A food processor is a cook's best friend, taking much of the time and effort out of preparing tasty meals. This is our round up of the best models available.
Chopping and dicing ingredients is a thankless task – if you could get someone else to do it, why wouldn’t you? Short of having a part-time sous chef at your disposal, the solution is a multi-tasking food processor – the smarter way to handle all your everyday meal prep. Not only will it have chopped or shredded everything in the time it would take to sharpen a knife, it’ll do the job consistently and with more precision.
Why do I need a food processor?
Whether it’s thinly slicing potato for gratin, dicing onion for soup or finely chopping herbs, a food processor is a cook’s best friend. The latest food processors are equipped with more than just blades and discs. They’ll cover lots of other pesky prep with additional tools and bowls. Mixing, whisking, whipping, emulsifying, kneading, mincing and even heating are possible with a good food processor. You’ll be able to broaden your cooking repertoire and create more exciting, fresh meals from scratch that the whole family will love – once you’ve tried homemade pesto you may never go back to shop-bought again.
How much should I spend on a food processor?
Food processors vary greatly in price and amount of accessories, so how much you spend will depend on how much you plan to use it and what it needs to be able to do. A basic machine can cost as little as £40, while food processors with built-in scales, timers and heating features can be priced from £500 upwards. If all you need is speedy chopping and you’re unlikely to use multiple attachments and bowls (or will struggle to store them), it’s best to opt for a food processor under £100. However, keen cooks and those who like to make batches for the freezer will get more use from the extra kit. Some food processors may also be able to double up as a stand mixer, blender or mini chopper, making them a better value all-in-one buy.
Best food processors
1. Tefal DO824H40 DoubleForce Pro Food Processor – best value for money
Defined by twin outputs and the collection of kit that’s powered by them, the 1,000W DoubleForce Pro crams in so much that you may start questioning why your other appliances don’t work as hard. This food processor features a three-litre bowl (1.5-litre working capacity) with chopping blade, kneading tool, whisk and three reversible discs for slicing and grating.
It also comes with a citrus juicer, two-litre blender jug (working capacity 1.5 litres) and mini chopper, which, unlike most, can be powered directly by the base. Two speeds plus pulse, a spatula and storage box that fits in the bowl completes the package. Plus, it’s all dishwasher-safe. Where the DoubleForce Pro could use improvement is its instructions – they’re pictorial, making it challenging to become familiar with its capabilities. The lack of written information means it’s easy to miss features. For example, the bowl’s ability to be locked in two positions – left or right – and its integrated cable storage.
In tests, the suggested speed or tool in the instructions wasn’t always the right one for the food. The blade was overly efficient chopping leafy greens, so they ended up too fine. Meanwhile the force of using the kneading tool on 2 with bread dough shifted the machine on the countertop, indicating that setting 1 could be better. That aside, this food processor packs in so much for the price, which can’t fail to impress.
Ideal Home’s rating: 3 out of 5 stars
2. Braun FP5160 Identity food processor – best for clever design
If you want prep flexibility with less to store than some, the 1,000W Identity fits the bill. Rather than a collection of discs, this food processor has a built-in spindle and five interchangeable inserts that you can pop in and out to grate, slice and shred. Another clever touch is that the cable stores inside the base, so there’s no dangling flex when it’s stashed away.
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There’s a treasure trove of accessories, ranging from a full-sized juicer to a blender jug that splits apart for cleaning and a French fries disc for chips. It also has a two-litre capacity bowl, 11 speeds, adaptive programmes for kneading and blending and an auto-pulse. In tests, its hook kneaded bread dough to a soft, springy consistency, although initially it had a tendency to wrap around the tool.
The food processor’s dedicated disc made chips in seconds – however, due to the width of the chute, most were short. Vegetable chopping and slicing was otherwise done effortlessly. The whipping attachment whisked egg whites to firm peaks while the auto-pulse turned them into glossy meringue using auto-pulse to fold in sugar. A great all-rounder, the Identity food processor means you’ll never be stuck without the right tool for the job.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
3. Bosch MultiTalent 3 Food Processor – best small food processor
Choosing a compact food processor shouldn’t mean compromising on function and with the 800W MultiTalent 3 it really doesn’t. This food processor takes up a smaller worktop footprint, is relatively light at 3.7kg and is slightly shorter than many models. Still it manages to pack in seven accessories that provide more than 50 functions, from grating and grinding to creaming and crushing.
