The Food Processor: The Workhorse of the Kitchen

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Toasters, blenders, mixers, coffee makers, slow cookers, toaster ovens, waffle makers, juicers, bread makers, etc.

The list goes on and on.

There are a TON of kitchen appliances out there, and sometimes it’s hard to know which ones you really need to have as opposed to the ones that would just be neat to use every now and again.

food processor with baking ingredients inside sitting on purple mat

I’m on the fence about purchasing a waffle maker for this very reason.

I would love to have one for the times when I am really craving a pumpkin spice waffle, but how often would I really use it?

Maybe if I owned one, I would make waffles a lot more than I think I would, but who knows?

Anyhow, we were supposed to be discussing the process for choosing and buying the best food processors for your kitchen. Back on topic.

If  you’ve been on the fence about a getting a food processor, maybe I can shed a little light on the subject.

In my opinion, everyone should have one of these handy kitchen tools. Like me with the waffle maker, you may be asking yourself how often you would really use one.

Personally, I use mine once a week most of the time, and if you decide to invest in one, you probably would, too.

You may  also be wondering why you can’t just use your blender for the same purposes for which you would need a food processor. The main reason here is twofold.

First, a blender has to have some liquid to move the various ingredients around to reach to allow the blades to reach all the pieces and get everything smooth and uniform.

Food processors don’t need any liquid, which is great considering there are plenty of things that could be done in this kitchen appliance that shouldn’t have any liquid.

Secondly, the shape of the blender doesn’t really lend itself well to the tasks at which a food processor excels. The flat bottom and wide-reaching blades ensures that all of the ingredients stay moving around to get evenly processed.

A babby food jar full of apple sauce in the foreground with food processor and apples in the background

Use a Food Processor to create nourishing baby food right in your own home!

Another question you may have is the ways it can be used. The number one thing I use my processor for in this season of my life is making baby food.

When I had my first child, I remember seeing all this snazzy baby food makers and wondering why I would need one of this when I had an awesome food processor at home already.

I was right, and I have used mine to make various main courses and side dishes for all three of my children quickly and easily.

Don’t have children? No problem.

You can also make your own hummus, pesto, mayonnaise, and a number of other dips and spreads.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, or even if you do and want to do the job more quickly, these are great for pureeing soups and sauces as well.

Hate chopping, shredding, slicing by hand?

Even if you don’t mind it, this would be a great tool for you to have simply because of the time you will save.

If you get a powerful enough model, these things can even need dough and potentially replace a stand mixer! These appliances are fabulous for making pasta and pie dough so much more quickly and with less mess than making them by hand. You can make your own bread crumbs (which would be perfect in our recipe for breaded beef fillets), cookie crumbs, and even nut butters.

I’d suggest looking at a model at 1000 watts such as the Cuisinart FP-14DC Elite Collection 14-Cup Model. The body on this one is solid die cast aluminum so no chincy plastic parts to scuff up or break here!

Cuisinart FP-14DC Elite Collection 14-Cup Food Processor, Die Cast

See all the ways you’ll be using your new food processor? Now that I’ve talked you in to making a purchase, the next question you probably have is how to choose one. There is a plethora of brands, and different models within those brands, from which to choose, and the sheer number might seem overwhelming.

Luckily, there are a few key things to look for when trying to decide.

As with all small kitchen appliances, the prices on this one vary quite a bit from brand to brand.

The lower end, less powerful brands like Hamilton Beach and Black and Decker are widely popular and cost significantly less than the higher end brands such as Cuisinart and KitchenAid.

Black and Decker FP1660B 8 Cup Food Processor on isolated background

The Black & Decker FP1600B 8-Cup Food Processor available at Amazon is nicely inexpensive.

Even within those brand names, the prices will vary based on capacity and the power of the motor.

If you think you’ll be using yours a good bit or plan on using it in heavy duty ways like making nut butters, I recommend going with a higher end, higher wattage model to avoid the motor burning out on you too quickly.

The next thing to think about is the capacity you will need. If you are a single person or part of a 2-3 person family, you probably won’t need a food processor bigger than a 3-cup size.

If you have a bigger family, or if you frequently cook for large groups of people, you’ll need at least a 6-cup size and maybe even a 9-cup or larger.

Personally, I love the Braun FP3020 12 Cup model shown below as I’m a sucker for anything well engineered and well made.

Braun FP3020 12 Cup Food Processor

12 cups is a good size for the average family without being too little of capacity and without hogging up all of your counter or storage space.

The Braun also has 11 speeds unlike many food processors (most good ones have 3 and the cheaper ones only have a single speed) which allows it to take on some tasks that were once associated only with premium blenders such as the Vitamix 5200.

Here’s the thing,

The Braun is huge multitasker. Not only does it perform traditional duties as a food processor, it also functions as a juicer and chopper.

Available in your choice of 7, 8, or 9 blades.

A few other things to look at are if additional tools come with it (disks for shredding and slicing are a must and a pushing tool for the feed shoot is nice, too), if a smaller bowl is included when purchasing a larger size (this is handy for chopping small amounts of nuts or herbs), and if the controls are a smooth-touch pad or if they are buttons (the touch pad is better for cleaning up afterwards- trust me on this!).

The Braun comes in your choice of

If you are thinking of getting a larger size, if it doesn’t come with a smaller cup, I would suggest purchasing an inexpensive model in a small size specifically for chopping nuts and herbs. It will take up a small amount of counter or cabinet space and is great for chopping these things quickly.

