You’re making latkes (potato pancakes) for 12 people. The groceries are bought, the table is set, and guests are coming in 3 hours. Time to start cooking. This should be easy, you think. I’ve done this before. You get the ingredients for the latkes and preheat the oven. You put down your glass of wine, pick up the grater, and look down at a mountain of potatoes and onions. Now, everything feels different. The house is getting warm, and you can feel the clock ticking in your veins. Wait, why the hell am I doing this? you think. I hate cooking and I don’t like any of these people. In an alternate universe, a different version of you plugs in a shiny food processor. That person breezes through shredding the potatoes and chopping onions, and sits down on the couch with an hour to spare, drinking wine and listening to Miles Davis. If only you were that person. Spoiler alert: You could be!
Food processors can be lifesavers. From shredding potatoes and chopping onions to grating hard cheeses, making dips, and kneading dough, these powerful machines take up the stuff you don’t feel like doing by hand. Some of us really enjoy doing food prep (or have a partner or roommate who does, or who will for the right price), but in any case, all moderately serious home cooks should own food processors. If you’re looking to take your kitchen technology to the next level, here are some of the best options.
The Liam Neeson of food processors
If Liam Neeson’s character in Taken was a food processor instead of a retired CIA agent, he would be the Breville Sous Chef. This MF can slice and dice (what!); it can peel and chop. Whether you’re dismantling potatoes, almonds, or the monsters that kidnapped your daughter, this is the top-of-the-line option.
A big ol’ produce annihilator
Cuisinart food processors are so good and ubiquitous that when I was growing up, I thought “Cuisinart” just meant “machine that chops up food”; it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I actually realized it was a brand that also makes other things. The 14-cup Cuisinart is one of the most popular and enduring of all the food processors (literally—my mother still uses hers from last century). It comes with a blade, as well as shredding and slicing discs, so it can do anything from making dough and chopping nuts to prepping veggies and shredding cheese. Those solid, basic features make this one an excellent, well-priced food processor that’s perfect for regular kitchen tasks.
The mini version of the big ol’ produce annihilator
The 2-cup version of the Cuisinart is what I had in college and after, and I can confirm that it handles dip situations perfectly. Man, just from looking at this thing I’m having garlic-scented flashbacks to countless olive tapenade and hummus feasts with my college roommate, watching The Wire, drinking PBR, and taking down scores of toasted pita bread. It’s like the liberal arts college version of a Proustian reverie.
A mid-sized reason not to cry
The 5-cup KitchenAid is a perfect medium-sized processor that comes at a super affordable price. It has over 22,000 reviews on Amazon for a 4.6-star average, which is pretty compelling. As one happy reviewer explained, “This processor works great for chopping. Onions have always been a problem for me to cut up. I cry and they take so long to chop up.” I feel you brother—I also cry when cooking… uh, from the onions and definitely not from the crippling despair that drives me to make comfort food multiple times a week.
A vita(l) mix(er) that processes
Does my Vitamix already do most things I’d want to do in a food processor, like chop nuts, make hummus, blend vegan queso, and prepare dough? Yes, it does. But if you already own one of these certified badass machines and want to go beyond the limitations of its standard blending container, Vitamix does make food processor attachments that’ll let you chop, slice, shred, and more.
[Dad voice] Oh, you’re looking for a machine to help you chop your veggies? It’s a process. [Laughs, then cries (from the onions)].
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