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On the search for the best food processor for your needs and budget? We researched over 30 food processors before purchasing 10 of the most compelling models available today. We then put them through the wringer. We consulted with culinary professionals about our testing procedure. We went to town conducting over 30 side-by-side assessments, such as shredding cheese, slicing veggies, mixing dough, pureeing chickpeas, whipping up homemade mayonnaise, and chopping onions. We'll help you determine the best model for your needs, whether that be the best of the best or the best to fit your budget.
Anyone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen understands the value of quality kitchen gadgets and appliances. Nobody wants to have their cabinets cluttered with products that don't live up to their intended uses. From blenders to stand mixers to sous vide, we've done the grunt work of pitting these products against each other to determine the best.
Editor's Note: This product review was updated on May 12, 2022, with more information on our testing metrics and additional purchase suggestions.
Fending off challengers for close to three years and once again earning our top overall score by a landslide, the Breville Sous Chef 16 Pro is easily our favorite food processor. This top-of-the-line kitchen appliance performed well across all of our tests, effortlessly slicing through produce and completing even the most challenging processing tasks. Its 1200-watt motor mixes dough, slices veggies, and shreds potatoes effortlessly. Out of our entire test fleet, this processor is also one of the most convenient models to use and one of the easiest to clean.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, such high performance also comes with one of our lineup's highest price tags. The Sous Chef 16 Pro is a phenomenal machine, and we highly recommend it for enthusiast chefs, but it can set you back quite a bit of money and take up a decent amount of valuable counter space. It's a fantastic option for an avid home chef or anyone who will use it frequently, but it can be a bit more machine than the casual cook may need or want. However, if you are searching for the crème de la crème when it comes to choppers, this is our top choice.
If you're not comfortable paying such a premium price tag for top-end performance, look no further than the Cuisinart Custom 14. This reliable kitchen appliance earns recognition for its superb performance across the bulk of our tests, all while providing outstanding value with a more reasonable price tag than the highest-end models we tested. It slices vegetables and fruits exceptionally evenly and purees velvety-smooth dips, and spreads.
A drawback of this model is that the slicing and shredding blades aren't adjustable, meaning you'll need to purchase additional blades if you aren't happy with the size of the included ones. It also isn't quite as powerful at mixing denser doughs. Despite these knocks, this is the perfect option if you're seeking a great, all-around food processor without shredding your budget.
If you're shopping for a new food processor that won't take up a ton of room in your kitchen or your budget, then we highly recommend the Ninja Professional Food Processor. This appliance's performance in our tests thoroughly impressed us, especially given its bargain price tag. This model did a good job uniformly chopping veggies and incorporating ingredients when mixing dough. However, in the shredding and slicing tests, this appliance truly shined, creating even slices and shreds without struggling or leaving large chunks of waste — a rarity for budget models.
This food processor sounded like it was working quite hard when tasked with mixing pizza dough, though. The dual-blade shape and bowl size also mean that it can be hard to make smaller quantities of things like homemade mayo. Additionally, the dual-blade system can be a bit harder to clean by hand. However, this is a great option for anyone looking for a compact food processor that won't break the bank.
If you want to spend the bare minimum and still get decent performance, then the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup is your best bet. This inexpensive model can hold its own for pureeing dips or chopping produce. Its shredding and slicing performance isn't too shabby either.
Where this model falls short is mixing. Mixing heavy dough with the weaker motor is not only a struggle, but it causes the entire unit to shake somewhat violently. Additionally, we experienced leaking during our water test. If your recipes are mostly liquid ingredients, we recommend opting for another model. Despite these shortcomings, the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup is our top choice for those on a strict budget.
Bowl Size: 12-Cup | Motor: Wattage varies depending on the base
REASONS TO BUY
Great for pizza dough
Pro at pureeing
Slices delicate foods like tomato
REASONS TO AVOID
The Vitamix 12-Cup Attachment shines brightest while pureeing, slicing, and mixing dough, making it the perfect option for pizza lovers. Mix up your pizza crust and let it cool while you whip up some homemade sauce and efficiently slice up any toppings. While we had pizza on the mind during our testing of this model, that's not all it is good for. The mostly even slicing works wonders on easy-to-bruise fruit and vegetables, like tomatoes, and the stellar pureeing makes buttery smooth hummus and dips. Although it is still an investment, it is easy to clean but won't clean out your bank account.