Cusinart DLC-2A Mini Prep Plus 3-Cup Food Processor on white, isolated background

Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor, Brushed Chrome

Well, hopefully I have given you some great pointers as far as what to consider when you are looking to purchase the best food processor for your kitchen.

Any of your local big box stores and chain retailers would be a great place to browse, and of course, there are tons of sites, such as Amazon, online to shop and and read reviews.

I do recommend reading any reviews you can find to help make the most informed decision, but I hope this article has helped, too.

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About Ashley Martell

Ashley has enjoyed creative writing since she was six years old, when she wrote her first short story. She majored in English literature at the University of Montevallo. After years of professional work, she is now a stay-at-home mom of three, who uses her craft to write about her life and adventures in and out of the kitchen.

17 thoughts on “The Food Processor: The Workhorse of the Kitchen”

  1. I recently started getting into cooking and have a lot of appliance I haven’t used much. The food processor came with the blender, a two in one option. I got it for the blender, and haven’t used the processor very much. I definitely want to try making my own mayonnaise and pesto.

  2. I keep meaning to pick up a food processor, but it gets pushed back for whatever reason. I guess this puts it at the front of the list yet again.

  3. Thanks for the helpful advice – you’ve taken a very methodical approach to choosing a food processor that’s the complete opposite of what I usually do; I’m ashamed to admit it but I often end up making that sort of decision on a bit of a whim, or unduly influenced by what it looks like. I never even thought about the difference that having a larger motor might make, until I read it here!

    Despite my less than sensible approach to picking it, my last model (a Russell & Hobbs model, not sure if you have that brand in America, but I would say it a mid-range one) turned out to be really good, but sadly I broke it a few months ago. I’ve been resisting replacing it, hoping I would be able to get by with the aid of my stick blender and mini food chopper. I’ve enjoyed having the extra counter space, but I’m finding that more and more cookbooks are including recipes that have to be made with a food processor, so I think I’m going to have to give in.

  4. I have had a food processor for a while but only recently started using it a lot. It works wonders! I have a basic one but would love to upgrade to some of the ones shown here. I wish I had more types of blades and attachments. It’s going on my christmas list.

  5. About 2 years ago I finally convinced my husband that a food processor was worth the investment. He does most of the cooking and before I bought one I wanted to be sure that he would use it. Now, it sees nearly daily usage. We eat a lot of Mexican foods, or at least Tex-Mex and that means a lot of beans, onions, peppers, tomatoes… To chop them all up would take forever, but by just throwing them all in the processor we are able to get a good mix and a pretty consistent chopping size.

  6. I wouldn’t be without my food processor. They make light work of all the boring chopping tasks and really help me get better results in the kitchen. The only downside is the amount of space it takes up – I only have a small kitchen and space is at a premium.

  7. I’ve always wondered the difference between a food processor and a blender, so it’s nice to know that they ARE different aside from the form. The cuisinart model looks the best in my opinion

  8. I’m glad I found this article. I had a food processor, but didn’t use it all that much, until recently, when it died after just a few uses. I will eventually replace it, but for right now, I’m alternating between using the blender and mini-chopper. I definitely recommend having both of them, but am finding that I really miss my larger food processor, especially now that I am making pet food at home.

  9. I have a cuisinart food processor at home. It’s quite the handy tool. I use it for almost all of my cooking. Before I had it, I used to to use a blender- I just put in a little liquid like water, or the dish’s accompanying sauce to make it work, and it did work, but with varying results.

  10. This article is just on time for me because I am looking at buying a food processor soon. I had one years ago, but it stopped working and I have no idea why I never bought another. I had no idea it could mix pastry, dough etc. I am really happy to hear about this and will take a closer look before I buy one.

  11. I am considering buying one of these devices and need to know exactly what I can use it for. It seems that it will come in handy and can be used in ways I never knew, especially for baking. I do quite a bit of baking and would love to have something mix the dough for me.

  12. I like the idea of having a food processer. I don’t know too many things I could use it for, I’d have to look up things that would work for my family. But I see you can make applesauce and things for baby food, kind of like a blender in a way.

  13. I got a food processor as a gift last year and I love it! I have 4 cups one which really makes a difference. I make homemade hummus in it, which tastes so much fresher then store brought hummus and is much cheaper. I also make a big thing of pesto every couple months and put the left overs in the freezer. This is definitely one of my favorite kitchen appliances.

    • This is immediately where my mind went when I first started thinking of the food processor….hummus and pesto. I know that there are so many other uses for it, and I did also think about spinach dip, so I am sure having one would really unleash some potential that may be hiding somewhere. I think I will seriously consider getting one of these, and my dip game is going to go through the roof.

  14. The title of this post is so true for me. My food processor truly is the workhorse of my kitchen. I probably use my food processor three or four times a week. I bake a lot so, I use it when I’m making big batches of cookies, pizza dough, bread dough, and biscuits. I also use it to make hummus, pesto, and mayo on a weekly basis. When my children were younger, I also used it to make big batches of baby food too, and then I would freeze little batches in ice cube trays.

    Anyone out there who doesn’t have a food processor, I’m telling you, you really need to consider investing in one. I’ve an Oster food processor and I’ve had it for 17 years now. It really is a time saver and every kitchen should definitely have a food processor.

  15. I found you in my research for food processors. I am glad to hear that you use your atleast once a week. The only reason I haven’t pulled the trigger on making this purchase is because I am afraid it will meet the same fate as my kitchenaid mixer – becoming a dust collector. I do think that you get what you pay for, especially with any motorized kitchen tool. I personally think I will go for the high wattage, metal parts version. Thank you for the help!

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