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Food choppers have been around for a long time—and for good reason. First, they make chopping less messy since they usually do their chopping inside a container, and they’re particularly handy when chopping something like nuts that tend to fling themselves around when cut. Second, they’re a good way to let kids help in the kitchen in a safe way. They're also great for people who have poor knife skills or dexterity problems. And last, they’re fun to use.
Manual choppers are simple to use and relatively inexpensive. They’re useful for rough chopping nuts or vegetables, and particularly good for making salsa. Electric choppers are essentially mini food processors. They’re great for rough chopping, just like the manual choppers, but they can also be used for making small amounts of purees. They’re easier to use than manual choppers since you just press a button to pulse or puree. With all choppers, the results are best if larger foods, like onions, are first cut into pieces.
Here, the best food choppers for your kitchen.
Best Overall: Kuhn Rikon Pull Chop 2 Cup Food Chopper
While most hand choppers require you to push down to chop, this uses a pulling action that spins the blades, like the pull-start on a lawnmower, but on a much smaller and easier scale. A non-skid ring on the bottom of the bowl keeps it from slipping, so you just rest a hand on top and pull the handle with the other hand.
The spinning blades work like a food processor for chopping foods as coarsely or finely as you like, and since the blades continue spinning after you pull, it only takes a few pulls to chop all the ingredients in the bowl. The blades are removable too, so after chopping something like coleslaw, you can remove them to add the dressing and mix. This holds about 2 cups. The lid is not dishwasher safe, and should not be immersed in water when washing by hand.
Best Electric: Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus Food Processor
This mini food processor won’t knead dough like a big food processor can, but it will make quick work of chopping everything from apples to nuts to zucchini. It can also blend small amounts of food into purees, or emulsify your salad dressing.
The blade is auto-reversing for the best grinding or chopping action, and the 3-cup bowl makes a nice batch of salsa without needing to empty the bowl over and over. With this little machine, you can chop herbs, garlic, or vegetables, grind spices or hard cheese, puree vegetables, and make mayonnaise. There are two simple buttons (chop and grind) for easy operation, and the bowl and lid are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. A spatula is included.
Best Budget: Kwik-Kut Cutlery Serrated Food Chopper
This vintage-style one-piece chopper is beloved for its simplicity, with no moving parts, no jar, and no extra pieces to keep track of. Best used in a flat-bottomed bowl, you simply push down to chop foods. Since it’s not confined in a small jar or bowl, you can chop large quantities of food. While a bowl is the best option, it can also be used on a cutting board. It’s great for chopping nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
Users say it’s the ideal tool for making tuna or egg salad, and because of the long handle, it can be used in a cooking pot to chop cooked greens or similar foods. When it’s not being used for chopping, you can use it to tenderize meats or cut cookies, biscuits, or pastries. This is made from rust-proof stainless steel. Hand washing is recommended.
Runner-Up, Best Budget: Zyliss Zick-Zick Classic Food Chopper
The zig-zag blade in this chopper performs more cuts per push than choppers with an X-blade, and the blade rotates with each push so food is chopped more evenly. Wipers scrape food off the blade with each cut, so you won’t have large pieces of food stuck to the blades, either. This tool comes apart for cleaning and can be washed in the dishwasher. It also comes with a cover, so the base can be used for storage.
If you’re going to get a manual chopper that leaves your chopped product directly on a cutting board, it may be a good idea to invest in a bench scraper or PrepTaxi, which will help you scrape up your chopped ingredients and transfer them to a bowl, skillet, sheet pan, or wherever it needs to go. Between your food chopper and your bench scraper, you will save a lot of time with ingredient prep and you won’t have to worry about chopped food parts scattering all over your kitchen.
Best Manual Model: Norpro Big Mouth Chopper
Chopping onions is one of the most grueling kitchen tasks, particularly for people who tend to get watery eyes while chopping—not to mention the annoying scent that clings to fingers. While this tool can be used for cutting other foods, like firm tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, or similar foods, it’s ideal for onions, since the onion layers combined with the chopping grid result in diced onions with one swift motion.
