time in half, a food processor is essentially your own personal sous chef in machine form. With the ability to do things such as finely chop, slice, shred, grind, and purée almost anything that would typically be tackled with a knife and chopping board, these machines take the fuss out of these sometimes tedious tasks with their their razor-sharp blades and powerful motors.
What is the difference between a food processor and a blender?
If you’re thinking to yourself that a food processor sounds a lot like a blender, you wouldn’t be alone. After all, don’t they both just chop up solid foods? Not exactly. Upon closer inspection, you’ll see that these devices are two very different beasts.
Where food processors are more of a precision instrument, fine-tuning your ingredients into perfectly-pieced works of food art, blenders work to simply liquefy their contents. Processors have powerful motors of their own, but a blender’s motor is always stronger so that it can take on hard-to-emulsify ingredients, such as ice and solid foods.
In a nutshell, food processors are the technical assistants of the kitchen, helping to prep food and make dish components. Blenders, on the other hand, are cooking instruments that can melt meals into soups and fruit into smoothies with the press of a button.
Best Food Processors
Ready to find your perfect food processor? From budget-friendly best-sellers to professional-grade devices that will make you feel up to par with your favorite chefs, we’ve got something for everyone on this list. Keep scrolling now to see FIRST‘s picks and find the best food processors for you.
We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.
Best Versatile Cuisinart Food Processor
Most Versatile Food Processor — Cuisinart 14-Cup
Where to buy: $155.62 (Originally $199), Amazon
For a food processor that packs a punch, you can't go wrong with the Cuisinart 14-Cup food processor. This easy-to-use machine is controlled by two simple paddle buttons: "on" and "off/pulse." Featuring a 720-watt motor, a 14-cup bowl, and an extra-large feeding tube, this device is great for anyone looking for a sizable food processor. Most importantly, it comes with multiple processing discs, including a stainless-steel slicing disc and shredding disc, alongside a stainless-steel chopping and mixing blade for your easiest slicing and dicing yet.
Best Mini Food Processor Chopper
Best Mini Food Processor — Ninja Food Chopper Express
Where to buy: From $23.50, Amazon
With most home-cooked meals, you're bound to run into a fair amount of prep work, including chopping up veggies, such as onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and tomatoes. When you're in a pinch and need your basic aromatics minced, chopped, ground, or blended in a hurry, reach for the Ninja Food Chopper Express. Featuring a small-but-mighty 200-watt motor, this mini food processor chops up to 2 cups of ingredients and comes with an ergonomically powerhead that's easy to handle for the quickest meal and garnish prep.
Best Top Rated Food Processor
Best Selling Food Processor — Hamilton Beach
Where to buy: $44.99, Amazon
If you're someone who gets a kick out of shopping for Amazon favorites, you'll want to check out Hamilton Beach, who nabbed the retailer's title for "best food processor." With close to 9,000 reviews, this machine is one of the most beloved on the site and one look at its specifications makes it easy to see why. This little beauty has a 450-watt motor, a 10-cup processing bowl, reversible slice and shred discs, a stainless-steel blade, and an innovative bowl scraper attachment. It's also a BPA-free and dishwasher safe option that shouldn't be passed up.
Best Small Compact Food Processor
Best Small Food Processor — Cuisinart DLC Prep
Where to buy: $120.90, Amazon
Looking for a food processor that won't take up too much precious real estate in your kitchen? Pick up the Cuisinart DLC Prep. Coming in a gorgeous brushed stainless-steel finish, this processor has it all: a slicer disc, a shredding disc, a new chopping blade, a detachable stem, a spatula, a recipe book, and a 9-cup Lexan work bowl that's almost shatter-proof, making for one powerful piece of tiny machinery. Better yet, it's dishwasher-safe, so cleanup will be a breeze.
Best Kitchenaid Food Processor Attachment
Best Food Processor Attachment — KitchenAid Food Processor Attachment
Where to buy: $199 (Originally $249.99), Amazon
If you own a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, you'll be interested to know that one of the company's most popular mixer accessories is not the meat grinder, pasta maker, or spiralizer, but the food processor attachment. Featuring a wide feeding tube and an ExactSlice System, you'll get the precise dicing, chopping, and puréeing you need without having to buy an entirely separate appliance. To use, simply attach it to your mixer's power hub and get to slicing!
Best Cheap Food Processor
Best Budget Food Processor — Hamilton Beach
Where to buy: $39.99, Amazon
If a food processor is on your must-have list, but you want to stick with a budget-friendly option, the fine folks at Hamilton Beach have the perfect option for you in their 8-cup food processor. Featuring a 450-watt motor, this appliance gets the job done without breaking the bank. It comes complete with BPA-free processing bowls, reversible discs, a stainless-steel blade, a large feeding chute, and two-speed options. Not bad for less than $40!
Best Professional Breville Food Processor
Best Large Food Processor — Breville Professional Sous Chef
Where to buy: $399.95 (Originally $499.95), Amazon
As the leading name in high-end, luxury kitchen appliances, Breville makes some of the most coveted machines around, so it shouldn't come as a total surprise to find the brand's Sous Chef food processor pop up. Designed to tackle all of your chopping needs with ease, this appliance features a 1,200-watt motor, five multi-function discs, three blades, a wide-feeding chute, and two processing bowls in 16-cup and 2 1/2-cup size options.
Best Food Processor With Blender
Best Food Processor With Blender — Ninja Ultra Prep
Where to buy: $49.64 (Originally $79.99), Amazon
As we explained above, the main difference between a blender and a processor comes down to two things: motor-power and precision blades. With Ninja Ultra's prep food processor and blender, you'll get the best of both worlds. Thanks to its innovative interchangeable blade system, this device can do everything from whip up the perfect pesto with its total crushing and power chopping blade to blend up the perfect morning smoothie with its the high-speed blade.The thing that really makes this machine stand out, however, is its dough blade, which is perfect for everything from making pancakes batter to making baked goods. Frankly, at such an affordable price, you'd be doing yourself a disservice not to clear off space on your counter for this standout processor.
Best Manual Food Processor
Best Manual Food Processor — ZYLISS Easy Pull
Where to buy: $19.99 (Originally $29.99), Amazon
For a non-electric option, go analog with the ZYLISS Easy Pull manual food processor. Just a few tugs of its handle will set this device chopping, prepping, blending and pureéing ingredients with ease. Its secret lies in the fact that its two blades spin in opposing directions, resulting in a more effective chop and less aimless relocation of ingredients. Best of all, since this processor is electric-free, it makes for a great choice for campfire meals or outdoor dinners that might require the perfect salsa or garnish.
See more of our best product recommendations.
More from FIRST