Made for compact kitchens, this is a brilliant appliance if you need speed but not much capacity. You'll need to double your budget if you want a 2-in-1 appliance with more capacity and nuance.
Powerful food processor
Can't blend ice
Awkward feeding chute
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Since testing Magic Bullet's Kitchen Express, it has become my personality trait. I've spoken to countless friends about it and recommended it so often that anyone would think I was sponsored by Magic Bullet. I'm not. I just really like this appliance.
The Kitchen Express covers the functions of a personal blender and a mini food processor in one, compact appliance. It's only a little more than $100 and for that, you get a lot.
If you're looking for a professional, ice crushing blender, I'll stop you now. This isn't for you (don't worry, there are plenty of other good blenders). It's aimed at small-space dwellers who need to make one to two portions of a smoothie or dip– if that sounds like you then you're in for a treat.
I tested every function on the Kitchen Express: shredding, chopping, slicing, and blending, so I'll go deep into the details of what's on offer from Magic Bullet's smallest, multi-purpose machine.
|5.5"D x 5.5"W x 13"H
|Blend, chop, mix,slice, shred
I knew this was a small appliance before I unboxed it, but it really is tiny. It comes in a compact cardboard box, but with lots of unnecessary plastic. This isn't ideal from an environmental perspective, though it meant that the Kitchen Express arrived in perfect condition.
I was pleased to see that this comes with plenty of useful accessories. There's a two-in one shredding and slicing disk; a blade for chopping; two tall cups; and a to-go lid, which turns your smoothie cups into portable bottles. Sometimes these accessories can become clutter, but I was pleased to find that the food processor accessories can tuck neatly into the work bowl when not in use.
Who would it suit?
There's a very clear divide in who this suits and who it doesn't. If you need a speedy, small food processor, this is excellent. If you'll mainly be be blending smoothies, this more than does the job. It's faultless in both respects and easy to pack into cupboards or even a deep drawer when you're not using it.
The issue, of course, inevitably comes down to power and size. As soon as you need to chop more than two onions at once, this will struggle and you'll need to do it in batches. The Nutribullet Food Processor, made by the same parent company, has 200 more watts than this little processor. A top-line processor like the Cusinart 14 Cup has almost 500 more watts.
The blender, although good with smoothies, can't crush ice either, so whilst this is compact and competent, it will start to struggle when you start to push the limits.
However, although this is cheap, it actually feels well-built. The blades are stainless steel and the plastic is durable and BPA free.
What is it like to use?
As you might expect from a small and straightforward appliance, this is uncomplicated. The base station is an easy place to twist either the blender or food processor attachment on to and, from there, any accessories slot neatly into place.
It's almost universal to blenders and food processors that these appliances are loud. The Kitchen Express reached 74 dBA, which isn't bad. If you need a comparison, that's about as noisy as a hairdryer.
The light base would be prone to bouncing around the surface if it wasn't for some useful grippy feet, which fix it neatly onto the countertop. Just make sure you keep them clean, so they stay fully functional.
Another well-considered feature is the lip on the work bowl, which makes it easy to pour out any liquids, such as soups. It's the sort of thing you wouldn't miss, but really appreciate having.
When you decide to start blending or chopping you're given the option of turning the Kitchen Express to 'on' or 'pulse'. There are no speed settings, which lacks some nuance, but is nevertheless good to have.
Testing the blender
When we test blenders we put them through three tasks: making a smoothie, blending up some hummus, and crushing ice. I wanted to see whether this was a good blender in its own right, so undertook our standard tests.
For the smoothie, I used a mix of frozen banana, berries, spinach, and oat milk. I didn't have to blend for more than a minute before I could see that the smoothie was ready to drink. There weren't many seeds from the berries left over and the spinach, even though I had packed it in, was indiscernible. I gave a glass to our other expert testers and we all agreed the Kitchen Express had made a smooth drink.
Making hummus can be a surprisingly difficult task for some blenders, but, overall, I was pleased with how the Kitchen Express performed. I put a can of chickpeas, a squeeze of lemon juice, some salt, tahini, and cumin into the blender and set it running. The resultant hummus was a little grainy, but that's me being picky. It was good, but if this was a blender-only appliance, I would say that there are better blender options available.
When it came to ice crushing, I added ice and a little water to the blending cup. Bullet blenders tend to struggle with blending ice, so it was no surprise that this made a little bit of slush before giving up and rattling ice cubes around the plastic cup. If you'll be making ice cones or frozen cocktails, you'll need a different blender.
Testing the food processor
The food processor was a really exciting part of the test for me. It's a tiny work bowl, but holds surprising amount of food. I peeled an onion, chopped it in four and fed it into the chute. Within just three seconds, my onion was finely chopped.
However, with such power comes a few inconveniences. I didn't keep the food pusher in the chute, so a few pieces of onion flew out onto the countertop. The sheer speed of the Kitchen Express also meant that my onion was unevenly chopped. You can see in the image above that it isn't a disaster, but if you're a perfectionist, this might bug you.
