After testing, we picked the Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor as the best of its kind, because of its sleek, minimalist design, powerful motor, and extra-large feed chute. The Vitamix 5200 is our top blender, because it's powerful enough to handle the toughest ingredients, and its innovative design allows for smooth, even blending via an easy-to-use dial.
A food processor and a blender may seem interchangeable, but each has its strengths and weaknesses in the kitchen. If you only have the space for one of these appliances or want to prioritize which one to add to your kitchen arsenal first, it pays to think about what you’ll be using it for most often.
If the foods you prepare have more of a liquid consistency—such as soups, milkshakes, or frozen drinks—a blender is your best bet. Food processors, on the other hand, are better at handling drier ingredients or chopping ingredients like veggies, nuts, and legumes. Sometimes, you can use either appliance: Food processors and most blenders can grind nuts into nut butter, make mayonnaise, whip cream, or blend dips like hummus. Still, in most cases, these appliances are not interchangeable.
To help you figure out which type of appliance best suits your needs, we've done the research to see which food processor and blender are the best of their kind, looking at consumer reviews and available information from manufacturers. We then sent some of our top picks to our home testers to see how each appliance performs in their own kitchens. After extensive testing, they rated each blender and food processor on aspects like performance, usability, design, and ease of cleaning.
Based on our testers' findings, here's our list of the best food processors and blenders.
Best Food Processor: Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor
Sleek stainless steel finish
Dual feed tubes
Who else recommends it? Tom's Guide and Insider both picked the Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor.
What do buyers say? 85% of 10,800+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.
This food processor looks much like the original version that made food processors so popular in home kitchens, but now it’s updated with a new chopping blade and a brushed stainless steel finish.
The operation is simple, with a single lever to turn the machine on, and a second lever for off/pulse functions. The bowl holds 14 cups, so it’s large enough for family meals. It has dual feed tubes, so you can feed whole large vegetables in the large tube or stand thin foods, like carrots and celery, in the inner small tube, so they won’t fall over during slicing.
This includes a slicing disc and a shredding disc, which are all you'll really need.
Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 9.75 x 7.75 x 15 inches | Weight: 16.5 ounces | Capacity: 14 cups | Wattage: 720 watts | Includes: 4-millimeter slicing disc, medium shredding disc, chopping/mixing blade
"I chose to make an apple crumb pie based on a recipe in the Cuisinart’s instruction manual, and it was a crowd pleaser with a near-perfect tender and flaky crust." — Tierney McAfee, Product Tester
Best High-End Food Processor: Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor
Quiet yet powerful motor
Extra-wide feed tube
Accessory storage box
This food processor has all the functions you’ll need, and the power to work with the ingredients you use most. It includes five multi-function discs and three blades that make short work of everything from dough to cheese to salsa. The large 16-cup bowl will handle large batches, while the 2.5-cup mini bowl is ideal for making hummus for one, or blending a little chimichurri for a garnish.
The super-wide feed tube lets you process most vegetables without needing to cut them into small bits, and the LCD screen displays a count-up and count-down auto timer, so you can monitor the processing time. The small feed tube makes it easy to handle small ingredients, while the small pusher doubles as a measuring cup. A silicone seal reduces leakage while the processor is running.
The variable slicing blade can be adjusted to 24 different slicing thicknesses, from paper-thin to 8 millimeters. The other discs are for julienne cuts, french fries, and whisking, as well as a reversible shredding disc. Blades include a universal chopping blade, a dough blade, and a blade that fits the mini bowl. There is an accessory storage box to hold the discs and blades to keep them safely tucked away when not in use.
Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 10.25 x 8 x 17.75 inches | Weight: 19.5 pounds | Capacity: 16 cups, 2.5 cups | Wattage: 1200 watts | Includes: 2.5-cup and 16-cup mixing bowls, 5 slicing discs, 3 blades, spatula, cleaning brush
"I made hummus with tahini and a white bean spread—both of which turned out smoother and creamier than dips we’ve made in the past." — Tierney McAfee, Product Tester
Best Budget Food Processor: Cuisinart FP-8GMP1 Elemental 8-Cup Food Processor
Limited two-year warranty
Cuisinart has been a popular brand of food processors for generations, for good reason—they’re sturdy kitchen workhorses. This is a basic model without the extras found on more expensive models, but it gets the job done with ease. It has four simple buttons for high, low, off, and pulse for perfect manual control for everything from chunky salsas to smooth purées. The bowl is 8 cups, and the work bowl has measurement markings, so it’s easy to see if there’s enough shredded cabbage for the slaw.
The included shredding and slicing discs are reversible, saving storage space while offering more cutting options. For easy cleaning, all of the removable parts are dishwasher-safe. While there are less-expensive food processors on the market, this one offers processing power and size for family use.
Material: Plastic, stainless steel | Dimensions: 7.75 x 9.5 x 15.25 inches | Weight: 6 pounds | Capacity: 8 cups | Wattage: 350 watts | Includes: Reversible slicing and shredding discs
The wide, flat blade and larger, shallower container make the food processor ideal for mixing or kneading dough, and the shredding disc is perfect for shredding veggies or cheese.
Best Blender: Vitamix 5200 Professional-Grade Blender
Are you tired of replacing blenders every year or so when the motors burn out? Add this one to your kitchen arsenal, and it will be the last blender you ever buy. It’s built to last, and it can do everything you need and more, from turning ice into fluffy snow to grinding grains into flour.
The blending speed is easy to adjust with a simple dial, and you can change that speed as you blend, so you can always control the speed to get the texture you’re looking for, while the pulse feature lets you do a rough chop for the perfect salsa. The blades spin so fast that you can heat cold ingredients to steaming hot in about six minutes, for smooth hot sauces, salsas, or soups. While the food gets hot, the motor is designed to run cool, so it won’t overheat with extended blending time.
For frozen treats, the rapid blending means that your ingredients won’t have time to heat up, so you can make soft-serve frozen treats when you start from frozen ingredients. This blender can also knead thick bread doughs, blend smooth batters for everything from pancakes to cookies, and grind nuts into smooth nut butters. Cleaning is just as simple: just add a drop of dish soap and warm water, and the machine cleans itself in about a minute.
Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 20.5 x 8.75 x 7.25 inches | Weight: 10.6 pounds | Capacity: 8 cups | Wattage: 1380 watts | Includes: Tamper, "Getting Started" guide
"There was such a huge difference in peanut butter texture, compared to what we made with other models. It wasn't crumbly or like peanut dust—it was actually smooth."
Runner-Up, Best Blender: Ninja SS151 TWISTi High-Speed Blender Duo
Built-in twist tamper
Very powerful motor
Comes with two to-go cups
Ninja’s brand new, innovative blender design has a twist tamper built into the lid so that you can push ingredients toward the high-speed blades with ease. Its powerful motor—the strongest of the ones in this roundup—can chop up tough ingredients, like kale stems, without your having to stop and shake the blender to ensure that everything gets mixed together.
You can use the Ninja TWISTi to make everything from smoothie bowls to creamy spreads by using its preset programs or pulse function, and you can even take drinks to go, since it comes with small cups. It can be a touch loud when operating, but what do you expect from a powerful motor?
Material: Plastic, stainless steel | Dimensions: 6.52 x 8.3 x 13.8 inches | Weight: 7.19 pounds | Capacity: 4.25 cups | Wattage: 1200 watts | Includes: 18-ounce and 24-ounce single-serve cups and spout lids, recipe guide
Best Budget Blender: Black+Decker PowerCrush Multi-Function Blender
Thick glass jar
Relatively quiet operation
Limited two-year warranty
Maybe you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a blender—we get it. For your basic blending needs, the Black+Decker PowerCrush Multi-Function Blender is a solid choice. The four-tip stainless steel blending blade works to draw ingredients down, creating a vortex for a smooth final product.
The blender has four speeds (low, high, low pulse, and high pulse) for tackling a variety of tasks, and the thick glass jar feels super-sturdy and has a molded spout for easy pouring. Piña coladas, anyone? When it’s time to clean up, the jar, blade, and lid are all dishwasher-safe.
