KitchenAid® food processor on a counter among chopped and sliced vegetables.

What is a Food Processor: A Buying Guide

The food processor is one of the most versatile appliances of the kitchen. They can handle an endless amount of food prep tasks. And just when you think you’ve discovered them all, you get surprised by another. It chops, it minces, it grinds, it mixes, it kneads, and it doesn’t stop there. But, choosing the best food processor for your needs isn’t about having every bell and whistle. It’s about having the right one based on your very unique skill set, storage preferences and culinary aspirations. When you’re thinking about which food processor to buy, here are some helpful considerations.

What is a Food Processor?

A food processor offers capacities of six cups and more for your fruits, veggies and other favorite ingredients. They have a feed tube, are able to handle large capacities and offer versatility with multiple blades for chopping, slicing, dicing, shredding and more.

Whether you are whipping up fillings for taco Tuesday or crafting hors d'oeuvres for your next dinner party, a food processor from KitchenAid brand makes prep easy and can take your meal to the next level.

What Do Food Processors Do?

A food processor gives you the ability to chop, shred, slice and dice your favorite ingredients. It helps streamline prep tasks, like shredding cheese for a salad or making homemade purées for your little one.

When slicing and shredding, your ingredients are pushed through the feed tube at the top into the discs just below. With a variety of feed tube sizes and bowl capacities, food processors are able to handle large ingredients, like whole sweet potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers for less prep work before processing.

Comparing KitchenAid® Food Processor Models

How to Choose a Food Processor

There are a variety of different food processors, and they can come in different sizes, styles and functionalities. Consider all of the recipes you plan on making and the prep work that follows. The best food processor for you should be determined by the capacity and functions you need to not only accomplish those recipes, but to make them easier every time you recreate them.

A black KitchenAid® food processor next to a pizza on the counter.

Food Processors by Task

Choosing the right food processor by task is a great way to get started. Do you need a food processor for simple tasks, or perhaps something more robust, like one that can slice, shred, chop and purée? A simpler food processor is called a food chopper and will usually only include a multi-purpose blade, while a full-sized version will not only include that blade, but also come with additional discs and accessories for more advanced recipes.

Food Processors for Simple Tasks

Simple food processors, better known as food choppers, are ideal for quick and easy tasks. Without a feed tube, they may not be a true food processor, but can still accomplish a great deal. Whipping up a quick pesto sauce? Blending an herb-packed chimichurri for a grilled flank steak? Making some homemade nut butter, baby food, a smoothie, hummus or a vegan-friendly side dish? A single-task food processor chops, mixes, purées and handles more recipes than you ever imagined. They deliver functionality without frills—and just enough capacity to get the job done right. For simple performance and convenience, the KitchenAid® 5 Cup Food Chopper is a good choice. And with its included whisk attachment, you get the added capabilities of whipping, whisking and stirring.

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A food chopper with sliced cucumbers inside.

Food Processors for Advanced Tasks

Full-sized food processors come with an array of accessories, like slicing and shredding discs, dough blades and a multi-sized food tube to process a variety of ingredients, making them perfect for those robust recipes. By adding accessories, you can really multiply your food processor uses. Making potato pancakes? Add a disc and avoid grating potatoes for what feels like an eternity. Slicing zucchini for baked parmesan zucchini chips, just adjust the slicing thickness—offered with the KitchenAid® 13 Cup Food Processor. With more capacity and dynamic accessories, your culinary ideas will be churning in no time. You can even make quick work of dicing with the KitchenAid® 13 Cup Food Processor with Dicing Kit.

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A red KitchenAid® food processor with sliced vegetables.

What Size Food Processor Should I Buy?

Food processors come in a variety of different sizes and capacities. The best size for you depends on what you plan to do with it. Smaller food processors with capacities around three to five cups are best for quick tasks like mixing, puréeing and chopping. Larger food processors usually run from six to 14 cups, and could possibly be even larger. These robust models typically include more blades, discs and other accessories to help you tackle with more complex tasks like shredding, slicing, dicing or kneading dough.

Types of Food Processors

Food processors come in a variety of sizes and capacities to help you experiment with ingredients and take everyday meals to new levels. KitchenAid brand offers 7-cup, 9-cup and 13-cup food processors for versatility when slicing, shredding or handling anything your recipe calls for. Discover food processors designed to push the bounds of culinary expression below:

A teal KitchenAid® food chopper next to a platter of crudités

Small Food Processors

It’s important to remember that these smaller appliances, at around three to five cups, are not technically food processors, but rather food choppers. This is because they lack the feed tubes that allow food processors to slice, shred and more. But don’t be fooled, these food choppers can still accomplish a great deal.

Food choppers are great for quick, simple tasks like chopping fresh herbs, puréeing fresh dips or mixing ground meats.

The KitchenAid® 3.5 Cup Food Chopper is compact and lightweight with a dishwasher-safe bowl and accessories—ideal for everyday use.

  • Chop, puree and mix

  • Includes drizzle basin and multi-purpose blade

  • Features two speeds and Pulse operation

The KitchenAid® 5 Cup Food Chopper comes with a larger capacity and a whisk accessory to whisk, whip and stir a variety of ingredients. It also comes in a cordless version for even more freedom in the kitchen.

  • Chop, puree, mix and whip

  • Includes drizzle basin, multi-purpose blade and whisk accessory

  • Features two speeds and Pulse operation

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A red KitchenAid® food processor work bowl filled with shredded cabbage.