There are three different cutting grids: a 1/4-inch dice, 3/8-inch dice, and one that creates 1/4-inch slices or strips. The blades are stainless steel and all parts are dishwasher safe. A lid is included so food can be stored in the container for later use. It holds about 6 cups.
Like similar choppers, this isn’t ideal for soft tomatoes, but it works very well for celery, which often thwarts choppers because of the strings. Over time, the blades can become dull and won’t cut as well. However, replacement blades can be purchased from the manufacturer.
Best High-End: KitchenAid KFC3516ER 3.5 Cup Food Chopper
This little food processor has many of the features of a full-sized machine, with a small 3.5-cup bowl. The blade locks in place, so you can empty the bowl without the blade dropping out, and there’s a handy pouring spout for dispensing liquids and purees. The lid locks on so you can operate the machine without having to hold it in place.
There are two speeds with pulsing, so you can get finely or coarsely chopped foods. A drizzle hole lets you add oil or other liquids slowly. The work bowl, blade, and lid are all dishwasher safe.
Best with Easy Storage: OXO 1057959 Good Grips Chopper
Great for prepping ahead, this chopper is larger than others of this style, with measurement marks on the bowl up to 1 cup, so it’s easy to see how much has been chopped. The measurements also mean there’s no need to dump the chopped food into a separate measuring cup to make sure there’s enough for recipes. Even better, there’s a cover for the bowl, so foods can be prepped ahead and stored in the same bowl, with no need for dirtying extra containers. A handy spoon is included, to scoop out just a little of the chopped foods.
The blades are formed in a wave pattern and rotate for even chopping, while the non-skid base keeps the chopper from wandering around the counter while it’s being used. When chopping is done, this is easy to disassemble and it’s dishwasher safe. For folks who like to do a lot of prepping ahead, extra bowls with covers are available for separate purchase.
Best Cordless Electric: KitchenAid KFCB519BM Cordless Chopper
No need for electricity, manual pushing, or cranking—this cordless electric chopper has a 5-cup capacity and can chop up to 40 onions on a single charge. A low battery indicator warns when it’s time to recharge the battery, which takes about two hours for a full charge. But if you need just a bit more work done and the battery is low, a ten-minute charge is enough to handle up to 11 more onions.
This tool has two speeds for chopping, mixing, pureeing, and even whipping cream. It includes a multipurpose blade for chopping and blending, along with a whisking accessory. The accessories can be stored inside the chopper, and a case is included to keep everything neat and clean in storage. This is available in a variety of colors to match your kitchen’s décor.
The Kuhn Rikon Pull Chop 2 Cup Food Chopper (view at Amazon) snags our top spot because of its uniqueness among hand choppers, using an easy pulling action to operate its blades, which work like those of a small food processor. If an electric chopper is more your speed, the Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus Food Processor (view at Amazon) not only makes quick work of chopping small foods from nuts to apples, but can also emulsify your salad dressings.
What to Look for in a Food Chopper
By Sara Tane
Ease of Use
The ease of use of a food chopper essentially boils down to whether it is manual or electric. While both models are fine for cooks of all levels to use, an electric food chopper definitely takes some of the labor out of the process. They will run you a bit more money, but operating them is as simple as the push of a button.
In the case of manual food choppers, you will need to cut down food so that it is small enough to fit in the chopper (onions and peppers should fit as is, but longer items like celery or carrots will need to be cut down). While it may add a few extra minutes to your prep time, using a manual chopper is still a great way to save time in comparison to chopping everything by hand. If you’re not confident with your chopping skills, both manual and electric choppers are easy ways to avoid spending too much time with your knife.
Food choppers can hold anywhere from 1 cup to 6 cups of food (in comparison, full-size food processors can hold anywhere from 11 to 16 cups), but the most common size is a 3-cup processor. Determining how many people you’re typically cooking for and how much vegetable prep you are generally doing is a great way to figure out what will work best for you.