The Vitamix 12-Cup is a great food processor, but note that you'll need to already own (or purchase) the Vitamix blender motor; this product is just an attachment. And while it's excellent at slicing and pro at pureeing its chopping, shredding, and mixing (aside from pizza dough) capabilities are nothing to write home about. They get the job done but often require an extra pulse or two. The chopping and shredding also offer somewhat inconsistent sizes. That being said, the Vitamix 12-cup Attachment is a great option for anyone who already owns a Vitamix blender and is seeking a well-rounded processor.
As always, GearLab purchased all of the products we tested at retail price. We do not accept any free evaluation models from manufacturers. Our food processor testing team is led by Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Hayley Thomas who all have tested and reviewed over two hundred kitchen appliances over the past several years. In addition to their expertise, we consulted with home chefs and bakers to get additional input and feedback on our testing and scoring process.
Our testing of food processors is divided across six rating metrics:
Chopping tests (20% of overall score weighting)
Mixing tests (20% weighting)
Pureeing tests (20% weighting)
Shredding tests (15% weighting)
Slicing tests (15% weighting)
Cleaning tests (10% weighting)
We've tested 17 different food processors in the last 5 years. In this review, we subjected each of these devices to over 30 individual tests to rate their performance. The chopping, mixing, and pureeing tests made up the bulk of each processor's score, and we spent close to 200 hours testing and evaluating these food processors and mini-choppers side-by-side. We created copious amounts of hummus, mixed up tons of pizza and pie crust dough, chopped dozens of onions and tomatoes, made mayo from scratch, and shredded a silly amount of cheese. Don't worry; zero food went to waste during our testing. We then had a panel of judges rate the quality of the food produced by each food processor, and finally, awarded points based on the ease of cleaning each product between tests.
To compare product performance, we used each food chopper to chop almonds, cilantro, carrots, garlic, onions, and tomatoes and assessed how easy they were to clean.
Tomatoes & Carrots
First, we tested how well each appliance chopped half of a tomato and a whole carrot. The manual Cuisinart CTG-00-SCHP surprised us by actually doing the best at chopping the tomatoes, just barely edging out the Ninja Express Chop by having a cleaner, more consistent chop. The Black+Decker HC150B fared poorly, completely mutilating the tomatoes and failing to chop and puree them, creating a tomato mush interspersed with large chunks. To be fair, none of these products are fantastic at chopping tomatoes, so you might be better served by a kitchen knife if you need evenly chopped tomatoes for your recipe.
The Ninja easily took the top spot in our carrot chopping challenge, making short work of the carrot and quickly chopping it into small, uniformly sized pieces, leaving only a few outlying larger chunks. The Black+Decker did about average, while the Cuisinart struggled considerably. The carrot pieces kept getting stuck in the blades, forcing us to disassemble and clean the chopper periodically to continue.
Onions & Garlic
Next, we tried out each food chopper with half an onion and three cloves of garlic, aiming to evenly chop the onion and finely mince the garlic. The Cuisinart again did the best at chopping the onion, with the Ninja right on its heels. While the Cuisinart can only accommodate a smaller onion, it's the only food chopper of the group that can chop an onion into larger pieces. Both motorized models produced a much finer chop with a broader spread of sizes.
The same pattern followed in our minced garlic evaluation. It did take quite a bit longer and a bit more effort with the hand-powered Cuisinart, but the only limit on how fine you can mince the garlic is your patience.
Even with repeated pulses, the Ninja couldn't mince the garlic as finely as the Cuisinart. The Black+Decker didn't do great at cleanly cutting the garlic in our tests; it became discolored and looked much less appetizing than the garlic from the other two products.
Almonds & Cilantro
The Ninja Express Chop dominated our final two chopping tests, claiming the top spot for both. It did the best job of actually chopping the almonds into small pieces, rather than completely obliterating them into dust — though there were a few residual whole almonds after six pulses. The Cuisinart was much more of a hassle to use and forced us to stop and clean the blades periodically to free any stuck almonds. The Black+Decker didn't do that well, leaving behind the most whole almonds out of any model that we tested.
