Food processors have become a staple in many kitchens. They save time chopping, pureeing, grating, and even dough-making, but they can be bulky and difficult to wash. They occupy precious counter or pantry space and often come with extraneous attachments that must be stored, as well.
A mini food processor, on the other hand, is a sound addition to any home kitchen. It's compact, easy to clean, and powerful enough to perform many of the tasks a larger appliance does, just in smaller batches. Whether you're grinding spices for a blend, chopping fresh herbs for salsa, or pureeing fruit for baby food, this small appliance is up for the job.
KitchenAid KFC3516BM 3.5-Cup Food Chopper
Drizzle basin to aid with liquids
Built-in pour spout
Lid difficult to lock and unlock
Complicated to get completely clean
There's a lot to love about this mini food processor from KitchenAid. Beyond the large palette of colors available, this compact processor has two speeds and a pulse option to guarantee you get the cut you want. Chop or puree with a simple press of your thumb on top of the handle. The most genius part of this design, though, is the drizzle basin. It serves as a funnel to slowly add oil for a perfectly emulsified dressing.
This mini food processor is beloved for economy of space and versatility of applications. The 3.5-cup work bowl locks the blade in, so it doesn't fall out when you empty it. There's a built-in spout for mess-free transferring of liquids, too. The bowl, lid, and blade are all dishwasher safe.
Price at time of publish: $60 for 3.5-cup in matte black
Power: 240 watts | Capacity: 3.5 cups | Measurements: 5.6 x 7 x 8.7 inches
“I liked that the lid has a drizzle basin. If you pour in a tablespoon of liquid as the machine is running, this allows liquid to drip in slowly—great for emulsifying.”
Proctor Silex Durable Electric Vegetable Chopper & Mini Food Processor
Custom pulse speed control
Proctor Silex's mini food processor is a dependable option if you're looking for an affordable food processor that still packs a punch. It holds about 1.5 cups of food at a time and will fit perfectly on your kitchen counter without taking up too much space. The stainless steel blades chop everything from fruits and vegetables to garlic and nuts. You can even adjust the pulse speed control from smooth to chunky, so you can easily make salsa, guacamole, sauces, or baby food using just one machine.
Along with its reasonable price and durability, this machine is simple to use and clean. After you're done with it, just disassemble the bowl, blades, and lid and place them in the dishwasher for an easy, breezy clean. While it may not have fancy additional attachments, this is a dependable machine that'll have you chopping and pureeing in a flash.
Price at time of publish: $21
Power: 150 watts | Capacity: 1.5 cups | Measurements: 7.09 x 4.72 x 5.12 inches
Hamilton Beach Blender and Food Processor Combo
Who doesn’t love a good combo? Hamilton Beach has a handy two-for-one collection that includes a blender and food processor. Conveniently, everything is still on the smaller side, since the food processor bowl has a 3-cup capacity and the blender holds up to 5 cups.
The food processor attachment is ideal for chopping, slicing, and shredding. It comes with two blades: a chopping S-blade and a shredding/slicing disk. With a 700-watt motor, the processor can handle anything from chopping nuts to shredding cheese. It’s a multi-functional tool perfect for preparing all kinds of meals or snacks.
The blender attachment has a wave action system that pulls ingredients back down towards the blades to ensure a nice, smooth blend. The glass pitcher even has helpful measurements on the side to keep things accurate.
Price at time of publish: $60
Power: 700 watts | Processor Capacity: 3 cups | Blender Capacity: 5 cups | Measurements: 6.8 x 7.8 x 15.2 inches
Best for Beginners
Hamilton Beach Stack & Press Glass Bowl Chopper
Easy cord storage
Limited variation on chop
Whether you're transitioning from solely chopping by hand or want a smaller, easier version of your bigger processor, this Hamilton Beach model is easy to assemble and simple to use. Its stackable design takes up little room on the counter but still offers a 3-cup capacity to tackle salsas and dips. It also has a built-in oil dispenser for making your favorite hummus or salad dressing.
The ease of use cannot be understated. Once you stack the bowls, a simple press is all it takes to operate. There are no complicated locking mechanisms or twisting parts. With a 350-watt motor and stain-resistant bowl, this powerful little chopper is a great choice for a home cook looking to simplify, but still have a tool to make short work of herbs and vegetables. For easy storage, the built-in cord is designed to coil under the base.
Price at time of publish: $41
Power: 350 watts | Capacity: 3 cups | Measurements: 6.3 x 5.51 x 5.51 inches
KitchenAid KFCB519BM Cordless Chopper
Easy to wash
Battery indicator light
Easy one-touch operation
Must use extra caution around super-sharp blades
Need to charge batteries
This model offers ultimate portability combined with modern convenience. It's cordless, fully recharges in under two hours, and comes with a whisk attachment for making homemade whipped cream. It's on the bigger side with a 5-cup capacity work bowl, but this affords the versatility of chopping larger quantities of vegetables and fruits.
There's no need to bring the blender outside or even worry about a power source for backyard margaritas when the KitchenAid Cordless Chopper is in your cache. It comes in seven colors, has dual-speed settings, and features stainless steel blades for all your chopping, mixing, pureeing, and whipping needs.
Price at time of publish: $100
Power: Lithium battery-charged | Capacity: 5 cups | Measurements: 13.74 x 7.4 x 7.32 inches
Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus Food Processor
Simple touchpad controls
Lid has holes to add liquid
Blade does not lock in place
The Cuisinart Mini Prep has saved me on multiple occasions when I only needed a small amount of an ingredient and did not want the large cleanup a full-size food processor entails. Its 3-cup capacity is perfect for quick pesto or grinding roasted hazelnuts for weekend scones.
