Food processors buying guide

Food processors buying guide

Introduction to Food Processors

A food processor is the ultimate multi-functional food preparation machine.

Your food processor will be one of the small kitchen appliances that you'll be using quite often. This means that no matter what size you get, your food processor should at least be able to perform the basic functions without any fuss, and should be sturdy enough to last through many years of use.

Why Buy a Food Processor

The main thing you'll appreciate about a food processor is that it makes food preparation easier and faster. It makes light work of the tedious grinding, chopping, slicing, shredding, even blending and pureeing tasks that would normally take quite a while when done manually.

Consequently, you'll save time and effort, which is why the food processor is easily one of the most popular kitchen appliances in regular households and professional settings alike. Lastly – and this is something undoubtedly many family cooks will appreciate — a food processor makes it easier and more convenient to make healthy, home cooked meals.

The best way to describe a food processor is that it's a multifunctional tool; it can undertake the functions of other small appliances in the kitchen, such as the following:

  • General mixing of ingredients
  • Chopping dry ingredients using the pulse action
  • Roughly pureeing fruits and vegetables for marinades, dips, sauces and some soups recipes
  • Grinding meat and nuts
  • Easily forming emulsions for sauces like mayonnaise or vinaigrette
  • Kneading dough quickly and efficiently with a dough hook
  • Chopping and rough pureeing for baby food
  • Shredding and slicing food items evenly for salad
  • Grating cheese
  • Grinding whole grains into flour
  • Turning granulated sugar into powdered sugar

Food Items Commonly Used with Food Processors

The excellent thing about food processors is that they are capable of cutting up practically every food item. Some of the most common kinds of food that you can use your food processor for are:

  • Slice, cube, chop all kinds of fruits and vegetables (zucchini, carrots, apples, cucumbers, etc.) into uniform slices for salads and other recipes
  • Chop or grind nuts
  • Turn bread into homemade bread crumbs
  • Peas or beans for hummus or other recipes
  • Grate cheese
  • Sauces and salsas (tomatoes, pesto, marinades, purees, curries, etc.)
  • Herbs and spices (onions, garlic, ginger, etc.)
  • Emulsions and dips (mayonnaise, hollandaise, etc.)
  • Pates, mousses and spreads
  • Process rustic soups
  • Make mince from cheaper cuts of meat
  • Grind regular sugar into caster sugar

Using a Food Processor for Kneading Dough

Many of our food processors will come with a dough blade that can be used to bind dough and pastries. Capacity will vary between models. Our largest models can process over 1 kg of dough, but please check the specifications of the machine you are interested in. Food processors make quick work of cake batters, pie, cookie, pasta, and bread dough. Use just a third of the processor for dough, to allow for better kneading.

Kitchen Warehouse carries several lines of high-quality food processors that you can choose from to suit all of your needs, all from the best and most-recommended brands in kitchen appliances.

What to Look For in a Food Processor

The Body

A good food processor is a powerful food processor, and as with most appliances, the general rule is the bigger the body, the better the machine. Food processors must be able to deliver enough torque to chop through heavy foods and spin fast enough to finely grind more delicate ones. Good food processors must also be able to operate for sustained periods of time without overheating. Wattage is a decent measure of a motor's quality, but by no means a guarantee. A more reliable factor to consider when choosing a food processor is the warrantee on the motor. A company willing to stand behind their product clearly believes in it.

Food processors with wide, heavy bases are ideal. The torque of the motor alone can cause lightweight food processors to twist and squirm, especially when processing heavy loads. A wide stance will make a food processor more stable, keeping it from crawling around on the counter. We also like bases with smooth and clean lines, as they are easier to clean.

Our Recommendation: A powerful motor for heavy-duty or continuous processing; all full-sized food processors we sell have motor powers of over 600 watts; and a heavy chassis (base) to keep the food processor from moving around while processing.

The Controls

Most, if not all food processors feature a limited number of functions (usually on, off, and pulse). You may occasionally find a machine with a special dough-making feature, but we don't think extras offer many advantages. The most important aspect of a machine's controls is how easy they are to clean. Food processors with lever toggles, like the classic commercial Cuisinart, collect food and grime quickly. Machines with touch pads and smooth inset buttons are preferable.