Of the trio of mini-choppers that we tested, the Ninja is the only one that managed to chop the cilantro acceptably. The Black+Decker was consistent in our chopping test, but the final product was not very good, pulverizing the leaves into a paste. The Cuisinart also proved to be inconsistent and poor at chopping. It both produced cilantro mush and also left several leaves entirely untouched.
Ease of Cleaning
When it comes to ease of cleaning, the Black+Decker is hands-down our favorite choice. The Cuisinart is another story. The compact design makes it incredibly difficult to access and thoroughly clean all the nooks and crannies around the blade. Meanwhile, the Ninja comes with multiple blades. We found this adversely impacts the overall cleaning experience. The good news is all of these models are dishwasher-safe. The bad news is the dishwasher is not a very effective way to clean the Cuisinart. Some food pieces remained stuck in the blade assembly even after a wash cycle.
Analysis and Test Results of Food Processors
To compare each food processor's performance, we chose six weighted metrics to consider during our hands-on testing: chopping, shredding, slicing, mixing, pureeing, and ease of cleaning. We recommend focusing on the metrics that most closely match your intended use and selecting a machine that excels in those areas. These are multi-purpose appliances, and while we gave awards to the top overall performers, you may personally be better served by a model that excels at the tasks you most frequently do.
The Breville Sous Chef 16 Pro stands way above the rest in terms of performance and, unfortunately, also in price. The next step down in both price and performance is the Cuisinart Custom 14 and the Vitamix 12-Cup Attachment retailing for significantly less. If you go the route of the Custom 14, you may need to purchase additional slicing and shredding discs if you aren't happy with the included options, as they aren't adjustable.
The Vitamix comes with a few slicing and shredding discs, but it is important to know you will need to already own or purchase separately a motor/base as the attachment is just the top portion. If these two options are still too pricey, you may want to consider the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup or Ninja Professional Food Processor. These appliances have their flaws and provide a great value, holding their own against other products that cost significantly more. The Hamilton Beach 10-Cup does just a bit better at chopping and pureeing, while the Ninja has the edge when it comes to slicing and shredding.
Chopping food is a quintessential task for these appliances and should be a standout capability of any worthy food processor. We compared each model's performance while chopping onions, carrots, and nuts and assessed the quality of the finished products. We also paid special attention to whether or not each model comes equipped with a pulse button and how it performs. More specifically, how quickly the blade stops upon the button's release, thus determining how precisely you can control each appliance.
When it comes to chopping, the Sous Chef by Breville finds itself in the top tier. In particular, we were very impressed with the speed at which this appliance chops onions and the uniformity of the final result.
The Sous Chef also made short work of the almonds, chopping them up in seconds. Even better, it didn't over-chop or grind them into dust like many of the other processors did. While its "pulse" button starts and stops the blade quickly, other models like the Cuisinart Elite and Custom 14, and the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup start and stop with more immediacy. That said, none of the models measure up to the chopping power and uniformity of the Sous Chef.
Following the Breville, but not closely, in overall chopping performance are the Braun Tribute Collection and the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup. The Hamilton Beach 10-Cup pulse buttons start and stop immediately with the press of the "pulse" button, while the Braun takes a measurable moment before the spinning seizes. The Braun does an exceptional job chopping the almonds, coming in just behind the Breville. It performs well at chopping onions and carrots but falls off slightly on the latter, leaving more unevenly sized pieces of the carrot than the 10-Cup. The Hamilton Beach 10-Cup, Braun, and Pro Line produce comparable chopped onions, but the Breville beat both.
The following models offer a somewhat average performance: Cuisinart Elite, Cuisinart Custom, Ninja Professional, and Vitamix 12-Cup Attachment. While Cuisinart models come in clutch with very responsive pulse buttons, they only deliver average results for chopping onions. However, these two models offer above-average performance chopping almonds, which we can't say for most of the tested options. The Ninja Professional takes a little longer to spin down when you release the pulse button, making precise control a bit more difficult. However, its onion and carrot chopping capabilities are impressive, mainly creating uniform pieces with only a few larger outliers.