If you are going to be using this for big-batch cooking, meal prep, or occasion cooking, it might be a good idea to go for a chopper with a bigger capacity so that you don’t have to keep working in batches to prep all the vegetables. If you’re typically just cooking for yourself and one other person, you’re probably fine to opt for a smaller, manual 1-cup chopper. Smaller choppers are great for prepping smaller items like garlic, ginger, herbs, and nuts, while larger choppers are great for bigger items like onions, carrots, peppers, and celery.
Most blades are made of stainless steel because they can withstand rust or corrosion. Since the blade will be coming into contact with lots of moisture-heavy foods like onions and tomatoes, it’s a good idea to make sure that the blade is resistant to rust. Not only is stainless steel resistant to water, but it’s highly durable and easy to maintain.
There's no need to worry about any shards of steel ending up in your food and you won’t have to replace your blade for a long time because they can really withstand the test of time. If you notice that the blade of your chopper is made with any material that isn’t stainless steel, you may have to replace it sooner or care for it differently, so make sure to read the user’s manual before cleaning.
A food chopper can run you anywhere from $10 to $50, so understanding what you want out of this appliance is crucial to making the right decision when shopping. Generally speaking, a manual food chopper is going to cost less than an electric version, so if you’re wanting something that’s more on the budget-friendly side, definitely go for the former. If you plan to use it a lot, you may want to spend a few extra dollars for an electric version. Not only can they process more food at once, but they’re also as easy to use as the push of a button, so no need to crank or press down on anything to chop the food.
Types of Food Choppers
The most common types of food choppers are manually operated. They are much less expensive and very straightforward to use. These choppers are usually operated by a cutting grid, and the food is chopped into a plastic lid or container. They are ideal for cutting vegetables like onions, peppers, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. If the food item is on the bigger side, it will need to be cut down to a small enough size to fit in the chopper before it can be chopped.
While these manual choppers still require a little bit of elbow grease to chop down into the veggies, it’s still much easier and quicker than chopping all of these veggies by hand. They are quite compact as well, so if you don’t have a ton of extra kitchen space, you’ll likely still be able to fit a manual food chopper into a drawer or cabinet.
Electric food choppers (aka mini food processors) are a great way to cut down on prep time. They take up a small amount of counter space and require access to an outlet (though there are some battery-operated choppers that are cord-free). Unlike full-size food processors, electric choppers are much smaller, only have one blade option, and do not have the capability to process as much food. Electric choppers can cut up small amounts of produce, while food processors can make purees, doughs, and sauces. Unlike manual choppers, though, electric food choppers can also make salad dressing, mayonnaise, and other emulsified sauces.
For a solid electric food processor, KitchenAid makes a variety of higher-end versions. These models have a great capacity given their compact size, and most come with two different pulsing speeds, giving you the option for fine or coarse chops.
This brand makes a variety of compact, easy-to-use manual choppers. If you’re looking to cut down on prep time but you’re not looking to invest in another electric appliance, this is a great budget-friendly option.
Known for its high-power food processors, Cuisinart also makes a great version of an electric food chopper. Like KitchenAid models, there is a 3-cup bowl, two pulsing options, and an easy-to-clean bowl and blade.
For the most part, food choppers—including their blades, bowls, and lids—are dishwasher-safe. That said, to maintain the sharpness and integrity of the blade, it is probably in your best interest to skip the dishwasher and hand-wash. Unfortunately, the blades on these choppers cannot be sharpened, so it’s important to take the best possible care of them. They should last you a long time, but not forever, so if you notice a blade dulling, it is probably time to replace them. Certain brands offer part replacements so look first to see if you can just replace the blade before buying a new appliance.
Soaking the parts in hot soapy water is a great way to remove any remaining residue. If you can, it’s a good idea to get into the nooks and crannies around the blade, inside the food pressers, and around the tube with a bottle brush or toothbrush. In the case of electric food processors, make sure that the device is cooled down and unplugged if you are going to wipe the base with a hot, damp cloth. Never pour or submerge the electronic base in water.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a product tester and writer for The Spruce Eats. She's also a prolific food blogger and the author of Make Ahead Bread, which is aimed at demystifying the art of bread making. Donna also loves checking out new kitchen gadgets—see her roundups on the best spiralizers and the top cookie tools, for starters.