The Best Food Processor
The best food processor quickly chops, kneads, shreds, and slices ingredients to save you time when preparing food. We consulted experts and gathered top-rated processors, putting them through a range of tests to determine their strength, efficiency, and user-friendliness. In the end, we found three machines we could rely on whether cooking for one or the whole family.
This Cuisinart ($199) impressed us with its power, chopping finesse, and quiet performance, giving us speed and convenience in a minimalistic package. It chopped, sliced, and shredded with ease, preparing our foods in a matter of seconds. If you're looking for an easy-to-use machine that will cover most of your food preparation needs, the Cuisinart has you covered.
The Breville's higher quality design and feel upgrade the food-processing experience, along with chef-oriented details like built-in measurements. This machine is ready for an active kitchen life, but has a high pricetag ($300).
The Hamilton Beach is speedy, delivering great results for its price ($50). It won't chop as evenly as our other top picks, and its attachments are better left in the cupboard, but it performed better in testing than models four times its price.
The Best Food Processors
- Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor -
- Breville BFP660SIL Sous Chef 12 Cup Food Processor -
Best Upgrade Features
- Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Stack and Snap Food Processor (70725A) -
Best Budget Food Processor
A food processor is the quick answer to almost any prep work standing between you and a tasty dinner — so you can spend less time chopping and more time entertaining. A great food processor will take the hassle out of prep work without compromising the quality of the results.
Our top pick is the Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor. Its simplicity (there’s only two buttons) makes it easy to learn, and its performance in the kitchen makes it a helpful tool for beginner and expert chefs alike. It excelled in every test we threw at it, mincing, slicing, and shredding food much quicker than we could have done by hand. It offers a bowl large enough to handle almost any recipe, whether you’re cooking for yourself or for a party. It also does this work quietly, and its simple design makes cleaning a breeze.
If you’re planning on using your food processor often, are a frequent entertainer, or simply like having a nicer machine, we liked the Breville Sous Chef. Its higher quality materials make it feel pleasant in your hand. We also liked how easy it was to assemble — parts clicked together without a struggle — and how quiet it was in operation. The Breville also excelled in our tests, and added small details that improved on the basic Cuisinart. Its bowl and chute act as liquid measuring cups, and the slicing attachment allows you to easily adjust the width of your slices.
If you’re looking for a good introductory food processor, the Hamilton Beach Stack and Snap is a speedy and efficient worker, quickly chopping and mixing ingredients together. Its blade is a little overzealous, completing skipping over “chopped” and straight into “finely minced,” and the results were good, but not as even as our other picks. Though louder than both the Breville and the Cuisinart, it’s also lightweight, so if you aren’t planning on using it very often, it’s very easy to move in and out of cupboards.
How We Found The Best Food Processor
Food processors range anywhere from a tiny 3-cup capacity to a whopping 16 cups, and as we set out to find the best, we turned to Norene Gilletz, author of The New Food Processor Bible for advice. Gilletz has been cooking with and writing about food processors for almost 40 years — about as long as they’ve been on the market. She recommended starting with an 11- or 12-cup processor to ensure you have enough capacity for the food you’re making.
We collected user reviews from Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond and compared highly rated food processors from other review websites to find seven of the most commonly praised food processors to test. These processors come from respected brands and largely range from 11 cups to 14 cups, large enough to handle cooking for a family without taking up too much real estate on our countertop. And although it was a little smaller, we decided to include the 9-cup Ninja Food Processor because of its popularity and high ratings.
Then we took them into the kitchen
Once we had our chosen food processors, we put them through a few tests to see which ones were reliable helpers in the kitchen, and which ones were better off staying in their boxes. The best processor would be able to mix ingredients thoroughly, chop different-sized vegetables into pieces of equal size, and work through dense ingredients without straining the motor or falling over.
We tested strength by making pizza dough.
We set up our first test to find out if these motors were strong enough to handle the bulky weight of kneading pizza dough. If any of the food processors slowed down under the pressure or stopped entirely, we’d start to question whether they could handle other dense foods. On the other hand, processors that could work this extra-dense dough without a struggle could be trusted to handle tough ingredients.