While there is a charm in mixing your family pie crust recipe by hand with a wooden spoon, it sure is a lot easier to have a food processor do the work for you. In addition to pie crust, we made pizza dough and mayonnaise in each processor.
Once again, the Breville Sous Chef 16 Pro stands out as the top performer, as it successfully mixes up mayo and creates high-quality pie crust and pizza dough. This burly food processor shows no signs of struggle while mixing pizza dough but does take a little more time to complete with its smaller dough blade. During our testing, it took five pulses to achieve the desired pie crust consistency, but it was high-quality and looked fantastic when we rolled it out.
The Braun TributeCollection and Cuisinart Elemental 13-Cup closely follow the Sous Chef. All three of these appliances make mayonnaise successfully, just about as well as the Sous Chef, but they vary a bit in their pizza and pie crust creation. The Braun vibrates like crazy when making pizza dough. When we added a second cup of flour, we thought it would vibrate right off the counter. The Elemental performs almost as well as the Breville, although it shakes slightly.
Of the four top performers, the Braun and Breville take the cake, or in this case, the pie, when it comes to pie crust performance. The Elemental falls behind, offering an admirable above-average performance. Following these four, with overall average scores are the Black+Decker 8-Cup, Cuisinart Elite and Custom 14, Ninja Professional, and the Vitamix Attachment. While none of these perform well across all three of our mixing tests, they do offer an above-average performance in at least one.
Some honorable mentions that crush the pizza crust test, aside from our top performers overall, are the Cuisinart Custom 14 and the Vitamix Attachment. The Custom does not have a dough blade, making its performance that much more impressive. Both offer a decently quick and sufficient blend of the ingredients.
Moving on to pie crust, outside of the top mixing performers, we were very impressed with the Ninja Professional, which took roughly 10-15 pulses to blend all the ingredients sufficiently.
Like chopping and mixing, the pureeing metric accounts for a good portion of each product's final score. We conducted five separate tests with each food processor to rank and score performance, making tomato sauce, hummus, nut butter, and applesauce. We also considered leakage in this category, testing each processor by filling the bowl with water to the max fill line and turning it on full blast.
In a surprise upset, the Cuisinart Custom, Hamilton Beach 10-Cup, and Vitamix 12-Cup Food Processor Attachment merited top scores, unseating the winner of the previous two metrics, the Breville. According to our panel of tasters, the 10-Cup produced the smoothest hummus, closely followed by the Cuisinart Custom and then the Vitamix Attachment. The 10-Cup and Vitamix Attachment also create superb nut butter. The Vitamix made a satisfactory product after three minutes, and the 10-Cup in 10 minutes (though the top wobbled crazily during the process). The Custom took almost twice as long, and the final product was definitively inferior.
All three of these models create perfect tomato sauce after about 30 seconds of pureeing, with the Custom receiving bonus points as it was the least messy out of every model that we tested. While the 10-Cup and the Custom also produced some of the highest-quality applesauce, the Vitamix Attachment fell extremely short.
Of the average performers in the puree department as a whole, the Cuisinart Elite and Elemental whip up admirable hummus. They could render a mostly smooth (albeit a little grainy) product without much shaking or scooping needed. The Oster may not receive a top score in pureeing, but it sure whips almond into a smooth butter quickly compared to the others in our test suite.
There is a stark contrast in the leak test, with the Cuisinart Custom doing substantially better than the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup. The Custom took about three and a quarter cups of water to reach its maximum fill line and didn't leak at all. The 10-Cup reached the maximum fill line with two and a half cups of water and promptly leaked water everywhere after the motor was switched on, precluding it from claiming the premier spot in this metric.
The Braun, Elemental, and Custom are the only three models we tested to have zero leakage. The Braun does not have a max fill line, so we filled it up a comparable amount to similarly sized models, about 50%.
Homemade macaroni and cheese or hash browns instantly become more appealing when you can simply set up your food processor rather than risking your fingertips on a grater. We took the time to shred potatoes, carrots, and a large block of cheese to compare performance between food processors. This category accounts for slightly less of the overall score but is still very important.
