Best food processors – slice, dice and shred with ease with the best models for 2021 food prep

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.
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  • Chopping and dicing ingredients is a thankless task – if you could get someone else to do it, why wouldn’t you? That’s where our best food processors come in. Short of having a part-time sous chef at your disposal, these multi-tasking machines are the next best thing.

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    Not only will they have chopped or shredded everything in the time it would take to sharpen a knife, they’ll do the job consistently and with more precision.

    Why do I need a food processor?

    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    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. Be warned, once you’ve tried homemade pesto, you may never go back to shop-bought again…

    Our top choices are bowl-type food processors that are best suited to ingredient prep or making doughs, dips and even burgers. If you want something for your daily smoothie fix, you might be in the market for the best blender instead – these tend to be jug or cup type and much better for pouring from or even drinking from.

    Best food processors 2021

    1. Kenwood FPM910

    Best food processor for families

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    Multi by name and by nature, if you want a food processor that handles almost every part of your prep, this is it. The Multipro Excel food processor comes with a huge amount of functionality and kit – so there’s a tool for almost any food preparation job, but you’ll have to find somewhere to put it all.

    As well as built-in scales and a weighing plate, it comes with several slicing and grating discs, knife blade, dough blade, whisk, folding tool, mini bowl, grinder, blender jug and even a citrus press for on-demand OJ.

    Most impressive is its four-litre main bowl – with the option of a ‘mini’ 1.6-litre bowl that fits inside. There are eight speeds for processing plus a pulse, as well as auto speed button that selects a setting for you. While the auto isn’t always the best option – we found that choosing it for a smoothie was too slow, so needed to revert to manual for a finer blend – the no-hassle button to get blitzing is convenient.

    The range of blades will suit both the keen chef and those who like to batch cook. We found that some foods were most easily processed with the knife blade, while the julienne disc made short work of carrots and the slicing disc whizzed through rhubarb and leeks.

    An extra-wide feed tube accommodated every vegetable without much chopping beforehand. Other features of note are a 30-minute eco mode, and a storage box for the blades, ensuring that they stay as sharp as possible.

    The whisk tool and folding tool are especially clever in design – both slot onto the spindle in the centre of the bowl and work with the lid in place – meaning that the contents are whipped or mixed without any worktop mess. It’s quick too – our egg whites took less than a couple of minutes to form firm peaks.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    2. Magimix 4200XL

    Best food processor for versatility

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    If you’ve ever put off using your food processor for small or medium-sized amounts because of the mountain of washing up at the end of it, the 4200XL is the clever solution you’ve been looking for. It comes with three bowls that nest inside each other, meaning that you can whizz up herbs or mayonnaise in its mini bowl or shred veg in the midi one without having to wash the large main bowl.

    However, it’s far more than the Russian doll of processors. What’s just as special is that you don’t have to pick the speed to use with each task, it’ll do it for you. So no more second guessing yourself or over-processing. One other point of difference is a BlenderMix ring that helps to make soups and sauces smoother, and the ability to add accessories to expand its functions, although there’s already a dough blade, knife blade, mini blade, a whisk, four discs, spatula and storage box.

    In tests, the 4200XL consistently produced excellent results regardless of the task. It sliced onions and celery evenly in the midi bowl (with none of it landing in the main bowl), turning a 10-minute chopping tasks into 30 seconds of processing. Then we were able to take the midi bowl out, slot the whisk into the main bowl and add three egg whites. After about five minutes, the whites were light and fluffy and had increased in volume to fill the bowl.

    It performed similarly well when using the blade in the main bowl to liquidise vegetable soup. The BlenderMix ring helped to deflect the liquid down towards the blade, rather than it splashing up into the processor lid, so that after two minutes it was smooth. Another advantage is that the bowl can blend hot liquids, so there was no need to cool the soup to room temperature before processing. A final reason to buy is that it’s dishwasher-safe.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

    3. Sage The Kitchen Wizz

    Best food processor 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 

    4. Cuisinart Easy Prep Pro Blender

    Best food processor for everyday use

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    Striking the balance between practical and versatile isn’t the most straightforward thing for a food processor to do – extra accessories often find their way to the back of a cupboard. For busy households, it makes sense to have a machine that can tick off the basics – blending, slicing, grating, chopping and mixing – while being powerful enough to handle a variety of foods.

    The Easy Prep Pro answers this need nicely – it’s more of a day-to-day appliance rather than one you haul out every so often. Plus it’s lightweight and compact enough to move around the kitchen as required.

    Its two bowls – a main 1.9-litre and mini 700ml – plus matching chopping blades and two reversible slicing/grating discs, are all dishwasher safe.

    The mini bowl fits inside the main one, and, crucially, has a seal around the edge to stop food spilling out, so when we chopped herbs, there was only one bowl to wash, not two. A separate recipe book has some ideas to get you started, but as you might expect, most of them are basics, such as pesto, mayonnaise, coleslaw, bread and pizza.

    The Easy Prep Pro isn’t perfect – its buttons are big and bulky, plus you have to hit the Off control rather than just the High or Low to stop it, which isn’t terribly intuitive. There’s also no dedicated storage for the discs or large chopping blade (though the mini bowl and blade store inside), meaning they could end up becoming blunt sooner than they should.

    In tests, it performed well – our carrot was grated uniformly, and we made a springy bread dough easily with the blade and a combination of the pulse and low settings. The machine whined and shook a little as the dough came together, and some crept inside the tool, but overall, our loaf rose well. It’s good value, too.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

    5. Bosch MultiTalent 3 MCM3100WGB Food Processor

    Best small food processor

     

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    doesn’t. This food processor takes up a smaller worktop footprint than most, is relatively light at 2.7kg and is shorter than many models, so can tuck neatly below wall units or in a cupboard with ease.

    It still manages to pack in four accessories that provide more than 20 everyday functions, from grating and slicing to kneading and whisking. The clever design also extends to smart storage with both blades and discs fitting inside the 2.3-litre bowl after use, and integral cable storage.

    Inside the bowl, there’s enough space for making up to 800g of bread dough, whisking six egg whites or 300g of chopped vegetables.

    The food processor controls are simple – there are two variable speeds and a pulse (although it’s confusingly labelled M, which stands for maximum speed) – 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. All of the food processor parts are dishwasher-safe but were also straightforward to clean by hand.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

    6. KitchenAid Artisan Cook Processor

    Best food processor for midweek meals

    best-food-processors-5 KitchenAid Artisan Candy Apple Artisan Cook Processor

    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

    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.

    Where will you store your food processor?

    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.

    What should I look for in a food processor?

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    Image credit: Magimix

    Which food processor accessories do I 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.

    What food processor bowl size do I need?

    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.

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    image credit: Magimix

    Is storage important?

    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.

    What speed settings do I need on my food processor?

    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.

    How much power should a food processor have?

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    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.

    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.

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