Every cook home-based or professional knows that lots of slicing, mixing, dicing, and shredding takes place in the kitchen. While with an appropriate knife you can accomplish most of these kitchen tasks, a quality food processor will give you more consistent results in half the time. With the diverse blades and accessories that come with food processors, you can even shred potatoes and easily grate hard cheeses.
According to engineer Carl Sontheimer introduced the food processor, to the North American market in 1973. This was after spending a year modifying a French industrial blender for domestic use. It took consumers a couple of years to appreciate how useful the new kitchen gadget could be, but as soon as they did, the food processor turned into a top-selling appliance. Sontheimer's adoption has revolutionized the home kitchen in terms of food preparation.
Food processors do much more than what your simple food choppers can accomplish. These electronically powered kitchen gadgets come with lots of diverse blades and disks for chopping, shredding, slicing, grating, pureeing, and even kneading. They are versatile tools that assist you in creating stews, salsas, soups, and other delicious dishes.
Excellent for Baby Foods
A major benefit that comes with having a food processor is when making your own baby food. It not only spares you from having to purchase little baby food jars every week but also provides your baby with a healthier feed. With a processors pureeing blade, you can turn freshly purchased foods into nutritious perfectly edible baby meals. You can even ground meats into small safe pieces for your tiny tot to eat.
Foods like bananas, apples, peaches, carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes are recommended highly by nutritionists as the first solid foods for your baby. A food processor will easily and evenly puree these for you. Additionally, you may opt to prepare a large batch and freeze what is not used in ice cubes for subsequent use, thus saving lots of time.
Promotes Healthy Eating at Home
Kitchen Essentials notes that among the food processor advantages is being a handy partner in weight control. Obviously, running a food processor does not burn calories for you, the benefits will come in the way of eating self-prepared healthy meals at home. Everybody knows that fast-food restaurants are the main culprits in terms of calorie intake.
Instead of burning your cash on fast and often unhealthy foods, use your food processor at home to quickly throw together a meal, where you are in full control of the total calories going in there by choosing healthy, fresh ingredients. Double benefits: money saved and better health!
You can Buy Items in Bulk
A major benefit of owning a food processor is that you wont have to spend cash on store-bought items as it becomes possible to purchase the needed ingredients in bulk. With the gadget, you can whip them to make homemade tasty treats without any additives and preservatives. Members of your household will experience peace of mind in the knowledge that your meals are healthy and clean.
Prepare Gourmet Meals
Imagine the wows and aaahhs you will get from family members and friends because of your gourmet meals. Rather than slave away in your kitchen mixing endless ingredients, you can enjoy quality time over a healthy, delicious meal. What you can achieve with a food processor is virtually limitless!
Food Processor or Mini Chopper
Food processors have been designed to facilitate meals preparation in an entertaining, quick and hassle-free manner. They save you precious time by handling difficult prep jobs in a matter of seconds. The results are usually more consistent than you would achieve by hand. Although food processors can be bulky, large appliances, there are also versions that are much smaller known as mini choppers.
If you want a hardworking multi-tasking device that can assist with chopping, mixing, slicing and grating, then getting a food processor is your best option. Several of these gadgets also have a blender attachment suitable for blending soup or making smoothies while others come with attachments to assist your baking tasks such as whipping, whisking, and kneading.
If your tasks only involve small amounts of pureeing or chopping perhaps a few onions, herbs, or nuts - a mini chopper may be more suitable for you. These are cheaper, smaller, and simpler versions of food processors. Additionally, because of their small size, they take up much less space, making it easier to store when not being used.
In terms of setting, mini choppers tend to be easy and straightforward. Besides being simple to use, mini choppers are very affordable. Perhaps the only drawback is that compared to larger processors, mini choppers are less versatile - usually limited to pureeing and chopping. They're suitable for small jobs such as chopping small volumes of nuts or just several shallots.
Basic Food Processor Components
The modern food processor is available in 3 basic sizes: mini, compact, and full. However, no matter the size, the basic components remain the same: the motor, bowl that has a lid, and the feed tube, plus a set of attachments.
The heaviest part of your food processor is the motor which is housed in the appliance base. Generally, full-size processors have more powerful, larger motors, and they may weigh over 9kg (20 lbs). The weight has great utilitarian value because the base heaviness gives the appliance stability, ensuring that it doesn't move around the countertop while the motor runs.
From the motor, there is a shaft that extends upward for powering the attachments. The bowl fits onto this shaft, locking securely into position. The bowl is usually made of transparent, durable plastic. The lid locks onto the top of the bowl and is usually made from the same material like the shaft. In lots of the older models, when you engage the locking mechanism, it turns on the motor, although newer models have an on/off button/switch.
The bowl size varies according to the machine size:
- Full-size bowls typically have a 9 to 13 cups capacity
- Compact-size bowls take between 5 and 7 cups
- Mini-size bowls will take between 2 and 5 cups
- Some models come equipped with small and large bowls that you can use on the same base.
