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The Best Food Processors

A food processor should deliver consistent, professional-quality results when it comes to chopping, slicing, and shredding. Here are the food processors in three different categories that passed all of our tests.

The Best Standard Food Processor

We bought eight full-size food processors, priced from $59.99 to $299.99, with capacities of 11 to 14 cups, a size we deemed big enough to handle most recipes. We put each model through 21 tests, measuring their performance on a range of tasks, all while comparing construction and user-friendliness. We considered everything from the feel of the pulse button and the weight and shape of the workbowl to the capacity of the feed tube and how often we’d have to handle sharp, pokey blades. In terms of blades, some models were equipped with just the basics—a chopping blade and a shredding/slicing disk—while others arrived with sizable boxes of extra attachments. We assessed which of these were actually useful and which were just window dressing. In the end, one food processor prevailed: the Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor.

Quiet and Powerful

The Best Standard Food Processor Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor

With a powerful, quiet motor; responsive pulsing action; sharp blades; and a simple, pared-down-to-basics design, our old favorite aced every test, surprising us time and again by outshining pricier, more feature-filled competitors. It was one of the few models that didn’t leak at its maximum stated liquid capacity. It’s also easy to clean and store, because it comes with just a chopping blade and two disks for shredding and slicing. Additional blade options are available à la carte.


The Best Small Food Processor

While we consider a food processor indispensable, standard food processors tend to be big and pricey. Smaller processors are a good choice for budget- or space-conscious cooks or for those who want to dip a toe in the processor pond before shelling out nearly $200. We took a fresh look at the small food processors market to find the most versatile, efficient, and well-designed model. Options ran the gamut from chintzy choppers to miniature versions of full-sized models from major brands. We saved the small, basic choppers for later and zeroed in on 3- to 6-cup models, of which we found seven, priced from $27.99 to $99.99. We put the processors through their paces: mincing garlic; dicing celery, onions, and carrots; grating Parmesan cheese; chopping almonds; and making mayonnaise, pesto, and hummus. In the end, the Cuisinart Elite Collection 4-Cup Chopper/Grinder impressed us across the board.

Small but Mighty

The Best Small Food Processor Cuisinart Elite Collection 4-Cup Chopper/Grinder

This processor had a sharp blade with great coverage. It turned out crisply cut vegetables and nuts and fluffy parsley. Its strong motor blended hummus and pesto with minimal scraping, and its small feeding tube allowed us to slowly add oil for fantastic mayonnaise.


Do You Need a High-End Food Processor?

We tested two high-end food processors, the 16-Cup KitchenAid ProLine Series ($699.95) and the Waring Commercial 3.5-Quart Pro Food Processor ($426.93), running them through the same tests as our average-priced models to see whether their “professional” designation made any difference to their performance and sturdiness, and whether they offered any extra features that made them worth nearly two to three times the price of an ordinary food processor. Our conclusion? While the performance of both models was not bad, we can’t recommend spending this much for less-than-stellar results. We’ll be sticking with the practical, affordable workhorse that is our winner, the Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor.

Master the Machine

Put Your Food Processor to Work 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.