A food processor doesn’t seem like much from the outside but, boy, can looks be deceiving. This versatile workhorse can tackle all kinds of tough kitchen tasks, including shredding, slicing, pureeing and juicing. You can make anything, from dips and marinades to baby food and ice cream. Indeed, the food processor brings a whole new meaning to multipurpose.
Food processors are fitted with an electric motor—usually somewhere between 500 and 1,00 watts—which powers the ultra-sharp blades through even the toughest ingredients, like nuts and ice. The bowls vary in size and capacity can range from 2 to 16 cups. Obviously, the larger options are great for batch cooking, but they can take up a fair bit of counter space.
As with any kitchen appliance, it’s worthwhile investing in a high-quality machine that will last rather than something that’s sure to burn out quickly. To help you with this all-important decision, we’ve rounded up four of the best food processors on Amazon to help make easy work of your kitchen prep.
1. Breville 12-Cup Food Processor
Breville pulled no punches when it came to powering this food processor. The high-octane design is the most powerful on this list and features a gutsy 1,000-watt induction motor that will make mincemeat of almost any ingredient. It comes with a micro-serrated S-blade for chopping and mixing, as well as an adjustable slicing disc that has 24 different settings, from paper-thin (0.3 mm) to thick cut (8 mm). Despite all of this, the design is relatively compact and won’t take up much space on your benchtop. Thanks to the large 5-inch-wide feed shoot, you won’t have to precut many ingredients and the plastic bowl can hold up to 12 cups.
Breville 12-Cup Food Processor: $299.95
2. Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor
Cuisinart’s food processor is by far the most stylish on our list. It delivers all the functionality and tech you would expect without sacrificing any style points. The striking design features a brushed stainless-steel base and can be finished in an array of trendy colors. Powered by a 720-watt motor, it can blitz all manner of produce with the touch of a button. It comes with a standard 4 mm slicing disc, a medium shredding disc and a stainless-steel chopping/mixing blade, so it’s also plenty versatile. On the larger end of the spectrum, its bowl can hold up to 14 cups.
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor: $229.95
3. Braun 12-Cup Food Processor
If you plan to do your processing in the early morning but don’t want to wake up the rest of the family, Braun’s ultra-quiet food processor is the model for you. It can chop, slice, whisk and knead while emitting very few decibels. It even has a juicer attachment, so you can surprise your sleepy family with fresh OJ. Fitted with a 600-watt motor, the machine can hit 11 different speeds to give you more control over performance. With a 12-cup capacity, it’s not the biggest processor, nor the most powerful. But the model’s low-key hum might be enough to make anyone forget its drawbacks.
Braun 12-Cup Food Processor: $199.99
4. KitchenAid Mini Food Processor
For some of us, counter space comes at a premium. If this describes you, Kitchen Aid has just the food processor worthy of consideration. The brand’s model is easily the smallest on this list with a capacity of just 3.5 ounces, but that also means it’ll fit on even the most cramped counter top. It’s also an excellent performer, thanks to a uniquely designed stainless steel blade and multiple speed and pulse settings. Even better: It’s easy to clean.
KitchenAid Mini Food Processor: $49.99
Now matter how legit your cooking skills may or may not be, a good food processor is a kitchen must-have. The best food processor for you depends on a few things, like what you see yourself using it for, how much cash you're willing to dish out, and how much space your kitchen can spare.
Why make the investment? Basically blenders on steroids, food processors can chop, dice, blend, grind, and mince all sorts of ingredients and foods. Plus, unlike blenders, they don’t require any liquid to do the job.
“Food processors can be manual or handheld, but electric counter-top appliances that come with many different attachments for various jobs are the most common,” says Alex Lewis, RD, LDN, dietitian at Baze.
“The reason they’re so popular, and why I recommend investing in a food process, is that it saves you time," Lewis says. "And the more time saved when cooking, the more time you have to do other things you love—and the easier it is to meal prep."
Since food processors cut down on time-consuming, repetitive prep work like chopping, slicing, and dicing, they're super handy for simplifying pretty much any cooking you do—a win-win in so many situations. (Read: No more crying while chopping onions!)
Not sure which food processor to add to your cart? The following 13 picks come highly rated by Amazon as the best food processors in 2020, so you know they get the job done.
A high-quality food processor is one of the most versatile kitchen countertop appliances. Depending on the attachment, a good processor with a powerful motor can easily shred hard or soft cheeses, grind nuts into powder (or make a nut butter like almond butter or peanut butter), knead bread dough or pizza dough, make a pie crust, dice and slice fruits and vegetables or make butter and spreads. You can even make emulsions, soups and baby food right in the working bowl.
That said, not every electric food processor is created equal -- as with anything, there are stark differences in cost, motor performance and overall durability. It's hard to jump in and figure out the best food processor for your chopping, grinding, dicing and food prep kitchen task needs. From motor power to capacity, attachments and overall value, we're here to help you find the best available options and show you that the best food processors aren't always the ones with the biggest price tag.
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The other factor you might want to consider -- beyond power and price tag -- is how easy to clean the food processor is. Some or all of its components may be dishwasher-safe. Even if you have to hand-wash the chopping blade or slicing disk, being able to toss the feed chute or main container in the dishwasher may be a boon.
