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5 Ingenious Ways to Use a Food Processor

We use food processors in the test kitchen a lot. From chopping to slicing to shredding, we find that a good food processor is an essential tool for any well-stocked kitchen arsenal. But did you know that food processors are capable of so much more than whipping up a quick mirepoix or tomato sauce? Read on to learn about five lesser-known uses of the humble food processor.

1. Knead Pizza Dough in Under 2 Minutes

Sure, you can knead pizza dough by hand (in 8 minutes) or in a stand mixer (in 5 minutes), but why not put your food processor to work and save some time (and prevent your hands from cramping)? Simply pulse flour, sugar, and yeast together in the food processor (about 5 pulses), and then add ice water and process for about 10 seconds, or until no dry flour remains. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, and then let it proof in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, and up to three days. Find more tips on kneading dough in your food processor here.

Knead to Know: When properly kneaded, dough should have a smooth, almost shiny appearance. If you pull the dough, it should feel very stretchy and quickly spring back into place. The photos below show what underkneaded, properly kneaded, and overkneaded dough looks like in a food processor (from left to right). 

Underkneaded dough
Underkneaded dough
Perfectly kneaded dough
Perfectly kneaded dough
Overkneaded dough
Overkneaded dough

2. Crush Your Own Ice

You probably never thought of your food processor as a tool to help you make cocktails, but it’s perfect for crushing ice: simply pulse up to 2 cups of ice cubes until finely ground (8 to 10 pulses). Then put that crushed ice in a copper mug, add some vodka, some ginger beer, and a lime wedge, and thoroughly enjoy your Moscow Mule.

3. Make a Quick Brown Sugar Substitute

Most brown sugar is made by adding molasses either to granulated white sugar or to sugarcane syrup before it has crystallized. You can make a quick substitute by pulsing 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon of molasses for light brown sugar, or use 2 tablespoons of molasses for dark brown sugar.

4. Grind Your Own Nut Flours

We process nuts in several different ways in the test kitchen, and the difference between consistency—from nut butter to nut flour—depends on how long you process the nuts. The longer your process them, the more oil they release, taking them closer and closer to nut butter.

To Make Nut Flour:  Pulse 2 cups of whole almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, or pistachios until finely ground, 16 to 20 pulses. You’ll end up with about 2½ cups of nut flour, perfect for gluten-free and paleo baking.

Grind your own nut flour

5. Make Your Own Bread Crumbs

The convenience of store-bought bread crumbs is unmatched, but making your own bread crumbs allows you to control the size of the crumb, and you can also use any kind of bread you want. (You want pumpernickel bread crumbs? That’s kind of weird, but go for it!) Simply tear the bread into pieces, and pulse it in the food processor until it’s ground to the desired texture.

Learn More Ingenious Uses

75 Amazing Ways to Use the Most Powerful Tool in Your Kitchen Food Processor Perfection

Your food processor can do the work of a whole set of knives, a meat grinder, a food mill, a stand mixer. . . even an ice cream maker. Discover all new revolutionary recipes and smart test kitchen techniques that guarantee you’ll cook faster, easier, and better.