It sounds like a cliché, but cooking really is my hobby. I love discovering new healthy dishes and my Pinterest feed is currently filled with about 600 recipes that I am yet to try.
With this love for good food comes the need for different appliances that could help me save time in the kitchen AND help me prepare the recipes I love.
The one new tool I just need right now is a mini food processor. I already own a full-size food processor, and I also have a manual food chopper, but I often find myself cooking things that don’t quite fit either. Alas, my search for the best mini food processor has begun!
As always, I want to share my research with you, so here are some of the things I have learned in the process and the small food processor reviews for my top four picks.
How to Find the Best Small Food Processor?
Before we dive into the reviews, I want to quickly tell you about the eight key features you should look for when picking a small food processor. This overview will help you understand the specifications of each product and make it easier to find one that works best for you.
Here are the eight things you should keep an eye out for:
- The capacity, which usually ranges from two to four cups.
- Whether it performs multiple functions such as chopping, grinding, pureeing, etc.
- Is the technology efficient for all of these functions?
- How easy it is to use.
- Unit size and whether you have anywhere to store it.
- Ease of maintenance.
- Warranty and return policies.
- The design and/or aesthetics if this is something that’s important for you.
Now that you know how to pick the right unit, it’s time to look at my top four picks for 2021. They all stand out for different reasons, whether it is because of their capacity or their price.
What Are the Best Mini Food Processors for 2021?
#1 KitchenAid KFC3516AQ 3.5 Cup Mini Food Processor – Best Small Food Processor 2021
The best small food processor to buy in 2021 is the KitchenAid KFC351AQ.
It is perfect for performing simple tasks such as chopping onions, making a bowl of salsa for game night chips, or whipping up a mix of salad dressing for lunch.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the KitchenAid IS an excellent mini food processor performance-wise, but I was a little bit disappointed with the brand when I first realized that it does NOT fit 3.5 cups as it advertises.
At a closer look, the manual lists the real capacity as:
- Up to 1.5 cups for processing liquids like salad dressings and liquid flavor infusions.
- Up to 2.5 cups for chopping fruits and vegetables.
- Up to 3 cups for processing nuts.
The misrepresentation is one of the biggest flaws of the product and the reason for many bad reviews.
Personally, I don’t mind the small size as it’s about the same as my manual food chopper and capacity is not my main criteria.
While capacity is not that important to me, what a processor can or cannot do is. And I’ve found that this KitchenAid model is the best tool for different prepping tasks:
It can handle chopping and pureeing vegetables as well as grinding herbs and nuts. It can also be used to mix liquids including light juices, oils, and sauces. Remember to use the pulse function to get even chopping!
What I love most about the KFC351AQ is how evenly it processes different foods:
The sauces come out nice and smooth because of the drizzle basin that allows you to incorporate liquid ingredients while processing easily. Chopping fruits and vegetables also produces even textures.
Of course, it can’t make complicated things like bread dough or nut milk, but it’s great for performing simpler tasks that would be annoying to do by hand.
Operation and Controls
This 3-cup food processor operates at two different settings: chop and puree. The puree setting is excellent for making sauces and mixing liquids. The chop function is perfect for chopping nuts, veggies, and even cheese.
It’s super easy and convenient to operate as instead of pressing and holding down buttons on the base; you activate it with a button that you’ll find where the lid meets the handle.
Some people have found that the lid is difficult to put on and take off and the unit won’t turn on until everything aligns perfectly. While it does take a couple of tries, once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it works perfectly!
Aesthetics and Design
Another great thing about the KFC351AQ is that it comes in different colors. I know it’s not the most important feature of a kitchen appliance, but many people, I included, appreciate the ability to pick a unit that fits their kitchen design.
Naturally, all parts that come in contact with the food are BPA-free.
Care and maintenance
The stainless-steel blades make it very easy to maintain as you do not have to worry about rust or corrosion. The cylindrical design and the fact that it doesn’t come with many accessories also makes cleaning very easy and efficient whether by hand or machine.
- The KitchenAid mini food processor is excellent for basic processing needs.
- Chops foods and mixes liquids evenly.
- It is affordable and worth the price.
- It has simple but beautiful aesthetics.
- It has a compact, lightweight design.
- The lid and safety cover is hard to put on correctly and take off at first.
Although people have conflicting thoughts about the capacity issue, one thing that all KitchenAid mini food processor reviews agree on is that this is a great product! It has a simple yet beautiful design, and it’s very efficient in performing different tasks such as mixing liquids, making sauces, and chopping vegetables.
#2 Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor – Best alternative!
The Cuisinart DLC-2ABC is pretty much the only mini food processor offering any real competition to KitchenAid.
It has about the same capacity and performs most tasks equally well, although it’s not as good as the KFC351AQ.
Here is what you can expect in addition to the 18 months warranty.
The Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus is supposed to have a 3-cup capacity and fit about 24 ounces of liquids and other fluids, including pastes and purees.