A major bonus of food processors are the choices you have between various discs and blades. The majority of blades are universal and therefore, no matter the type of processor you buy, they are bound to fit. The blades are essentially what make the food processor and they also dictate what you can accomplish in the kitchen.
Having looked at the main benefits and components, lets us look at the top rated food processor units in the market today.
A Complete Buying Guide - Top Rated Food Processor
The Cuisinart DLC-10S is one of the most popular, highly rated and frequently bought Cuisinart food processors on Amazon today. This can be credited to the fact that it literally makes short work of dicing, shredding, slicing, and kneading dough. Its efficient, fast, significantly cutting down on your food prep time, and is reasonably quiet.
- The stainless steel parts ensure high levels of hygiene
- Besides being shatterproof, the bowl is both cold and heat resistant
- Dishwasher-safe parts, BPA-free ensure top health
- Package includes spatula, detachable disc stem, large and small pushers, compact flat cover, and recipe book
- Has enough power for kneading bread dough with much ease
- The extra-large feed tube will hold your vegetables and whole fruits easily
- Easy-to-use and clean.
The Cuisinart Pro Classic comes with a 7-Cup work bowl, considered by many food processor reviews as the ideal size for the average home. It will help you make all those family favorites such as main course salads, stir-fries, homemade bread and peanut butter. This is no doubt the top rated food processor in the market today.
The powerful Hamilton food processor comes with a 10-cup capacity bowl, the ideal size for the majority of your home cooking requirements. This is the best food processor for baby food on Amazon. Food processor reviews have rated this product very high because of its low price, reliability, and unique feature combination
- You get a commendable 450 Watts of power
- You will not need a spatula with this appliance, making it easier to use
- You remain in control through available 2-Speeds plus pulse
- Cleaning is easy as most parts are dishwasher safe.
The Hamilton Beach comes with a reversible shredding disc and slicing, as well as an S-blade for your chopping needs. Disc attachments are well labeled and reversible, taking out guesswork from your food processing.
You'll simply love the convenience brought by the large feed chute, capable of holding a full cheese block. Also at your access is a powerful motor that will turn this food processor into a real kitchen workhorse.
The Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY does everything you will need to accomplish in the kitchen. It will chop, slice, mix, shred, puree, emulsify, knead, and mix dough. The720 watt heavy-duty motor makes preparing large quantities of food easy and fast. It can comfortably accommodate vegetables and whole fruits for less pre-cutting.
The 14-cup work processor bowl can process large food amounts taking care of your family needs as well as for entertaining purposes!
- Stainless-steel shredding disc, slicing disc, and chopping blade to simplify all your tasks
- To make controlling easy, it has intuitive buttons for "on" and "off/pulse"
- Has a single touch operation for cooking convenience
- You also get a spatula and a handy instruction/recipe booklet
- All parts of the DFP-14 are dishwasher-safe.
When it comes to style, quality, and performance, Cuisinart is among the most trusted names in the kitchen today. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the Cuisinart DPF-148 is the second bestselling food processor on Amazon and also one of the best baby food processor products currently in the market.
The DLC-2A Mini-Prep Plus is your ideal assistant when preparing small volumes of food. It is perfect for chopping bread crumbs or herbs and for finely grinding any hard cheese. The powerful 250-Watt high-speed motor works fast to accomplish your small jobs with great ease.
With the DLC-2ABC Mini Prep Plus, you can chop onions, herbs, garlic; grind hard cheese, spices; purée baby foods; and blend flavored butters and mayonnaise. Its greatest versatility lies in the uniquely designed Auto Reversing Smart Blade". This blade makes it easier for you to process both hard and soft foods.
Other beneficial features include:
- 250-watt food processor has a handy 3-cup plastic work bowl
- Durable, lightweight plastic body
- Easy-to-use push-button control panel
- Dishwasher-safe bowl.
The cord storage hidden underneath the motor base helps in keeping excess cord off your kitchen countertop. The unit stores neatly on your countertop taking up minimum space. This is a Cuisinart quality product at a low price and no doubt one of the best blender food processor units.
This is a well-known and highly rated food processor from the renowned German brand BraunBraun. It is a functional processor that has a wide range of tools to make your work easier. It is a fully electronically controlled device with variable speeds and processing can start at any of the available 11 speeds.
- You get all the power needed as it has powerful 600-watt motors suitable for all processing requirements
- For variable speed, it has a DualControl system
- You get to enjoy easy-to-clean features as every part is dishwasher safe, apart from the base housing the motor
- You also get 1-year manufacturers warranty.
The Braun FP3020 Food Processor is an immensely powerful appliance with 600-watt motors. Amazingly, it is ultra quiet, credit to the high-efficiency motor coupled with low power consumption. This is one of the best food processor under $100 units that can slice, chop, whisk and even knead!
