The Best Food Processor for Smaller Kitchen Tasks

A full size food processor can take on a lot of jobs, everything from chopping vegetables to making pie or bread dough.

They’re great for making emulsifications like mayonnaise. They’re really good for pesto or hummus. They’re great for dressings, marinades. They’re also a lot less expensive than the full size food processors.

Now, they noted right off the bat that some of the machines tended to go a little fast, the motors were really strong, and that meant that you could too easily overprocess your vegetables. You didn’t get nice neat cuts. You got more like a vegetable slushie, which isn’t good. The opposite end of that problem were the machines that didn’t have quite enough oomph to really chop through this stuff. Like this one, for instance, made this pesto here.

That’s more like a salad. That’s exactly what it’s like. Some of the testers were really nice and described it as rustic, but either way it’s not acceptable. Pesto’s supposed to be a lot smoother than that.

In terms of making mayonnaise, what you have to do to make mayonnaise or any emulsification is to have your egg yolks and the other ingredients going inside the work bowl and dribble in the oil very slowly so that it will emulsify. And in order to do that you have to have some kind of opening in the lid of the machine. There are two types here. This one has a little drip hole, like that. This one has a feed tube, like that. Those four in front of you had neither, so you couldn’t really make a mayonnaise, which is a key task for a small food processor. So we kind of eliminated those based on that alone.

Of the three that did have some kind of opening, two of them made great mayonnaise. One of them didn’t actually make great mayonnaise, and after looking at it very carefully, the testers determined that it was a slightly flawed blade design, in that there was a little too much space underneath the blade. That allowed egg yolks and ingredients to spin around underneath and not really emulsify the way they should with the oil as it dribbled in.

Now, the blade type also made a difference in terms of nice clean cuts. Some of them had serrated blades, like this one. Those tended to chew up the food a little bit, didn’t make very neat cuts at all. Some of them had nice straight blades, like that one. They made much neater cuts, and that’s what our winning mini food processor had.

This is the Cuisinart Elite Collection Chopper/Grinder. It’s four cups. It’s just a hair under $60 and it had everything we’re looking for in a mini food processor: that four cup capacity, it made a beautiful mayonnaise, it had that nice clean, straight edge to make good cuts. It was a terrific little machine.

Well, there you go. Our winner is the Cuisinart Elite Collection. It’s a four cup chopper/grinder.