Our best food processors pulsed the mixture of flour, salt, and yeast mixture into a ball in less than a minute, and spent the rest of the prep time whirling the dough ball around the pitcher. The Cuisinart outshone the competition by repeatedly dropping the dough into the blades, resulting in a nice, even mixture. Most processors simply chopped off the bottom of the dough ball and spun those pieces back up to be mixed in again.
Not Tough Enough The KitchenAid was also fairly quiet, but for the wrong reason. Its weak motor took much longer to bring the dough together, and while it never stopped churning, it didn’t impress us for speed or efficiency.
The dough test was also our first foray into how loud each processor could be, as some food processors seemed to equate power with noise. We gave preference to the ones that excelled at the task without causing too much noise — we’d rather not shout at the people in our kitchen while preparing our meals. The Oster was outright deafening, and while the Ninja started off with a high-pitched whine, it soon dropped into a low whirr as the dough came together and the motor struggled to push through the dense matter. By comparison, we were surprised by how quiet the Cuisinart and Breville were while churning out great results.
Then we chopped vegetables to gauge finesse.
Based on our experience testing chef knives, we knew that all of our processors would come out of the box with razor-sharp blades. But we didn’t know how each processor would handle the food we put in: Would it chop evenly, or would we have large carrot chunks mixed with mashed onions? Would we have to pull out our spatulas a dozen times to scrape the bowl as food climbed the sides, or did the bowl design make it fall back in naturally?
We wanted to see how the processors handled foods of different sizes and textures, so we took garlic cloves, some onion, bell pepper, and a large broken-up carrot to each bowl, and pulsed the blades to achieve a finely minced texture. All of our processors chopped the vegetables faster than we could have, but the Breville and Cuisinart had some of the finest, most evenly chopped results. On the other end of the spectrum, Black+Decker left a few uneven bits, and the KitchenAid struggled to find a rhythm as large chunks of carrot rocketed around the bowl.
We also used this test to look into how easy it was to add ingredients into the bowl. A larger chute meant we could drop entire onion halves in to meet the whirling blades, where a smaller chute meant additional prep work just to use our prep-work machine. Almost all of our picks did well here, and we were easily able to push through half a bell pepper and half an onion into the machine, though we could simply drop them into the KitchenAid, which had the largest chute of all.
The Ninja disappointed us once again in this test. Its lid is undoubtedly secure — you won’t have any leaks coming out the top — but because there isn’t a chute, you can’t add ingredients while the blades are running. That’s a problem when you need to slowly pour a liquid into the spinning blades, like for vinaigrettes or mayonnaise.
And we checked how easy they were to clean.
Food processors are known for doing prep work quickly without complaint but they’re not exactly known for being easy to clean. If you have a dishwasher, feel free to run any of our tested picks through without worry; they’re all dishwasher safe. Since we were using our processors to do multiple tests, we washed ours by hand, and while we weren’t surprised to find that simpler designs were the easiest to clean, we did find some design specs that made cleaning them more difficult.
Ridges on the inside of a pitcher made it hard to scrape clean, making us get a little more creative with our spatulas to avoid leaving food behind. Guilty parties: Ninja and KitchenAid. Similarly, complicated ridges in the lids meant we were fishing bits of bell pepper out of the KitchenAid and the Hamilton Beach processors.
We also found that some blades were more complicated than they first appeared. Both the Breville and the Oster offer blades that come in two parts — a stem that connects to the motor, and the actual blade — allowing dough to catch in the small gaps. The Black+Decker was the worst offender here: Even though its blade is in one piece, an odd ridge in the stem caught and trapped dough. And cleaning around the Ninja’s four blades felt like trying to navigate a blade forest in a sink full of bubbles — a frightening experience compared to other processors.
Don’t have time for all that scrubbing? Gilletz told us the secret to a faster cleanup: Once the processor is scraped clean, put some water into the bowl, add a drop of soap, and let your machine clean itself by pressing “On.”
