Food processors can be a godsend if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
The ideal appliance to help you with pesky food prep tasks that you’d normally have to do by hand, while you still have to weigh out your ingredients (with most of them), you can save yourself hours of chopping, slicing, grating, slicing and more.
We have worked our way through recipe upon recipe to find out which machines are worth your while, testing not only the final culinary results but how powerful each one is, how they handled tough ingredients like nuts, ease of use and how simple they are to keep clean – as well as value for money and attention to detail.
We also took into account noise levels, overall build quality and even checked out the manufacturer’s customer service in case something goes wrong or you need a new part.
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Magimix cuisine 5200XL
Jamie Oliver has long used the word Magimix synonymously with the term food processor – a reminder that this brand was responsible for the UK’s first ever model. This one has been made with keen cooks in mind, working quickly and quietly through large quantities of ingredients. It’s versatile too, thanks to the 13 accessories, including three different-size bowls, an egg whisk and a citrus press, all of which come in a handy storage box. We like the extra-wide chute and it even does well with nuts and herbs – a shortcoming of many food processors. It’s very heavy, though, and can be a bit fiddly locking the attachments in place until you get used to it.
Buy now £399.00, Nisbets
Kenwood FPM810 multipro sense
This is a star performer when it comes to mixing, whisking, kneading and whipping, making it a great option for those who enjoy baking. It stands out when it comes to blending, slicing, dicing and chopping too although isn’t quite so good at grating or pureeing. It comes with two different sized bowls – a larger 1.8L one and smaller 1.2L option – plus a glass jug blender and more attachments than you could shake a stick at. We rate the unique folding tool which helps mix light ingredients into heavier mixes and the auto button is handy for starting the machine at top speed. It also has an eco mode which reduces the machine's energy usage by half. Be warned that this one is quite loud and is prone to vibrating.
Buy now £349.00, Amazon
KitchenAid 2.1L food processor 5KFP0919
This is a great all rounder that comes in at under £200, which is no mean feat. We tested its capabilities when chopping, pureeing, kneading, mixing, shredding and slicing – all of which ticked our boxes, with stand-out results for cake mixing and slicing. The multi-use, easy-to-store accessories include large and small bowls, multi-purpose dough blades and reversible slicing and shredding blades that can be adjusted to produce fine or medium results. There’s also a disk designed for thick slicing. It’s nice and quiet, has clear markings and good speed control, plus it’s easy to clean. But the ingredients can leak through the lid if you fill it to the max and we’d have liked storage for the accessories.
Buy now £179.99, Argos
Vitamix A3500i ascent series
This is so much more than a food processor. It also blends, cooks to high temperatures and steams, among other things – and all with serious oomph and in large quantities thanks to the 2L capacity. We got busy making hot soups, mayonnaise, pestos and ice creams, whizzing through ingredients to produce culinary delights. It even crushes ice well and nuts evenly – a rarity among kitchen appliances. You get silky smooth results with veg and fruit, even with their skins on. It keeps things simple with an easy-to-use touchscreen interface and large speed control dial and there are plenty of recipes for the pre-set functions. The components are dishwasher safe and the 10 year guarantee gives you a flavour of its longevity. All of this comes at a hefty price, but it is a real multi-tasker.
Buy now £675.00, Vitamix
Sage kitchen whizz pro
You can tell this is well engineered the moment you get it going – it works quickly and quietly, with no sign of vibration. It excels in chopping, grating and slicing and we rate it as a soup and smoothie blender too. Everything that comes in the storage box of attachments fits on like a dream and there is plenty of room for versatility as you can choose the thickness and size of your results. We also found the extra-wide chute handy – it really speeds things up, especially when it comes to the likes of potatoes and onions. It even performs well with nuts and herbs – a common weak point. You might have to give it a helping hand of mixing and be warned it weighs a tonne and isn’t quite as fast or comprehensive as the more expensive models reviewed here.
Buy now £345.00, Amazon
Tefal double force pro
This has no shortage of functions, with 31 in total via nine attachments. It’s nice and sturdy and easy to use, with a clear digital panel and seven pre-set programs, and we like the extra-wide chute which means you don’t have to cut everything up first. We had no complaints with its chopping, blending, pureeing, mixing and kneading capabilities, but were less impressed when it came to grating (it sometimes leaves bits out), slicing (not always even) and whipping (it takes an age). It’s easy to clean, with most parts able to go in the dishwasher, but it’s quite loud.
Buy now £149.99, Argos
Cuisinart mini prep pro ECH4PU
We love this stylish pink mini chopper (also available in pearl) that races through everything from chopping onions and crushing ice to pureeing food for your baby quickly and without making a racket. Don’t expect bells and whistles – you only get one dual-blade attachment – but it can chop, mix, whip, puree and crush harder ingredients. It’s easy to use as there are just two settings and it’s lovely and light so you can easily pop it in the cupboard. It’s no good for large quantities, though, as it only has a 900ml capacity, and we didn’t think much of its whipping capabilities. Also be warned that the cord is on the short side.
Buy now £50.00, Amazon
Bosch multitalent 3 MCM3200WGB
It’s not easy to find a decent food processor at this price, but we like this one for its compactness (great for smaller kitchens) and its chopping, whipping, blending and pureeing capabilities. It creates light and airy creams and egg whites, smooth sauces and lovely even results when chopping the likes of onions and herbs. We were less impressed by the grating and kneading functions, but the results were passable. It’s easy to use and clean and is fast and quiet. The 2.3L bowl is a good size for most families and the fixed spindle makes things less fiddly.
Buy now £79.99, Argos
Food processors FAQs
What can you use a food processor for?
All food processors, including mini-choppers, can chop and puree. Full-sized food processors can also slice and grate and most can whisk, whip, mix and knead. Some can also make soups and smoothies and even double up as juicers.
What features should you look for?
Size and weight
Machines vary hugely in size and weight. Make sure you have enough counter space for yours and if it’s going to be stored away, that you can lift it.
For everyday jobs 1.8-2L should be ample, although there are plenty of bigger machines around that go up to 4L and beyond for bigger batch cooking. For small jobs only, consider a mini-chopper.
Most machines come with a chopping blade, dough hook and slicing and grating disks. More advanced models come with a blending jug and some come with a citrus press and different size bowls. Some machines also come with an extra mini-bowl with its own blade, and sometimes a midi one too.
Look for food processors with at least two speeds, plus a “pulse” button for instant but controllable oomph – handy when you want to chop nuts but not too finely, for example.
Ease of cleaning
Look out for dishwasher friendly accessories, although be warned that some cannot be washed above 40C. If you don't have a dishwasher, choose a machine that’s easy to clean by hand.
Large feeding tube
The feeding tube is the part of the machine that allows ingredients to be added while the processor is chopping or dicing. A generously-sized one is ideal as it can save a lot of time when processing larger foods like potatoes, onions and cucumbers.
Storage for accessories
This is another feature we’d recommend as accessories can take up a lot of room, have sharp edges and can go astray if not stored neatly in a box or compartment. Look for brands that offer included storage.
The verdict: Food processors
We have fallen in love with the Magimix cuisine 5200XL. It’s a dab hand at pretty much everything, plus it’s got extra features that are nice to have for busy cooks. A cheaper machine that we also rate highly is the Bosch multitalent 3 MCM3200WGB – at under £100, it’s an amazing price for a very decent bit of kit.