Chops vegetables and nuts quickly
Blade locks into place
Cord wraps around unit for storage
Many color options
Lid difficult to close and disassemble
Chops inconsistently sized pieces
Challenging to clean
We purchased the KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Even if you have a full-sized food processor for your chopping and pureeing needs, sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth it to drag the large appliance out of the cupboard for small jobs like chopping a few cups of onions. The KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper is made for exactly these situations, as its compact design is perfect for quick meal prep tasks. To see how well it performed when compared to full-size food processors, we tested this gadget over the course of a few weeks. Here’s what we thought of it.
Design: Compact, colorful, and confusing
The KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper is lightweight and compact, measuring just under 9 inches tall and 6 inches wide, so it’s easy to keep on the counter or stash on a shelf. We found ourselves grabbing it for pretty much every chopping job, just because it was fun to use.
The appliance’s design is streamlined and attractive, almost resembling an old-fashioned blender with its columnar profile and clear polycarbonate plastic bowl. The base comes in a rainbow of colors, from Tangerine to Boysenberry, including both shiny and matte finishes. We also loved the cord storage feature: a channel in the base that allows the cord to be wrapped around the unit.
Inside the food chopper, the sharp, S-shaped removable stainless steel blade has one arm positioned close to the bottom of the bowl to prevent pieces from lodging underneath. Better yet, the blade locks in place, ensuring it won’t fall out while you’re pouring from the bowl’s spout. We found this feature handy, especially because the blade also prevented food pieces from falling down the open shaft in the middle, aiding in clean-up.
The lid was less satisfying, however. It proved difficult to lock and unlock, but with patience, we eventually got the hang of it. We struggled with disassembling the lid for cleaning, too. It has two parts—a hinged black ring that clips into a clear top—and there’s enough space between them to allow liquid or food bits to get stuck.
Performance: Powerful but tricky
Though only offering around 1/3 the juice of larger food processors, the KitchenAid’s 240-watt motor operates quickly and quietly. The unit has two speeds—chop and puree—controlled by a lever on a heavy-duty base.
Both the workbowl and lid drop into place, and you turn them counterclockwise to lock them into the base. We found this often takes a few tries to get it right. Finally, to operate the chopper, we pressed the button on the bowl’s handle repeatedly, which allowed us to chop up to 3 cups of ingredients at a time.
We liked that the lid on the KitchenAid Food Chopper has a drizzle basin, which features a hole in the bottom. If you pour in a tablespoon of liquid as the machine is running, this allows liquid to drip in slowly—great for emulsifying mayonnaise.
We 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.
To get a better idea of how users might put the chopper to work, we polled a few friends who cook, asking how they typically use choppers. We then compiled a list of frequent tasks, including bean dips and hummus, salsa, mayonnaise, baby food, garlic, and other vegetable chopping needs. We tested the KitchenAid’s ability to both chop and puree a variety of nuts and produce, and we also made peanut butter, salad dressing, fruit puree, and pesto.
Chopping produce was quick and easy with the machine, and most items only needed four or five pulses to break down. The chopper worked best with harder items, like cloves of garlic, which were minced in just a few seconds.
However, we had problems with softer produce. When we used the chopper on bell peppers, we ended up with larger pieces that wouldn’t break down and mush at the bottom of the bowl. A quick look at the manual gave a solution to this problem—it includes a handy chart of vegetables and meats that should be pre-cut into 1-inch chunks before processing to allow the blade to chop more consistently.
Armed with this info, we carefully prepped and chopped red onions, but it didn’t solve the issue entirely. To get consistently sized pieces, we could only achieve a dice or mince size, no matter what speed we used. For soups and stews, that wasn’t a problem, but it might not work for all recipes.
On a brighter note, the mini chopper excelled at making purees, liquids, and pastes. We whirred onions into a juicy paste to slather on chicken kebabs and whipped up kiwi-mango puree to top ice cream. Peanuts and cashews crumbled to bits with a few presses of the button, and adding oil through the drizzle basin on the lid made it easy to create nut butter. For a Cuban marinade, we measured out orange and lime juice, and there were no leaks during processing.
To clean the KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper, you can either hand wash the bowl, lid, and blade in hot, soapy water, or place them in the top rack of your dishwasher. Though the manual says it’s fine, we don’t advise placing the chopper's blade in the dishwasher, as it can get dinged or dulled if it bangs around. Finally, you can simply wipe down the base of the unit with a damp cloth to remove any drips.
We had to use a small brush to clean the various plastic tabs and grooves on the two-piece lid.
Washing the pieces by hand was harder than it needed to be. Decorative ridges inside the workbowl made it hard to scrape out pieces of food, and we had to use a small brush to clean the various plastic tabs and grooves on the two-piece lid.
We also had difficulties separating the two pieces of the lid. After watching a video that showed easy disassembly and searching other reviews for tips, it seemed that we should just be able to pull the top away from the bottom of the lid—yet we couldn’t. A small plastic piece blocked the tab, and we inadvertently snapped it off in our efforts. The chopper still functioned, but it was frustrating to learn the KitchenAid doesn’t sell replacement parts for this particular unit, so we’d have to keep the broken lid.
Price: Not cheap
With a price tag of $50, the KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper ranks among the more expensive electric mini choppers. (The price does fluctuate quite a bit online, with some colors being more expensive than others.) The price seems to be consistent with the unit’s powerful motor, design features, and heavyweight base, but we were concerned about the durability of its plastic parts.
Competition: Longevity and performance
Sunbeam Oskar Original Food Processor: We’ve had a positively ancient Sunbeam Oskar for 30 years, so we were delighted by some of the design and performance upgrades in the KitchenAid Food Chopper. Just having a handle on the workbowl gave us a thrill, and an easier locking system meant we no longer had to fight to remove the bowl. But will the KitchenAid, with its flimsy plastic bowl and two-part lid affixed by tiny plastic tabs, last several decades? Not likely.
Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini Prep Plus Food Processor: Likely its closest rival on the market today, the Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus has many of the same features as the KitchenAid Chopper but a slightly smaller 3-cup workbowl. Though the KitchenAid lacks the Cuisinart’s innovative reversible blade for chopping harder and softer items, only the KitchenAid’s blade actually locks into the bowl, making it unnecessary to remove before dumping out the contents.
It gets the job done.
If you’re in the market for a small, convenient chopper, this one will meet all your basic needs, and it’s fast and powerful enough to puree even hard ingredients like nuts—just don’t expect it to last forever.
- Product Name 3.5-Cup Food Chopper
- Product Brand KitchenAid
- MPN KFC3516BM
- Price $49.99
- Weight 2.7 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 7 x 9 x 6 in.
- Color Matte Black, Aqua Sky, Contour Silver, Empire Red, Matte Gray, Guava Glaze, Ice, Onyx Black, Pistacho, Blue Velvet, White
- Capacity 3.5 cups
- Material Polycarbonate plastic
- Warranty 1 year