The Best Food Processor
The Cuisinart has a simple, two-button design — “On” and “Pulse/Off” — but it excelled in every test we gave it. It was able to knead, chop, slice, and shred with quiet efficiency that makes it a powerful processor for chefs at any experience level.
The best machines can give us high-quality results — finely minced vegetables, and ready-to-go pizza dough — in seconds. And while the Black+Decker, Oster, and Hamilton Beach models were all speedy, only the Cuisinart and the Breville prepared our food at chef-level quality, neatly chopping through a pound of vegetables in 10 seconds.
The Cuisinart particularly excelled because it came closest to actually kneading the pizza dough instead of dragging it around the top of the bowl. In our chop test, after a quick pause to scrape the inside of the pitcher, the Cuisinart gave us even, fine, textured vegetables with only a few fast taps of the “pulse” button. This efficiency meant we were ready to move on with our recipe in seconds — unlike the KitchenAid, which still needed more chopping time after we leaned on the pulse button for 30 seconds.
And when we put our top picks through one last test to see how well they sliced a ripe tomato and shredded mozzarella, the Cuisinart demonstrated that its attachments weren’t just for show. We received thin slices of tomato, and a very fine shredding of cheese within seconds.
Need to Adjust Your Slice? Gilletz told us getting a thinner or thicker slice, or a finer or coarser shred, is less about the blade and more about how much pressure you use on the feeding tube.
Even when chopping through carrot chunks, the Cuisinart is quiet, with a low tone that means we can use it while continuing a conversation. And if you don’t have a dishwasher, the Cuisinart’s bowl and lid are smooth, making cleanup as easy as scraping off the food — there are no hiding spots for scraps and bacteria to lurk in. At first, we liked the Black+Decker’s and KitchenAid’s extra storage boxes for their discs and blades, but they take up almost as much space as the machine itself. We ended up preferring how compact the Cuisinart is: All of its attachments fit inside the bowl easily, so its accessories don’t clutter up our countertop, or get lost in the depths of a cupboard.
All of the Cuisinart’s accessories can fit inside the bowl for storage (left), while the Breville (center) can’t comfortably fit both its blade attachments. The Hamilton Beach model, right, can also store its extra parts within its bowl.
The only drawback to the Cuisinart is that it can be a little tricky to assemble. If you put food in the pitcher before it’s set on the base, sometimes the blade won’t set properly, and you’ll need to rotate it into position. The lid also locks the pitcher onto the base, and you won’t be able to remove the pitcher unless you take off the lid first.
Best Upgrade Features
The Breville earned high marks in all of our tests, and offers design features that help elevate the humble food processor into a more versatile kitchen helper. These features make the Breville more expensive, but they also make it nicer to use compared to the Cuisinart. From small improvements — the Breville’s blade stays put, even when pouring out ingredients — to generally better materials that feel pleasant under your hand, the Breville feels like an enjoyable part of the cooking experience.
Where the Breville really stands above the competition is in design quality. The Breville simply felt nicer to use than the other food processors we tested. All processors have plastic bowls, but the Breville’s is made of sturdier plastic, and its handle is comfortable to hold and carry around. Both the pitcher and feeding tube allow you to measure volume in cups, ounces, and milliliters right inside the processor — no preliminary measuring required. The Breville also has assembly guidelines to help you lock everything in with a satisfactory click instead of fumbling to line up parts just right.
If you’re planning on running soup through your food processor, the Breville’s has the largest liquid capacity of our top picks, so you won’t need to split your recipe into tiny batches. It holds up to 4 cups of thin liquid without spilling, and the Breville’s bowl is liquid-tight. We didn’t have to worry about unintended leaks, unlike the Cuisinart, whose hollow stem (which fits the blade onto the motor) limits it to 3 cups of thin liquid.
Freeze the Cheese Stick soft cheezes in the freezer for 15 minutes or so to firm up, and make them easier to shred.
The Breville had no problem with the pizza dough test, chopping and kneading the dough with quiet ease, and it did particularly well with the chop test. The bowl is angled slightly to allow any food that climbs up the wall to fall back down into the blade, no spatula required. The results of our accessories test were a little more mixed: The Breville successfully shredded mozzarella, though not as finely as the Cuisinart, and some of the soft cheese got stuck in the lid. And we eventually got some nice slices of tomato from the Breville’s slicer, but the first two pieces came out crushed.
