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Best food processor 2021: for everything from dough to salsa

Take a look at the best food processor of 2021 with our complete roundup, including top brands like KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Ninja and Bella

best food processor
(Image credit: KitchenAid)

The best food processor is a must-have in any kitchen. Whether you like to make your own guacamole or blitz up a quick dough from scratch, it's sure to be used day after day. When it comes to finding the best food processor though, things can get a little tricky. For one, you have to choose between classic brands like KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Ninja, Breville and more, and decide on the right food processor capacity and dimensions for your kitchen.

Other considerations include whether you'd prefer a food processor blender combo, because for those who've already invested in one of the best blenders, you can save a few bucks by sticking to the best food processor for dry ingredients and dips. 

The good news is that no matter what your budget or size requirements come down to, we've found the very best food processor for every budget and kitchen and gathered our top picks right here. For the best food processor for you and your home, just keep reading. 

What is the best food processor in 2021? 

Our top overall pick for the best food processor in 2021 is the Ninja Professional 9-Cup Food Processor. It's capable and not too expensive, with a large capacity and smart blades designed to evenly slice everything in the bowl.

A notable mention goes to the KitchenAid Cordless 5 Cup Food Chopper, which wowed us in testing and can be taken on the go for barbecue season and use in busy kitchens. 

Best food processor 2021

Best food processor: Ninja® Professional 9-Cup Food Processor

(Image credit: Ninja)

1. Ninja Professional 9-Cup Food Processor

The best food processor on the market right now

Specifications
Power: 850W
Capacity: 9 cups
Programs: Chop, puree, dough, disc, pulse
Cleaning: Dishwasher
Reasons to buy
+Not too expensive+Very powerful+Plenty of programs+Easy to clean
Reasons to avoid
-Only one food bowl

Ninja is one of our favorite brands for value and high quality design. The Ninja Professional 9-Cup Food Processor is exemplary in this, with a range of intelligent programs and several attachments, all for under $100.

The Ninja Professional 9-Cup Food Processor has four Auto-IQ programs: Chop, Puree, Dough, and Disc, which is another way of saying you're using the shredding disc. This disc is reversible and can be used for slicing, too. 

The 9 cup capacity is standard among food processors and equally suitable for both large and small quantities. The side is marked with liter measurements which can be helpful for making sauces and adding ingredients as you go. 

With a locking lid for safety and quad chopping blade that doesn't simply slice what's at the bottom of the bowl, we're impressed with the versatility and high quality considering the price. For those who want the best food processor without any blender attachments, it's our top pick. 

best food processor: KitchenAid cordless 5 cup food chopperH&G gold badge

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

2. KitchenAid Cordless 5 Cup Food Chopper

The best cordless food processor out there

Specifications
Power: Lithium ion battery
Capacity: 5 cups
Programs: 1.77in
Cleaning: Dishwasher safe
Reasons to buy
+Perfect for indoor or outdoor use+Battery life is impressive+Easy to use and clean
Reasons to avoid
-Small capacity

Tried and tested by the Homes and Gardens team, the KitchenAid Cordless 5 Cup Food Chopper truly converted us to the cordless lifestyle. Whether you want to whip up a salsa while busy with the grill or simply don't have room for yet more cords in your kitchen, the KitchenAid Cordless 5 Cup Food Chopper is here to change the game.

We used this five cup food processor for blitzing up onions, carrots, tomato sauce, guacamole, and even to make a delicious aioli using the mayonnaise attachment. It impressed at every turn.

The cup is made of dishwasher-safe plastic and you turn it on my simply twisting the lid into place and pressing the perfectly thumb-sized groove at the top. That makes it extra safe, but adding new ingredients means you'll need to unscrew and re-attach the lid. 

Best food processor: Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

3. Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor

The best large food processor

Specifications
Power: 720W
Capacity: 14 cups
Programs: On, Pulse
Cleaning: Dishwasher-safe parts
Reasons to buy
+Generous bowl size+Simple to operate+Slices, shreds, chops and mixes
Reasons to avoid
-Less smart functions

For those who want a sturdy workhorse in the kitchen, look no further than the Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor. It's got a slicing disc, shredding disc, and chopping/dough blade. 

What sets the Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor is its large capacity. If you need to shred industrial levels of cheese or make a large salsa all in one go, it's got five cups more than the industry standard. 

What's more, its uncomplicated design means it doesn't take up more space in the kitchen than it needs to. You can buy other shredding and slicing discs as well as a whisk attachment separately. 

Best food processor Ninja Mega Kitchen System

(Image credit: Ninja)

4. Ninja Mega Kitchen System

The best food processor blender combo

Specifications
Power: 1500W
Capacity: 8 cups
Programs: Dough, blend, crush, pulse
Cleaning: Dishwasher safe
Reasons to buy
+The ultimate multipurpose machine+Incredibly powerful+Personal and family-sized pitchers
Reasons to avoid
-Large space requirements

While it's got some pretty hefty size requirements, the Ninja Mega Kitchen System is a great investment for those who want a blender and food processor in one. It even does one better and includes a personal blender attachment for those morning smoothies, with two to-go cups.

