Food processors are a great all-rounder – perfect if you like to do lots of cooking and don’t want one specialised gadget. They’re made up of a large motor inside the base, a removable bowl, and interchangeable blades or accessories.
These multi-purpose appliances come with a variety of accessories that allow you to chop, whip, slice, mix, grate, knead and purée. Although they’re capable of a multitude of functions, they’re not as efficient as dedicated function machines, such as blenders. They cut down time and effort, reduce washing up and can often produce a better overall consistency.
Usually food processors are smaller than stand mixers, but they still take up a fair amount of room. So, if you struggle for kitchen counter space, then a smaller appliance may be better suited. You might find it easier to have one larger processor rather than a range of other machines. Keep counter space in mind when shopping too as more expensive models are often larger and have a wider range of accessories.
They combine many of the same functions as other kitchen appliances, so you might find it easier to have one larger processor rather than a range of other machines.
Food processors usually come with a standard selection of attachments:
A knife blade – Often known as a multipurpose blade, it can be used for mixing, mincing, mashing, and chopping.
A dough hook or blade – Used for kneading dough.
Shredding and slicing discs – As the name suggests, these can shred food such as vegetables to make coleslaw or salad. They can come in different sizes for fine, medium, or thick finishes.
Jug blender – This is a great attachment for puréeing foods, making sauces, and blending drinks.
Grating blade – Useful for grating large quantities of cheese or vegetables.
Potato rasp – Similar to the grating blade, but designed especially for harder substances like parmesan cheese, potatoes, and nutmeg.
Fruit press or juicer – Ideal for creating fresh fruit juices. It also combines a cone and sieve to catch unwanted bits.
Grinding mill – Good for grinding spices.
Spatula – Helpful for scraping the mixture off the sides of the bowl.
Whisk – Used to whisk ingredients like egg whites or cream. The form of the whisk can vary between a paddle, emulsifying disc, or beaters.
Egg Whip – This can be used to beat egg whites and whip cream to ensure you get perfectly fluffy results.
Other attachments can be bought separately, and some come included with higher spec models. Keep in mind that if there’s a separate kitchen appliance with a designated function, it will probably do a better job than your attachment.
Food processors usually come with a standard selection of attachments.
Some higher-end models have an integrated weighing function which allows you to add and mix ingredients while being shown their weight via a digital display. This cuts out the separate weighing stage of cooking. Some appliances also have an integrated timer, which allows you to preset how long you want your mixer to run.
Prices range depending on the brand, model, and number of accessories included. You can pick up a basic processor for around £30-£100, but be aware that the motor may be quite loud and not particularly powerful. If the noise doesn’t bother you, then you can easily find a decent model with a range of accessories for under £100.
Middle band models can cost around £100- £200, and you’re likely to have a more powerful, quieter motor, with a high-quality build. A bigger range of accessories and blades can be included, but it does depend on the brand.
The most expensive models can go up to £400 with really powerful motors and sharp blades. They’ll make easy work of more difficult kitchen tasks, such as kneading dough.
Prices range depending on the brand, model, and number of accessories included.
CONTROLS AND SPEEDS
Controls usually involve an on/off switch, and a dial to control the speed setting. Most models have one to three speed options, but higher-end versions can go up to an impressive ten. A pulse mode is usually included, which helps to blitz all the ingredients. Some models also have a sliding control to determine the thickness of food slices.
Depending on the size and model, most food processor bowls have a capacity of one to four litres. If a jug blender is included, it can have a capacity of one to two litres. However, the stated capacity usually refers to how much actual food can be held, rather than the working capacity (which is often lower).
Dishwashers might not be able to get into all the nooks and crevices of the parts.
Feeding tubes are used for pushing food into the processor. They make sure your fingers don’t get caught on the blades.
An anti-slip base gives improved stability, reduces vibrations, and ensures that the processor doesn’t move across your countertop during use.
A safety lock will stop the processor being activated until the parts are all securely in place, so that nothing can fly off unexpectedly.
Nearly all food processor parts are now dishwasher-safe, but after a while, they can become scratched or cloudy looking. Plus, dishwashers might not get into all the nooks and crevices of the parts, which can be helped by a quick rinse before washing.
If you do choose to wash them by hand, you’ll need to pay careful attention to the sharp blades.