Our Guide to the Best Food Processors

We sliced, diced, shredded and blended to find the best one to suit your needs.

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April 17, 2019
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Photo By: annick vanderschelden photography

Photo By: Westend61

Which Food Processor Is Right for You?

Like so many kitchen appliances these days, there are tons of food processors on the market, ranging widely in price, size and level of bells and whistles. And while Cuisinart can claim the original food processor — it’s probably the brand your mom has and told you to buy — there are several other brands that are worth a look, depending on your needs. Here are our favorites, whether you need a simple model for basic chopping and blending or you’re a kitchen pro shopping for a serious upgrade.

Best Overall: Cuisinart 13 Cup Stainless Steel Food Processor

Cuisinart is to food processors what Kleenex is to tissues — the brand has become a descriptor for the item itself. No wonder this model is our choice for most home cooks. The design is smart and straightforward; clearly a lot of thought went into pre-troubleshooting. The 13-cup bowl is on the larger side, so you can go ahead and double that pie crust recipe — and the processor also comes with a 4.5-cup bowl to tackle smaller jobs. The slicing blade adjusts to 7 different thicknesses and the reversible shredding blade allows for fine or coarse grating. Even the manual is spiral bound to make it easier to use.

P.S.: Our tester has had a model similar to this one for years and can attest to its durability; she uses it several times a week, then throws it in the dishwasher, and it’s held up beautifully.

Buy It: Amazon, $174.95

Best Compact Model: Cuisinart Prep 9 9-Cup Food Processor

If space is an issue, or you generally cook for two, but you still want a higher-end, sturdy, does-it-all processor, meet your new BFF. Cuisinart essentially scaled down its larger models to make this compact version, without sacrificing quality or versatility. The slicing and shredding blades work just as well as their bigger cousins, as does the S-blade. Though the base is smaller, the machine still sits sturdily on the counter without jumping around. This model is definitely small but mighty.

Buy It: Amazon, $130.99

Best on a Budget: Oster 10-Cup Food Processor

If you want a food processor but you’re on a tight budget, or not sure you’re ready to invest a lot of cash for another kitchen gadget, this model is a solid option. It has some of the smart design advantages of pricier models (the shredding and slicing functions are combined on one blade, for example), and its 10-cup capacity makes it large enough for most jobs but not so giant that it’s a nuisance. There are some disadvantages — locking the bowl into place was clumsier than we wanted, and a relatively long, slow pulse mechanism makes things like cutting butter into flour for pie dough a bit less efficient. But in general, this model works well and can do what you need a processor for.

Buy It: Amazon, $59.47

Best If Money and Space Are No Object: Breville Sous Chef 16 Pro

This is the Ferrari of food processors, almost as good as having an actual human sous chef in your kitchen. You'll find different-sized feed chutes so you can slice or shred thick or thin items easily, 24 slicing thickness options, 5 cutting disks so you can make anything from French fries to julienne vegetables, a timing function — even the caddy that holds all the accessories is thoughtfully labeled, so you know what everything is at a glance. If the 16-cup-capacity bowl is too much for the job at hand, grab the 2.5-cup mini-processing bowl. The one thing to note is that it takes up nearly as much space as an actual Ferrari — this is not the model for small kitchens or anyone running low on counter space.

Buy It: Amazon, $319.95

Best First Food Processor: Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Stack & Snap Food Processor

Let’s say you’re moving into your first adult apartment, or registering for your wedding, or upgrading your hand-me-down appliances to newer ones: This is a fantastic choice. It’s thoughtfully designed (we love that the shredding and slicing blade is one unit, and the bowl has a pour spout — so smart!), and the 12-cup size means it can handle a wide range of jobs. You only have one option for slicing thickness, but it works very well; it made quick work of a zucchini with nearly no waste. The same is true of the shredding blade — only one thickness, but very efficient. The buttons (one for slice/shred, one for puree/mix and one to pulse) offer different levels of power so each job gets done the way you want it to.

Buy It: Hamilton Beach, $49.99

How We Tested

After careful research from reputable consumer buying guides, we purchased 10 food processors. We began by evaluating how easy the processors were to set up, how accessible the manuals were and how simple (or not) it was to navigate the processors’ attachments. From there, we put each processor through a series of tests: Chopping an onion, slicing zucchini, shredding carrots and Parmesan cheese, chopping basil, making pie dough and emulsifying a salad dressing. We looked at how well the bowls, blades and lids clicked into place, how the buttons were designed, how many speeds each one had, whether it was easy to clean and how much storage space each one requires. We ruled out any processors that couldn’t complete all of the tasks, and factored in cost.