Its clever design also extends to smart storage with two blades and two discs fitting inside the 2.3-litre bowl after use, and integral cable storage. The only other parts to store are a blender jug, grinding container (great for coffee and spices) and a beating disc.
The food processor controls are simple – there are two variable speeds and a pulse – and each tool or attachment intuitively locks into place. In tests, it combined bread dough quickly, but the force of kneading spun the machine on the worktop. It handled whipping egg whites, slicing courgettes and dicing onion superbly. Most of the food processor parts are dishwasher-safe, except the grinder and blender blades, but it’s also straightforward to clean by hand.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
4. Kenwood FPM810 Multipro Sense Food Processor – best for families
Multi by name and multi by nature, if ever you wanted a machine that handles almost every part of your prep, this is it. The Multipro Sense food processor comes with a staggering amount of functionality and kit. This includes a 3.5-litre bowl, mini bowl, five slicing discs, two knife blades, a whisk, folding tool and a dough tool, plus separate 1.6-litre blender jug. If that wasn’t enough, it also has built-in scales, so you can weigh as you go. Eight speeds and a pulse mean you can choose the right speed for the task and attachment. But if you’re not sure, it also has an auto button to pick them for you.
While getting to grips with the volume of kit proved tricky, it’s worth your time. During testing, the Multipro Sense food processor blitzed smoothies in its blender, diced onion, sliced decorative fluted pieces of carrot, whisked egg whites and turned potato into matchsticks using its julienne disc – all done in a fraction of the time it would take to do the tasks by hand. Not all of the food procesor parts were dishwasher safe, though, with the mini bowl more of a hassle to clean by hand.
Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars
5. Artisan Cook Processor by KitchenAid – best for midweek meals
Not content with chopping, whisking, dicing and puréeing food, this multipurpose food processor will cook it for you, too. Equipped with a 1,050W heating element to complement its 450W motor, rather than a plastic bowl, it sports a 2.5-litre capacity stainless-steel pot. This makes it as handy for chopping and cooking stir fries as for proving dough after mixing it.
There are four tools for kneading, whipping, chopping and stirring, as well as a mini chopper bowl and steamer baskets. Speeds range from 1-10 and are selected using a lever rather than a dial. There are also buttons for each of its presets. All of this means that there is more to get to grips with than the average food processor, and it’s heavier to boot. However, adjust to how it works and it has a lot to offer.
In tests, while this food processor mixed and kneaded bread dough sufficiently, a 30-minute prove wasn’t enough for a fluffy loaf, so it may be best to use this function manually. However, it worked well for making soup – chopping ingredients before cooking them in one easy setting. It also made a perfect béarnaise sauce that a beginner would be able to replicate. On the downside, its bowl isn’t dishwasher-safe, although the tools are. It also costs substantially more than your regular food processor.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
6. Patissier Multifunction food processor by Magimix – best for baking
No room for both a stand mixer and a food processor in your kitchen? The Patissier Multifunction ticks the boxes for both. It switches between a 4.9-litre stainless-steel bowl with a dough blade for mixing, and three food processing bowls with a knife blade, mini blade, a whisk, discs for slicing and grating. It even has a clever BlenderMix ring to help blend liquids. It’s powered by a 1,500W commercial-grade induction motor with one speed that adjusts automatically and pulse.
During testing, the main bowl made thick, even waffle batter and equally good sponge cake using the blade. The whisk attachment, meanwhile, whipped chocolate mousse that set well and was light and airy. The Patisserie bowl with the dough blade also produced springy, pliable dough. Some of the tools were a little awkward to clean by hand and even with its neat toolbox, there’s a lot of kit to store.
