Using a food processor quickly expands your possibilities in the kitchen. Chop, mix, puree, slice, and more with one versatile appliance, leaving you more time to be the master—and taste-tester—of your culinary creations. Knowing how to use a food processor will open up a world of new possibilities that go far beyond basic prepping.

It’s a snap to learn how to put together your food processor properly. Newer KitchenAid® models feature an easy work bowl installation—just line up the parts and set into place. These models also have hinged work bowl lids that flip over and lock to create a seal. No more twisting the bowl or lid. Check your manual for specific instructions and information on your model, but here is the basic set up for your food processor.

1. Set Up the Base

This is the heaviest part of the food processor that contains the motor. Make sure you set up your food processor on a flat, sturdy surface.

2. Attach the Work Bowl

This is the clear plastic container that attaches to your food processor base. They come in various sizes, depending on the capacity of your food processor. KitchenAid makes models varying from 3.5 or 5-Cup Food Choppers, 7-Cup and 9-Cup, full-size food processors, and our Pro Line® larger capacity models.

7 and 9 Cup Food Processors from KitchenAid feature work bowls and latched-lids that click into place for easy, twist-free assembly. Your food processor will not operate if the work bowl is not attached correctly and fully locked in place. Watch this video for quick instructions on how to put together food processors.

If you have an older KitchenAid model, you’ll need to line up your bowl at about 90 degrees from the insertion point, then twist it until it drops onto the base and locks into place.

If you’re ready to upgrade to innovative new designs for easier setup, there are many models of KitchenAid food processors for you to choose from.

3. Choose a Blade

Slicer or Shredder Disc – 7 cup and larger food processors come with a reversible slicer and shredder/grater disc or multiple discs for thicker or thinner slices. To install these on your machine, first slide the drive adaptor over the center drive pin, pushing it down as far as it will go. Pick up the disc, either by holding the center or using the finger grip holes on the blade, if available. Set the disc on top of the drive shaft adaptor using the hole in the center of the disc. It will not go down into the work bowl, but instead will rest on the drive adaptor at the top of the bowl.

Multi-purpose or “S” blade – This classic food processor blade fits over the drive pin in the center of the work bowl and base. It has two very sharp angled blades opposite each other on the shaft. In some models such as the 3.5 or 5 cup food choppers, you press downward to lock the blade in place, hearing an audible click. On larger KitchenAid models, attach the drive adapter over the pin, then slide the multi-purpose blade over the adapter, pushing down as far as it will go.

Dough Blade – Some food processors come with a special dough blade to use for kneading dough or similar tasks. The edges of this blade are not sharp in order to assist with a kneading action, rather than chopping or slicing. This blade attaches in the same way as the multi-purpose blade.

4. Attach Work Bowl Cover

This clear plastic lid secures to your work bowl, after you have attached your choice of blades. Again, the lid must fit securely to the work bowl in order for the food processor to operate. On all newer KitchenAid® Food Processor models, the lid is hinged to the work bowl. Simply flip it to cover the bowl then secure it with the locking tab to make a seal. On older models, you set the lid down on the bowl and twist until it lines up with the bowl and locks in place.

5. Insert Food Pusher, if applicable

Larger food processor models have a feed tube for adding ingredients during processing or pushing an ingredient slowly toward the blades. Insert the food pusher all the way into the feeding tube until it is flush. On some models, the food pusher locks into place with an audible click. In some cases, the food processor will not operate unless the food pusher is in place, even if you’re not planning to use it.

Now that your food processor is properly assembled, you’re ready to make culinary magic by chopping, pureeing, shredding, slicing, mixing, or kneading your ingredients. Remember, if you’re adding uncooked meat or firm vegetables, such as carrots, celery, uncooked potatoes or winter squash, cutting them into 1-2 inch pieces before adding to your food processor can help give you the best results.

Refer to your exact model to learn what options you have for operating your food processor. KitchenAid 3.5 cup and 5 cup food choppers have a lever to slide from chop to puree as well as a pulse function. Larger models such as the 7-cup and 9-cup have three buttons for high speed, low speed, and pulse.

