A food processor can help you slice, dice, chop and blitz. We tested leading brands including Kenwood, Magimix and KitchenAid to see which performed best.
A food processor is a motorised appliance that quickly performs food prep tasks traditionally carried out by hand.
Some food processors can chop vegetables; some can blend ingredients into soups, pastes and sauces; and others can mix things like batter and cream. In fact, many food processors do all these things and more.
Why should I buy a food processor?
Ultimately, a food processor will make food prep more speedy and efficient, working much faster than we ever could to slice, dice, chop and blitz ingredients in moments, removing the need for repetitive manual action.
One main benefit of a food processor is that it's a multi-tasker, often coming with various accessories and functions. Almost all use a rotating gear to turn their various accessories, which will typically include discs for slicing or grating, and blade arrays for chopping or mixing.
Some food processors come loaded with additional, blender-like functions, like smoothie-making or dough-mixing, so you can tick several appliance boxes with one purchase.
What can I make with a food processor?
A food processor can be used for basic kitchen tasks like chopping onions, shredding herbs, grinding spices and nuts or blending sauces. It also comes in handy when making recipes like cauliflower rice, biscuit dough, cake batter and homemade tomato ketchup. The slicing attachment can also come in handy when making boulangère potatoes and other dishes containing very thinly-sliced hard vegetables.
The best food processors on test
We tested leading brands including Russell Hobbs, KitchenAid, Cuisinart and Magimix to find the best food processors for basic kitchen tasks. Read on to find our best buys.
1. Cuisinart FP8U Easy Prep Pro – best basic food processor
- High-quality components
- Attractive design
- No jug attachment
This is a great food processor if you're looking for a reasonably priced machine that will do the basics with minimum fuss. The components are pared back but highly effective, working thorugh ingredients quickly and efficiently. The materials all feel well-made, from the stylish outer shell to the strong blades.
2. Ninja 1100W CT670UKV Smart Screen food processor – best food processor for cutting power
- Powerful and effective
- Vast array of functions
- Needs lots of storage space
The Ninja Smart Screen does everything a food processor is meant to do, and then some. One flaw, if you could call it that, is that it might have too many functions for some. While we loved the smoothie making function and blender, the food processor itself is impressive, working quickly and efficiently with one of the best performances on test. However, it's worth noting it's loud and large.
3. VonShef 750W food processor – best value food processor
- Great value-for-money
- Not the most powerful
- Needs lots of storage space
Von Shef (£44.99)
For the price, this machine packs a punch, coming loaded with various functions, including a juicer attachment and emulsification disc. It's easy to use and does the basics well, although some of the parts feel a little flimsier than on more expensive machines. It has a neat footprint and its smart design would look good on show in a kitchen.
4. Sage The Kitchen Wizz Peel & Dice – best food processor for gadget lovers
- Dazzling build quality
- Innovative functions
- Very expensive
Minimalist in design but not in stature, this is a serious hunk of die-cast metal finished to an incredibly high spec. For such an innovative and complex machine, it's actually very easy to use. One major perk is how quiet it is. While lots of food processors shriek and whine, the Sage has a pleasingly low whirr. The accessories are particularly sharp and come in a large storage case, which is worth bearing in mind if you're low on kitchen space.
5. Russell Hobbs Retro cream food processor – best food processor to leave out on the counter
- Lovely retro design
- Decent performance
- Noisy when used on higher speed setting
6. Tefal DO824H40 DoubleForce Pro – best food processor for large families
- High-quality components
- Large footprint
This Tefal machine manages is user-friendly and loaded with innovative features. It's easy to select the right setting for the job and the powerful motor works quickly and efficiently. It's bulky, but has one of the biggest capacities of the food processors we tested.
7. KitchenAid food processor 3.1L – best food processor for sturdiness
- Two bowl sizes
- Easy slider control
This reliable, sturdy processor has a large and smaller bowl (the mini one easily stacks inside). With a pulse button and two standard speeds, the slower speed is ideal for softer veg that can quickly turn to mush.
There's a reversible shredding disk with coarse and fine grates. Both produced consistent results in our carrot and cheese grating tests.
We particularly liked the slider control on the front of the machine that safely adjusts the blade setting on the slicing attachment. The slicer is quick and efficient, producing neat, even pieces.
The width of the feeding chute can be adjusted, too. The narrower width helps keep slender carrots and celery sticks under control, preventing them from toppling and getting trapped under the lid.