Material: Plastic, glass, stainless steel | Dimensions: 8 x 7.5 x 16 inches | Weight: 9 pounds | Capacity: 6 cups | Wattage: 900 watts
Best Combo Blender: Oster Pro 1200 Blender Food Processor Combo
Great for small kitchens that don’t have space for extra appliances, this model has a single base that operates either the blender jar or the food processor bowl. It has seven speeds: three programmed settings for salsa, milkshakes, and smoothies, and a pulse function for perfect control of any recipe.
The blades move in both directions for faster, smoother blending. The glass jar is 8 cups and the food processor bowl is 5 cups, so it’s large enough for most recipes but not overly large. It’s convenient for storage on the counter or in the pantry.
Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 15.25 x 7.25 x 8 inches | Weight: 11.7 pounds | Capacity: 8 cups, 5 cups | Wattage: 1200 Watts | Includes: 5-cup food processor bowl
Runner-Up, Best Combo Blender: Cuisinart Velocity BFP-650 HP Blender/Food Processor
Built-in measuring cup in lid
Small bowl for food processor
Our runner-up two-in-one blender and food processor combo comes with a BPA-free Tritan plastic jar for blending and a food processor bowl. The blender comes with a tight-seal lid that has a 2-ounce measuring cup built in, plus preset programs for smoothies and crushing ice.
The food processor has everything you’d expect—a feed tube, pusher, combination slicer and shredder disc, and stainless steel chopper blade—but it is on the small side.
Material: Plastic, stainless steel | Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.5 x 15.5 inches | Weight: 1 pound| Capacity: 7 cups, 3 cups | Wattage: 700 Watts | Also Includes: 3-cup food processor attachment, two 16-ounce plastic cups
How We Tested
We sent some of our top picks for each category—food processors and blenders—for our home testers to evaluate. To test each food processor's chopping and dicing capabilities, our tester processed a range of food items of various shapes, sizes, and textures, from smaller items like nuts and garlic to larger ones like cucumber, carrots, and butternut squash. If the processor came with a shredding or a grating disc, our tester tested a block of cheese. When it came to the blenders, we had our testers evaluate power by how well the units crushed ice and blended frozen fruits and vegetables, as well as how well they mixed in dry ingredients, like protein powders into smoothies. If a blender had presets, our testers observed how well the ingredients were blended based on those settings.
After thorough testing, our home testers sent us their feedback and rated each blender and food processor on the following attributes: design, ease of use, size, ease of cleaning, overall effectiveness, and overall value.
What to Look for in a Food Processor or Blender
It’s important to match the jar or bowl to the amount of food you’ll be stuffing into it. If there isn't enough food in the bowl, it won’t blend well. With too much food, on the other hand, you might experience spills or leaks. If you’ll be working with both large and small amounts on a regular basis, a blender or processor with multiple sizes of containers might be the best buy.
Do you prefer knobs, buttons, toggles, dials, or touch screens? Today’s appliances offer a wide variety of control methods. Simple units might only have an on/off toggle, while others might have variable speed control or a variety of buttons. They’ll all get the job done, so it’s all about personal preference.
Food processors and blenders have sharp blades, which can make cleaning a bit hazardous. Do you prefer hand washing or feel safer placing the parts in the dishwasher? Do you prefer a removable blade or a fixed one? If you don’t like cleaning the appliance, chances are you’ll avoid using it regularly.
What is the difference between a food processor and a blender?
While a food processor and a blender may look pretty similar (spinning blades in a glass or plastic container), there are notable differences. “A food processor has large, wide blades that are great for making thick, spreadable purées,” says Ann Ziata, chef at the Institute of Culinary Education. She uses one to make hummus and other dips, vegetable purées, nut butters, and veggie burgers. “You can also use a food processor to grind your own flours and, in large quantities, herbs and spices.”
A blender, by contrast, “is taller and narrower, and has smaller—and often sharper—blades used to make pourable purées,” Ziata says. She uses it to make frozen drinks, smoothies, nut milks, soups, vinaigrettes, and marinades.
