We’ve assessed food processors across a range of processing tasks and looked at how easy they are to use, clean and store.
Features to look for
Bowl capacity: Will you use your food processor to shred cabbage for a crowd? Or to chop up small amounts of nuts and herbs? Most food processors come with a bowl that holds between 1.5 and 4 litres of solid food (the maximum capacity for liquids is usually less because the liquid can leak out). Extra processing bowls in a range of sizes make a processor more versatile.
Size: Consider how much bench or storage space you have and how frequently you will use the processor. Heavier models are best left on the bench, particularly if used often. A lighter compact unit is easier to handle (and takes up less cupboard space) if you need to put it away after each use.
Rubber feet on the motor unit provide stability during operation.
Heavy motor unit helps keep the unit stable on the bench during processing.
Double feed-chute allows you to guide smaller/thinner foods into the food processor – so it provides better control in slicing/shredding.
Reversible blades (such as a grating blade on 1 side and a slicing blade on the other) reduce the amount of storage space required.
A range of blades give you more options for slicing and grating.
Storage whether it’s onboard or in a separate container, storage helps keep all the attachments together and protects the blades and attachments.
Dishwasher safe attachments and bowls make cleaning easy.
Food processor functions
A processor should be equipped to deal with a variety of tasks, without breaking down or vibrating excessively.
Grating: Processors should be able to grate a range of foodstuffs well, without leaving ungrated lumps. You should be able to feed vegetables into the blender one by one.
Chopping: Most machines have an S-shaped steel blade for chopping. Chopped food should be even in texture with no large lumps.
Mixing: You should be able to make cake mixes, milkshakes and premix dough, without leaving lumps or unprocessed ingredients.
Pulse: A pulse function gives a short burst of power. It’s useful for distributing the load of a mixture and improving uniformity.
Food processors come with a range of accessories, but the following are also useful.
Beater/whisk attachment: for whipping cream and beating egg whites.
Citrus juicer: for oranges, grapefruit and so on.
Juice extractor: for other (non-citrus) fruits.
Chipping disc blade: for making chips and vegetable strips.
Mini processor bowl: for processing small quantities such as nuts, and for making pesto and mayonnaise. A grinder attachment will do a similar job on coffee, spices, and dried herbs.
Think about how many extras you will actually use. Consider the other appliances already in your kitchen – if you already have a standalone blender there's little point in getting a food processor with a blender attachment.
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