The food processor bowl is 8 cups and the large blender is 72oz, perfect for soups and large drinks. You could even prep your soup ingredients in the food processor bowl and finish off in the pitcher.

Included is a dough blade and two levels for larger portions. There's also a a chopping blade that simply slots into the top of the bowl.  

best food processor KitchenAid 9 Cup Food Processor

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

5. KitchenAid 9 Cup Food Processor

The best compact food processor

Specifications
Power: 240W
Capacity: 9 cups
Programs: Low, high, pulse
Cleaning: Dishwasher safe bowl, lid, pusher, blade and discs
Reasons to buy
+A mid-price option+Compact footprint for the capacity+Hinged locking lid
Reasons to avoid
-Less power than larger models

The KitchenAid 9-Cup Food Processor has a generous capacity, but the footprint is only 8 inches in diameter. That's compact enough to store on just about any kitchen counter, even if you have a crowd to cook for. 

Every part can be placed in the dishwasher, even the blade and discs, and there are attachments to puree, knead, shred, slice and more. 

The hinged lid is safety-conscious and it can be detached for easier cleaning. As it's a KitchenAid it's guaranteed to complement the best stand mixer, and the color range means you can even pair it with other KitchenAids.  

best food processor Bella Pro Series 8-Cup Food Processor

(Image credit: Bella)

6. Bella Pro Series 8-Cup Food Processor

The best cheap food processor

Specifications
Power: 500W
Capacity: 8 cups
Programs: Low, high, pulse
Cleaning: Dishwasher-safe accessories
Reasons to buy
+Reversible slicing and shredding disc+Work bowl comes with measurement markings+Inexpensive
Reasons to avoid
-Only two attachments

The Bella Pro Series 8-Cup Food Processor is a great value pick for those looking for a cheap food processor. It's exclusive to Best Buy, where users attest to its powerful motor and value for money. 

The motor is 500 watts, which is more than some far pricier food processors in our roundup. It's also got a high and low speed setting, as well as a pulse option that will  come in handy for making salsa and sauces. 

You're limited to one reversible slicing and shredding blade and one S blade. There's no dough hook, but for those who want the best food processor on a budget, look no further. 

Best food processor Thermomix® TM6™H&G gold badge

(Image credit: Thermomix)

7. Thermomix TM6

The best smart food processor

Specifications
Power: 1300W
Capacity: 9.3 cups
Programs: Egg Boiler, Warm-Up, Fermentation, Thicken, Sous-Vide, Rice Cooker, Automatic Blending, Slow Cooking
Cleaning: Self-cleaning
Reasons to buy
+Cooks meals for you+Includes integrated scales+App with smart recipes included+Does so much more than chop
Reasons to avoid
-It's eye-wateringly expensive

The Thermomix TM6 is like no food processor we've ever tested before, but it's a truly multi-functional cooking appliance that not only chops veggies but cooks them too. You can sign up to the Cookidoo app that guides you through recipes designed to pair with the Thermomix, and the smart display will guide you through every step. 

Designed for busy households with a family lifestyle, the Thermomix TM6 will ensure that you get fresh cooked meals but without all the effort and prep time. 

The attachments can do so much more than food processing, including steaming, slow cooking and sous vide. A bit overkill if you're just here for the best food processors, but a great option for keen chefs. 

What size food processor do you need?

best food processor kitchenaid

(Image credit: KitchenAid)

Our advice is to never buy something your kitchen can't accommodate. Yes, it's tempting to buy the largest and most impressive food processor out there, but if it won't fit onto crowded counters or in kitchen cupboards, you'll grow to resent it very quickly.

Not all food processors take a lot of space though. Both of the KitchenAid options in our guide have a small footprint, even though there's a 9-cup model that will cater to even large families. 

Often it's the motor found in the base of a food processor that makes it so space-consuming, so opting for a mighty Ninja food processor could be costly in terms of space, but worth it for the high-powered functions. 

What's the difference between a blender and food processor? 

If you've ever tried to make a smoothie in a food processor or chop veggies in a blender, you'll know they're very different machines. Because food processors have flatter bowls they're best suited to chopping dry ingredients, whereas the vertical design of a blender's pitcher means you'll have perfectly smooth drinks in seconds.

If you're trying to choose between one or other other, there's always the option of buying the best food processor blender combo in our guide, the Ninja Mega Kitchen System

How much should I spend on a food processor?

The best food processor doesn't have to cost much. In fact, the models in our guide start at around the $50 mark, which really isn't bad for a powerful kitchen appliance that will last you for years. As they get smarter though, food processors also get more expensive. Excluding the pricey Thermomix, the typical food processor could cost as much as $200 for a truly multi-functional and high-end model.