What is a food processor used for?
Using a food processor opens a whole world of possibilities from convenient food prep, to creating complete dishes. There is a huge range of things to make with a food processor. Chopping veggies or pureeing dips is just the beginning. Try some of these ideas to use your food processor—and your creativity—to its fullest potential.
Make sure you know how to use a food processor first, then come back here to discover all the ways you can use it.
Use your food processor to:
What You Can Do With a Food Processor
A food processor allows you to make many store-bought staples or create new recipes at home using fresh, whole ingredients without additives and preservatives. Foods that are freshly prepared taste better and maintain more of their nutrients. With your food processor, you can whip them up in just a few minutes and then easily clean-up in the dishwasher.
Here are some ideas for things you can do with your food processor in a matter of minutes. Experiment with these techniques and discover how your food processor makes every task quicker and easier.
USE YOUR FOOD PROCESSOR TO CHOP
Food processors often come equipped with an S blade that features two angled blades facing in opposite directions, forming an S-shape. This blade is multipurpose and can perform a variety of tasks, including chopping. Simply insert the S-blade into the bowl, add ingredients, replace the lid and set your food processor to the Low or Pulse function to set chopping into motion.
1. VEGGIES FOR SOUPS, SALADS OR SAUCES:
The base for most soups is a celery, carrot, onion combo called mirepoix. Chop the ingredients together in a few seconds to create a canvas for an endless variety of soups or stews, or another way to prepare this classic minestrone soup. Quickly chop and mince salad and toppings and shred cabbage for chopped Chinese chicken salad and other customized creations. A food processor can also be used to chop ingredients to make sides like hummus, baba ganoush or homemade tabouli.
2. ONIONS AND GARLIC:
Chop onions for fresh mango salsa or mince onions and garlic for roux, sauces, and more without the tears and in a fraction of the time.
Chop your own nuts for cookies, brownies, chocolate truffles, and salad toppings with a few quick pulses of the blade. Freshly chopped nuts have more moisture and flavor than pre-chopped and pre-packaged versions.
GRIND OR MINCE IN YOUR FOOD PROCESSOR
Technically, food processors don’t grind, they mince since they use a sharp blade, but the end result is a finely chopped texture very similar to grinding – without the need for a grinder.
4. BURGERS, MEATBALLS AND OTHER MEATS:
Control the cuts of meat you use and avoid cross-contamination from a butcher facility. How about a veal, pork, beef blend for meatloaf or meatballs, or grinding salmon to make salmon burgers? With a few pulses of your food processor’s multi-purpose blade, you can have custom-minced meat ready to cook. Make a smaller batch of these green goddess meatballs using your food processor.
5. CAULIFLOWER RICE:
Control your gluten and carbs by making cauliflower rice quickly in your food processor. Cut the head of cauliflower into florets and chop to the texture you prefer. Use the entire head, too, to control waste and maximize value.
You’ll never need to buy breadcrumbs again when you can quickly make fresh crumbs in your food processor. You can create your preferred texture from coarse to superfine, depending on how many pulses you use. Try adding herbs and spices for a custom blend that is yours alone. Got a baguette you didn’t finish in time? Old, hard bread gets a new life as tasty bread crumbs. Make your own breadcrumbs to top off this warm, cheesy crab dip.
7. HOMEMADE FLOURS:
Grind your own oats or nuts into fine flour for gluten-free baking. Learn how to grind almonds in a food processor to make almond flour.
8. HEALTHY ENERGY BALLS:
Food processors make delicious flour-free energy snacks in minutes. Add dates and your nuts of choice, and drizzle honey in through the food tube until you have a dough-like consistency. Form into balls and roll in coconut flakes if you like—try vanilla coconut energy bites. One of these power-packed balls will sate your hunger and add healthy fats and fiber to your diet.
PUREE WITH YOUR FOOD PROCESSOR
The multipurpose S-blade accompanying your food processor is a versatile tool that can puree foods in a flash. Depending on your desired consistency, pureeing foods can be as simple as placing the S-blade inside your food processor’s work bowl, adding ingredients, securing the lid and running the food processor on high for 30 seconds to one minute.
9. BABY FOOD:
Make fresh and wholesome roasted vegetable baby food for your infant and toddler – or anyone who needs nutrition without chewing. Cook cubed vegetables or fruits, then add to your work bowl for a quick puree. Experiment with different blends and textures to expand your baby’s palate. Read our guide on how to make baby food at home.
