Food processors have been a mandatory kitchen appliance for professional chefs and serious cooks since their introduction in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Originally, their cost and size made them unappealing to most people, but today’s food processors are affordable, relatively compact and available in a host of colors and sizes. Not only that, but modern food processors have evolved from a single-function appliance to a jack-of-all-trades kitchen necessity. Whether you want to stop the tears when chopping onions or your carpal tunnel won’t let you need bread dough, there’s a food processor out there that can get the job done.
Food processors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. From 3-cup bowls that make short work of dicing carrots, onions and celery for soup stock to 20-cup bowls that turn this summer’s crop of tomatoes into marinara, there’s a food processor to suit your cooking lifestyle.
One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is whether you’re buying the best food processor for everyday or occasional use. They aren’t a monetary investment so much as they’re a space investment, so be honest about how often you’re going to use it and base your decision on bowl size accordingly. Seven-cup food processors are the average, but if you’re short on counter or storage space or cook for three or less people, you may do better with a three- to four-cup bowl. Smaller models are a good choice if you’ll regularly be returning it to the cabinet rather than leaving it on the countertop. If you regularly cook in large batches to freeze ahead or do lot of entertaining for groups, a 20-cup food processor will save you time. Larger-capacity models often come with an accompanying smaller bowl (up to 4 cups) that helps with multi-tasking.