The Breville claims the top spot with its quality shredding performance. It does a fantastic job at shredding carrots, creating nice, crisp pieces that don't stick together, only leaving a single small piece unshredded. It does similarly well with potatoes, only leaving two small slices behind. The Breville offers two shredding options with its disc: fine and medium. Both do a decent job at shredding the block of cheese, with only moderate amounts of cheese crumbles left unshredded.
Our runner-ups in this category are Braun TributeCollection, Cuisinart Elemental 13-Cup, and the Ninja Professional. You have the option to choose between a fine or medium shredding size with both the Elemental and the Braun, but you are limited to a single size with the Ninja Professional. The Braun does the best overall, leaving behind only a few bits of cheese and producing shredded cheese with very few crumbles. The Elemental and the Ninja shredded all of the cheese but slightly lower quality than the Braun.
The Braun offers a very high-quality potato shred. The Elemental and the Ninja also created uniformly shredded potatoes perfect for hash browns. However, there were a few irregularly cut pieces and some leftover chunks between the lid and the blade. The Elemental and the Braun both did average at shredding carrots, with the Elemental producing slightly more uniform pieces. The Ninja performed the best with carrots, creating the cleanest and most uniformly cut pieces of these four.
We didn't have many average or below average-scoring models that performed highly in one of our shredding tests. The Hamilton Beach Professional 14-Cup offers a near-perfect carrot shred. Aside from these models, our highest performers in each category warrant an overall higher score in shredding across the board.
We sliced zucchini, tomatoes, and potatoes for this portion of our rigorous hands-on testing. We also considered how easy each device is to set up and how much control it offers regarding slice thickness. We dubbed slicing the same importance as shredding.
Our leaders in the slicing metric are the Cuisinart Elite and the Vitamix Attachment.
The Cuisinart Elite has adjustable blades to set the slicing thickness and does a great job with delicate fruit, and vegetables like tomatoes once dialed with the correct settings.
The runner-ups in this category are Breville Sous Chef, Cuisinart Custom, Hamilton Beach Professional, and the Ninja Professional. The Breville's thickness is very easy to adjust when slicing, as the numbers correspond to millimeters. The Cuisinart Custom includes a four-millimeter disc for slicing, but other thickness discs are available for purchase. These models did a great job creating even tomato slices, comparable to the Cuisinart Elite.
The Hamilton Beach Professional shines brightest while slicing tomatoes. Most of the options take time to understand how to use, but this model had the best first run of all the processors with almost no mangling due to inexperience. The Ninja Professional also only offers a single slice thickness setting but still does surprisingly well. The potatoes it produces are very uniform, and the zucchini and tomato slices are above average. The feed chute on this model is relatively small, so larger produce must be pre-cut to fit. This design leaves some messier slices with larger tomatoes or zucchini, but smaller items are cut very cleanly.
Our review process's final rating metric considers the amount of effort it takes to clean out each food processor once you're done using it. We washed each bowl, blade, and cover multiple times during our testing process, both in the dishwasher and by hand. We awarded points to the products that we found the fastest and easiest to clean, looking for models that made it easy to clean without accidentally getting cut by the blades or leaving leftover food behind to rot.
The Breville regained its top spot for this final metric with the easiest blade, bowl, and lid to clean in the whole group. The blade has a longer shaft that makes it a breeze to clean without accidentally slicing fingers, and there were very few nooks and crannies in the bowl or lid in which food could get caught.
Our runner-up is the Vitamix 12-Cup Attachment. It is dishwasher safe, and the gear is easily separated from the bowl for hand washing. The only tricky part about washing this model is the plunger. This section is much easier to clean with a bottle brush.
The Braun, Cuisinart Elite, Custom, and Oster 2-Speed score above average for cleanup. The Braun has an exceptionally easy-to-clean blade and lid, but its bowl was one of the most difficult to clean, with some plastic details on the inside prone to catching food.
We believe this review can help you pick the perfect new food processor for your kitchen; whether you are a culinary enthusiast looking for a full-size workhorse appliance or seeking a mini-chopper to speed up prep and make it a little less mundane, there is something for everyone in this lineup of impressive options.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.