10. NUT BUTTERS:
If you have a powerful food processor that can run for a few minutes on high speed, delicious nut butters are at your fingertips. Choose the nuts or seeds of your choice, add a small amount of oil or water, and watch the creamy spread appear in your work bowl. Enjoy homemade peanut butter or other nut butters on bread, waffles, in salad dressings and cooking or as a dip for sliced raw fruits and veggies.
11. SMOOTH SALSA:
Add tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro, salt and pepper, along with anything else you dream up to the work bowl for a smooth fresh salsa spiced just the way you like in less than a minute. Smooth salsa verde adds an instant flavor boost to any dish.
Homemade mayonnaise brings this pantry staple to a whole new level. The food processor will allow you to slowly add oil to your mixture and get a beautifully fluffy and creamy condiment you’ll want to eat with a spoon. Make your own hollandaise and aioli from your favorite ingredients like lemon tarragon aioli to drizzle over lobster corn dogs, and more.
USE A FOOD PROCESSOR TO MIX OR BLEND
Your food processor can tackle the tough and rigorous work of shredding, kneading, dicing and grinding, but it can also blend a combination of ingredients into homogeneous mixtures in a similar fashion as a blender. Food processors often depend on a multipurpose blade set to a high speed to get the job done. Though food processors are versatile, blenders are better equipped for tasks like crushing ice or other hard ingredients.
This high protein dip and spread is a mainstay at parties and an excellent vegan treat. Whip up your own hummus in minutes from canned or soaked chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and spices. Make traditional hummus or experiment with beans, root vegetables and more to make beet, avocado, or edamame hummus.
Add the pine nuts, pistachios, or walnuts, along with fresh basil, olive oil, black pepper, and parmesan and in a few seconds you’ll have delicious and fresh pesto sauce for dipping, spreading, or putting over pasta. Explore different ingredients to make a custom sauce with unique flavors and textures such as this sage pesto recipe.
15. SALAD DRESSINGS:
Make a delightful and fresh Caesar dressing, an avocado-lime-cilantro vinaigrette, and many more. The food processor blends the ingredients and allows you to add oil slowly through the drizzle basin or food tube to get the perfect creamy emulsification.
SHRED OR GRATE WITH A FOOD PROCESSOR
Food processors typically come with an attachment known as a shredder or grating disc that rests on top of the bowl. Funneling foods like cheese or veggies through the food processor’s feed tube allows it to come in contact with the shredder disc on its way to the bottom of the bowl, making quick work of shredding a wide array of ingredients.
16. SOFT CHEESES:
Shred mozzarella for pizza or lasagna, or fresh cheddar and Monterey jack for taco night. Keep the cheese refrigerated until ready to shred.
17. HARD CHEESES:
Freshly grate parmesan, asiago, or romano cheese for your Italian food tour night or to add to soups, garlic bread, or dips.
Your shredding disc can shred cabbage quickly for coleslaw, homemade sauerkraut, and more. Try refreshing fish tacos with watermelon slaw for a taste of summer. Choose a coarse or thin shred to fine-tune your recipes. You can also use your food processor to shred brussel sprouts quickly and easily.
Shred beautiful strands of potatoes to make crispy and creamy potato latkes, hash browns, or your own specialized pierogi filling. Food processors can also help you make delicious mashed potatoes.
Finely shredded carrots are just a few minutes away for your carrot-raisin salad or your chai-spiced carrot cake batter.
21. BROCCOLI STALKS:
Don’t throw away the stalks of your broccoli! Instead, shred them in your food processor for a crunchy addition to salads or a healthy broccoli slaw.
SLICE WITH A FOOD PROCESSOR
Each blade included with your food processor performs unique tasks, acting as a small sous chef for your favorite creations. Food processors often come with one or more slicing discs to evenly create thin, medium or thick slices of your favorite meats, fruits and vegetables.
22. POTATOES, YAMS AND BEETS:
Slice potatoes and other root veggies and fry or bake for amazing fresh chips or use sliced white or yellow potatoes for a delicious au gratin. The KitchenAid® 9 Cup Food Processor comes with a reversible slicing/shredding disc so you can quickly transition from shredding to slicing by flipping the slicing side of the disc upward.
23. PEPPERONI OR SALAMI:
Level up your charcuterie board by slicing meats just before serving. Slice just the amount of pepperoni you need for your pizza and marvel at the flavor.
