Food processors take away many of the time-consuming chores that cooking up a storm involves. At their simplest, food processors chop and mix basic ingredients while others can mix dough or even grind coffee beans. A combined food processor and blender can whisk up deliciously healthy smoothies from your favourite vegetables or fruit. The more complex a processor is and the more attachments it has, however, the higher the price so before investing in one think about what you need it to do and how often you will be using it.
Before electricity, cooking was very labour intensive. Then, the invention of electricity saw a gradual introduction of kitchen gadgets and appliances, including food processors. Although invented in the late 1940s it wasn't until prices fell with mass-production in the 1960s that the food processor became a must-have tool in both professional and domestic kitchens.
This buyer's guide will take you through everything you need to know about food processors, as well as where to find the food processor deals.
Features to Look for When Buying a Food Processor
While a food processor can be an invaluable extra pair of hands in the kitchen you need to consider certain features before making your purchase. These include:
Food processors come with bowl and jug sizes that range from1.5 to 4 litres. Processors with bigger bowl sizes usually have more features but also take up more storage space. For general family use, a food processor with a capacity of 2.5 litres is usually enough. Some brands produce food processors that have one or two additional bowls in different sizes. These are ideal for processing different amounts of food or for swapping between processes without having to wash the bowls.
Attachments and Functions
Discs for grating and slicing as well as blades for chopping and mixing are standard on most food processors and should be more than enough for everyday use. Additional attachments you might find useful include different sized discs for slicing as well as graters, spiralisers, baton-makers (for chips) and a range of dicing blades. If you love your coffee, you might also appreciate a grinder for coffee beans.
Food processors have a tendency to move around the counter when heavier work such as mixing dough or grinding coffee beans is underway. A model with suction-cup feet prevents this from happening.
Most food processors come with two operational speeds and should be all you need. Use the faster speed for processing solid ingredients such as vegetables and nuts and the slower speed for blending ingredients and mixing dough.
A pulse function is useful for controlled chopping when you don't want vegetables turned into a puree. A few quick pulses are all it takes to chop an onion or a clove of garlic.
Wattages on food processors range from 300 to 2000 although a higher wattage is not always an indicator of higher quality. Machines of around 500W should have all the power you need to tackle even the toughest of jobs such as chopping raw carrots or grating hard cheese. If, however, you select a food processor with a larger bowl capacity, check it has a motor of at least 600W to prevent it from burning out.
A few food processor models have set programmes that distinguish between different tasks such as kneading and pulsing. This means the machine can be set to work while you get on with different household tasks or relax with a cup of coffee.
Food processors vary widely in price and paying several hundred pounds does not always guarantee that your new kitchen helper will deliver everything you want it to. The cheapest food processor you can find might be the perfect one for you.
Food Processor Brands
Many well-known kitchen appliance names produce food processors. These include:
Kenwood:Kenwood is a well-respected brand. You can get a Kenwood food processor to suit every budget and every kitchen need, with perhaps the most well-known being the Kenwood kMix.
NinjaKitchen: With a Ninja food processor you have a tool where power meets precision. Its food processors are noted for delivering an amazing range of functions.
Magimix: As the brand name suggests, Magimix was one of the world's first makers of food processors and is still a well-respected market leader.
KitchenAid: For many decades, KitchenAid has been another brand leader in making reliable food processors that help bring out your kitchen creativity.
Cuisinart: Cuisinart has long been a master of culinary skills, an art that is reflected in the wide choice of its food processors.
Sage: Versatile, durable and precision-engineered, a Sage food processor is a good choice for both home and professional kitchens.
Bosch: Bosch kitchen appliances have always been world leaders with their use of intuitive and innovative technology. Some of its food processors can handle up to 50 techniques!
The final choice, however, will come down to your personal preference and your budget.
A Comparison of Best-Selling Kenwood, Ninja and Magimix Food Processors
Here's a quick comparison of some of the best food mixers out there:
Ninja CT670 UKV Smart Screen
Vacuum blending jug (2.1L), bowl (1.1L), feed chute, blades, discs, spatula, recipe book
Here are the main pros and cons of having a food processor:
Time-saving: if you are regularly cooking for a large family or enjoy entertaining groups of friends, a food processor can definitely save you preparation time in the kitchen.