Can you use a blender as a food processor?
The short answer: Not really. Ziata notes that blenders and food processors are not usually interchangeable, but there are a few exceptions. Foods that aren’t too thick or too thin, like an herb vinaigrette, hummus, tomato sauce, can be made in either one. “If you don’t have a food processor, you can try to make it in the blender,” she says. “It usually will require stopping the motor and scraping down the sides a few times to get everything puréed.”
How do you use a food processor?
Before getting started, make sure your food processor is unplugged; safety first! Some food processors have sensors that keep them from running if the base and lid aren’t properly locked in, but you don’t want to take any chances. Lock the bowl and blade into the (unplugged!) base, and then add your ingredients. “Don’t remove the bowl from the base and then add your food, because it’ll be challenging to correctly lock the blade in if the bowl is full of food,” Ziata says. Put on the lid, plug in the food processor, and then turn it on.
Can you grind coffee beans in a food processor or blender?
In a pinch, you can use a food processor or blender to grind coffee beans, but if you’re particular about your coffee or plan on grinding coffee beans often, it’s worth investing in an actual coffee grinder. “It boils down to a lack of control,” says Jim Munson, founder of Brooklyn Roasting Company. “It takes a while for the hard beans to be chopped evenly enough for an even extraction. By the time you get there with a food processor or blender, the coffee beans are mostly powder.” Another advantage of a dedicated coffee grinder is that it allows for smaller amounts to be ground at once.
Can you make smoothies in a food processor?
While you could, technically, make a smoothie in a food processor, your results will be less than ideal. If you do that, Khoran Horn, chef-founder of Stripp’d Juice and CEO of VIII XII Hospitality, says to not expect a great drinking experience. “One thing most food processors cannot handle well is frozen ingredients,” he says. “The motor strength is simply not equipped to handle such tasks.” He adds that the shape of a food processor pushes dry ingredients to the bottom, which results in a nonuniform final product.
Can you grind meat with a food processor?
Brad Wise, owner of The Wise Ox Butcher Shop and executive chef/owner of TRUST Restaurant Group in San Diego, California, says that you should never grind meat in a food processor. “A food processor just isn’t the right tool to grind meat,” he says. “It will purée the meat, not grind it, and essentially turn it into mush.” A meat grinder, which pushes meat through a die, is the ideal tool for the task. “The exception is if you’re making some sort of emulsified meat like mortadella, bologna, or pâté,” he says.
How do you clean a food processor or blender?
Your first step to cleaning a food processor or blender should be using a rubber spatula to scrape out as much food residue as possible. “There’s usually a good amount lingering along the sides,” Ziata says.
If you’re cleaning a food processor, reattach the bowl, blade, and lid to the base, then run it for a few seconds. “Any extra food on the blade will fly to the sides for you to scrape off and enjoy, and your blade will be much easier to clean, too,” Ziata says. After that, hand-wash the individual pieces, being mindful of the sharp blades.
If you’re cleaning a blender, add a drop of dish soap and water to the blender, then run it for a few seconds to kickstart the cleaning process. Then, hand-wash the pitcher, lid, and blades.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a cookbook author and product tester for The Spruce Eats. In addition to reviewing more than 90 products for the brand, Donna has compiled roundups on other small kitchen appliances, such as the best toaster ovens, rice cookers, and air fryers.
Abigail Abesamis Demarest is a freelance journalist who specializes in food and drink content. She’s interviewed cooking experts to learn more about food processors and blenders, and she’s always keen to share this knowledge with readers. Her two-in-one Ninja blender and food processor gets plenty of use in her cooking and baking endeavors and is almost always on the counter during hot summer months for making breakfast smoothies.
This article was updated by Katya Weiss-Andersson, a writer and editor who has nearly a decade of experience as a professional chef.
Best food processors in 2022. Tom's Guide. https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-food-processors
The 3 Best Food Processors in 2022. Insider. https://www.insider.com/guides/kitchen/best-food-processor