Large Food Processors

A large food processor, like those with six to 14 cup capacities, can do everything a smaller one can, like the standard chopping, mixing, pureeing. But, they can also do a great deal more. Add slicing, shredding and even kneading or dicing to the mix and you have yourself one of the most versatile kitchen appliances in your artillery.

Food processors offer larger capacities to accommodate bulk food prep, batch cooking or feeding a larger family. And with their larger feed tubes, they can easily process a variety of ingredients in various shapes and sizes. But if you find yourself looking for something with more of a medium capacity, the KitchenAid® 7 Cup Food Processor is a great option to consider, too.

The KitchenAid® 9 Cup Food Processor features a one-click, twist-free, bowl assembly and latched lid that’s easy to use and clean.

  • Chop, puree, mix, slice, shred and knead

  • Includes 2-in-1 feed tube, dough blade and slicing discs

  • Features High, Low and Pulse speeds

The KitchenAid® 13 Cup Food Processor has the extra capacity for every kind of ingredient—for every kind of meal.

  • Chop, puree, mix, slice, shred and knead

  • Includes 3-in-1 Wide Mouth Feed tube, ExactSlice System and UltraTight Seal

  • Features High, Low and Pulse speeds

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Food Processors to Use at Home

Depending on the size you need, any food processor can be the best one for home use. Consider the kinds of recipes and quantities you like to make. Food choppers are best for quick, simple tasks or small portions. Large food processors can handle more complex recipes and can offer added functionalities like shredding, slicing, kneading and dicing. When you determine the right size for you, a whole new world of possibilities will be waiting.

Choosing a Food Processor for Different Cooking Needs

A food processor is a kitchen essential meant to reduce time spent on prep work and for making complex recipes easier to create. However, the prep work needed for the recipes you plan to make can help determine the best food processor for you.

KitchenAid® 9 Cup Food Processor in White.

1. Food Processors for Kneading Dough

Not all food processors include a dough blade. If making fresh pie crusts, scones and different types of dough is your primary goal, a food processor with a dough blade can be a game-changer. The KitchenAid® 9 Cup Food Processor could be a great option for cutting in butter. If you need a larger capacity, the KitchenAid® 13 Cup Food Processor can not only knead your dough, but it can also provide enough space to let it rise directly in the work bowl.

2. Food Processors to Use for Pureeing

Puréeing is a task you can accomplish with any food processor or food chopper. The best food processor for you may just depend on the quantity you want to make. Choose a smaller model for puréeing batches of dips, sauces and salsa. Or, choose a larger one for puréeing soups, desserts or fillings. It truly just depends on how much you plan to make.

3. Food Processors to Use for Mixing

All food processors and food choppers can make quick work of mixing. This is another instance where the quantity you plan to make will determine which is the best food processor for you. For small, quick batches, choose a model with three to five cup capacities. For large servings, a food processor with a seven to 13 cup capacity would work best. Another thing to consider may also be the mixing consistency you require. Choosing a food processor with a dough blade or whisk accessory could be a great way to prevent accidental pureeing or over-mixing.

4. Food Processors to Use for Chopping

Chopping is another capability that all food processors and food choppers have. Choosing the best food processor for chopping will not only depend on the recipe you plan to make, but also the size of your ingredients. For recipes like salsas or fresh salads, a small food chopper can make quick work of chopping bell peppers, onions and other fresh veggies. For larger ingredients, like whole cucumbers, carrots and celery, a food processor with a wide feed tube can help chop them down.

KitchenAid® 11 Cup Food Processor in Red.

5. Food Processors to Use for Slicing

Slicing is a function that is unique to food processors ranging from six to 13 cups. These food processors typically include a single-sided slicing disc or a reversible slicing disc. The KitchenAid® 7 Cup Food Processor even features an ExactSlice System that allows you to accomplish a range of thicknesses. When selecting one, it’s important to pay close attention to the accessories it comes with.

KitchenAid® 9 Cup Food Processor in Contour Silver.

6. Food Processors to Use for Shredding

Shredding is another unique function specific to larger food processors, as they are likely to include a shredding disc in their accessories. A food processor with a shredding disc can make easy work of your shredding or grating needs. The KitchenAid® 9 Cup Food Processor includes a reversible shredding disc ideal for shredding cabbage for coleslaw or grating cheese for pizza.

KitchenAid® 13 Cup Food Processor in Black Matte.

7. Food Processors to Use for Dicing

Dicing can be considered an entirely unique feature on its own. When searching for the best food processor for dicing, you’ll need to look for one with those capabilities, like the KitchenAid® 13 Cup Food Processor with Dicing Kit. This model features a dicing kit that can help you create consistent, uniform cubes of cheese, fruit or whatever you may need for your next recipe.

KitchenAid® 5 Cup Food Chopper in Black Matte.

8. Food Processors to Use for Whisking

While it may seem like the larger food processors may have all the unique capabilities, a smaller food processor, or rather food chopper, can lay claim to its own specific function: whipping. The KitchenAid® 5 Cup Food Chopper is one of the few choppers that features a whisk accessory, making it one of the best options for recipes that require whisking, whipping or stirring, like when making homemade whipped cream.

A person sprinkling shredded vegetables onto a pizza.

Get Help Buying a Food Processor that’s Right for You

Whether you need to shred potatoes for latkes or puree your favorite fruits and veggies, KitchenAid offers a wide selection of food processors to help you prepare ingredients for any recipe. Discover the right model that unlocks your creativity and matches the way you like to create.

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