Using a food processor is like having your own personal sous chef — owning one will save you from having to do tons of tedious and tiring prep work. The Just Cooking Institute’s Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab regularly tests food processors for how evenly they're able to dice onions, mince parsley, grind parmesan cheese, slice tomatoes, shred carrots and mozzarella, and knead dough. We also take note of how quickly each model performed these tasks and how much food was left unprocessed.
We also grade ease of use, looking at how helpful the owner’s manual is, how easy the blades, chute, and lid are to assemble, the ease of use of controls, the variety of setting offer, and cleanability.
Our top pick of 2020 is the Breville Sous Chef. It's top of the line when it comes to performance, featuring a super powerful motor, a micro-serrated S-blade, an adjustable slicer with 24 settings (ranging from paper-thin to thick-cut), a reversible shredder, a dough blade, and more. It aced every test, dicing onions, mincing parsley, and uniformly sliced tomatoes in seconds. Overall, the best food processors you can buy are:
- Best Overall Food Processor: Breville Sous Chef 12-Cup Food Processor
- Best Value Food Processor: Oster 2-Speed 10-Cup Food Processor
- Most Popular Food Processor on Amazon: Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor
- Most Versatile Food Processor: Cuisinart Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor
- Best Mini Food Processor: KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Mini Food Chopper
- Best Large Food Processor: KitchenAid 14-Cup Food Processor
- Best Mid-Size Food Processor: Cuisinart Prep 9 9-Cup Food Processor
Best Overall Food Processor
Breville Sous Chef 12-Cup Food Processor
Thanks to a super powerful motor, Breville’s Sous Chef is the MVP when it comes to performance. It’s stacked with bells and whistles to give you ultimate versatility, including a micro-serrated S-blade, an adjustable slicer with 24 settings (ranging from paper-thin to thick-cut), a reversible shredder, a dough blade, and more.
This model earned perfect scores in nearly all of our tests, turning out evenly diced onions, minced (read: not bruised) parsley, perfectly ground Parmesan, and uniformly sliced tomatoes in seconds. The sleek silver Sous Chef has multiple feeding tubes, one of which is large enough to hold an entire tomato or one-pound block of mozzarella.
Best Value Food Processor
Oster 2-Speed 10-Cup Food Processor
The Oster Total Prep was one of the easiest-to-use
food processors we evaluated. This no-frills black model comes with an
S-shaped blade for chopping, a dough blade, a reversible shredding and
slicing disc, and has a lid and feed tube that are both super easy to
assemble. And for quick cleanup, all parts and accessories are dishwasher-safe.
In our tests, it evenly processed diced onions and shredded carrots,
though it did leave parsley slightly bruised when mincing. But at this
price, who could care?
Most Popular Food Processor on Amazon
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor
This food processor is a customer favorite for a reason with over 2,000 positive reviews on Amazon. It has a simple design and performs well: In our tests, it excelled at chopping onions, mincing parsley and grinding Parmesan cheese, as well as slicing pepperoni and tomatoes. It has a solid base and didn't move around when kneading dough and the straight edges made it easy to scrape and clean in our tests. We particularly liked the paddle design of the buttons: They’re wide and operate by pushing down — no fussing with a touchpad. The lid has a large feed tube and a smaller one for skinny items like carrots and celery and the accessories are top rack dishwasher safe.
Most Versatile Food Processor
Cuisinart Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor
Cuisinart's food processor includes interchangeable 13-cup and 4.5-cup work bowls — so you can use it to prep salsa or coleslaw for a large party or just for two. It also comes with an adjustable slicing disc, a reversible shredding disc (for medium or fine consistency), a dough blade, a dicing disc, a versatile chopping blade, a cleaning tool, and a storage case to hold your accessories. In our tests, this machine earned high scores at nearly every task, including kneading bread dough and shredding mozzarella cheese.
Best Mini Food Processor
KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper
Looking for a food processor but don’t have the storage space to donate to a full-sized model? This compact model is a smart pick for little kitchens, dorm rooms, or those who tend to make small portions. Because it only comes with one multipurpose chopping blade, you won’t be able to slice tomatoes in it, but we found the lack of attachments made it a breeze to use. It pulses at two speeds (chop or puree), all parts included are dishwasher safe, and with 16 shades to choose from you can match it to your kitchen.
Best Large Food Processor
KitchenAid 14-Cup Food Processor
KitchenAid's 14-cup food processor is pricey, but you'll get your money's worth from this large, heavy-duty model — plus it's pretty enough to park permanently on the countertop. It comes stacked with blades and attachments to give you ultimate versatility, including an additional four-cup work bowl, two lids (one with and one without a feed tube), an adjustable slicing disc, reversible shredding disc, two multipurpose blades, a dough blade, dicing kit, cleaning tool, and a storage case to neatly hold it all.
Best Mid-Size Food Processor
Cuisinart Prep 9 9-Cup Food Processor
The Cuisinart Prep 9 excelled at everything in our tests, even tricky jobs like slicing tomatoes and shredding carrots. It's a classic food processor with very basic, easy-to-use controls — just three buttons (for on, off, and pulse) are included — which makes this the ideal model for those who are new to food processing. The nine-cup capacity should be ample for most home cooks, but Cuisinart's 11-cup sister model is ideal if you entertain often and are making larger batches. This Cuisinart includes a slicer disc, shredding disc, new chopping blade, detachable stem, spatula, and recipe book.
What makes a great food processor?
Versatility: A top-performing food processor should be able to take on whole or large pieces of fresh produce, like onions, carrots, herbs, or potatoes and blitz them into uniform pieces (dices or shreds) in very little time. They should also be able to take on tasks like grinding hard cheeses, pureeing soups or sauces, making emulsions like mayo, and even kneading dough for bread. When shopping, look for a model that has blades for slicing foods like tomatoes or cheese, too.
Capacity: Consider the types of tasks you'll be using your food processor for and choose your size from there:
- 2- or 4-cup models are for very basic small tasks like chopping herbs, making hummus pureeing baby food, and whipping up dressing or mayo.
- 8-cup models are best for beginners: Not too big, not too small. Keep in mind while they can be used for pastry dough, it would be tough to make bread in this size.
- 12- or 14-cup models are our recommendation for most households. They're versatile and large enough to handle bread dough, and often come with a a second small work bowl for smaller tasks and an assortment of accessories, too.
food processors come with a work bowl for chopping and pureeing, and
most basic ones comes with a slicing and shredding disc as well. Other
accessories to look for are a small work bowl and blade for smaller
tasks, a dough blade, a dicing accessory, and even a blender attachment
for smoothies. Most are top-rack dishwasher safe.
Settings and speeds: Most food processors have one speed, though some can have high, medium, and low settings. One must-have: A pulse setting. Pulsing lets you incrementally chop food and control the blade to limit your risk of over processing. It’s also great for getting and even chop: The stop-and-go motion allows unprocessed items from the top to fall onto the blade to be processed. Otherwise, items close to the blade just continue to be processed making the bottom more fine than the top.
Weight: A heavier base helps in terms of performance, but heft doesn't necessarily relate to more power. Lighter materials make food processors more affordable and easier to move around and store. Details like suction cups may seem cheap but they help keep bases from moving around on countertops.
Warranty: Food processors have always been known to be an investment piece, but some people boast to have had their Cuisinarts for over 30 years. Before you splurge, take a look at the brand's warranty: The length often varies for motor and accessories.