The 3 Best Manual Food Choppers

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For many of us, seeing the phrase, “one onion, finely chopped” in a recipe is daunting. Aside from the inevitable tears, unless you’ve got real kitchen skills, they're difficult to cut into uniform pieces — and if a recipe calls for more than 1 cup of any ingredient, you’ll spend more time at the cutting board than actually cooking. The best manual food choppers can make quick work of ingredients that are either unpleasant or normally difficult to cut with a knife.

Since all choppers function differently, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which one to buy. If you want to make complete recipes like salsas, dips, or sauces, pick a chopper with a spinning blade assembly. You’ll be able to chop single ingredients or mix them together.

If you’re someone who likes precision, you might prefer a model with a lever-like operation. Here, ingredients are pressed through a grid to create perfect cubes, rather than spun and chopped by multiple blades. Decide which operation will be best in order to create the desired outcome and safest experience.

Keep in mind, no matter which chopper you choose, some minor prep is required for the best results. You should expect to cut certain ingredients into quarters or chunks to make them more manageable for the chopper.

The best manual food choppers do most of the work to quickly and safely chop ingredients and prepare recipes. An added bonus? These three choppers are all under $25.

1. The Best Manual Food Chopper: Ultra Chef Express 7-In-1 Food Chopper

This manual food chopper from Ultra Chef Express takes the overall best spot for a few reasons: Its 5-cup capacity is one of the biggest you’ll find for a manual food chopper, and it offers the most versatility of any other model. The Ultra Chef Express comes with a suite of accessories that gives it the ability to chop, mix, slice, shred, julienne, whip, and even juice citrus. You could easily replace a handful of other appliances with just this one purchase!

The large hand crank controls the blades, so the more you crank, the finer ingredients will get. The crank itself is placed high on the machine so the opposite hand can stabilize the bowl while in use. For added safety, the bottom of the bowl has a rubber ring to prevent slips, and the stainless steel blades have a plastic handle for easy removal. The clear sides of the bowl let you view your progress, and there is hole in the lid for adding ingredients in stages. The mandoline slicer and juicer attachments don’t use the crank, and instead fit snugly onto the bowl so ingredients can be collected neatly. If you’re at a loss for what to do with all of the accessories, the included recipe book is a great guide.

2. The Most Compact Chopper: Kuhn Rikon Swiss Pull Chop

If you don’t need the versatility or size of the Ultra Chef Express, this compact, 2-cup manual food chopper from Kuhn Rikon is a great choice for you. Perfect for small jobs like salsas, dips, or chopping nuts, it can hold the exact amount of chopped vegetables to make the base for most soups or sauces. The pull-cord operation allows you to choose the number of “pulls” for your desired outcome. Kuhn Rikon recommends five pulls for coarse, 10 pulls for fine, and 15 pulls for extra fine chopping results. (The number of pulls you use will also depend on the texture of the ingredients you’re chopping and how much you’ve prepped them.) The sharp, stainless steel blades come fitted with a protector for safe removal and cleaning. And while the bowl and blade are dishwasher-safe, the lid should be hand-washed so its hollow design doesn't trap water.

3. The Best Chopper For Onions: Mueller Onion Chopper Pro Vegetable Chopper

You might wonder why this chopper is better for onions than the other picks here, and it comes down to the fact that it offers the cleanest chop. What does that mean? Normally, when ingredients are sliced multiple times with a blade in a traditional food processor or chopper, they release moisture. This is acceptable and even preferred for certain recipes like salsa or dips, but if you plan to present your ingredients raw, or sauté them, you want the cleanest, driest chop. This 4-cup chopper from Mueller is more like a press, and since ingredients only make contact with the blades of the grid once, they come out clean with minimal moisture-loss. You’ll be able to dice vegetables to top salads, fill omelettes, or sauté for stir fries. Depending on what you’re preparing, you can choose between two dice sizes.

The Mueller also has a sturdy design with a handle grip for safely prepping hard ingredients like potatoes, carrots, or cheese, but it works equally well on hard-boiled eggs for egg salad. A cleaning tool is included for removing anything stuck between the grids after use, but all of the parts are conveniently dishwasher-safe.

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