Slap chop vs food processor − what's the difference and which should you buy?

These kitchen gadgets might look similar, but when it comes to slap chop vs food processor, there's only one winner.

Slap chop vs food processor - a food processor on a kitchen counter, surrounded by vegetables.
(Image credit: KitchenAid)

Slap chop vs food processor: which is best? It's the question that continues to divide keen cooks while baffling starter chefs. These kitchen gadgets appear to perform such similar functions that it can be hard to split the difference.

Both slap chops and food processors are designed to slice, grate, grind, and chop food into chunks, but that's where the resemblance stops. Where slap chops are manual, food processors are electric. You'll need to clear some serious cabinet space  to store your food processor, while a slap chop is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. 

I wanted to set the slap chop and the food processor head-to-head to see which machine was best suited to different kinds of cooks. I consulted professional chefs and expert nutritionists, each of whom offered their insights to help me settle the score.

Slap chop vs food processor – head to head

You might remember the Slap Chop from late-night commercials back in the 2000s. This kitchen gadget is designed to make meal prep quick and easy. Coated in plastic to cover the internal blades, the slap chop is a hand-held chopping device. All you need to do is hold it over your produce and slap your hand against the spring. The force of the slap presses down on the blades, which make quick, clean incisions into the food.

Where a slap chop is manual, a food processor is electric. The world's best food processor, the Cuisinart Core, is powered by a 500W motor to slice, grind, grate and chop produce. You can set it to chop on low, high, or a pulse setting to control your cuts. Unlike the Slap Chop, which stands alone, many of the best food processors come with added attachments for blending or dicing. 

Slap chop − the pros and cons

Using a Slap Chop to grind nuts and chop fruit for ice cream.

(Image credit: Amazon)

There are many makes and models of food choppers on the market, but there's only one Slap Chop. I asked registered dietitian and nutritionist Catherine Rall to tell me more about the iconic kitchen gadget. 

Catherine finds it easiest to think of a slap chop 'as a manual food processor. While most food processors are powered by electric motors, a slap chop uses human muscle power to achieve similar results'. Since the Slap Chop is completely cordless, it's suitable for use around the house or on the go. If you bring along your Slap Chop to the picnic, you could prep an assemble a garden salad in situ. 

Catherine acknowledges that 'powered food processors are usually more versatile and effective, but a slap chop should still get the job done'. If you're just starting out as a home cook, and you're keen to keep things simple, a slap chop could be the ideal kitchen companion. This gadget is beginner- and budget-friendly, retailing for a fraction of the price of your average food processor.

All that slapping might wear you out, especially if you suffer from arthritis or Parkinson's and have less control over your hands. Still, 'if you want a tool that you'll only need to use occasionally for small batches,' Catherine reckons that 'a slap chop is a good choice. If you have large numbers to feed or want to get into canning' to keep leftovers, then 'you might be better off with a food processor'. 

Headshot of Catherine Rall.
Catherine Rall

Catherine has 5 years of versatile experience in the nutrition industry, from lab research to food education. These days, she works as a clinical dietitian with the Rose Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. 

You don't see so many Slap Chops these days. These kitchen gadgets were everywhere, but despite a recent TikTok resurgance, they've largely disappeared from the shelves. 

I've done some digging to find the original Slap Chop, as well as a few alternative appliances. These choppers come cheap and wash well: the base and the body pop apart so that you can get between the blades and dig out debris. Just don't expect your Slap Chop to mince meat or mix smoothies. 

Food processor − the pros and cons

Cuisinart Core Food Processor on a kitchen counter.

(Image credit: Williams Sonoma)

Slap chops might be quick and convenient, but when it comes to complex cooking, the food processor takes it every time. 

Chef Lisabet Summa has worked with both slap chops and food processors in her time. She agrees that 'slap chops are great for portion chopping, but they can't handle such diverse tasks as a food processor. From pureeing to chopping, slicing and grating to mixing and mashing, I really can't imagine cooking at home without my food processor'. 

These big and beefy machines are bound to take up more space inside your cabinets or on top of your kitchen counters. The upside to their size is that there's so much more room inside the machine. A food processor can accommodate greater quantities of larger ingredients to produce multiple servings of fresh produce. You could feed the whole family with a food processor or chop now to save for later. 