Our Recommendation: Parts that are easy to clean; if you want to save time, food processors with touch pads are recommended, such as those from Cuisinart, as they are easier to wipe down and you'll avoid having food stuck between the buttons.

The Bowl

The bowl of a food processor is almost always made of a polycarbonate plastic. Polycarbonate is exceptionally durable, easy to clean, and dishwasher safe. Unfortunately these bowls will scuff over time eventually making it difficult to see what is going on inside, but there is little to be done about this. Manufacturers always sell replacement bowls.

We believe the bowl of a food processor should be large enough to handle a wide variety of tasks. It is frustrating trying to puree a pot of soup in a succession of small batches. While professionals may prefer something larger, we believe a 2-litre bowl is ideal for most uses. Many manufacturers also include smaller bowls for light tasks, and we find these extremely useful.

Our Recommendation: A large enough capacity to accommodate your regular cooking needs; a two-litre bowl will handle just about every job in the home kitchen.

The Lid

It goes without saying that a good lid should fit securely. Fortunately, few food processors come with loose fitting lids. A more important feature to consider is the size of a lid's feeding tube. The feeding tube will determine the maximum sized piece of food that can be added to the processor, and lids with small feeding tubes will often require you to precut many foods by hand. The best lids, in our opinion, include feeding tubes with an additional, smaller feeding tube in the middle of the pusher. These are ideal when inserting narrow foods like single carrots for grating.

Some food processors include lids that effectively act like chutes, spitting sliced and grated food out the side. While these lids are ideal for processing foods in massive quantities, they are often messy and can be difficult to clean. We do not see them as necessary for home use.

Our Recommendation: A feed tube that is wide enough to allow for big pieces of food to be pushed through, to minimise the work you have to do.

The Blades

Food processors derive their true versatility from the variety of interchangeable blades they can support. The classic blade is ideal for mincing and chopping. The shorter bread blades can knead dough in seconds, rather than minutes. Grating and slicing discs are available in a number of sizes and can process food to a wide range of textures. Whisking blades are not as effective at whipping cream as stand mixers, but still perform acceptably. Most manufacturers include a variety of blades with their machines, and others can always be ordered. You will want a full set to utilize the full potential of your food processor.

Our Recommendation: A sharp blade for cutting even the toughest ingredients; most food processors here have multifunctional double blades, and some Breville models have quad blades for a more efficient performance.

The Right Size

The size of your food processor depends on how much cooking you do and how many people you cook for on a regular basis. All full-sized food processors have a capacity of at least one litre. Kitchen Warehouse also carries food processors that come with bowls of different sizes, such as those from Magimix, KitchenAid, Cuisinart and Breville, that have a minimum capacity of 1 litre to as much as 3 litres, so you can select the size bowl that best accommodates the processing you will undertake.

Here are some facts to give you a better idea of which size you'll want to purchase:

  • Capacity indicated in food processors is for dry ingredients

  • Liquid capacity is about half of that for dry ingredients because filling the bowl above the level of the processor's housing may cause leaking

  • Mini food processors with capacities of less than 5 cups (less than a litre) are useful for small tasks, such as slicing an onion or mincing a few cloves of garlic

  • 9-cup (around 2 litres) food processors with wide feed tubes are the most versatile, most user-friendly and most commonly bought models; these larger food processors are ideal investments for first-time buyers as they are easy to work with, can accommodate small to large batches of food and are sturdy enough to last for a long time

  • 6-8 cup models (around 1.3 to 2 litres) are an efficient choice for a family with less than four family members as these sizes allow enough room to process food for everyone, without taking up too much counter top and storage space

The Manufacturer's Warranty

Rest assured that food processors available here at Kitchen Warehouse are covered by a full manufacturer's warranty. We choose to sell only high quality food processors that feature long-term warranties. In the unlikely event that there is an issue with your purchase, we will do the utmost to ensure that your machine is repaired or replaced in an efficient manner. If your machine is out of warranty, there are accessories and blades available for both our Magimix and KitchenAid food processors on our website, and repairers for the Magimix brand.

We pride ourselves on providing quality customer service, to ensure that food preparation and cooking is as convenient and enjoyable for you as possible. Having a food processor at home is a convenient and, ultimately, a life-long investment!

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The RRP (Recommended Retail Price) of a product is the price at which the manufacturer or wholesaler recommends that the retailer sells the product and is not necessarily the price at which it has been offered for sale in the market.