It’s pricey and, at 13kg, the Patissier Multifunction isn’t something that’s easy to lift in and out of a cupboard, so it’s likely to be a worktop resident. However, it’s a great food processor for experienced cooks who want two premium appliances in one.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Kitchen Wizz Pro by Sage – best for keen cooks
This food processor comes with a mighty 2,000W induction motor, stacked four-bladed chopping knife and a variable slicing disc with settings from a super-skinny 0.3mm to 8mm. It means business. Rather than relying on a standard array, some of the Kitchen Wizz Pro’s eight tools are designed to suit a particular need – so there’s a julienne disc for matchsticks, but also a French fry cutting disc for chips. Think of it like the difference between a full toolbox for DIY and using a hammer for everything.
All the food processor tools fit into a handy box after use, leaving just the main 3.7-litre bowl and mini bowl to be stored on the die-cast metal base. There’s also an LED timer for counting down and up. The machine adjusts automatically to the food being processed, while a choice of small or large feed chute allows you to keep vegetables upright. This means you can control the flow of ingredients.
During testing, the food processor’s dough blade mixed pizza dough to a good elastic consistency, while the quad blade easily emulsified thick, viscous mayonnaise and minced meat. The adjustable slicing disc meanwhile, created even slices of aubergine. The only downside is that the food processor parts are not all dishwasher-safe.
Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars
What do I look for in a food processor?
Check which food processor accessories you need
One of the defining features of modern food processors is how much kit they can potentially come with. Standard accessories include a chopping blade for dicing, mixing, mashing and puréeing. There will be a dough hook for kneading, which works by stretching the dough rather than slicing through it. Then there might be one or two discs with a spindle, which will shred, slice and grate cheese and vegetables.
More expensive machines may come with a julienne disc for slicing potato or carrot into matchsticks, an adjustable slicing blade for different thicknesses and whipping/beating attachments.
Other food processor accessories can include a blender jug, midi and/or mini bowls that nestle inside the main bowl and have their own blades to chop smaller quantities of nuts, herbs or chocolate with less washing-up. A citrus press may be included.
Check food processor bowl size
The size of your food processor bowl will affect how much you can prep in one go. The largest can be up to four litres – ideal if you batch cook or have a big family – but for everyday jobs 1.8-2 litres should be enough. A wide feed chute is also a plus as it’ll mean less initial prep for larger items, such as potatoes or courgettes. Look for a good-quality BPA-free plastic bowl and lid so they’re robust enough not to have to be replaced in a few years.
Food processor storage
Storage is a key consideration if your food processor comes with lots of kit. Look for designs that allow you to store tools inside the bowl or that come with boxes or cases. Storing discs and blades in a dedicated box means they’ll stay sharper and be more effective at chopping and shredding. Store them loose in a drawer and they’ll gradually become blunter from rubbing against other items.
Check speed settings
Variable speeds allow you to control how much you process your food and give greater versatility. For example, a pulse option is good for foods that only need rough chopping, such as nuts. Dough kneading, meanwhile, should always be done on a low food processor setting so it’s stretched rather than spun around the bowl.
Check food processor wattage
Use a food processor’s wattage as a rough guide to its power. Remember that how a food processor is designed can have as much bearing on its performance. More watts won’t always mean it’s a better machine but anything over 650W should have enough muscle for most tasks.
Are food processors easy to clean?
Food processors might save on prep time but if they’re increasing washing-up duration by being awkward to clean, they’re not much help. Look for models where most or all parts can be popped in the dishwasher. Look out for crevices in the tools where food can become trapped. Some plastic parts and tools may be top rack-safe only, so check before you put them on a hot wash.
What other key questions do I need to ask?
1. Are food processors noisy?
Food processors can be noisy – but some are more than others. Look for food processors with an induction motor for quieter processing. As a plus, induction motors also tend to be more reliable.
2. Where will you store your food processor?
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Decide where your food processor will live. If it’ll be on display on the worktop, you may want to spend a little more on a model you’re happy to have on display or that coordinates with your kitchen. Similarly, check the height as not all food processors are low enough to fit under kitchen wall cabinets. If you plan to store it in a cupboard, check how much it weighs. You may put off using it if it’s too heavy or bulky to get out for smaller jobs.