Making pickles and need to slice a bushel of cucumbers? Take care of the job in just a few minutes with the slicing disc. Sliced cucumbers are also great in salads, sandwiches and veggie trays, or in this vegan Hawaiian poke bowl. You’ll love their uniform shape and thickness for a clean, crisp look and taste.
25. BRUSSEL SPROUTS:
These rounded veggies can be tough to hold, slice or shave. Wrangle the sprouts into your food processor food tube and the slicing blade will make beautiful shaved sprouts to sauté or use in salads in the amount of time you would have spent chasing down a runaway sprout. Try a new twist on a classic with brussel sprout caesar salad.
26. SLICED VEGGIES AND FRUITS:
Quickly slice apples for an impressive tart tartin, or comforting loaded sliced potatoes. Adjust the thickness of your slices using the ExactSlice™ system to achieve a range of results from thick to thin.
KNEAD DOUGH IN YOUR FOOD PROCESSOR
Thanks to rapidly moving blades, kneading dough in a food processor can help build up gluten for an airy loaf. Many food processors come with a dough blade specially designed for the task. This specialty blade is made of plastic so it doesn’t slice through dough the way a metal multipurpose blade would. However, you can still knead dough in a food processor using a metal blade.
27. CUT IN BUTTER:
If you’ve shied away from making fresh pie crusts, biscuits, or scones because of the labor of cutting in butter, your food processor makes this step easy. “Cutting in” takes literal seconds to get a lovely texture for delicious, flaky dough. You can also make just enough phyllo dough for these mini pistachio, walnut, and honey baklava using butter or the traditional olive oil for layers and layers of crunch that melt in your mouth.
28. PASTA DOUGH:
Once you’ve had the taste and texture of freshly made pasta, it’s hard to go back to store-bought. Luckily, pasta dough takes only a few ingredients, and your food processor can combine and knead them quickly.
29. PIZZA DOUGH:
Homemade pizza and flatbread is fun to make, and fresh dough makes all the difference. Your food processor’s plastic dough blade will knead the dough in a fraction of the time it would take to do by hand.
30. BREAD DOUGH:
Use the plastic dough blade and quick pulses to knead bread dough in 1-3 minutes. You can even let it rise in the food processor work bowl. Try this flavorful empanada recipe to make quick work of a crispy yet chewy dough.
WHAT TO MAKE WITH A FOOD PROCESSOR
Food processors are useful for far more than basic food prep and are the perfect tool to help you discover new flavors and textures. From delicious hoisin sauce to Greek cucumber sauce, to gazpacho, and a creamy dairy-free “ice cream” from bananas, you’ll be delighted by the possibilities. For more recipes that use your food processor, check out our KitchenAid recipes on Yummly.
Food processors come in a variety of sizes and capabilities. If you’re short on space or mainly planning to chop a small amount, a mini-sized food processor such as the KitchenAid® 3.5 Cup Food Chopper will help you make quick work of small tasks. Prep veggies, emulsify salad dressing, or make a one-egg mayo with its S-blade.
Full-size food processors, such as the KitchenAid® 7 Cup Food Processor, come with more accessories like a reversible slicing and shredding disc, multi-purpose blade and 2-in-1 feed tube for processing ingredients in a range of shapes and sizes. For even more freedom in the kitchen, the KitchenAid® Cordless 5 Cup Food Chopper delivers all the power you expect, without the cord.
These features expand the possibilities of what you can do with a food processor. You may be surprised by the versatility this powerhouse appliance offers. Compare food processor vs. food chopper features and then browse the full line of KitchenAid® food processors and choppers to find the right one for you.
CHOOSE THE BEST FOOD PROCESSOR FOR YOUR NEEDS
If you’re ready to enjoy the convenience of a food processor, KitchenAid brand has a variety of food processor sizes and features to choose from. Plus, you can choose a color for your food processor to match your kitchen’s décor or your other KitchenAid® appliances, such as a blender or stand mixer. From empire red to contour silver and aqua sky to the more traditional black or white you’ll find a versatile appliance you’ll be happy to display in your kitchen.
A food processor helps you explore new recipes and learn new skills, putting dishes that were out of reach at your fingertips. What will you make today—and tomorrow—with your KitchenAid® Food Processor?
Learn more about how to use a food processor with our complete guide to the settings, functions, and operating instructions.
learn more with a pinch of help
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