There’s no doubt that the best food processors save time in the kitchen and are especially helpful if your knife skills are, like mine, sorely lacking. The most basic models will chop, grate and slice, often in varying thicknesses, as well as mix. Mid-range and high-end food processors can do that and more – whip, mince, grind, crush and knead, and usually come with extras such as citrus juicers, mini processing bowls and even blenders.
But are they worth the money, the cupboard space, the hassle of cleaning, and will you actually get a decent amount of use out of one? Let us help you decide.
Who would benefit from owning a food processor
The sort of person who would benefit from owning a food processor is someone who:
- Cooks from scratch frequently
- Has a lot of mouths to feed.
- Is partial to batch cooking.
- Doesn’t have a lot of time to cook.
- Hates food prep (no judgement here, I definitely hate food prep).
If you tick any of these boxes, a food processor is worth adding to your repertoire.
How much do food processors cost
They needn’t cost the earth...
- Basic models can be picked up from just £30.
- A mid-range model - like the Bosch MultiTalent 3 - will set you back anything from £80 to £250.
- For a top-of-the-range food processor - like the KitchenAid Artisan - expect to pay £350-500.
Factors to consider before buying a food processor
What type of cook are you?
Food processors aren’t for everyone. Before deciding whether to buy one, it’s important to determine what type of cook you are. Be honest - we’d all love to be baking fresh bread every day (lockdown aside, those were unprecedented times…), cooking every single meal from scratch and making our own puff pastry (okay, maybe not the last one), but that’s not always realistic.
If you’re at the other end of the cooking scale – a frequent buyer of ready-chopped veg, cook-from-frozen food and ready meals and you only cook for one or two people - you may not get full use out of a food processor.
How much kitchen space do you have?
So far, we’ve concentrated on full-sized processors, but a mini food processor is a good alternative. If you’re a keen cook who ticks some of the boxes we mentioned earlier, but you have a small kitchen with limited worktop and cabinet space, a mini food processor is likely the way to go. They can do many of the tasks that a full-size processor can do – chopping, grinding, whipping up sauces, dips and so on – just on a smaller scale. If space is at a premium, go for a mini food processor.
One of the biggest drawbacks of food processors is their size. They’re bulky, so they take up a fair amount of worktop or cupboard space, and come with several attachments that don’t always fit neatly inside the bowl. But hey, no kitchen gadget is totally perfect, and if space is not an issue in your kitchen, then the size of a food processor will not be a problem.
Cleaning is another tricky issue, but most food processors these days have dishwasher-safe parts. So, as a minimum, make sure the one you choose is dishwasher compatible – you’ll thank us for it. Generally, the only parts that require cleaning by hand are the bowl and lid which, let’s face it, isn’t exactly difficult to do.
There are so many more pros, than cons, to food processors: their ability to save bundles of time, to offer consistent results (especially when it comes to slicing and chopping), to prep large quantities of food in one go and to perform several kitchen tasks, with just one gadget.
But, the proof of the pudding is in the eating – or, the using, in the case of a food processor – and the fact that my mum has owned her current one for 20+ years (which replaced the one she had for 20 years prior to that), and wouldn’t be without it, is testament to its usefulness and versatility. And, having recently bought one myself, neither would I.
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