Out of all the kitchen gadgets, the food processor might be the most confusing one out there. It’s pretty clear what an Instapot does, and many people grew up with a crock pot. But odds are that if you even own a food processor, it’s likely sitting in the back of your kitchen pantry, collecting dust. It turns out that this could be the most versatile kitchen tool out there. Once you hear everything that a food processor can do, you’ll be dusting off the appliance and installing it in its rightful place on the countertop.
The food processor is most closely related to the blender. With tons of different options of high-powered blenders out there, most people don’t think they need both gadgets in the kitchen. It turns out that the two are very different, though, and the perfect gadget for you is all about what you’re looking to make.
According to All Recipes, the big difference between the two is that food processors don’t need liquids added to them. “Unlike blenders, food processors don’t need liquid to work their magic. However, they should never be overfilled,” Sofia Norton, RD tells All Recipes. “That means they may not work well when making large batches of liquid meals like soups and smoothies.” They might not make soups and smoothies, but they will help cut down on your prep time and try new recipes, and more besides.
Now that we know that the food processor is for dry ingredients, let’s talk about the magic that it makes. Unlike blenders, food processors have the ability to help prep food. It does the hard work of chopping, dicing, and mincing, so you don’t have to. “Think of a food processor as your personal kitchen assistant: It chops, slices, dices, mixes, and pulverizes ingredients to make the work of food preparation quicker and easier,” Sofia Norton, RD tells All Recipes.
A food processor can be your best friend when it comes to prepping food. In fact, even Food Network’s Ina Garten uses it to save time. The world-renown chef uses it to finely slice Brussels sprouts so that she could sauté them for a quick and easy side. “I love the food processor,” Garten says in a video on the Food Network’s Twitter account. “There should be a national holiday for the guy who invented it.”
On top of that setting, you can also use a food processor to chop up nuts or vegetables needed In a recipe, or even make nut and oat flours (via KitchenAid). That’s more than a blender does.
You didn’t think that a food processor stop at food prep, did you? While you can’t put a big load of wet ingredients into a food processor, you can add liquid. That means a whole lot of great pestos, salad dressings, and even baby food (via KitchenAid). You simply drizzle in the oils or add liquid based vegetable into the processor and pulse them together.
While you can make dips and dressings in the food processor, you can also make sauces as well. Ina Garten made a full pasta sauce in a food processor (via Instagram). We’re talking tomatoes, garlic, and oil. The Food Network chef is obsessed with the food processor in the best possible way. All she does is add the ingredients into the gadget and let it do the hard work.
Garten also uses the food processor to chop up hard-boiled eggs to make egg salad, according to Williams-Sonoma. The possibilities in this little countertop powerhouse are really incredible.
If that’s enough to sell you on a brand new kitchen tool, you’ll be happy to know that they’re actually relatively affordable, especially when you consider the price of other gadgets out there. According to Food Network, some of the best food processors out there are under $100. The publication suggests the KitchenAid 7-Cup Food Processor, which is a cool $100, and the Oster 10-Cup Food Processor, which rings in at just $40.
If you’re looking to really splurge, Food Network names their top food processor as the Cuisinart Stainless Steel 13-Cup Food Processor, which retails at $199. It holds way more than the more affordable options, and purées, chops, slices, and shreds.
Honestly, if you’re looking for an underrated gadget for you or the food prepper in your life, you really can’t go wrong with this item. It’s so versatile and saves you incredible amounts of time in the kitchen. If this little tool is good enough for Ina Garten and the Food Network, then it’s definitely worth it for your own kitchen.