The 4 Best Budget Food Processors
Food processors are serious time-savers in the kitchen. They tackle tedious food prep tasks like chopping onions and shredding cheese, and can whip up smooth purees and chunky dips. But if you’ve ever been discouraged by the high price of many food processors, you’re not alone. Luckily, it’s getting easier to find models under $100, and the best budget food processors can accomplish the same kitchen tasks as high-end models, all for an affordable price. To help you narrow down the options as you shop, here are a few things to consider.
At the most basic level, a good food processor should be able to chop, mix, blend, slice, and shred using disc attachments. Depending on what you want to make and how much you want to prepare, you’ve got options when it comes to bowl capacity. Most food processors range from 7 to 12 cups, but if you don’t have space for a large processor, just remember you can usually process your ingredients in two or more batches.
A pulse button is essential for being able to chop ingredients in short bursts without over-processing. Wide feed chutes are convenient for adding ingredients, and mean less ingredient prep when slicing or shredding. While most machines can cut butter into flour for pastry and biscuits, heavier recipes like pizza dough require a strong motor and heavy base and you may want to consider spending a bit more on more heavy-duty food processor.
Whatever you plan to make, the best budget food processors below will give you the tools you need — without breaking the bank.
1. The Best Budget Food Processor: Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Stack & Snap Food Processor
This generously-sized 12-cup food processor from Hamilton Beach is affordably priced at under $50, making it the best value here when it comes to capacity. It has a large feed tube that can fit a tomato, and also has a two-part pusher for narrow items that would normally tilt when meeting the fast-moving slicer and shredder discs. The lid attaches to the work bowl using Hamilton Beach’s Stack and Snap design, unlike the majority of food processors that have bulky twist-on lids. The function and speed buttons are raised and easy to press, and include three settings: a slice/shred speed; a puree/mix speed; and a pulse button for chopping for incorporating multi-ingredient recipes before mixing.
2. The Best For Making Dips: Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor & Vegetable Chopper
If you’ve ever used a food processor to make thick dips or sticky nut butters, you likely had to remove the lid to scrape down the sides of the bowl when ingredients moved up or splattered. This 10-cup food processor from Hamilton Beach features an innovative but simple attachment that allows you to manually scrape down the sides of the work bowl while the processor is in use. Not only does this save time, but it can also prevent rubber or silicone spatulas from getting sliced if you use them to clean the bowl. The large-capacity work bowl allows you to chop, slice, and shred a lot of food before having to empty it, and the two-speed design lets you make a wide range of recipes. The only drawbacks? This processor has a slightly smaller chute than the one above, lacks a two-part pusher, and the power dial isn't quite as easy to use compared to buttons or a touch pad.
3. The Most Compact: Ninja Food Chopper Express Chop
Measuring in at a compact 16 ounces (2 cups), this pick from Ninja is more of a chopper than food processor, but it’s still able to tackle a wide range of kitchen tasks. The stacked design of the blades offers superior chopping for items like salsa, garlic, herbs, vegetables, and nuts, and it won’t over-process ingredients like some flat-blade designs. A single ergonomic button can be pulsed to chop, or held down to mix items including small-batch dips, sauces, and even eggs to use in omelettes or fried rice. The base of the work bowl is rimmed with a nonstick ring so it remains stable during operation. While the Ninja doesn’t have the ability to slice or shred, when you consider its affordable $20 price tag, it’s a great pick for many recipe prep tasks, and stores easily due to its compact footprint.
4. The Best Splurge: Cuisinart FP-8SV Elemental Food Processor
For a slightly more upgraded experience, this best-selling 8-cup food processor from Cuisinart offers two shredding sizes on a reversible shredding disc for extra versatility when chopping. Its patent-pending SealTight Advantage locking system ensures that the bowl and lid lock tightly (often a problem with cheaper food processors). Even better, if you’re making sauces or dips, the chopping and blending blade locks in place so you can tip the work bowl to empty contents without it falling out. The wider-mouth chute can fit a range of whole fruits and vegetables, and all parts are removable and dishwasher-safe, making cleanup a breeze. Some reviewers note that this unit sometimes struggles to make dough, but for the vast majority of food processor jobs, it would make a dependable addition to any kitchen.
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