8. Magimix 5200XL Premium BlenderMix food processor – best food processor for keen cooks
- Strong motor
- Bonus attachments, including dough hook
Magimix have a loyal following and chances are, if you had one growing up, you’ve either got one or are saving up for one. They’re twice the price of most other models on the market, but live up to their name.
This has a mighty 1100W motor, which comes with a 30-year guarantee and automatically adjusts for the task needed. It's super fast too – 10 seconds extra whizzing and you’ll go from chopped onions to onion juice. The wider feed slot is brilliant for slicing things like cabbage for coleslaw, and it also means a lot of things can be sliced in half and popped through, saving time. It comes with a citrus press, which is a bit laborious unless you have 10 lemons to juice.
It also comes with a brilliant dough hook, which made the lightest of doughs, and a fantastic egg whisk, ideal for creating fluffy whites. It's big so you'll need space. However, if you want a machine you'll grow into, it's worth the investment.
9. Kenwood FPM810 MultiPro Sense food processor – best food processor for bakers
- Excellent whisk attachment
- Easy to assemble and operate
- Takes up lots of space
You'll need storage space for this machine – the amount of attachments is mind-boggling! As well as the usual grating and slicing discs, it comes with a huge array of excellent extras, including a blender, twin-geared metal whisk and folding tool.
The metal whisk incorporates more air into the mix, the blender copes with hot food and makes fantastic soups. As for its basic functions, we found it simple to assemble with an easy-to-operate control dial.It's slightly slower at grating and slicing than other models, even though it has a 1000W motor, but slices evenly and produced the best pastry by far. The integrated scales are a nice touch and save on the washing-up, which is always a bonus. It has a working bowl capacity of 1.7 litres so there’s no need to do stuff in batches. A great all-rounder.
How we tested food processors
The food processors featured in this review were tested against a wide range of factors. Our criteria included:
• The strength of the blades, jugs and mixing bowls included
• Ease of use
• Speed of processing
• Kitchen footprint and storage
• Finished results – especially the consistency of ingredients processed
• Design and aesthetic
When choosing a food processor, the key point to consider is which particular jobs you would like the machine to do. Do you want something that’s really well suited to chopping and slicing, or are you more interested in functions like blending and mixing? Even food processors that do all these things will tend to be better suited to certain tasks than others.
You should also consider how much of a technical challenge you are willing to tackle. As a rule, the more functions a food processor has, the more complex it will be to assemble and use correctly.
What does a food processor do?
The earliest food processors were introduced to commercial kitchens between the 1940s and 60s. Having cottoned on to the popular potential of this convenient way to cook, Cuisinart launched its pioneering domestic food processor the next decade.
The point of a food processor is to make preparing food easier and more efficient. They do this by working faster than we are able to – for instance, by chopping several vegetables in a matter of seconds.
They can remove the need for physical effort and technique, especially in processes like whisking, where a steady manual action might otherwise need to be sustained over several minutes.
Food processors often involve a smorgasbord of accessories and functions. Almost all use a rotating gear to turn their various accessories, which will typically include discs for slicing or grating, and blade arrays for chopping or mixing.
The action of the machine is modified by switching between attachments – so you might set it up with a disc attachment to chop some ingredients, then switch to a blade to mix those ingredients into a sauce or paste.
Food processors do their work within a sealed chamber – either a mixing bowl or jug. Some food processors come with both.
Just like the tools you’d use to manually chop, grind or mix food, food processors require cleaning after use, and so it follows that the more food you process in one go, the greater the potential to save time and effort. If you’re making lots of portions at once, a food processor could be very handy.
It’s worth bearing in mind that a food processor is not a magic bullet for food preparation. To get the very best results, you’ll need to add ingredients of a size, shape and consistency that suits the processor and function.
There are techniques to learn – like adding ingredients to smoothies in the right order to ensure an even blend, or using your eye to gauge the progress of your ingredients with more exactness than a specified prep time can provide. Still, it beats spending ages chopping, whisking or blending by hand.
Food processor reviews
Cuisinart Easy Prep Pro food processor review
Ninja Smart Screen food processor review
VonShef food processor review
Sage The Kitchen Wizz Peel & Dice review
Salter Prep Pro Mini food processor review
Russell Hobbs Retro food processor review
Tefal DoubleForce Pro food processor review
This review was last updated in April 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.