The more you cook, the less interesting chopping everything by hand becomes. If you buy a good food processor, life becomes a lot easier. The best food processors provide swift chopping, slicing, blending and dough-making and reduce the effort required from you significantly.
There is a large range of machines available, from the very basic choppers to those that will juice, puree and even make chips. We tested food processors for ease of use, build quality and range of accessories.
Out of the ones we recommend, two stand out. The KitchenAid Classic 2.1L Food Processor is an excellent performer, well-priced, with a huge range of accessories. For lighter use, the Magimix Le Mini Plus is a great budget model that gets all the basics right.
How we pick the best food processors
Food processors cover a wide ground of features, with some offering basic blades for chopping and blending, while others add in loads of extra features from cutting chips to whisking eggs. Our tests vary depending on the range of accessories available.
With all food processors, we test their ability to chop onions, looking for any missed sections and a fine even cut throughout. We slice carrots where a slicing disc is available, looking for a uniform slice size.
Where a grating disc is available, we grate cheese to see how well the job is performed. And if a whisk is included, we beat egg whites to a fine consistency, to see if we could get the firm peaks ideal for making meringue.
We look at the quality of the build, range of options (both provided and available extra), and any storage options.
Ninja 3-in-1 Food Processor with Auto-IQ BN800UK
A super-powerful and automated food processor and blender all-in-one
Two of the most useful bits of kitchen equipment are the food processor and the blender. With the Ninja 3-in-1 Food Processor with Auto-IQ BN800UK you don’t have to choose which one to have, as this model comes with a 1.9-litre food processor bowl, 2.1-litre blending jug and a 700ml single-serve cup for taking drinks on the go.
There’s a powerful 1200W motor unit that powers all of the accessories, but it’s Ninja’s AutoIQ programmes that make this stand out from the crowd. What’s available changes based on what’s attached, but with the blenders you get Blend and Max Blend, and with the food processor, you get Chop, Puree and Mix. Just tap the most appropriate programme, and the food processor takes care of everything else. For fine control, there are three speeds plus a pulse control.
Exceptionally powerful, the Ninja 3-in-1 Food Processor with Auto-IQ BN800UK managed to expertly chop onions, blend a salsa, mix dough, grate cheese and crush ice. It’s also rather nifty at blended drinks, handling tough ingredients, such as pineapple and ice, with ease. Only smaller, dry ingredients are hard for it to deal with, so you might want a separate spice grinder for some situations.
With its great price and huge range of features, this is the best all-round food processor, but we have to warn you that it is very loud.
Read our full Ninja 3-in-1 Food Processor with Auto-IQ BN800UK review
Magimix Le Mini Plus
An excellent budget food processor that does most jobs
The Magimix Le Mini Plus is well priced and does most of the basics. The things you’ll miss out on from larger food processors – the capacity for juicing, French-fry cutting and so on – are the sort of gimmicks you’re unlikely to use more than once.
This is a very neat, well-built machine, so good for those who don’t have much worktop space. The larger bowl is 1.7 litres, while the smaller one is 0.5 litres. It made light work of chopping, grating and smoothly blending ingredients together.
As with the larger Magimix 5200XL, we didn’t much like the egg whisk and there are a lot of parts to be stored. But, overall, the Mini Plus is a very good machine for the price and outperforms several models that cost quite a lot more.
Read our full Magimix Le Mini Plus review
Magimix CS 5200XL
A powerful but expensive all-rounder for any job
Most people will baulk at a price tag of around £400. The Magimix CS 5200 XL really is a more serious piece of kit than the casual cook needs, but if you are looking for a top-end machine, this is a great choice.
There are three bowls of different sizes – 3.6 litres, 2.6 litres and 1.2 litres – which makes it much easier to prepare various quantities (if you’re trying to chop tiny amounts in a large bowl it’s common for everything to just be blown to the sides).
The blades took care of everything from onions to ice in seconds, and the slicing and grating discs produced very even results. We didn’t like the egg whisk, which didn’t aerate egg whites very well, but all the other features were effective.
It would be unfair to criticise a machine for having too many features, but the 5200XL Premium has a lot of extras, such as a juicer kit, a citrus press and a French-fry cutter. These don’t come with their own storage, so be prepared to find lots of cupboard room for all the accessories.
One thing this excellent food processor lacks is the ability to manually adjust speed: it only has an ‘auto’ button. For the price, we’d have liked the option to control the speed for fine-tuning tasks. No other complaints, though.
Read our full Magimix CS 5200 XL review
Kenwood MultiPro Classic FDM790BA Food Processor
Hallelujah! A machine with an adjustable speed dial! We’ll forgive the Kenwood MultiPro Classic FDM790BA Food Processor a few of its shortcomings for offering the option to easily slow down or speed up a blend – a really useful feature when you’re after a specific texture.
To get the bad stuff out of the way, the build quality is not what we’d expect at this cost. The main three-litre bowl is light and thin, and the locking mechanism feels cheap. We had to keep fiddling with it to make sure it was properly in place.
On the upside, this machine looks clean and smart, and the addition of a 1.5-litre blender jug is useful, if not essential. It’s advertised as being able to cope with hot or frozen ingredients, but we’d rather the main food processor could handle that.
It does all the basics well, and the built-in scales are a lovely additional touch, meaning you can just measure everything directly into the bowl when cooking.
Read our full Kenwood MultiPro Classic FDM790BA Food Processor review
Tefal DoubleForce Pro DO824H40 multifunction food processor
A great choice for those that want a blender and food processor all-in-one
If you’re not sure whether you should go for a food processor or a blender, the Tefal DoubleForce Pro DO824H40 multifunction food processor gives you both in one package. The base has two motor outputs: one for the blender and mini chopper, another for the bowl and citrus juicer.
A lack of guidance for first-time users detracts slightly, but we found that the DoubleForce Pro could dice, slice and chop a variety of different fruits and vegetables with ease. It also managed to whisk egg whites to a fluffy and firm texture. The citrus juicer is much harder to use, although we got a decent amount of juice.
The blender is a neat option, although when making smoothies, it didn’t cope as well as dedicated blenders. But if you only want one appliance in your kitchen, the Tefal DoubleForce Pro DO824H40 is a good all-rounder.
That was our choice of the best food processors. Keep reading to find out more about making the right choice.
Best food processor buying guide
What are the key features to look for?
A food processor should be large enough to deal with the level of ingredients that you need. A 2.1-litre bowl should cope with most average-sized families for the likes of chopping vegetables and onions. Look for a larger bowl and food processor if you regularly cook more.
Most food processors come with a secondary smaller bowl, which can be useful for blending smaller amounts of food, such as making a Thai curry paste.
Automatic controls are more common, but a machine with manual control lets you set how you chop and blend food, and can be more useful for experienced chefs.
What additional blades do I need?
All food processors will come with basic cutting blades. A slicing blade (2mm and 4mm) is useful for automatically cutting up vegetables and fruit, into a uniform size. Grating blades help you get through a lot of grating fast, which is great if you’re making a cheese-based dish or need a lot of grated potatoes, for example.
Other blades can seem like a good idea, but you may use them rarely. A julienne blade can be useful for slicing vegetables into sticks, but it isn’t the kind of thing you’d use on a daily basis. Likewise, a French-fry cutter and citrus juicer may just take up space in your cupboard.
Do I need a blender attachment?
If you want to make smoothies and milkshakes, a separate blender can be useful. A blender that attaches to a food processor typically isn’t as good as a standalone model and tends to be for occasional use.