For best results, Cuisinart recommends not to overload the work bowl by more than 2/3 of it, essentially turning it into a 2-cup food processor.
The capacity (and advertising issue) is thus similar to the KitchenAid processor, although it depends on the types of foods you process.
You may be tempted to fill the bowl up more than that, but I don’t recommend it – if it’s too full, it will start overflowing!
The unit does come with a recipe book that highlights the suitable quantities for different sauces and mixes, but I found KitchenAid’s instructions to be clearer and less limiting.
Cuisinart’s Mini-Prep Plus is our number two pick because of the unique auto-reversing blade it uses:
The two-edged reverse blade design allows you to efficiently chop and grind different ingredients, whether soft or hard:
- The sharp edge of the blade lets you puree soft foods or delicate herbs.
- The blunt edge is best for grinding through spices and other hard foods. It’s a perfect tool for quick little jobs!
Keep in mind:
You shouldn’t operate the Mini-Prep Processor continuously longer than one minute at a time.
Operation and Controls
The DLC-2ABC comes with two labeled touchpad buttons for chopping and grinding. It also has a continuous speed and a pulse control feature that you press and release to get even food processing.
Our tips for best results:
- Use the chop function together with pulsing action for soft foods like onions, garlic, cheese, etc.
- Two or three pulses are usually enough. Check the food frequently to prevent over-processing!
- The grind function works best with continuous speed. Use it for hard foods like nuts and seeds.
- Cut vegetables and fruits you want to chop into smaller pieces of even size. If you don’t start with pieces that are small and uniform, the processor doesn’t chop them evenly either.
- Process herbs using the pulse function.
- Use the pulse function every 10-15 seconds to allow food to drop to the bottom of the bowl.
Aesthetics and design
Like the KitchenAid reviewed above, this Cuisinart model comes in multiple colors: black, white, metallic red, and pink. You’ll also find the same model in gorgeous matte red.
The bowl and all parts that come in touch with food are made out of BPA-free plastic, and the base has a chrome and nickel brush finish.
Something unique about the design is the small opening of the safety lid. This is similar to the drizzle basin of the KitchenAid, although this one is bigger and allows you to add larger ingredients as you continue to process or blend.
Care and maintenance
It is very easy to maintain because all removable parts are dishwasher safe. The base is also easy to wipe clean with the durable chrome finish maintaining the shiny allure no matter how often you clean it.
- It is easy to clean and maintain.
- Suitable for chopping, grinding, and mixing liquids.
- Convenient lid opening for adding ingredients.
- Blunt edge blades for safe handling.
- 18 months of warranty.
- To ensure even results, you need first to cut up the produce into smaller uniform pieces.
- You have to keep your finger on the touchpad to keep it running.
The Cuisinart 2-cup food processor is a great alternative to our top pick mainly because of the high-quality construction, convenient ingredients window, and unique aesthetics. So if these are of higher priority than affordability and high efficiency offered by the KitchenAid model, then this Cuisinart option is worth considering.
#3 Cuisinart CH-4DC Elite Collection 4-Cup Chopper/Grinder – Best 4-cup food processor
The Cuisinart CH-4DC is the right choice if you need something with a bigger work bowl and this model is the best 4-cup food processor available today!
Still compact, the CH-4DC uses a high-quality blade that’s capable of processing both hard and soft foods.
Here is more on what to expect.
This Cuisinart model is theoretically a 4-cup mini food processor and should hold about 32 ounces of food.
Now, I have to mention again that like with the other models reviewed above, you can’t fill up the work bowl 100%. For best results, you should only fill it up by 2/3, which means the capacity of this food processor is more like 2.5 cups.
While it may feel like deceitful advertising (and some customers certainly think it is), the reason behind this is simple:
Too much food in the work bowl will strain the motor and prevent the blades from processing it properly. You don’t want to end up with only half-done guacamole, now do you?
This Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus processor is using the same high-quality auto-reversing dual edge blade as the 2-cup processor reviewed above:
- One of the edges is very sharp and perfect for chopping things like herbs and pureeing soft foods.
- The reverse edge is blunt and excellent for grinding through harder foods and spices.
I really love the unique ‘BladeLock system’ that the CH-4DC model comes with. It sounds fancy, but it simply means that the blade locks into the bowl and allows you to pour ingredients out of it without having to remove the blade first.
This feature is super handy as I absolutely hate messing with the blade while cooking, especially when it comes to purees and sauces.
Operation and Controls
This 4-cup food processor uses two processing modes and comes with two speeds:
- chopping & grinding
- pulse & continuous
The chopping function is good for chopping, mixing and pureeing and works great with soft foods like garlic, onions, herbs, cheese, etc. You can also use this function to mix salad dressings, make mayonnaise, or puree cooked vegetables.
The grind function is good for grinding different spices and for chopping hard foods like nuts, seeds, peppercorns, and chocolate.