The next function I tested was the slicer. I'd spotted that the feeding chute is a kidney shape, which, whilst pretty, is very inconvenient. I had to halve my cucumber and squeeze it down the chute to get it sliced by the disk. However, once I had done that the whole half cucumber was finely sliced in just four seconds. Here, the slices were delicately thin and faultlessly consistent.
Whilst the blender had excelled at hummus, I wanted to see how the food processor would fare with dips. I put an avocado, some lemon, salt, and cilantro into the work bowl and let it blend. I used the pulse setting to see whether I could keep it chunky for a bit (for the people who like a little texture) and it did a pretty good job. It was a little uneven in that the bottom was much smoother than the top, but, once mixed, this wasn't obvious. I then gave it a final blend to get it smooth. The results were great. I'd made a really good guacamole, even if I say so myself.
The final test was assessing the grater. I used carrot, since this is quite a tough root vegetable, but you could use the disk to slice chocolate, cheese, or fruits and vegetables. I couldn't even time how quickly this whizzed through the carrot. It seemed like less than one second. Again, I had the issue of a few pieces flying out, but when a carrot is grated that quickly, you've saved enough time to clear up a few stray pieces of carrot.
Cleaning, storage, and maintenance
Aside from the stray foods which jumped out the food processor when I was using it, the clean up process was easy. There are lots of bits which need washing, but all the components are dishwasher safe. Just make sure to be careful with the blades. They're frighteningly sharp.
As for storage, this is easy. Unassembled, you could put everything in a deep drawer. Failing that, this would easily stack into a cupboard. There are quite a few accessories, but the food processing parts can all be kept in the work bowl and the bullet blenders are much harder to lose.
How does it rate online?
It comes as no surprise that this is highly rated online. On Amazon, out of nearly 1,000 reviews, this has 4.3 stars. People scored it highly on the clean-up, but a little lower on value, which I was surprised by. I looked a little deeper into the reviews and have put this grievance down to the size. There were a number of people who said they wished the blending cups and work bowl were both a little bigger. I wouldn't recommend this if you're a home of more than two people, but for servings less than that, the capacity is fine.
Unsurprisingly, renters in apartments or those with smaller kitchens preferred this food processor. People praised the design and power in almost every single review, which, after my experience, is understandable.
How does it compare?
If you have a little more budget to spend (that is, double), the Ninja Professional Plus Kitchen System is a better alternative. It comes with a 64 oz food processor, 72 oz blending pitcher, and two 24 oz to-go cups. This solves the capacity issue which the Magic Bullet Kitchen Express had. Plus, performance wise, the Ninja is better. It's more thorough and consistent. However, as you have been warned, it's twice the price.
If you're looking for a good, mini food chopper, you can't go wrong with KitchenAid's 3.5 cup food chopper. In our full KitchenAid food chopper review, we found similar performance when chopping onions and mixing up dips. However, unlike the Magic Bullet, it lacks discs for shredding and slicing. If you're looking for versatility, I'd choose the Magic Bullet every time. However, if you just want a small food chopper, the cordless KitchenAid is still convenient.
As for small blenders, the Ninja Blast is an excellent, 16 oz bender. Purely based on blending, it's better than the Magic Bullet. The Ninja Blast is cordless and didn't struggle with any of the tasks we set it, including crushing ice. It's also cheaper than the Magic Bullet, so is a great, portable appliance to have if you've got a compact kitchen.
Should you buy it?
If you're a small household with a compact kitchen, absolutely buy this. It is a speedy, powerful, and versatile appliance. However, if you're looking for capacity and versatility, I'd recommend looking into the Ninja Professional Plus Kitchen System. You'll just need to double your budget.
How we test
At Homes & Gardens we take our tests seriously. Our team of expert product testers took the Magic Bullet Kitchen Express to our dedicated test kitchen to put it through its paces.
We used our standard tests for both blenders and food processors to see how the Kitchen Express compared to the best appliances in each category. I also made notes on the unboxing, clean up, and storage part of the process, so you know everything you need to before it arrives at your door. If you'd like to know more about the behind the scenes, you can visit our dedicated page for how we test.
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Laura is our eCommerce editor. As a fully qualified barista, she's our expert in all things coffee and has tested over thirty of the best coffee makers on the market. She has also interviewed Q-Graders and world-leading experts in the coffee industry, so has an intimate knowledge of all things coffee. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she studied English at Oxford University. Whilst studying, she trained as a master perfumer and worked in the luxury fragrance industry for five years. Her collection of home fragrance is extensive and she's met and interviewed five of the world's finest perfumers (also known as 'noses'). As a result of this expansive fragrance knowledge, she always puts quality and style over quantity and fads. Laura looks for products which have been designed simply and with thoughtful finishes.
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