Good news for people who want to make their own ground meat at home: You don’t need to buy a dedicated meat grinder or expensive attachment for a stand mixer. A sturdy food processor will do the trick, and, of course, can be used for a variety of other tasks. The best food processors for meat allow you to create custom mixes for recipes like burgers, sausage, meatballs, and more. Not every food processor can stand up to the job, though, so here are some things to consider as you shop.
Whether you're grinding beef, pork, poultry, or seafood, animal protein is primarily composed of lean muscle and fat. Fattier cuts of meat can be tough, so look for a machine that has the power and stability to chop through meat. Heavier motor bases provide stability, and machines powered by an upper motor allow you to hold down the container for control.
Some people like to par-freeze (or partially freeze) their meat before grinding to prevent it from turning to mush. Even still, the chopping blade of your food processor should be made from sharp stainless steel to ensure that meat is cut cleanly. A pulse button is a must for grinding meat, as it quickly chops ingredients without over-processing.
Keep scrolling to see the best food processors for meat.
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1. The Overall Best Food Processor For Meat
The 11-cup work bowl of this food processor from Cuisinart is generously sized for grinding batches of meat and fillings for a wide range of uses. Compared to the other larger units featured here, it is lighter in weight (11 pounds) but still substantially heavy and stable enough for processing fibrous or tough cuts of meat and other ingredients (and has an impressive 550-watt motor). An easy grip handle is positioned at the front of the work bowl for added support during processing and to help you safely empty contents. In addition to a locking stainless steel blade that excels at chopping meat, it comes with a full range of accessories for food processing, including a reversible slicing and shredding disc, and a dough blade. The touch pad controls include low and high speeds for a range of mixing and pureeing tasks, as well as a pulse button for chopping.
According to one reviewer: "Where have you been all my life??? I chopped up meat to hamburger consistency to make tacos... it was fast and did an excellent job."
2. The Runner-Up: A More Expensive Model With A Stronger Motor
Like the overall best, this runner-up from Cuisinart also has an 11-cup work bowl, but a slightly more streamlined profile, functionality, and a more powerful 625-watt motor. Instead of a modern touch pad to control the power, this Cuisinart operates via two paddles underneath the base, one that runs the machine at a continuous speed, while the other functions as a pulse and off button. Placement of these paddles allows you to have a handle on the food processor as you operate it, for extra stability when chopping thicker meats. When pulsed quickly, meat and hard, fibrous items are chopped cleanly and efficiently without risk of over-processing.
While this comes at a slightly higher price point, this food processor has a powerful motor that weighs over 16 pounds and a feature that helps reduce the risk of your food processor rocking or “walking away” while processing heavy loads like pizza dough or meat. In addition to two slicing discs and a shredding disc, this model comes with a spatula and a bonus flat lid for when the other attachments aren’t in use. This lid makes it easy to see the consistency and texture of what you’re processing, and is easier to clean than traditional food processor lids.
According to one reviewer: "This model is excellent for my purposes. I use it for general chopping, slicing, shredding, and making pastry dough. Also it turns out perfect ground beef and ground pork."
3. The Most Compact
You may not expect much from a compact, affordable food processor like this chopper from Ninja, but its unique stacked blade design gives it a major advantage. Since the blade assembly has four versus two blades found on traditional S-blades, it makes more consistent contact with ingredients, so chopping is uniform and clean. When it comes to meat, the super sharp blades make quick work of even fatty cuts, and grind cubes of meat and other ingredients evenly, so you can make custom blends for recipes like meatballs or burgers. Even better, the Ninja comes with two containers measuring 48 and 16 ounces (that's 6 and 2 cups, respectively), in case you have two different-sized jobs you need to get done.
Compared to the other food processors on this list, the compact capacity is perfect for making smaller portions of ground meat, so you can grind fresh as you need to. One universal motor powers the blades from above, and a gripping material on the bottom of the containers provides extra stability. Two lids turn the containers into food storage, so you can keep prepped ingredients fresh in the refrigerator until you need them.
According to one reviewer: "My boyfriend has used it to grind up meat to make his own mix of ground meat for hamburgers and sausage, shredded cheese, crushed ice. It cleans up quickly, doesn't take up a lot of space, and works extremely well."
4. The Splurge
If you plan to grind a large volume of meat, or simply want a powerhouse of a food processor, this 14-cup food processor from Cuisinart is a worthy investment. The powerful 720-watt motor is one of the largest you’ll find on a non-commercial food processor, and enables the blades to grind through meat and other tough jobs like heavy bread doughs. And since it weighs a hefty 18 pounds, you can be confident of its stability while in use. A similar design to the runner-up, it also comes with slicing and shredding discs, and because the work bowl is so generous, you won’t need to empty the contents as often if you’re slicing or shredding large volumes of vegetables or cheese. The Cuisinart’s low-profile lid has few crevices for food to hide, so it’s very easy to clean (a bonus when working with raw ingredients). There’s no shortage of recipes you’ll be able to make, but for inspiration you can refer to the included recipe booklet.
According to one reviewer: "This machine is a workhorse. Great for chopping meats for dumplings, for making dough, for prepping vegetables. Love it!"