I tested seven food processors, representing major brands and best sellers according to Amazon, Target and Walmart buyer reviews. You can pick a food processor up for as little as $25 or splurge big on an expensive pro model for upward of $600. The food processors I tested are in the middle, mostly in the $100 to $200 range made for general home use. There are also mini models and extra-large food processors but the ones I tested are all average in size -- between 10- and 14-cup capacities. You can also invest in a food processor attachment if there is a particular kitchen task that you need it to perform.
How we test food processors
While food processors can perform many different tasks, I chose tests that represented the core functions of a food processor. Most people use these kitchen appliances to blend, chop, puree and shred.
Having narrowed it down to these key kitchen tasks, I chose making hummus, pico de gallo, almond butter and shredded parmesan for the test recipes. Those recipes involve a mix of blending, chopping, shredding and pureeing that would give me a feel for the performance of each model.
Hummus was a good indicator of how powerful a food processor's motor was and thus how well the appliance could blend ingredients together into one smooth substance. Pico de gallo tested how easy it was for the chopping blade to create a uniformly chopped dish made up of ingredients in varying textures and hardnesses.
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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. Here's how it all shook out and my recommendation for the three best food processors available, which we update periodically.
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Best overall food processor
Braun FP3020 12-cupTyler Lizenby/CNET
It isn't pretty (not even a little), but this German food processor from Braun's Tribute Collection gave the best results by far when it came to blending and chopping. The hummus from the Braun food processor was the smoothest of any I made in my testing. When I used the Braun FP3020 as a food chopper to make pico de gallo, it came out uniform and finely chopped without too much juice pooled in the bottom of the bowl.
The 12-cup bowl is large enough for families and with 15 speeds you'll have plenty of control over your processing. The ability to fine-tune the speed came in extra handy when I grated a hard block of parmesan. On high, the cheese was uncontrollable in most food processors, but with the speed at, say, a 6 or 8 out of 15 in the Braun, I could steady the cheese and guide it better through the feed tube while still grating it thoroughly.
You'll also get seven attachments to help make being a home chef easy. The attachments are helpful for slicing vegetables, kneading dough, shredding, whipping, juicing and mixing.
Best value food processor
Cuisinart FP-11SV ElementalTyler Lizenby/CNET
We tested multiple Cuisinart models and this one wins for its balance of performance, value and features.
Hummus with the Cuisinart FP-11SV was smooth and well-blended. Four pulses was enough to chop up my pico de gallo ingredients well and although getting almonds to a butter consistency took significantly longer in this model (about 10 minutes on average), the result was smooth and well-mixed.
Shredding cheese was a bit tricky since the mouth of this processor's food chute is small compared with other models. I had to trim down my wedge of parmesan quite a bit to fit in the chute. However, you do get thoughtful extras like a disc with two shredding size options (fine or medium) and suction cups on the bottom of the processor to help it stay steady on your countertop.
Best food processor for shredding and slicing
KitchenAid KFP1133CU 11-Cup with ExactSlice SystemTyler Lizenby/CNET
KitchenAid is a classic brand and while its stand mixers are beloved, I can't say the same for the company's food processor options. This 11-cup KitchenAid food processor model worked well, but it wasn't the best performer at blending and chopping. However, you will get a lot of attachments and it's a good food processor for shredding and slicing since it comes with multiple discs for different shred and slice sizes.
Hummus made with this model hada smooth, well-blended consistency with even flavor. Five pulses of the chopping blade did the trick as a food chopper for my pico de gallo vegetables and it easily processed almond butter, though the machine did heat up in the 18 minutes it took to process the almonds into nut butter, leaving me with questions about the motor. This KitchenAid model does have an automatic shut-off to prevent motor burnout, but that heat still made me nervous.
Shredding and slicing are where KitchenAid really shines. It has a reversible shredding disc option and an externally adjustable slicing disc that corresponds to a slider on the front of the base, so you can get really specific slice sizes.
There's also a nice storage case included, so you don't end up throwing all those blades into your bowl when it's not in use. It has a classic style and like any good KitchenAid appliance, it comes in multiple finishes. The price varies depending on which finish you choose.
Other food processors we tested
In addition to the three recommended above, we tested four other food processors in the $100 to $200 range.
Worth considering, but not as good as the top picks above:
- Hamilton Beach Professional Dicing Food Processor: I was impressed by the design of the Hamilton Beach processor, but it wasn't the winner in performance and I found the button labels and noise level to be a bit bothersome. At $200, I can't recommend the Hamilton Beach Professional Food Processor over better-performing models.
- Cuisinart DFP-14BKSY Custom 14-Cup Food Processor: This Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor model performed well enough, but you'll only get one speed option and just one size of shredding disc. The food processors recommended above offer more for your money than this Cuisinart food processor model.
- Ninja Smart Screen Blender and Processor: This kit comes with a blending bowl, processor bowl and a travel cup. With a smaller (5-cup) bowl capacity, results were inconsistent and I would say it underperformed. The Ninja Smart Screen is a small food processor unit that I would avoid if your priority is food processing.
- Oster Designed for Life 14-Cup Food Processor: This food processor just didn't perform well. Hummus had multiple unchopped chickpeas in it and the gusty airflow out of the front of the machine was enough to blow around items on my countertop. Another food processor I would avoid.
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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.
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.
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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.
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While your food processor is primarily two spinning blades, there are a host 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.
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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.
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Top food processors compared
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