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In case you’re a hobbyist chef or an aspiring professional, probably the most versatile and helpful home equipment you may have in your house kitchen is a meals processor. Not solely are they a flowery blender to your countertop, they’re additionally able to shredding cheese, grinding nuts, kneading bread and a lot extra. They’re one of the best little sidekick you would ask for, particularly if you do not have a private sous chef.

That mentioned, not each electrical meals processor is created equal — as with something, there are stark variations in price, motor efficiency and total sturdiness. It is laborious to leap in and work out one of the best meals processor to your chopping, grinding, dicing and food prep kitchen process wants. From motor energy to capability, attachments and total worth, we’re right here that can assist you discover one of the best out there choices and present you that one of the best meals processors aren’t at all times those with the largest price ticket.

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Meals processors are probably the most versatile kitchen home equipment. 


Chowhound

The opposite issue you may wish to think about — past energy and price ticket — is how simple to scrub the meals processor is. Some or all of its elements could also be dishwasher-safe. Even when it’s a must to hand-wash the chopping blade or slicing disk, with the ability to toss the feed chute or important container within the dishwasher could also be a boon.

I examined seven meals processors, representing main manufacturers and finest sellers in line with Amazon, Goal and Walmart purchaser critiques. You possibly can choose a meals processor up for as little as $25 or splurge massive on an costly professional mannequin for upward of $600. The meals processors I examined are within the center, principally within the $100 to $200 vary made for basic residence use. There are additionally mini fashions and extra-large meals processors however the ones I examined are all common in measurement — between 10- and 14-cup capacities. It’s also possible to spend money on a meals processor attachment if there is a specific kitchen process that you simply want it to carry out.

Here is the way it all shook out and my suggestion for the three finest meals processors out there, which we replace periodically.

Greatest meals processors

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

We examined a number of Cuisinart fashions and this one wins for its stability of efficiency, worth and options. This Cuisinart meals processor can be out there in a smaller, 8-cup model

Hummus with the Cuisinart Elemental FP-11SV was clean and well-blended. 4 pulses was sufficient to cut up my pico de gallo substances effectively, and though getting almonds to a butter consistency took considerably longer on this mannequin (about 10 minutes on common), the consequence was clean and well-mixed. 

Shredding cheese was a bit tough because the mouth of this processor’s meals chute is small in contrast with different fashions. I needed to trim down my wedge of Parmesan fairly a bit to slot in the chute. Nevertheless, you do get considerate extras like a disc with two shredding measurement choices (advantageous or medium) and suction cups on the underside of the processor to assist it keep regular in your countertop. This meals processor comes with 550 watts of energy and a chrome steel chopping, mixing and dough blade. The chrome steel blade makes good dough for pasta and pie. 

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

KitchenAid is a traditional model and whereas its stand mixers are beloved, I am unable to say the identical for the corporate’s meals processor choices. This 11-cup KitchenAid meals processor mannequin labored effectively, nevertheless it wasn’t one of the best performer at mixing and chopping. Nevertheless, you’ll get a whole lot of attachments, and it is a good meals processor for shredding and slicing because it comes with a number of discs for various shred and slice sizes. 

Hummus made with this mannequin had a clean, well-blended consistency with even taste. 5 pulses of the chopping blade did the trick as a meals chopper for my pico de gallo greens, and it simply processed almond butter, although the machine did warmth up within the 18 minutes it took to course of the almonds into nut butter, leaving me with questions concerning the motor. This KitchenAid mannequin has an computerized shut-off to stop motor burnout, however that warmth nonetheless made me nervous. 

Shredding and slicing are the place KitchenAid actually shines. It has a reversible shredding disc possibility and an externally adjustable slicing disc that corresponds to a slider on the entrance of the bottom, so you may get actually particular slice sizes. 

There’s additionally a pleasant storage case included, so you do not find yourself throwing all these blades into your bowl when it is not in use. It has a traditional type and like several good KitchenAid equipment, it is available in a number of finishes. The worth varies relying on which end you select. It usually retails for round $200, however proper now you may choose it up for over half off the standard value. 

Cuisinart

If that you must course of massive quantities of meals, this Cuisinart mannequin with a 14-cup meals processor will get the job performed. Its modern design seems good in your countertop and is available in a number of colours and finishes. With 14 cups of processing capability, it is the biggest mannequin we examined and barely pricier than the opposite fashions we advocate. 

Whilst you do get massive capability and good efficiency, there’s just one pace possibility and the processor comes with just one shredding disc. For these causes, it is not our high choose. 

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Different meals processors we examined

Along with the three really useful above, we additionally examined these meals processors within the $100 to $400 vary. 

