Deciding to buy a food processor is easy. Figuring out how to buy a food processor, however, is challenging. There are so many things to consider: speed, power, size, capacity, attachments and price.
We created a food processor buying guide to help at-home chefs understand what to look for when buying a food processor, what their uses and functions are, and what to look for in a good food processor.
Ready to chop, puree, slice, and dice?
Food processors are the unsung heroes of the kitchen. They perform labor-intensive tasks, like mixing dough, shredding cheese and pulverizing garlic, so you can focus on the joys of cooking. A food processor also carries out time-consuming food prep chores such as:
Some food processors also come with a dough blade that kneads bread and pizza dough. So not only does a food processor make you more efficient in the kitchen, it also allows you to ditch a lot of processed foods and enjoy homemade alternatives. Food processors are essentially a knife and cutting board, blender, grater, stand mixer, pastry blender and mortar and pestle—all rolled into one.
If you’re a committed cook looking for one appliance to chop, slice, grate, and mix, a food processor is your ideal sous chef. And it definitely beats buying multiple gadgets for each specific task. If you tend to prepare lots of fresh veggies, sides and dips, you will likely reap all the benefits of using a food processor.
If you’re looking to make food prep easier than ever, here is some advice on how to pick a food processor that’s right for you.
What makes a good food processor? The best food processor is the one that fits your cooking style and needs, your budget and your kitchen space. Here are some features to consider:
When it comes to capacity, you may also be asking yourself: what size food processor do I need?
The size of your food processor depends on what you’re planning to prepare with it and how much space you've got on your kitchen countertop.
If you looking for an appliance to help you prep ingredients for small meals, dips and sauces, a food processor with a 4-cup bowl capacity, like the Core Custom™ 4-Cup Chopper, will likely meet your needs. Smaller food processors are ideal for chopping nuts and small vegetables, and when you’re done, they’re easy to store in a cabinet when not in use.
What if you plan on using your food processor for larger meals for your entire family, or envision yourself whipping up pizza dough? We recommend opting for a standard or mid-sized food processor that’s made to handle bulkier items. There are plenty to choose from.
The Cuisinart Core Custom™ 10-Cup Food Processor Is big enough to chop ingredients for a party-sized portion of salsa, and powerful enough to turn a full work bowl of vegetables into healthy puréed soups. With a 950-watt motor, it's both powerful and customizable, giving you the ability to chop, puree, shred, slice, and more while switching seamlessly from High, Low, or Pulse speed.
For those who often prepare large-batch items for parties or potlucks, a large food processor like the Custom 14™ 14 Cup Food Processor may be in order.
This food processor is a kitchen workhorse that does it all: mix, chop, slice, shred, knead, emulsify, puree, and mix dough. Ideal for prepping for the whole family or for entertaining, it features an extra large feed tube, a large pusher and sleeve assembly, a small feed tube and pusher, stainless standard 4mm slicing disc, medium shredding disc and stainless chopping/mixing blade.
Today’s food processors go well beyond simply slicing, dicing, shredding and pureeing. With countless attachments available, you can add some extra fun to your cooking with Spiralizer Accessory Kit or a Dicing Accessory Kit to take your food processor to the next level.
Some, like the Core Custom™ Collection from Cuisinart, even have the option to add on additional attachments that can turn your food processor into a blender, dicer or juice extractor, making these the perfect multifunctional appliances.
A food processor’s blades are ridged, razor-sharp and probably one of its most important features.
Blades can chop raw and cooked fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, fish and cheese to the exact consistency you want—from coarse to fine, even to a purée. They can also mix cakes, frostings, cookies, quick breads, muffins, and biscuits.
Make sure that the processor you choose has the blades you will use. Types of food processor blades include:
High-end food processors, like the Core Custom™ 13-Cup Food Processor, come with a variety of chopping and mixing blades with the option to purchase even more accessories, while basic models may have limited options. But if all you need is a small food processor to chop or grind your way through everyday food prep tasks, the Mini-Prep® Plus 4 Cup Food Processor will work perfectly for your homemade meals any day of the week.
One of the questions many first-time buyers ask is: how many watts should a good food processor be?
Motor power in food processors range from anywhere from 250 to 1,300 watts. Think about the foods you plan on processing when determining the amount of motor power you’ll need. You don’t want to burn out a small motor processing hard ingredients like potatoes or dense dough. In those cases, a higher-powered appliance with a minimum 550-watt motor, such as the Elemental 13 Cup Food Processor, is best. A more powerful motor is also important if you’re considering a full-sized processor (14 cups or larger), such as the Elite Collection® 2.0 14 Cup Food Processor that boasts 1,300 watts of power.
There are so many things you can do with a food processor. If you follow these tips and choose the right one, you’ll find yourself using it every day to take on a variety of food prep tasks, whether you are making a weeknight meal or preparing a weekend celebration.
The Cuisinart Collection has food processors to meet the needs of any at-home chef, making meal prep easy with conveniently sized work bowls and a variety of blade options to choose from.