June 7, 2023


Be Inspired By Food

The Very Best Food Processors, According To Rigorous Testing

As a professionally trained baker and avid home cook, I consider a food processor as the ultimate time-saving kitchen appliance. I wouldn’t dare make a pie dough or shred a bag of carrots without a food processor by my side. Since my first purchase some 15 years ago, the advancements in kitchen technology have improved substantially, and I figured I was due for an upgrade to take advantage of niftier features. So, I set out on a quest to find the best food processors in today’s market.

After week’s of extensive research and a month of rigorous testing, my top pick is the Breville Sous Chef 12 Plus Food Processor—that’s such an easy and precise machine to assemble, use and clean. But if you want to save $100 and get nearly the same results plus some much-appreciated extras, go for the Cuisinart Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor. Overall, I was pleased with the performance of every model and think each has its place depending on the cook and kitchen.

Best Food Processor Overall 

Breville BFP660SIL Sous Chef 12-Cup Food Processor

  • Forbes rating: 5/5 stars
  • 12-cup capacity
  • 1000-watt induction motor
  • Chopping and dough blades
  • Adjustable shredding and slicing discs

The Breville is the luxury upgrade I didn’t know I needed. It just felt effortless to use. Everything clicks into place and disassembles with ease. The large feed tube meant I didn’t have to cut down larger carrots. The reversible shredding disc has coarse and fine options, and the slicing disc offers a whopping 24 thickness settings, which makes me want to ditch my manual mandoline slicer for good.

It’s distinctly quieter than other models, and it zips efficiently through every task. The onion dice was perfectly even with just a few pulses, thanks to the super sharp micro-serrated blade. (I actually nicked my finger the first time I used it, though I deducted no points for my own error.) The nut butter test was what finally sold me. I stopped to see how finely chopped the nuts were before their oils started to separate, which is important for certain recipes requiring this size cut. The nuts were by far the finest, driest batch tested.

It’s worth mentioning this model is noticeably heavier than the others, so I recommend storing it on a lower shelf. It also doesn’t come with a storage container for the gadgets beyond the blade case. A separately purchased container can easily solve this, and I liked its performance so much that I couldn’t bring myself to deduct even a half-star.

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Best Food Processor For Most Home Cooks

Cuisinart Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor

Cuisinart FP-13DSV Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor and Dicing Kit

  • Forbes rating: 5/5 stars
  • 13-cup capacity
  • 550-watt peak power motor
  • Chopping and dough blades
  • Adjustable dicing, shredding and slicing discs
  • 4-cup smaller nested work bowl

Cuisinart became synonymous with the home food processor more than 40 years ago, and it still lives up to its name. The Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor performed extremely well on all tasks, just shy of the Breville on the mincing. It has similar well thought out features like a wide-mouth feed tube, reversible shredding disc and an adjustable slicing disc. It goes one step further with a separate dicing disc, and best of all, the machine comes with a lockable storage case with a designated space for each attachment. If you have the space and love gadgets as much as you love cooking, the Cuisinart will be a welcome addition to your kitchen.

What ultimately bumped this model to a five-star status were the added mini bowl and mini blade attachments. They’re great for smaller jobs like mincing garlic, especially if you have the machine out for other tasks. The smaller bowl nests inside the larger one to function and store, making it a convenient mini chopper without having to purchase a separate or hybrid model. And priced at nearly $100 cheaper than the Breville, that value equation is hard to beat. 

Best Food Processor For Small Kitchens

KitchenAid 13-Cup Food Processor

  • Forbes rating: 4.5/5 stars
  • 13-cup capacity
  • 500-watt motor
  • Chopping and dough blades
  • Adjustable shredding and slicing discs

The 15-year-old machine I referenced earlier is a KitchenAid and it still works well, so I was secretly rooting for this newer model from the heritage kitchen brand. It didn’t disappoint, with a performance right up there with the Cuisinart on all tests with similar adjustable discs. Rather than twisting the top to fit into the bowl like other models, the KitchenAid has a flip top that snaps into the side and closes with a latch. If you’ve ever fought to close a food processor lid, you will enjoy this feature immediately. 