The pulse button allows you to press down briefly and operate the food processor in quick bursts. This allows you to check the contents after each burst so you don’t over-process and turn your coarse chop into a paste.

A low-speed or high-speed button will cause continuous operation until it is pressed to stop.

Chop and Mince

This task is the mainstay of food processors. In fact, some smaller food choppers only include the multi-purpose blade.

  1. Remove work bowl lid.
  2. Follow instructions to add your multi-purpose blade in the center of your work bowl.
  3. Add your ingredients evenly to the bowl. Fill the bowl no more than 1/2 full.
  4. Attach the work bowl lid and be sure it is locked. Insert the food pusher fully, if applicable.
  5. Begin with 2-3 quick pulses to start chopping.
  6. Use the low speed, if you have one, for vegetables, and the high speed for nuts or firmer ingredients. Use pulses to chop to the desired consistency. Be certain not to over-process, or you’ll get puree.
  7. When finished, turn the food processor off, unplug, remove lid, and remove the blade. Unlock and remove the work bowl and use a spatula to scoop out the chopped food.

Puree

To make pureed vegetables or fruits, follow the same procedure as chopping, except process longer.

  1. Remove work bowl lid.
  2. Follow instructions to add your multi-purpose blade in the center of your work bowl.
  3. Add your ingredients evenly to the bowl. Fill the bowl no more than 2/3 full.
  4. Attach the work bowl lid and be sure it is locked. Insert the food pusher fully, if applicable.
  5. Instead of pulsing, like you did for chopping, you’ll let the food processor run continuously to puree. Use the low speed, if you have one, for vegetables, and the high speed for nuts or firmer ingredients. Process to the desired size and consistency.
  6. If you have a large amount of fruit/veggies to puree, start with a small amount and add more slowly through the food tube. Always use the food pusher to move the food into the bowl.
  7. When finished, turn your food processor off, unplug, remove lid, and remove the blade. Unlock and remove the work bowl and use a spatula to scoop out pureed food.

Shred or Grate

To shred cheese or other items, you’ll use the reversible slicing/shredding disc. Hint: foods shred best when they are cold. Keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to shred.

  1. Remove work bowl lid. Remove the multi-purpose blade from the bowl, if it is installed.
  2. Push the drive adaptor over the center pin.
  3. Select which side of the reversible slicing/shredding disc to use. The side you want should face up.
  4. Attach the disc to the top of the drive adaptor and lock into place as needed. The blade should be level with the top of the work bowl.
  5. Attach the work bowl lid and be sure it is locked.
  6. Insert food into the food tube, cut into 1-2 inch pieces.
  7. Turn the machine on to the desired speed.
  8. Using firm and even pressure, push the food in the food tube toward the rotating blade. The shredded food will drop into the work bowl after passing through the blades. Always use the food pusher to move the food into the blade.
  9. When finished, turn food processor off, unplug, remove lid, remove disc, and scoop out the processed food.

Slice

The slicing disc can be used to slice meats such as salami or pepperoni, cheeses, hard fruits, or vegetables.

  1. Remove work bowl lid. Remove the multi-purpose blade from the bowl, if it is installed.
  2. Push the drive adaptor over the center pin.
  3. Attach the slicer disc to the top of the drive adaptor and lock into place as needed. The sharp blade edge of the opening should be facing up. The disc should be level with the top of the work bowl.
  4. Attach the work bowl lid and be sure it is locked.
  5. Align your food to be sliced in the food tube. If your food processor has multiple sizes of food tubes and pushers, use the size that is closest to the food you are slicing to hold it in place as it advances to the blade.
  6. Turn the machine on to the desired speed.
  7. Using firm and even pressure, push the food in the food tube toward the rotating blade. The slices will drop into the work bowl after passing through the blade. Insert the food pusher fully, if applicable. Always use the food pusher to move the food into the blade.
  8. When finished, turn food processor off, unplug, remove lid, remove disc, and scoop out your processed food.

