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Help selecting a food processor

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I want to buy a food processor - if that is the right term. There seems to be a lot of similar products - blenders, food processors, etc. - that seem to have a lot of overlap.

I saw a favorable review of a 7-cup cuisinart food processor but one review did say that unless you are cooking for more than two people it is not a good choice because it doesn't work well with small quantities.

So, I would appreciate any direction anyone might offer.

(I'm not even sure right now of all the functions I would want out of a food processor but I do know that, at a minimum, I want to puree some vegetables so that I can sneak them into my son's food.)
post #2 of 28
Blenders can whip in more air and create more smoothness. Think liquids.

Food processors are more flexible but can't create the smoothness of a blender.

Even for one person, there is no reason to buy a small food processor. They are too versatile to limit in that way. 11 cups is the smallest you should consider. They often come with small bowls for those small jobs too. In reviews, between Kitchenaid and Cuisinart, the distinguishing feature is bread dough. Cuisinart does dough better. Otherwise, Kitchenaid tends to have a better price/performance point.

For pureeing soups, I've been quite pleased with inexpensive hand blenders (less than $30).

Costco sells the 11 cup Cuisinart for about $150. They've got a Cuisinart hand blender for just under $30. Occasionally, special deals on the food processor come through that have extra blades, sheet pans and so on.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 28
What Phil said.

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
So I might need a blender and a food processor? The blender deals with ingrediants that start out as liquids, or that end up as liquids? What kinds of things might I use a blender for (making smoothies, for example, I presume), versus what kinds of things would I use the food processor for?

Are there major differences in how easy different blenders and food processors are to use, and in how easy to clean?

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
So, to puree, would I use a blender, or would I use a food processor?

What's the dif between them? The power of the motor?
post #6 of 28
You might use either to puree; or a food mill; or an immersion blender; or ... It all depends on what and how much you seek to puree.

The differences between a blender and a processor is that a blender's container is shaped like a pitcher with a fairly small base; while a processor's container is a straight sided bowl with a wide base; a blender has a comparatively small set of four blades; and a processor a fairly large set of wide blades; processors can be handle a number of dry tasks that blenders cannot -- like mixing dough; blender can handle a number of wet tasks that processors cannot -- like making smoothies and shales; etc.

I frequently cook for two and four -- and almost never use my processor. Partly because my knife skills are very good -- and a knife is the BEST processor; and partly because I have other resources like a stand mixer, a hand mixer, several whisks, an immersion blender and a commercial quality blender. Still, I wouldn't want to give it up for those times we have parties, or those times when I do something it does best.

I'm not sure what your budget is, but most people would rather have a blender than a processor. I recommend buying a commercial quality blender -- power makes a real difference on the humble milkshake and the frozen daiquiri. Mrs. Novice would love a frozen daiquiri. Make her happy.

post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
The things tight now that I know I would want to make are milk shakes, smoothies, purees (of vegetables, to put into hamburger) and humus.

So, would I want to go with a good blender, or a food processor (or do I need both)?
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
So a food processor is not good for making smoothies and milk shakes?
post #9 of 28
Correct. It's not.

post #10 of 28
not to throw a monkey wrench in, but I find the "stick blenders" to be super helpful....most come with a small "food processor" too...

sure its not 11 cups, but i find the stick blender part awesome, and the food processor adequate for most of my needs.

just something to look at....especially if you looking to "Save space"

but...a food processor for smoothies = not good. and a blender for food pro = not good

but a stick blender that has a food pro attachement as well, not so bad.

something like Cuisinart CSB-77 Smart Stick Hand Blender with Whisk and Chopper Attachments: Home & Garden
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Wow, the reviews on amazon for this are raving. Unfortunately, or not, I already went out and purchased a device called the Magic Bullet. A salesperson at bed bath and beyond told me she had both a cuinsart chopper and this magic bullet and she raved about the magic bullet.

But, if for some reason I become dissatisfied with the magic bullet, or if it breaks, I'll strongly consider the smart stick.
post #12 of 28
I once nevermind. :lol:

good luck with your purchase :)
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I just made some strawberry smoothies in it and some milkshakes. Both came out pretty good. We'll see how long it lasts (the reviews on amazon were mixed).
post #14 of 28
The Bullet's not a blender. This is a blender: Waring - NuBlend Bar Blenders from The Restaurant Source :: Restaurant Equipment :: Restaurant Supply

This is what we have, and I consider it kind of a minimum if you're serious about cooking and getting smashed ... whoops ... I meant making smoothies and milk shakes. Smoothies and milk shakes, that's the ticket.

It will blend. Oh yes it will blend. I especially enjoy the slight whiff of ozone coming off the American wound motor.

post #15 of 28

"and the lamp blazed forth
in unparalleled glory"
post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
So this Waring blender is good for shakes and smoothies. What other kinds of things can it be used for? That is, can it be used to make puree out of vegetables, or dip, or making dressings?
post #17 of 28
"This is what we have, and I consider it kind of a minimum if you're serious about cooking and getting smashed ... whoops ... "

Dangit, BDL- when is that cookbook coming out?