  • Hamilton Beach Professional Dicing Food Processor (Replace: Unavailable): I used to be impressed by the design of the Hamilton Seashore processor, nevertheless it wasn’t the winner in efficiency, and I discovered the button labels and noise degree to be a bit bothersome. At $350, I am unable to advocate the Hamilton Seashore Skilled Meals Processor over better-performing fashions. 
  • Ninja Smart Screen Blender and Processor: This package comes with a mixing bowl, processor bowl and a journey cup. With a smaller (5-cup) bowl capability, outcomes had been inconsistent, and I might say it underperformed. The Ninja Sensible Display screen is a small meals processor unit that I might keep away from in case your precedence is meals processing.
  • Oster Designed for Life 14-Cup Food Processor: This meals processor simply did not carry out effectively. Hummus had a number of unchopped chickpeas in it, and the gusty airflow out of the entrance of the machine was sufficient to blow round gadgets on my countertop. One other meals processor I might keep away from.
  • Braun FP3020 12-cup: This mannequin was our unique high suggestion, nevertheless it has since been discontinued. We have not examined different Braun fashions, however the model is definitely price wanting into, particularly if you happen to discover a whole lot. 

How we take a look at meals processors

Whereas meals processors can carry out many various duties, I selected assessments that represented the core capabilities of a meals processor. Most individuals use these kitchen home equipment to mix, chop, puree and shred. 

Having narrowed it down to those key kitchen duties, I selected making hummus, pico de gallo, almond butter and shredded Parmesan for the take a look at recipes. These recipes contain a mixture of mixing, chopping, shredding and pureeing that will give me a really feel for the efficiency of every mannequin. 

Hummus was an excellent indicator of how highly effective a meals processor’s motor was and thus how effectively the equipment might mix substances collectively into one clean substance. Pico de gallo examined how simple it was for the chopping blade to create a uniformly chopped dish made up of substances in various textures and hardnesses. 

Almond butter allowed me to test the food processor’s ability to puree something like a hard almond into a nut butter consistency. It also required me to run the processor for an extended period of time to see if there were problems with overheating or noise and vibration. I used 16 ounces of almonds in each test. 

The shredding test called for a nice big block of Parmesan, one of the hardest cheeses. This tests the grating disc performance as well as the usability of the mouth’s width and the food processor’s food pusher.

I repeated each recipe twice using each machine, with the same ingredients in the same amounts across all brands. 

What to look for when buying a food processor

Picking the best food processor for you means considering all the features you’ll need for your favorite recipes and common home chef kitchen tasks. 

Capacity

Food processors come in many different sizes and volumes. The size of the food processor is based on the size of the work bowl. I tested models ranging from 11- to 14-cup capacity, but you can get food processors that come with mini bowl and mini chopper options and bowls as small as 3 cups. For a household with two or more people, I’d recommend at least an 8-cup model rather than a mini food processor and, if you have the storage space, spring for a large food processor, just in case. 

Speeds

Most recipes involving food processors specify mixing or chopping at either a high or low speed and for that reason, you’ll want a processor with at least two speeds and a powerful motor. The most common configuration is a low, high and pulse option. There are some food processors with just one speed, but that’s extremely limiting, so look for a food processor with at least some range of speeds.

My top food processor pick, the Braun FP3020, has 15 individual speeds on one dial. That’s many more than most people will ever need, but it permits real precision. 

Attachments

While your food processor is primarily two spinning blades, there are plenty of other attachments that can expand your processor’s capabilities. Some come with multiple attachments like discs for grating, shredding and slicing, dough blades for kneading bread dough, and attachments for whipping cream, chopping nuts, juicing fruits or dicing vegetables. If you know what tasks you’ll do most often, be sure to check that your processor includes the blades and attachments you’ll need, such as the right mixing blade, chopping blade, slicing blade or citrus juicer. Some food processor models, like the Braun, come with a lot of these attachments, while for others they must be purchased separately. So depending on your food processing needs, this may be something to consider. Remember, attachments shouldn’t be difficult to clean, and you should definitely check whether they can go in the dishwasher.

Materials

You may also want to consider the materials from which the food processor is made. If you plan to use it often and are perhaps not the most careful chef in the kitchen, consider a sturdy stainless-steel food processor instead of one with a plastic base that may be less expensive but more prone to breakage. Most food processor bowls are made from a hard plastic that’s easy to clean and dishwasher-safe, but some are sturdier than others. If you have the opportunity to touch and hold the food processor before buying it, make sure the plastic bowl and its lid are tough enough to handle being knocked around without cracking.

Top food processors compared

Capacity

14 cups

11 cups

11 cups

Dimensions (depth, width, height)

10.8 x 13.8 x 15.9 inches  

8.0×10.5×15.75 inches

10.17×10.04×16 inches

Number of speeds

1

2

2

Weight

18.2 pounds

11.5 pounds

12.4 pounds

Watts

720

550

360

Price

$260

$150

$200

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