small appliances

The 7 Very Best Food Processors

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of Retailer

In this article

People often wonder if you need a blender and a food processor — and if you cook a lot, the answer is yes. While a blender has the necessary power for smoothies, puréed soups, crushed ice, and nut butters, a food processor is meant for tasks that require a gentler hand. A recent example: I made a bolognese that required me to finely chop nine onions, a terrible task to undertake with a knife. But my processor took care of business in mere minutes. They can also make quick work of pestos, chimichurris, and salsas; emulsify aiolis, dressings, and sauces without intense whisking; and bring together doughs at the press of a button. To find the most reliable options out there, I consulted a group of expert cooks to tell us about the models they’ve been using for years in their own homes. I cross-referenced their picks and tried a few myself, too, to find the best food processor for every kind of cook.

What we’re looking for


There are a couple processors on this list that can accommodate large batches (with 15- and 16-cup capacities, respectively). They get smaller from there, down to a mini 3-cup option that’s ideal for one- or two-person households or if you plan to primarily use it for smaller batches of sauces and dressings.


Every machine on this list has the ability to pulse, giving you control over how fine you chop your ingredients. But when it comes to continuously running the blades, some have high and low speeds, while others just have one.

Best overall food processor

Capacity: 14 cups | Speeds: One speed

Cuisinart is known for its food processors (you’ll see a few more of their models below), but the most-recommended is this 14-cup model. Jocelyn Delk Adams, a cookbook author and the recipe developer behind Grandbaby Cakes, has had hers for more than a decade. She says she appreciates the simplicity of the two settings: on and pulse. “Others have more speeds or buttons or attachments, but this one is just not complicated,” she says. “I’m cooking more than the average person, and the blades are as sharp as they ever were. It’s so consistent.” Maya Kaimal, a cookbook author and the founder of a line of Indian pantry goods, has had hers for even longer, about 30 years. She’s had to replace the plastic bowl, but the motor and blades haven’t worn out, she says. She also notes that while it doesn’t come with attachments for different chopping and cutting styles, you can buy them separately, like this fine grater disk and thick slicing disk. Recipe developer and newsletter author Caroline Chambers says not only is it reliable and long-lasting, but it’s even easier to maintain than the newer Cuisinart model she owned previously. In comparison, she says, this classic one is much easier to clean by throwing the removable pieces in the dishwasher and wiping down the outside.

Best less-expensive food processor

Capacity: 8 cups | Speeds: Two speeds

This Cuisinart might be a little over half the size of the one above, but recipe developer and food stylist Chloe Walsh and cook Ethany Lee note that it has some similar attributes: durability (both experts have owned theirs for nearly a decade each) and super-sharp blades that “don’t get overheated like some lower-rent blenders,” Lee says. And for Lee, the size is a plus — she says she likes that it’s “small enough to not take up too much space in my kitchen but still large enough to handle bigger cooking projects and doughs for baking.” It also has both low and high speed settings, a feature Walsh says she appreciates because she can choose the low speed for, say, emulsifying olive oil into aioli and the high when she wants to blend quickly.

Best even less-expensive food processor

Capacity: 8 cups | Speeds: Two speeds

Lizzy Briskin, food editor at Food Network magazine, recommends this more affordable option that’s the same size as the smaller Cuisinart above. She says the eight-cup capacity works well for her because making a smaller quantity of pesto or sauce in a larger model requires her to stop constantly and scrape down the sides, or leaves her with large chunks of ingredients that don’t hit the blades. And she says she likes the simplicity of the design, in which each part slides into place in a neat stack (versus the other models on this list where you twist the bowl and lid into a locking position). To operate the machine, you push down on a low- or high-speed button on the top of the lid, holding it for a consistent whir and pressing on and off to create a pulse for chopping. The stainless steel makes the machine look sleek, she says, and cleans up well with a simple wipe-down. One final bonus: It has a rubber ring around the bottom to help it stay in place and dampen noise as it vibrates against the counter.

