Trendy air fryers, slow cookers, and 10-in-one blenders have gotten all of the love and attention in recent years, but it’s the timeless food processor that effortlessly yields our favorite dips, sauces, and spreads. A chef staple and meal prep necessity, the small but mighty appliance can be found in practically any restaurant kitchen and should find a permanent spot in yours, too.
“Food processors help cut down on prep time and will make your life a lot easier,” says executive chef John Villa from NYC’s Cucina 8 1/2. “They’re great for anything from puréeing vegetables to making pesto to mincing vegetables. We use them a lot in our dishes as a base or as an added garnish.”
Lucky for you, most high-quality food processors are also affordably priced at under $100, so we’ve rounded up our favorites so that you can be well on your way to chopping, pulsing, and puréeing bliss. Check out the best food processors under $100 below.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Ninja BN601 Professional Plus Food Processor
Capacity: 9 cups | Power Level: 1,000 watts
- Four preset programs to meet different meal prep needs
- Extremely strong motor
- Food chute and pusher
- Price frequently jumps to $119
Why we chose it: No ingredient stands a chance with this Ninja food processor that, frankly, does it all.
At a whopping 1,000 watts with four preset programs (chop, purée, dough, shredding disc), three speeds (low, high, pulse), and a long chute for last-minute ingredient additions (like olive oil for homemade dressings), there is nothing about this machine (other than inconsistent pricing on e-retailers like Amazon) that we can complain about. It chops, shreds, and purées with ease and even has enough power to mix up to two pounds of dough in only 30 seconds. Needless to say, it will be an appliance you’ll actually use on a daily basis and even includes a 20-recipe inspiration guide to cut the guesswork out of dinnertime.
Best Value: Elechomes Electric Food Processor
Capacity: 8 cups | Power Level: 300 watts
- Very inexpensive
- Sturdy glass bowl base
- Easy to use
- A weaker motor
Why we chose it: At less than $40, Elechomes ensures you get your money’s worth and then some.
Pinching pennies? No problem. You can chop your herbs and eat them, too, with this inexpensive Elechomes model that cleverly uses a dishwasher-safe glass bowl as its base. Its stainless steel shell is also as attractive as it is functional, offering built-in mute bearing to reduce the noise of the motor, as well as overheating protection to prevent it from working and burning out at higher temperatures. It is also, perhaps, the easiest to use on this list with a one-touch button that will mince most foods in only six (!) seconds.
Best Small Capacity: KitchenAid KFC3516WH Food Processor
Best Small Capacity
Capacity: 3.5 cups | Power Level: 240 watts
- Includes two speeds and pulse option
- Great at puréeing
- Easy to use
- A weaker motor
Why we chose it: This (dare we say) adorable model is ideal for anyone living solo.
There is no need to waste precious counter space if you live alone and are meal prepping for one. KitchenAid’s KFC3516WH model is small but mighty with a stainless steel blade and BPA-free work bowl that features a locking blade, handle, and easy pour spout. Every design detail has been taken into consideration, but quality is not sacrificed with size, making it a purchase you’ll feel extra good about.
Best Large Capacity: Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Duo Plus Food Processor
Best Large Capacity
Capacity: 12 cups | Power Level: 500 watts
- Dual-bowl versatility
- Can fit whole tomatoes, potatoes, and onions
- Removable parts are dishwasher-safe
- Pouring a challenge due to low blades
Why we chose it: Feeding a family? Hamilton Beach has you covered with a 12-cup contraption that can take on meals en masse.
Hamilton Beach is more like Hamilton Beast with this jumbo-sized model that can take on whole fruits and vegetables in a 12-cup bowl. Its versatile S-blade allows amateur cooks to chop, mix, and purée to their heart’s content and its plastic parts are easily removable and dishwasher-safe so that cleaning is less of a chore. Looking to make a quick and small sauce or garnish? A four-cup bowl nests on the inside so you don’t have to rely on the larger bowl to make everything. That means less mess and less inconsistent textures. And that’s something we can all get behind.
Best Manual: ZYLISS Easy Pull Manual Food Processor
Capacity: 3 cups | Power Level: N/A
- Booster arms keep food from sticking
- Easy to transport with hand-powered pull design
- Top of device isn’t machine washable
Why we chose it: ZYLISS offers a contraption that is not only perfect for camping and road trips, but also a mini arm workout.
Electricity? Who needs it. There is something oddly therapeutic about pulling a string to slice and dice your fruits and vegetables. Two blades rotate in opposite directions to chop ingredients while booster arms on the top and bottom keep the food from sticking and encourage more uniform cuts. Obviously, the more pulls, the finer the outcome, so yank that cord with caution, and enjoy beautifully prepared salsas, pestos, and even smoothies in practically no time.
How We Chose These Products
We polled some of our favorite chefs to ask about the food processor brands and models they’d recommend to consumers. From there, we narrowed this list down to options that were less than $100 and boasted consistently positive reviews on Amazon and their own websites. After trying a handful of our own, we then selected the best of the best in the five aforementioned categories.
Features to Keep in Mind When Shopping for Food Processors Under $100
The higher the motor wattage, the more powerful the machine. While something as high as 1,000 watts (like our pick for best overall) may not be necessary for the bulk of your cooking needs, it’s a wonderful feature to have and will purée your ingredients in practically no time.
Most food processors can do it all: chop, mince, blend, and purée to either meal prep ingredients or create your favorite dips, spreads, and sauces. That said, some models specialize in some actions over others. Be sure to research versatility in speed levels, blade types, and capacity to ensure that they accommodate the majority of your go-to recipes.
Easy to Clean
Most detachable parts in a food processor are dishwasher-safe for easy clean-up. Be sure to also consistently wipe down external surfaces to prevent mold and food accumulation. You don’t want a model with lots of nooks and crannies or you’ll have to potentially spend money on professional cleaning.
Ask the Experts
Not all food processors are created equal. For a few quick tips on features to keep in mind while shopping, we chatted with executive chef John Villa from NYC’s Cucina 8 ½.
Q: How many watts should a good food processor have?
“The bigger the better. For me, over 500 watts.”
Q: Can I use a mini chopper as a food processor?
“Those are really just for chopping vegetables.”
Q: Which food processor do chefs use?
“Robot Coupe brand.”
Q: What is the most important thing to look for in a food processor?
“Make sure it's sturdy. You don't want to go cheap. A good processor will last a long time. I also look for firm steel blades that will hold an edge longer.”
Whether you haven’t perfected your knifework, don’t have much time, or are simply too lazy to chop, mash, blend, and purée ingredients for dinner, a food processor is a wise investment. Sure, you could always spend your hard-earned dollars on more expensive versions of these food processors that seemingly do it all, but it’s likely that most of its features will go unnoticed and unappreciated. An affordable, simple, and classic food processor will always come in handy, making it a cut above the rest and a welcomed and necessary addition to any kitchen countertop.
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