On the topic, I have all of the things mentioned above (I'm a tool nut, remember?) and I would strongly recommend the Cuisinart MiniPrep for small blending jobs. Ity's great for mincing garlic- the cloves bounce around until they're just the right size, and then they stick to the sides of the bowl, out of the way of the blades.

travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
post #18 of 28
I'm hoping to have it in good enough shape by the holidays to get serious about finding a publisher. In the meantime read my blog and you'll know what's happening as it happens.

Next entry should be pretty good, as I'm feeling pretty cocky about having figured out how to organize a technique based cookbook in a way that makes sense, isn't set up around "fish," 'poultry," "appetizers" etc., and doesn't chop the book up into a bunch of discrete, unrelated snippets. I'll post either this weekend or early next week. If you want to harass me, make fun of me, give me advice, and otherwise make my life worthwhile, leave a comment there.

While I don't use them because I like to play with knives, I think the mini processors are great, and the MiniPrep is supposed to be top dog. I understand the "Bullet" does all of the the same things and more, but maybe not as well. They have them at BB&B. Pretty cool.

We'll be hearing more from Novice on the bullet, no doubt. You guys actually have a lot in common in your approaches -- you've both got the patience to pick things apart until they're at the quark level and continue to ask questions.

post #19 of 28
A few years back when my ancient coal fired blender with the flint arrowhead blades died ( okay, maybe it wasn't THAT old ) I ended up buying a fairly nice Hamilton-Beach unit. Great blender, works well, does a good job on my various homemade blender mayo recipes. It came with a small food processor device consisting of a different blade and a smallish, straight sided container that fits into the stand where the pitcher would normally go. I've used a couple of times, at the moment I can't even remember where it is.

When I need a blender, I use the blender. When I need a food processor, I use my trusty old Cuisanart. But for some folks, a combination device like the Hamilton-Beach might be a good comprimise. It works, but not as well as a 'real' food processor.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I am making note of this.
post #21 of 28

Keep us updated on the Bullet. It's a very cool little collection of machinery.

post #22 of 28
for what it's worth, I have the MiniPrep "plus" and it's done me fine for when I need it. I just don't ever have the need for processing a large "volume" of stuff.
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
I'm glad I got the bullet, but I also feel a little bad that maybe I made a mistake and should have purchased either the Smart Stick, or maybe that cuisinart mini prep.

On the topic of the cuisinart mini prep, i saw that there is a simliar model from kitchenaid that is highly rated and I'm wondering what anyone things about a comparison between the two (the kitchenaid chef's chopper vs. the cuisinart DLC2).

On a sidenote, I went to a 2 hr community cooking class tonight where they made roasted vegetables. Boy were they good. If I could make them some day that would be terrific (and likely even my kids would eat them).
post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
When you use the Smart Stick, the food doesn't fly all over the place (because there isn't a cover?)?

You just stick the stick into a glass (or bowl) and turn it on with things getting very messy?

What kinds of things does it not do well?
post #25 of 28
I have the Bullet and use it almost exclusively these days. I do have a FP and a stick blender too, but the Bullet has a permanent place on my countert top and the others do not. I love how the cups and blades are small and go right in the dishwasher. If I knew then what I know now I would have bought this a long time ago. I almost NEVER use my real blender. I use the bullet for milkshakes, smoothies, coffee beans, spices, nuts, soups, just about everything. And I like it more than the coffee or spice blender because you can use the same cups because they go in the dishwasher (as opposed to the coffe grinder...)
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
We're finding the bullet pretty handy. I just didn't know how it compares to the immulsion blenders.
post #27 of 28
I have both and honestly, I almost never use the immersion blender. I do use it for soups, but I make creamed soups so seldom, that I almost never take it out! But I use the bullet several times a week. I have used it to mix eggs for scrambles eggs, omelets, or a recipe, and making bread crumbs out of bread, most recently. They also make great blizzards and smoothies that are individual-sized!
post #28 of 28


Blender, stand mixer, food processor, electric hand mixer, immersion blender, mini multi-tasker -- all do different things at differing levels of competence.

A Bullet might make decent smoothies but won't make margaritas for a party of 12 -- at least not without a lot of trouble. A bullet won't make pie dough or breads or whipped cream or egg whites. It isn't big enough to make cake batter. And you certainly can't immerse it in a pot of soup to make a rough puree. There are other differences. The right choices depend on individual needs.

The Bullet is small enough to stay on most counter tops, and versatile enough to get used frequently -- as a mini processor/blender at least. While small size is it's greatest asset, it's also it's largest limitation. Some things, even family of four things, just can't be conveniently done in a bullet. OTOH, I admit to putting some things off because I don't want to drag the Cuisinart (food processor) or the Waring (blender) out of the appliance bay -- which is probably par for the course. I suppose it would be nice to have a small "everything" machine ready to go, but I already own at least one of each of the others and have to draw the line somewhere.

I'm not trying to talk you out of loving your Bullets, or talk you into buying anything else. I'm not even trying to keep this from becoming the "Why I love my Bullet and you should too" thread. Just trying to keep some perspective for the benefit of anyone else who's following along.

Aside: You really use an electric appliance to beat eggs for scrambles and omelettes? I suppose it really amounts to the same number of things to clean (the real limiting factor) but Jeeze Louise! And don't they get too aerated to make a proper omelette or scrambled eggs?

Just a little perspective fellas,
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