For those craving a smaller footprint without sacrificing quality, this model is for you. The base is almost the same width as the bowl and slightly lighter than my old model, making the newer version sleeker and easier to store. All the parts are organized on a caddy that nests inside the bowl when it’s not in use. I’ll admit it took me a bit to figure out how to assemble it all, but it’s worth the learning curve to have it all self-contained.

The cord was a bit shorter than other brands, so I almost had to switch my prep space to plug it in. Also, the feeding tube was on the back side of the processor, rather than the front like the others, making it slightly more awkward to feed into it. But I gave it bonus points since I can vouch for the longevity of its predecessor.

Best Budget-Friendly Food Processor

Hamilton Beach 12 Cup Stack & Snap Food Processor

Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Stack & Snap Food Processor & Vegetable Chopper

  • Forbes rating: 4/5 stars
  • 12-cup capacity
  • 450-watt motor
  • Chopping blade
  • Reversible shredding/slicing disc

If you’re just starting out on your journey as a home cook or looking for a more wallet-friendly option, consider the Hamilton Beach. For significantly less money, you can still tackle basic tasks with ease. Perhaps the dice won’t be quite as fine as the fancier models, but unless you’re making a highly precise dish, it’s doubtful you’ll notice the difference once you’re done cooking. You also won’t get the fancy upgrades of varied shred sizes and slice thickness, but the reversible disc still provides a significant benefit over doing those tasks by hand.

I found pouring the water down the feeder tube for the pie dough a little awkward because the machine shakes a bit, but the suction feet do help stabilize it. It’s also a bit noisy but chopping a cup of nuts always is, and I don’t think I would have noticed as much if I hadn’t just used the Breville which is incredibly quiet even when in action. Overall, I was pleased with the performance especially given the price point. And like the KitchenAid, it’s narrow with attachments that nest in the bowl for storage, so it saves space as well as money.

Best Mid-Tier Processor

Ninja Professional Plus Food Processor with Auto-iQ

Ninja BN601 Professional Plus Food Processor with Auto-iQ Preset Programs

  • Forbes rating: 4/5 stars
  • 9-cup capacity
  • 1000-watt motor
  • Chopping and dough blades
  • Reversible shredder/slicer blade

If you want one step up from a basic model but aren’t quite ready to make that fancier upgrade, the Ninja is a great option. The strong motor pulverizes and shreds lightning fast, so if you’re looking for speed in the kitchen, this is it. The blades aren’t quite as sharp, so fine mincing isn’t as accurate but that also means you’re less apt to injure yourself. Plus, if want something a little more intuitive, the Auto-iQ preset buttons take the guesswork out of the process. Press chop, puree, dough, or disc, and it does the work for you.

Similar to the Hamilton Beach, it has a reversible shredder/slicer blade with only one size option each, but you’ll be done in a fraction of the time versus doing it manually. It has suction feet but doesn’t really need them, since it’s quite stable even though it’s super light. The 9-cup capacity and small feeder tube will work just fine for most recipes, though it might prove to be a challenge for batch cooking. Lastly, while it was very easy to assemble, I found small particles easily get caught in the ring around the lid making it a bit annoying to clean.

Food Processor Review Methodology

With so many options on the market, I decided to narrow my search to food processors with medium-capacity bowls in the nine to 13-cup range with standard blades and discs. By eliminating mini choppers, large capacity bowls and multi-function hybrid models, I could assess the best options for most everyday kitchen tasks and standard-sized recipes. Based on consumer and expert reviews, I selected well-regarded kitchen brands in a variety of price ranges.

To test in my home kitchen, I made the same pie dough recipe with weighted measurements to gauge basic functionality. I then made almond butter to test motor strength and durability and whizzed a medium-sized onion to test the accuracy of a fine chop. Finally, I took each shredder disc for a spin with carrots. In between each use, I disassembled, washed and reassembled to assess ease of use. 

My judging criteria included:

  • Performance: How well did the food processor perform in a variety of tasks?
  • Ease of use: How easy was it to assemble, clean and store the food processor?
  • Special features: Though I eliminated hybrid models from the consideration, are there value-adds that give the model an edge over the competition?
  • Value: Given all the above criteria, is this food processor worth the money?