Choosing the Best Food Processor

June 5, 2012

Food Processors

What Is a Food Processor?

A food processor is a tool designed to make repetitive kitchen activities go very quickly. Chopping, mincing, grinding, pureeing, slicing and shredding are all repetitive chores that are made much easier with a food processor, especially when done in quantity. While there are some non-electric food processors on the market (mandolines), most of us think of an electric appliance that has interchangeable blades housed in a work bowl generally made of clear plastic.

A Brief History of the Food Processor

In the history of kitchen equipment, food processors are relative new-comers to the scene. They made their appearance in commercial kitchens in 1960. These very reliable commercial workhorse machines were introduced by Robot Coupe (say Ro-Bo-Koo) and are still in production today. Home cooks in Great Britain could purchase a Magimix (produced by Robot Coupe) back in 1972, and North American home cooks were introduced to the Cuisinart food processor in 1973.

Do I Really Need a Food Processor?

Even less expensive food processors of good quality can set you back a bit, so before buying, ask yourself these questions.

  • Do you do a lot of chopping, mincing, slicing and/or shredding?
  • Do you make a lot of homemade dips and salsas?
  • Would you use a food processor at least once a month?
  • Do you have enough storage room in your kitchen/on your counter? (You’ll need 1 to 1 ½ cubic feet of space)
  • Do you have a dish washer? (Food processors have lots of pieces that need cleaning. All I’ve seen are dishwasher safe, and it’s safer to clean the sharp blade in a dishwasher than by hand).

If you answered “yes” to at least three of these five questions, you probably need (and probably more importantly, would use on a regular basis) a food processor.

Can’t I Just Use My Blender, Instead?

The short answer is “no.”

Blenders are designed with a conical bottom and require at least some liquid to keep food moving around through the blades. A food processor, with its broad, flat bottom and its wide sweeping blade does not require any added liquid. In fact, putting very “liquidy” ingredients in a food processor can result in a bit of a mess. If you already own a blender or an immersion blender and you answered “yes” to at least three of the above question, you probably could benefit from owning a food processor, too.

What Should I Look for in a Food Processor?

  • Since all food processors basically do the same tasks, you will want to find a powerful food processor that can process food quickly and consistently.A heavy chassis will keep the food processor from “walking” during heavy-duty processing tasks.
  • A large capacity—at least 9 cups. Keep in mind, if you are processing liquid ingredients, the effective bowl capacity is just about cut in half.
  • A wide feed tube. A wider tube lets you push larger pieces of food through.
  • Safety features. You want to make sure that the bowl locks onto the base and that the top locks onto the bowl and that the processor will not start unless the unit is locked together securely.
  • Simple controls. Many models offer a wide array of speeds, but since processing takes place very quickly, you really only need On/Off/Pulse.

Optional Features That are Nice but not Essential

  • Extra attachments. Most food processors come with a stainless steel S-shaped chopping/mincing/pureeing blade, a plastic dough blade and slicer/grater discs.
  • Any other attachments are nice but not essential.A mini chopping attachment. Some models come with a smaller 2-4 cup mini bowl and blade, perfect for processing small amounts of food, such as herbs for a garnish.
  • Touch pad controls. These models have buttons that are behind a sheet of plastic. Nice for keeping food out of cracks, this feature makes a food processor easier to clean.
  • Instructional DVD. All food processors come with an instructional booklet with recipes. For visual learners, the DVD makes a nice addition to the instructional packet.
  • Continuous feed slicer/shredder. This is an extra attachment that allows you to slice or shred as many vegetables or as much cheese as you want without having to stop and empty the bowl. A chute directs the processed food into another bowl instead of depositing it in the integrated work bowl.

onlinesources: Food Processors

Food Processor models change so quickly that I could recommend one today and tomorrow it might be obsolete. So I suggest you go by brand names. There are several very good manufacturers of food processors and I suggest you take a look at Cuisinart, KitchenAid and Viking. Check out my sources below and find a model that fits your needs. Remember, you don’t have to have the biggest, baddest processor if you don’t do a lot of cooking, but they sure look good and are fun to own.

There are lots of sources for purchasing quality small kitchen appliances including blenders, toaster and mixers.  I suggest you check out your local department stores and kitchen supply shops but if you’re looking for a wide selection of products and prices, you may want to check out Amazon.com where I buy many of my favorite pieces of cookware.

Amazon.com – small kitchen appliances
- Started out in the book business but now they sell just about everything. Good prices, ok service, these are the folks many of have done business with and feel comfortable with.

Small Kitchen Appliances

Last modified on Wed 30 July 2014 10:08 am

Filed in: Small Appliances

Comments (14)

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  1. Janet says:

    thank you for your information on the food processor I found it very helpful

  2. Sandra Ridley says:

    My Kenwood gourmet processor gave up the ghost after 42yrs. I am trying to find a food processor that has not got a blender. Money wise between 40.00- 130.00 . Can you help please.

  3. Salim Balolia says:

    I don’t think you were any help what so ever in choosing the best food processor which by the way is the title on the very top of this page. (in case you did not notice)

    Salim, sorry you feel that way. – RG

  4. Anuradha says:

    Hey nice information…It helped me a lot…

  5. PeterC says:

    Thanks, that’s great clear advice, which appears very hard to come by in the world of Food Processors ! I’ve been looking for a decent option since the start of December, and I think I’m closer to purchasing now, having read your piece.

  6. Donna says:

    I found the info you disclosed informational, but would’ve liked more detail about which processors were the best. Comparative features, price, etc. Your title made me think that was what was going to be discussed.

    Donna, food processor models change so quickly that there is no way I could stay current with features and prices so I tried to offer what I look for when purchasing one. There are many other sites that offer the kind of information that you are looking for. Good luck. – RG

  7. bb says:

    Took a class on food processors.
    The chef used a Cuisinart. It
    was wonderful.

  8. Mike Hubbard says:

    Can you mix a cake in a food processor

  9. Jenni says:

    Mike, I wouldn’t. You could get away with the pastry blade to mix and aerate your dry ingredients, but the action of a food processor is too fast and generates too much heat to get a good emulsion for a butter cake. Stick with a stand or hand mixer; you’ll be happier with the results.

    Thanks Jenni

  10. April Karos says:

    I thought the information was good. I was on the fence about the number of buttons/controls and feel more comfortable that an on/off/pulse button is acceptable.

    I do want to know if there is a recommended wattage that is preferable. I wish to make coconut butter and i hear that everyone is saying it can take 10 mins in the food processor. Seems like a long time to run the machine and I wouldn’t want to burn up a new food processor.

    Any recommendations?

  11. emma says:

    I wonder if you could help, im looking to buy a food processor for my mum who
    Has wrist problems and is struggling to cut and slice food like ptatoes carrots onions etc. Could you suggest one to me that puts the least amount of stress on the wrist please.

  12. joe says:

    what do you recommend up to $600

  13. Jenetha says:

    Thanks for the info. I have read some of the comments. Let’s face it, “some people just want you to actually pick the right one for them; but as you said from the beginning, things changes so fast that it is not such a good idea to recommend any brand. ” People must learn to take research data and apply it with their common sense and their needs. I think that the info fitted the title. Thanks again! Now it is my turn to go into the store or online and buy with the info in mind.

  14. Jim says:

    No! Say Ro-Bo-Coop.

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