The option to chop or grind lends this model versatility in food prep, and you can pulse or run in either mode. The blade reverses direction, allowing the use of sharp and blunt sides depending on your needs. Best of all, it has a lid with two holes in it for adding liquid. Hello, homemade aioli.
This choice also comes in multiple color options for optimal counter decor possibilities. The bowl is dishwasher safe and has a handle for easier transfer of ingredients, and the touchpad control could not be easier to use.
Price at time of publish: $40
Power: 250 watts | Capacity: 3 cups | Measurements: 10.2 x 8.4 x 5.9 inches
Zyliss Easy Pull Manual Food Processor
Great choice for traveling
Doesn’t use electricity
Have to put work in to use it
Heading out on a road trip or maybe just casual camping? This manual chopper will make your life so much easier when it comes to meal prep. No more knives and cutting boards in your gear packs. Its 3.13-cup capacity work bowl and booster-level handle design make for even chopping of large and small quantities of food.
The patented Swiss-designed, multi-use blade is proficient in chopping, blending, pureeing, and preparing ingredients. The booster arms on each side of the work bowl prevent food from sticking to the surface, too. This environmentally friendly, hand-powered solution is compact and ideal for small kitchens, campers, and RVs. To clean, it's top-rack dishwasher safe.
Price at time of publish: $40
Power: Manual | Capacity: 3.13 cups | Measurements: 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.2 inches
"This chopper had extremely easy and fast cleanup since it's small, has very few moving parts, and has nowhere for food to get trapped."
Best for Chopping
KitchekShop Mini Food Processor
Comes with portable travel cup
Has interchangeable blade types
Lid can be tricky to remove
This mini food processor from KitchekShop is the definition of “small but mighty.” It’s an electric-powered, cordless chopper with three sturdy stainless steel blades. Using it is as simple as can be since it has a one-touch start and stop button. Chop garlic, onion, carrots, chili, ginger, celery, and more for salsa, sauces, or tasty dips.
When fully charged via a USB cable, the mini food processor can run up to 50 times before needing another charge. There are also a number of handy safety features included, such as the magnetic lock, waterproof lid, and BPA-free plastic.
The KitchekShop Mini Food Processor comes in three possible colors: white, pink, and teal. It’s a handy little machine that’s portable, versatile, and convenient for all your chopping needs.
Price at time of publish: $23
Power: 30 watts | Capacity: 1 cup | Measurements: 4 x 4 x 6 inches
The KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Mini Food Processor is our top choice because of its revolutionary drizzle basin, which allows easy funneling of liquid into the bowl. The Proctor Silex Durable Electric Vegetable Chopper and Mini Food Processor does a real stand-up job for a low price.
What to Look for in a Mini Food Processor
When you choose a mini food processor, keep in mind what you may use it for and how much product you plan to process. Most have a 3- to 5-cup capacity and can accommodate prepping items like spices, herbs, dressings, and dips. The smaller models occupy less space, but can't handle larger portions of food. On the other end of the spectrum, a 5-cup processor toggles the line between a full-size and mini. It offers more options for quantity, but also occupies a much larger footprint in the kitchen.
Consider how much power your intended tasks might require. It's frustrating to get all of your ingredients together only to realize your appliance is not up to the job, or even worse, be halfway through and have it die. Most mini food processors have motors between 200 and 400 watts. On the lower end, you can do basic chopping and pureeing, but stubborn ingredients or larger batches will be problematic. Higher wattage ensures a more powerful and longer-lasting performance.
Whenever it comes to fast-moving blades, safety is paramount. A safety feature or two on a mini food processor can give you peace of mind while cooking. Look for safety locks, automatic shut-off features, or blades placed far away from anywhere your fingers might be.
Many food processors can do more than just chop ingredients. Some include bonus features such as measurements on the side of the bowl, helpful pouring spouts, different blade types, various speed levels, dishwasher safe attachments, or drip holes for making emulsions. These extra features elevate a good product to a great one, and can make cooking that much easier.
What can you use a mini food processor for?
Most mini food processors are good for mixing salad dressings, sauces, and condiments; making fresh salsas; dicing onions, peppers, garlic, and other small vegetables; chopping fresh herbs; and grinding coffee, roasted whole spices, and nuts.
Most mini food processors are not good for grinding meat, making doughs, grating cheese, slicing or julienning, or chopping large, bulky vegetables, like carrots or potatoes.
Is it easy to clean a mini food processor?
Because of its diminutive size, cleaning is relatively easy. Most models have only one blade, one lid, and one work bowl to wash. Some are even partially dishwasher safe, but be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions. The only caveat is that blades can be quite sharp, even on a mini model. Exercise caution when washing and drying.
Can you buy other blades or attachments for a mini food processor?
Unlike larger models, mini food processors follow the rule of "what you see is what you get," since they're only designed to perform small, specific tasks. The blades they come with are the ones you can use with them. Some include an additional attachment accessory, like a whisk, but this is not the standard.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Carrie Honaker is a food writer who has sampled many food processors, large and small. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she knows the importance of finding the right tool for the right job. She loves her Cuisinart Mini Prep for its durability and functionality. It helps that the polished chrome appliance look pretty on the counter, as well. Carrie's work has appeared in many publications, such as Basically, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.
Kelsey Graham, who updated this roundup, is a copywriter and freelance writer who spends most of her time thinking about food. Whether it’s writing about food, researching new recipes, or figuring out the best appliances to add to her kitchen, she’s up for the challenge. As an avid vegetarian, she knows how important it is to have a reliable food processor to mix up veggie burgers and, more importantly, one that’s up to the challenge of grinding cashews for a creamy vegan sauce.
Allison Wignall updated this article. Her work has been featured in publications including Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living.