Food Processors have been popular since the 1950s thanks to their ability to quickly and easily perform a range of kitchen tasks, from chopping and blending to mixing and whisking.
Three parts define a food processor: a base containing the controls and an electric motor with a vertical spindle; a bowl that fits on top of the base, usually with a chimney through which items to be processed are loaded, and blades that fit onto the spindle and rotate within the bowl to cut the bowl’s contents in different ways.
Some food processors come with an alternate bowl, or jug, to use for blending but there is already a long list of functions that can be achieved in many basic appliances, simply by switching blades or adding a specialist tool on to the motor shaft: slicing and chopping vegetables; mincing meat; shredding cheese; kneading dough; juicing; grinding nuts and spices; whipping eggs or cream, and more.
Controls on the motor are a useful feature to ensure a food processor operates at the right speed for each task: kneading requires a ‘slow’ setting while shredding and slicing can be accomplished on ‘fast’; a ‘pulse’ capability allows a cook to avoid ‘over-chopping’. Some machines have variable speeds; others one or more pre-set speeds. The motor’s power capacity, too, can be an indicator of performance with more powerful machines better able to cope with large volumes or tasks such as chopping ice or kneading.
A food processor is a very useful and versatile device that can save considerable time and labour, no modern kitchen should be without one.You should also consider investing in a decent machine that will last a long time. Because a food processor is a ‘kitchen-basic’ and because it has so many uses, it is better to spend a little more for a machine that will give good service over several years and we have reviewed several, below, that we believe will ‘fit the bill’.
Kenwood FPP225 Food Processor
The Kenwood FPP225 is supplied with three in-bowl cutters: a knife blade; an emulsifying disc and a reversible shredder/slicing disc. A separate 1.2L blender jug with a stainless steel blade is also included. The bowl has a 2.1L capacity, ample for most family-size food portions. Parts coming into contact with food are plastic but Kenwood offers certification that they are BPA-free. This machine is a ‘known’ brand, offered at a competitive price, and is understandably a best-seller. It comes in white or silver.
Andrew James Food Processor
The Andrew James Food Processor is a value-for-money pick with a large 1.8L blender and lots of blade and other in-bowl options: a chopper blade; a slicer blade; a shredder blade; a kneading blade; a blade for chips; a juicer and an emulsifying disc. The motor has two speed settings and ‘pulse’, controlled by a round dial on the front of the base. The bowl and jug are transparent plastic; the base is silver plastic, with non-slip feet.
Russell Hobbs Rosso Food Processor
The Russell Hobbs ‘Rosso’ is a versatile food processor, supplied with a variety of blades and attachments, including a separate 1.5 L blender jug. The processor bowl itself has a 1.5L capacity. The motor has two continuous speed-settings, plus ‘pulse’. The jug and bowl are plastic and the base/motor housing is coloured an attractive burgundy red. This is a solid, good-looking machine from a well-regarded manufacturer that will brighten up anyone’s kitchen.
Breville VFP056 Food Processor
The Breville Food Processor is designed with a matt black base and non-slip feet. It has a compact 1L bowl and a separate 1.2L blender-jug matched with a 500W motor that has two speed settings and ‘pulse’. A stainless steel chopping blade, and grating and shredding discs are included. The speed-dial is backed with a blue light that illuminates when the bowl or blender jug is correctly locked in place on the base and ready for use. This is a well-reviewed, durable, compact machine with a contemporary look.
Philips HR7761-01 Food Processor
The Philips HR7761-01 is a multi-functioned food processor from a leading international manufacturer of electrical appliances. Philips claims over 28 functions are available via cutters and discs that chop, slice, shred and granulate, and attachments that knead and emulsify. Also included are a 1.75L blender and a 250ml grinder for coffee, nuts and chocolate. The machine has a powerful 750W motor with two-speed settings, plus ‘pulse’ and the large 2.1L bowl should be more than large enough for domestic purposes. The attachments are dishwasher safe. This processor is the total package.
Bosch MCM4100 Food Processor
A powerful, versatile food processor with an 800W motor. The Bosch MCM4100 features a side drawer for accessories that include a dough tool, juice extractor and citrus press as well as a selection of chopping and slicing inserts. The processor bowl has a 1.25L capacity and a separate 1.2L jug is supplied for blending functions. Two speed settings are pre-programmed, with ‘pulse’. For stability, the motor-base sits on rubber suction feet on the kitchen counter. This is a versatile, well-designed product.
Cuisinart FP8U Food Processor
A more expensive, high-quality machine designed in a convenient size for home kitchens; its footprint is 9 ¾ x 10 ½ inches. The Cuisinart FP8U features a large 1.9L bowl and a powerful motor, with two speed settings and ‘pulse’. A smaller 0.7L bowl can be used inside the larger bowl for pureeing and blending and is ideal for small quantities such as baby food or dips. Additional accessories include large and small chopping blades and small and medium grating and slicing discs. The plastic lid and bowls are dishwasher-safe. Cuisinart is a highly-regarded brand and this appliance should give good service over many years.
Best food processors summary
|Price||Bowl capacity (L)||Blender jug (L)||Power (W)||Speeds|
|Kenwood FPP225||£40||2.1||1.2||750||Variable & pulse|
|Andrew James||£43||1.4||1.8||700||2 speed & pulse|
|Russell Hobbs Rosso||£70||1.5||1.5||600||2 speed & pulse|
|Breville VFP056||£80||1||1.2||500||2 speed & pulse|
|Philips HR7761-01||£80||2.1||1.75||750||2 speed & pulse|
|Bosch MCM4100||£85||1.9||1.25||800||2 speed & pulse|
|Cuisinart FP8U||£120||1.2||None||N/S||2 speed & pulse|