Best mini food processor

Capacity: 3.5 cups | Speeds: One speed

Recipe developer Hailee Catalano doesn’t mix doughs in her food processor — but says beyond that, there’s nothing this 3.5-cup model can’t handle. She mostly turns to it for pesto, sauces, and crunchy toppings where the small size is, in fact, a plus: “With big ones, unless you’re making a huge batch, the blades barely touch what’s in there so you end up with an uneven chop,” she says. “This one doesn’t have any trouble spots.” She also appreciates the simplicity of the machine, which works when you press your finger down on the lid overhang to continuously pulverize or pulse ingredients. (While there are separate “chop” and “puree” settings, Catalano says she doesn’t notice much difference between them. The truth is, if you want to puree, you really need a regular blender or immersion blender for the job.) Catalano says the lid locks into place easily and cleans up well with minimal nooks and crannies for debris or water to get stuck. It’s also pretty consistently on sale.

Best less expensive mini food processor

Capacity: 3 cups | Speeds: One speed

I rely heavily on the mini Cuisinart I’ve owned for about nine years. Space is limited in my already stuffed-to-the-brim kitchen and like Catalano, I’ve never felt the need to get a bigger one because this model works so well. If I need to blitz up a large amount of something, I might have to separate it into batches to fit, but I consider that a minor hassle for the sake of storage convenience. The size is also specifically suited for wet emulsions, whereas a larger processor won’t blend the liquid as easily, splattering onto the high sides and requiring you to scrape down regularly with a rubber spatula. The blades are as sharp as the day I got the machine thanks to separate “chop” and “grind” buttons. The former uses the acute side to cut through softer ingredients like herbs that won’t dull the edge, while the latter uses the blunter side for hard ingredients like nuts and whole spices. The lid has a hole at the top for streaming in oil, the body is lightweight and easy to move around, and the removable pieces fit snugly in my dishwasher. But don’t just take this recommendation from me: Cook and recipe developer Lee Kalpakis says “I have a full-size food processor but find myself using the mini, which takes up way less space and is much easier to clean, a lot more.”

Best wireless food processor


Capacity: 5 cups | Speeds: Two speeds

“This processor is really cleverly designed,” says cookbook author and recipe developer Max La Manna. “It’s small, it’s nimble, and there’s no wire.” The size is perfect for cooking for two, as he most often does. But the biggest plus is the ability to charge the machine and have it run from any part of his kitchen. “This allows me to film wherever the light is good,” he says, “but also I can cook with it around any other appliances or mess going on on my counters.” La Manna notes that it’s also easier to clean the outside without a cord getting in the way. There are two speeds and a button on the top to pulse food and “because it’s so lightweight, it’s easy to simply pick it up and give it a bit of shake if I need to move the pieces around when chopping,” he says.

Best food processor with attachments

Capacity: 16 cups and 2.5 cups | Speeds: One speed

Celia Lee, pastry chef at New York City’s NARO, has owned this “powerful, strong, and sturdy” machine for two years. It comes with two traditional blades (one that goes with the 16-cup bowl and another that fits a 2.5-cup bowl that attaches to the base). But there are also eight additional attachments to “make cooking easier and less time-consuming,” she says. Those include a dicer, a peeler, a shredder, a slicer, a julienne disk, a French-fry disk, a whisk, and a dough blade, each of which takes care of its super specific prep work in a matter of seconds. (All the pieces fit into a labeled box for tidy storage.) The machine also includes multiple chutes of varying widths so if you need to fit, say, an entire potato in to peel it, you can do so. And the final extra feature is a screen with a timer that Lee says comes in handy when multitasking because you can set it and walk away.

More kitchen appliances we’ve written about before

Our experts

Lizzy Briskin, food editor at Food Network magazine
Hailee Catalano, recipe developer
Caroline Chambers, recipe developer and newsletter author
• Jocelyn Delk Adams, cookbook author and recipe developer
• Maya Kaimal, cookbook author and founder of Maya Kaimal
Lee Kalpakis, cook and recipe developer
Max La Manna, cookbook author and recipe developer
• Celia Lee, pastry chef at NARO
Ethany Lee, cook
Chloe Walsh, recipe developer and food stylist

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The 7 Very Best Food Processors