There are some kitchen tools that are bought with good intentions but end up collecting dust sitting in the kitchen cabinet. (That bulky pizza maker seemed like a smart buy at the time…) But there are others that are used with such frequency that they’re not even worth putting away after each use—and at Well+Good HQ, the food processor definitely falls into that category.
Nearly every time we head into the kitchen with a chef to film an episode of Cook With Us, the food processor takes center stage on the counter. For good reason: It can make quick work out of all your chopping, slicing, and shredding needs. For example, if your recipe calls for a cup of finely chopped nuts, a food processor is going to save you a ton of time. You can also use it to grind meat or even to make vegan meatballs, as certified nutritionist and chef Kelly LeVeque, CN, does in the below video:
Using the kitchen tool is pretty straightforward, but shopping for one on the other hand can be complicated. There are so many on the market—and some of them are pretty pricey. To get advice on which one is actually worth the money (and counter space), I asked two people who I knew used one on a regular basis: LeVeque and Eat Mexico author Lesley Téllez. While LeVeque likes one with all the bells and whistles, Téllez prefers one that’s simple, yet still does a good job. Below is a run-down of each of their picks.
See how to make Téllez’s easy chicken tostadas in the video below:
Vitamix is already the gold standard when it comes to blenders, so it’s no surprise that their new food processor is a cut above the rest. “I’m obsessed with my new Vitamix food processor,” LeVeque says. She loves that the brand’s food processor and blender both fit into the same base—a major perk if you already have a Vitamix blender. “I keep the base on my countertop and use the blender once or twice a day, so the fact that the food processor fits right into it means I’m using it so much more than I would otherwise,” she says.
Vitamix’s latest uses self-detect technology that automatically shuts it off if it’s not assembled correctly. (Like if one of the blades isn’t secured on, for example.) It also comes with multiple blades: one for chopping, mincing, kneading, and mixing and a set of two shredder discs. It also doesn’t use a twist lock, which most other food processors do. All you have to do is stack the bowl and lid on the base and you’re good to go.
“They think of everything, including having a case for all of the blades and multiple blades that my original food processor didn’t have,” LeVeque says. “I love making a food processor salad from the dressing to the toppings all in the base with very little cleanup.”
Buy it now: Vitamix 12-Cup Food Processor ($199.95)
Téllez says she uses the same food processor that she got 15 years ago as a wedding gift: a fire-engine red Cuisinart. “The motor is still going strong!” she says. “It’ll zap my oats into flour for pancakes for my kids, whip up pesto and hummus, and help me prep veggies that I don’t have time to mince or dice.”
The mini version (which also comes in pink) is great for prepping smaller servings. It does all the chopping, grinding, slicing, and shredding you want a food processor to execute, all with just a push of a button. “I lost the pusher that attaches to the lid a few years ago during a move and had to replace the blade a few years back, but I’m not getting rid of it yet,” Téllez says.
These two picks show that while you certainly can go all out and get a fancy food processor, you can find one for under $50 that works well, too. Hopefully in 15 years, yours will still be on your kitchen counter too, with many beloved meals behind it.
Buy it now: Cusinart DLC-2AMR Mini-Prep Plus Processor ($39.99)
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