Safety: if you are unsure of your knife skills or like to share your cooking with younger family members, used correctly a food processor is much safer than chopping and dicing with sharp knives.
Control and consistency: chopping and dicing vegetables to a consistent size and shape is not only time-consuming but tricky. A food processor takes the guesswork out of this.
Encourages healthy eating: when fruit and vegetables can be prepared and processed quickly you are more likely to incorporate them into a healthy diet.
Durability: a food processor from a well-respected brand that meets your kitchen needs should be a long-lasting investment.
Storage space: food processors can take up valuable space on the worktop. If stored in a cupboard, they are not only taking up storage space but are less likely to be used regularly.
Cleaning: once used, the food processor and the attachments that have been used have to be carefully cleaned. Some food processors have several parts, some of which involve sharp edges so be careful.
Cost: apart from the most basic models, food processors come with a fairly hefty price tag. This is why doing some research and thinking about your kitchen needs before investing in one is important.
How to Clean a Food Processor
While bowls and blades should be washed and carefully dried after every use, spend fifteen minutes or so every so often to give your food processor a thorough clean. This will lengthen its life as well as ensuring it is always safe to use. Follow these simple steps:
Dismantle the food processor following the manual instructions. Remove any hidden pieces of food while being careful to avoid sharp blade edges.
Gently wash all the blades, discs and other attachments with a mild soap and water solution. Dry thoroughly as retained moisture can lead to rust damage. For stubborn stains make a paste with bicarbonate of soda and a little warm water.
Wash all the removable components of the food processer using the mild soap solution. Do not be tempted to scrub with abrasive cleaners or pads. Leave to dry thoroughly before reassembling.
Using a damp cloth, wipe down the base unit that contains the motor. Do not immerse electrical parts in water.
Reassemble the food processor.
Food Processor Accessories
A wide range of accessories for food processors is available. These vary from make to make so check out the homepage of your food processor brand as well as our hotukdeals pages. Accessories include:
A food processor is a versatile friend in your kitchen. Basic models quickly and efficiently chop, slice, grind, shred, mix and puree just about any food you can think of, saving you time and energy. Some food processors also grind coffee beans, knead bread dough and mince beef steak and other meat while a combined food processor and blender makes delicious and healthy juices, smoothies and soups.
Is food processor same as blender?
The answer to this depends on your model. A model that is purely a food processor is designed to work with drier food - chopping, slicing and mixing ingredients while a stand-alone food blender pulverises and combines (blends) liquids or foods with a higher water content. In reality, many food processors are also food blenders.
Can food processors make smoothies?
Most food processors can make delicious smoothies using a range of healthy ingredients but the process is much easier if your food processor is combined with a blender. With a combined food processor and blender, your fruit and vegetable smoothies will have a smoother consistency.
Will food processor grind coffee beans?
With a little patience, coffee beans can be ground in even the most basic of food processors. Put a small handful of beans into the bowl and use the 'pulse' button in short bursts. Tilting the bowl during the process helps produce an even 'grind'. If, however, you are serious coffee connoisseur, then for the best results, invest in a food processor with a coffee-grinding blade.
Where and When to Shop for Food Processor Deals
High street stores such as John Lewis and Currys PC World as well as larger branches of supermarkets including Tesco and Sainsburys are good places to shop for food mixer deals. Make even bigger savings by waiting until one of their regular seasonal sales. You can also shop for food processors online at brand websites or sites such as Amazon, Wayfair, AO or Argos. If you can wait until November to make your purchase, most retailers will have a food processor sale during Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
Cooking Up a Treat with Food Processor Deals with hotukdeals
Whether you are a professional chef looking for a food processor with multiple functions or a keen home cook who needs a food processor to save time and energy in the kitchen, make sure to visit hotukdeals. We make your choice easy by bringing all the best food processor bargains together on one page.