The Baby Bullet retains the convenience and all the power you enjoyed with the Original Magic Bullet. But with the all baby blend blade, its now possible to make and store delicious, healthy, and fresh foods for baby.
This is among the best baby food processor units on Amazon and for several reasons:
- You can make a full week's worth of nutritional, healthy food for baby in less than 5 minutes
- Make and store food using batch tools
- The handy dated storage system includes spatula, 6-date dial storage cups, 1 short cup, a stay fresh resealable lid, and user manual
- For health and safety of your baby, the Baby Bullet is BPA free and uses non-toxic plastic.
The refrigerator-friendly Magic Baby Bullet Date-Dial Storage Cups allow you to keep tabs of your baby food. Best of all, the 20 piece set Original Baby Bullet Complete Baby Care System helps you in making all-natural food that is suited for every development stage of your baby.
Considerations before Buying your Food Processor
Food processors are handy tools used in the kitchen for tasks that cannot be handled by other common appliances. Blenders for example struggle when handling anything without some added liquid. On the other hand, food choppers being much smaller cannot cope with large volumes like a food processor. While stand mixers can do what a food processor dies, you will need to acquire accessories for each food type you want to cut.
Design & Power
Food processors come in different sizes and wattages. While a good number of food processors are operated by hand, the majority are now run by electricity. The wattage is typically around 500-1,200, giving you ample power to slice even through the toughest of foods. The powerful motor spins the blades or discs around at very high speeds. Though the motor is very powerful, because it is set within the unit base, it is essentially sound-proof.
Food processors usually have two speed controls: high or low. Some higher end units come with a pulse button option. With the pulse button, you can manually control the processor blades while they are still at a high spin rate. The pulse setting allows you to run the device in brief bursts when more precise control is desired.
Capacity and Equipment
Some people will find that a portable, small machine is adequate to handle all their requirements in terms of chopping and mixing. Others, depending on their needs will want a large capacity processor that comes with a full range of tools, beyond the standard cutting and mixing options.
According to Consumer Reports if you regularly prepare meals for a bigger crowd, or love making multiple recipe batches you might greatly appreciate a bigger food processor (11-to-16-cup). However, these larger beasts tend to cost more, weigh more, and take up more counter space. For the majority of home kitchen tasks, a 7-10 cups capacity is fine.
Accessories and Storage
While a food processor with an assortment of accessories is certainly advantageous, some come with lots of them, which could end up taking lots of your valuable kitchen storage space. If this is likely to be a challenge, you may opt to look for a processor model that comes with a storage compartment or storage box.
A primary function of the food processor is to cut food, and largely depending on how long the machine is run or the number of pulses performed, the food ought to reduce to a specific consistency. Perhaps even more importantly, the consistency needs to become uniform.
To achieve uniformity, key components are high-quality disks or blades and a powerful motor. This is because some low-wattage motors may struggle to sufficiently slice or shred certain foods, and you could end up having to regularly sharpen the disks and blades to achieve the desired outcomes.
How well food processors perform and ease of cleaning afterward determine their true worth. This is important because each time food is processed, you will have to disassemble the appliance and have it cleaned. Cleanup becomes easier and faster for processors that have large bowl spaces and fewer places where food gets stuck such as tiny feed holes.
While some food processors are dishwasher safe, lots of them will require washing by hand. Depending on the particular machines parts and accessories, it can be time-consuming and somewhat tricky to remove food particles from all the corners and crevices. To make cleaning less of a headache, look for a model that has dishwasher-safe accessories.
Some manufacturers of food processors warn against washing your accessories in temperatures over 40°C which can cause some of the plastic components to split.
Most premium food processors will go for more than $500, but you can still get one of the best food processor under $100 bucks. If your kitchen needs a broader range of accessories such as extra slicing discs, you will need to spend more.
Writing for Yvette Fletcher observes that if you are willing to invest more than $100, you'll get a model that offers a quieter motor, better build quality, and longer guarantees. For under $100, you may have to compromise on a couple of things like ease of cleaning, noise levels, and ease of cleaning.
Video: How To Use Your Food Processor
Whether you are just learning cooking or seasoned pro, mini choppers and food processors are incredibly helpful kitchen tools. A good food processor is, in fact, a jack of all trades in your kitchen. It can chop, slice, puree, and shred many different ingredients. According to food processor reviews, you can even knead dough when you acquire one of this best food processor for dough units.
Mini-choppers are good enough for smaller, lighter jobs like when you just want to chop some nuts or prepare a handful of basil. For a basic or mini chopper, you could pay as little as $40 or spend ten times more for a top rated food processor.
However, paying top dollar doesn't automatically assure you of top performance. If for example, you love baking, you may want to consider a model that has a dough blade or wire beaters. If you desire the kind of versatility needed to blend soups or smoothies, it may be worth investing in a food processor that comes with a jug blender attachment.
What is of paramount importance is to ensure that the food processor you select has the tools and accessories to meet your specific requirements in the kitchen.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com