A slap chop is simply too small to slice celery sticks or pineapple spears, let alone a whole onion, but they are much easier to clean. Not every food processor features dishwasher-safe attachments. At any rate, you'll have to be careful when cleaning the motor to keep water away from live electric current.

Headshot of Chef Lisabet Summa.
Lisabet Summa

Chef Lisabet Summa has been the culinary catalyst for the Big Time Restaurant Group's extraordinary growth since 1994. She is one of only a few women in the US restaurant industry who is both a senior culinary operations executive and an owner. 

As part of H&G's kitchen testing team, I've been lucky enough to work with some of the best food processors on the market. These machines can do so much more than simple chopping: they can slice, dice, grind and mince all manner of fresh produce. 

While the best food processors don't come cheap, you really do get what you pay for: sharp blades and powerful motors for hands-free chopping. I've rounded up a few of my favorites to whet your appetite. 

Which equipment suits which sort of chef?

KitchenAid 13-cup Food Processor on a kitchen counter.

(Image credit: Williams Sonoma)

I'd struggle to pick between a slap chop and a food processor. While I love to cook, and I'm keen to experiment in the kitchen, I have low cabinets and limited counter space. I asked Jessica Randhawa, Head Chef at The Forked Spoon, for her expert guidance. 

'When deciding between a slap chop and a food processor, consider your cooking habits and needs,' says Jessica. 'A slap chop is an excellent fit for someone who cooks in smaller quantities and needs a tool for quick, simple chopping jobs. It's convenient for small kitchens and cooks who don't require the diverse functions of a food processor.' 

'In contrast, a food processor would make an excellent investment for a home cook who prepares meals for a large family or frequently engages in more complex cooking tasks. Its range of functions and capacity to handle lager quantities of food make it a versatile and invaluable tool in a busy kitchen'. 

Headshot of Jessica Randhawa.
Jessica Randhawa

Jessica established her food blog, The Forked Spoon, as a space to share healthy, family-friendly recipes with the world. Her insights have been featured in The Huffington Post, Country Living and Cosmopolitan. 

Slap chop vs food processor FAQs

Does Slap Chop actually work?

Yes, though the question shouldn't be whether the Slap Chop works, but rather how well it works. While it might be a quick and convenient way to prep produce in small batches, all that slapping soon gets old, and your gadget might not withstand the wear and tear of regular use. If you're a keen cook prepping big batches of fruit and vegetables, you might be better off with a food processor.

Will a food processor grind meat?

Some will. The Cuisinart Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor proved best on test for grinding meat. Powered by a 550W motor and equipped with a 13-cup capacity, this food processor makes mincemeat out of all manner of fresh and frozen produce.

Where can I buy a Slap Chop?

While you could search high and low in specialist stores, your best bet is Amazon. That's where you can pick up an original Slap Chop with its stainless steel blades and butterfly opening for less than $30. 

Where can I buy a food processor?

Cuisinart make the world's best food processors. They come with all the bells and whistles, from mixing bowls to dicing attachments, as well as pre-set programs for quick and easy chopping. If you're searching for something cordless, your best bet is KitchenAid. Their 5-Cup Food Chopper is suitable for indoor or outdoor use. If you have more money to spare, and you want to shop the best luxury food processor, look no further than the Breville Sous Chef. This machines features a five-inch feed chute to accommodate entire apples and comes with super-thin slice discs, ideal for julienning. 

Final thoughts

Serious chefs and keen cooks will get a lot of use out of a food processor. These capacious appliances can accommodate large quantities of ingredients to produce multiple servings of finely sliced fruit and veg, ideal for plating and presentation. The best food processor would make a great kitchen companion, though you might have to clear some counter space and drop a couple hundred dollars to get it. If you're only interested in occasional chopping, and you're keen to save some money, you might appreciate a Slap Chop. This nostalgic gadget is a bit of a novelty, but it can slice and dice fresh produce in a matter of moments. Plus, it's easier to clean than a food processor, saving you time and money. 

Emilia Hitching
Sleep Editor

Emilia is our resident sleep writer. She spends her days tracking down the lowest prices on the best bedding and spends her nights testing it out from the comfort of her own home – it's a dream job. Her quest to learn how to sleep better has taken her all around the world, from mattress factories in Arizona to sleep retreats in Scandinavia. Before she joined Homes & Gardens, Emilia studied English at the University of Oxford. She also worked on the other side of the aisle, writing press releases for regional newspapers and crafting copy for Sky.