The pulse speed works best with the chopping function as it’s slower and allows you to control the texture of your food (usually, three or four pulses is enough.) The continuous speed is right when using the grinding function. Don’t forget to check the food frequently to avoid over-processing!
For best results, make sure to follow directions from the manual!
Aesthetics and design
This food processor comes with a BPA-free plastic body and food container with chrome finishing on the base. It is available in four different colors.
The lid also has two small openings that you can use to pour more liquids into the processor when making mayo or sauces. Just remember to keep one of the openings unobstructed to keep air flowing.
Care and maintenance
All removable parts are dishwasher friendly which makes maintenance very easy.
- It is affordable and offers full value for the investment.
- It has multiple function options.
- It is designed for safe operation and handling.
- It has the same inconvenient operation controls that require you to have your finger on the pad all the time.
In a nutshell, the Cuisinart Mini Prep 4-cup Food Processor should be your go-to option if you are looking for a mini-processor that can handle more than 2 cups or 16 ounces at once.
#4 Ninja Food Chopper Express Chop – Best small budget food processor
Finally, if you are shopping on a budget, then this is the brand for you.
The Ninja Food Chopper is hands down the best cheap food processor there is with its 1-year warranty and multiple impressive features as highlighted below.
The Ninja food chopper is a small 16-ounce (2-cup) food processor. According to the manual, how much you can fill up the bowl is only an issue when it comes to processing liquids:
You can easily fit 2 cups of dry ingredients in it (no false advertising here!), but only 8 ounces or 1 cup of liquids. If you overfill the work bowl more than that, you risk it overflowing.
Although the Ninja chopper is the best in the inexpensive food processor category, it does not mean that the brand held back on versatility!
You can still carry out a variety of functions including mincing, grinding, chopping, blending, pureeing, and mixing liquids. All this is made possible using the highly efficient stacked blade technology with four blades.
Operation and Controls
It features a single button on the handle that controls both the pulse and non-pulse functions. It is pretty easy to use and conveniently placed on the ergonomic handle. Be careful not to over process your food; it usually takes just a few pulses to get the right texture!
Aesthetics and design
Another thing this budget food processor has to offer is aesthetics. The BPA-free plastic body features a pretty impressive ergonomic design with a non-slip base. It also has a calibrated food holder which comes in handy when using the processor to precisely mix liquids.
Care and maintenance
It features easily and safely removable parts that are all dishwasher-friendly. You’ll need to use a brush to clean the blade part as it has small openings and food tends to get stuck there.
- Unique aesthetics.
- Convenient ergonomic design for easy handling.
- It offers multiple functions.
- It is cheap falling in the under-$20 price category.
- It has a limited food capacity (only 8 ounces for liquids).
- It is harder to clean than other similar models.
The Ninja mini food processor definitely delivers more than is expected for its price range. So if you are shopping on a budget or just want to try a small food processor without spending too much money, this is definitely the model for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
⭐ Which Mini Food Processor Is The Best?
The best mini food processor for 2021 is the KitchenAid KFC351AQ. Capable of holding up to 3 cups of ingredients at once, it can chop and puree vegetables as well as grind herbs and nuts. It is also perfect for mixing liquids like sauces, oils, and juices. It is available in 18 different colors, making it easy to match any kitchen decor.
⭐ How To Use A Mini Food Processor?
– Prepare the ingredients by washing, peeling, and/or deseeding them, or trimming off leaves and other unwanted parts.
– Cut vegetables into evenly sized smaller pieces to ensure uniform processing.
– Place your ingredients in the bowl, but make sure not to overfill it to avoid leaking. Check the manufacturer’s info for recommended levels.
– Depending on what you want to make, use the chop, grind, or puree button to process the ingredients:
– Use the chop button together with pulsing to process soft foods like cheese, onions, and garlic.
– Three or four pulses are usually enough for roughly chopped vegetables.
– Check the food regularly to prevent over-processing.
– When processing hard foods like nuts and seeds, use the grind button with continuous speed.
– Use the pulse function to process herbs.
– Pause every 10-15 seconds to allow food to drop back to the bottom of the bowl.
– Use a spoon or spatula to help move the food if needed.
⭐ Which Mini Food Processor Is Easiest To Clean?
We found KitchenAid, Cuisinart, and Ninja Food Choppers to be the easiest mini food processors to clean.
⭐ what can i do with a mini food processor?
Most mini food processors are good for:
– Mixing salad dressings and condiments
– Making cold sauces and salsas
– Dicing onions, garlic, and other vegetables
– Chopping fresh herbs
– Grinding coffee, dried spices, and nuts
Wrapping It Up
Every mini food chopper/grinder on this list has something to offer. If you’re looking for the highest-quality mini food processor, the KitchenAid models should be your top choice. If you are looking for a large-capacity food processor, then the Cuisinart CH-4DC Elite is a great option. If you are on a budget, then the Ninja model offers great value on a really small investment.
Whatever you settle for, I hope these reviews helped make your choice a little bit easier. Let me know in the comments below if you think I left anything out.