The Breville is meant to be a countertop staple, and with its heavy weight, you wouldn’t want to move it around often. It’s our heaviest pick, coming in at 16.75 pounds —just above the Cuisinart’s 14.5 lbs, and easily outweighing the 6.5-lb. Hamilton. This sturdiness helped the Breville stand steady as it worked through dense dough and tough carrots, but it makes lifting it more of an arm workout.
The Breville offers a dough blade, a two-sided shredding disc for smaller and larger results, and a slicing blade with a built-in width adjuster.
Best Budget Food Processor
The Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Stack and Snap was the biggest surprise of our testing, outperforming food processors four times its price. Though it lacks some finesse, it gets the job done quickly, making it a good fit for someone who wants to try out a basic processor without investing more money into a fancier machine.
While the Hamilton Beach can’t quite compete with the Breville and the Cuisinart, we were impressed by how well it did compared to many of our other test processors. The KitchenAid sacrificed power for a quieter motor, but the Hamilton Beach performed admirably in the pizza dough and chopping tests, with only a brief second of struggle as it powered through the dense dough ball. During the chop test, we found all three settings — Slice/Shred, Puree/Mix, and Pulse to Chop — were fairly aggressive. A short tap was enough to send the blades spinning in a way that felt much faster than the Cuisinart or the Breville. The result was a slightly louder and shriller processor that made short work of turning our vegetables into a fine mince.
The Hamilton Beach also resolves one of the most common frustrations of owning a food processor: the frequent battle to lock in each piece perfectly. As advertised, the bowl stacks, and the lid snaps into place, without the fumbling assembly that seems to be a rite of passage for beginner users.
The Hamilton Beach was louder than our other picks, but it was still quieter than the painfully loud Oster, which retails for twice the price of the Hamilton Beach. And even though it was the lightest processor we tested, it hardly moved, even when powering through dough or carrots.
However, the Hamilton’s cheaper price shows up in the quality of its results. We had to cut the chopping test short to prevent nicely minced onion from becoming mashed onion, but somehow we were still left with large slices of garlic. And of our three top picks, we weren’t impressed by the Hamilton Beach’s dual-sided shredding and slicing disc, with some of the results making us wish we’d done it by hand instead. It also wasn’t the easiest processor to clean, thanks to a few ridges where food likes to get stuck.
When we used the attachments, our tomato came out mostly smashed with one or two slices, and nearly half of our mozzarella ball didn’t make it through the shredder, getting stuck between the disc and the lid.
But for the beginning chef, or someone simply looking to a food processor for basic chopping, the Hamilton Beach is a good starter machine. Its light weight makes it easy to keep tucked out of the way when you aren’t using it, and all its attachments fit neatly inside the bowl.
Think Beyond Chopping
Food processors are most widely known for their chopping skill, helping you prep your mise en place to get ready for a cooking extravaganza. But with a little bit of creativity, food processors can be used in a variety of application. We were one step short of making pizza with ours — forming the dough, slicing tomatoes, and shredding cheese — and a food processor could easily slice pepperoni and bell peppers for toppings, or whip up a batch of pesto if we felt fancy.
Not feeling pizza? A wide range of fresh sorbets await you, and if you ever need a break from peanut butter, the internet has your back, with recipes for all sorts of flavors and different nut blends to keep lunch healthy and interesting.
If your focus is more on pastries, a food processor mixes cookie dough, shortcrust, and other pastry starters in under a minute, so homemade cookies, tarts, and pies are just as easy as going to the store to buy them pre-made — without having to wonder about the multisyllabic ingredients in plastic packages.
Our expert only called out two food groups that she would not recommend trying out in your food processor: starches and egg whites. Mashed potatoes will still have to be done by hand as they turn gluey under the blade, and while there are egg-whisk attachments you can buy for your food processor, Gilletz recommended sticking to your hand mixer to get a better result.