Knead

Some food processors come with a plastic dough blade, which allows you to knead yeast dough in your machine. Technically, you can knead dough in your food processor using the metal multi-purpose blade but you will need to monitor the dough’s progress closely. Food processors and the metal blade introduce heat into your dough, which can kill the yeast and cause your bread not to rise. The dough blade, if you have it, is your best bet. If not, shorten your machine knead time by about one-third.

The dough blade installs in the exact same manner as the multi-purpose blade. In general, to knead with your food processor, follow these steps:

  1. Add dry ingredients to the bowl and pulse 3-4 times to mix.
  2. In a separate cup, proof your yeast.
  3. Add wet ingredients through the food processor food tube to the dry ingredients, already in the bowl.
  4. Pulse for about three seconds, then add the remainder of the water through the food tube.
  5. Turn food processor on high speed, and process until a dough ball forms, around 20 seconds.
  6. Turn food processor off, unplug, and remove lid. Lightly dust the ball with flour. Pick up the dough ball and turn over so that what was on the bottom (it is usually warmer) becomes what is on top.
  7. Re-attach your lid, plug in, and pulse for another 20-30 seconds.
  8. Unplug machine, remove lid and blade, and remove the dough ball from the bowl.
  9. Hand-knead for about 30 seconds.
  10. Lightly coat the dough ball with olive oil, divide in two, and return to your work bowl (or another bowl of your choice) to let the dough rise for about 45 minutes.

Mix

Your food processor is also helpful for cutting butter into flour or creaming butter with sugar. You can also use it to fold chocolate chips into your cannoli cream or mix up some delicious sauces and dressings. You can slowly add liquids to your work bowl while the food processor is running if your appliance features a drizzle basin, or through the food tube on larger machines. This feature is great for making homemade mayonnaise or adding your favorite flavor-boosting ingredients to create your own signature Aioli.

The instructions for mixing are similar to those for chopping – you just do it for less time. Use quick pulses and many checks to be sure you’re not overdoing it. For cutting in butter, many people prefer the dull-edged dough blade so they do not add heat.

It’s best to clean your food processor immediately after using it. Dried or caked-on foods on your blades or bowl are harder to remove.

Follow these instructions to clean and store your food processor:

  1. Unplug your food processor and remove the lid, blade, and bowl. On some models, you’ll need to rotate the bowl to unlock it from the base.
  2. Cleaning the base and cord:
    • Wipe base and cord with a warm, damp cloth. Thoroughly dry with a soft cloth. Do not use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads. Do not immerse base in water or other liquid.
  1. Cleaning the bowl, lid, and blades:
    • For most food processors, the lid, bowl, and blades are top rack dishwasher-safe. Check your machine’s manual to be sure. Avoid laying the bowl on its side in the dishwasher; upside down on the top rack is best. Use gentle or normal dishwashing cycles. Avoid high-temperature cycles.
    • If you wash the food processor parts by hand, use warm soapy water and a soft cloth or sponge. Do not use abrasive cleansers or scouring pads. These may scratch or cloud the work bowl and cover.
    • To quickly clean the interior and blades, you can simply fill the bowl ⅓ full, add a few drops of dish washing liquid, and run the food processor on high for 30 seconds.
  1. Thoroughly dry all parts after washing. Most KitchenAid food processors, such as the KitchenAid® 9 Cup Food Processor and the 7 Cup Food Processor plus, allow you to keep the blades, drive adaptor and discs inside the work bowl for compact storage.
  2. If you keep your food processor in a cabinet or on a shelf in your pantry, wrap the power cord around the cord storage on the bottom of the base (if present) or around the base itself.

So Many Food Processor Uses

Chopping mirepoix for your soup base. Chopping veggies for your famous ratatouille. Making healthy, flourless, date-nut desserts. Pesto, guacamole, pico de gallo, hummus – and more. There are so many things you can do with your food processor, including making buttery, flaky pie crusts or fluffy, chewy pizza dough.

To learn more about the many uses of your food processor, read these other articles. Enjoy the many possibilities your food processor and other versatile countertop appliances bring to your kitchen!

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