How Big Should My Food Processor Be?

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A food processor is one of the most versatile gadgets that a kitchen can have. Useful for everything from deserts to salad prep, it definitely can pay for itself in convenience value alone in today's fast-paced world. If you consider adding this multi-tasking device to your appliance lineup, you may wonder how big of a processor you need.

When considering what size food processor to use in your home, you will need to know what foods you will be prepping, how much of those foods you will be processing, and how often the machine will be used. It is important to note that when considering how big a food processor should be, the cups mentioned do not refer to the machine's capacity. Instead, it relates to the size of the food processor bowl.

A 9-cup food processor will usually process about 4 cups, or under 50% of the mentioned bowl size for liquid items. For dry items, plan on using up to 75% to 90%  of the bowl size, about 6 to 8 cups in a 9 cup food processor. Here are some suggestions for how big your food processor should be by task:

  • 1-3 cup food processor for spice mixes and garnish
  • 8-14 cup food processor for slicing
  • 12-14 cup food processor for dough and meat
  • 7-9 cup food processor for easy storage

There are a wide variety of sizes to choose from! Keep reading as we discuss what to look for in a food processor. We'll also discuss the different sizes and their best uses.

A man holding red food processor on a gray background, How Big Should My Food Processor Be?

What Should I Look For When Buying A Food Processor?

When purchasing a food processor, it would be helpful to decide what items you intend to process. Based on its primary use, you will want to consider the machine's power and the included attachments. How much space you have available on your countertop and how often you will be using your processor are also important. Finally, along with these factors, you'll need to consider how much you'll want to spend on a food processor.

Food processor with accessories and vegetables

Read our article on the cost of food processors for further discussion on price and value.

What Do You Put In A Food Processor?

To know what to look for in a food processor, first consider what you will be putting in it. Food processors can be used for everything from kneading dough to chopping huge salads for the week. The list is endless, and it includes using it to make items such as nut butter, pate, and chopping or grinding almost any food. We even have an article about how you can use your food processor to juice lemons.

You will not only need to know what you will be putting in the food processor but how much. Getting a food processor that's too small could mean spending more time completing parts of your recipes in batches.

How Many Watts Do You Need For A Food Processor?

Once you have decided how to use your food processor, you will then decide what type of wattage you'll need to accomplish your tasks. The watts are a measurement of how powerful the motor is on your processor. It is also indicative of how durable your motor is.

The basic 400 to 600 watts will work fine for a smaller food processor and basic chopping jobs. If you plan on slicing, dicing, or pureeing many items like vegetables, cheese, or meat, you will want a processor with wattage on the high end between 700 and 1000 watts. Use the highest wattage within your price range for frequent use and heavier jobs such as kneading biscuit dough.

What Attachments Do You Need For A Food Processor?

A big part of choosing a food processor would be considering what attachments it comes with. Though standard food processors are, by themselves, already versatile, there now are complete systems available with different blades and attachments to make sure you have just the right tools to complete your dish. For more information on the blades available for food, processors read our article!

Click here to see a food processor with multiple attachments on Amazon.

Click here to see this system with both a blender and food processor on Amazon.

How Much Space Do You Need For a Food Processor?

Finally, consider how much space you have and whether you will need to move it from storage to your countertop frequently or if you will be keeping it in its own place in plain sight.  A larger processor is usually quite heavy, and you may want to have it in a semi-permanent place in your kitchen if the space is available and the machine will be used often.

Click here to see an example of a space-saving food processor on Amazon.

1- To 3-Cup Food Processor For Spice Mixes And Garnish

For casually chopping a few items to make a seasoning mix like mirepoix, grinding spices, or coffee, a smaller food processor is not only sufficient but is ideal. Using a larger processor to cut herbs and chop items such as onions can be difficult, especially if the amounts are small enough to sit under the blade.

Click here to see an example of this mini food processor on Amazon.

Is A 7-Cup Food Processor Big Enough?

For infrequent users, use a 7-9 cup food processor. A 7 cup food processor is just big enough to accomplish the basic tasks that a food processor is intended for. If you need something bigger than a spice chopper, this is a great size, but space is a concern.

7-9 cup food processors are suitable for dips and sauces, even prepping baby food. It's a great size to have as a standard appliance to have on hand. Even though you could get a 7 cup food processor that can be used for slicing, we generally wouldn't recommend it due to the space needed in the bottom for the sliced items. You would only be able to slice a small number of items at once.

See this 7 cup food processor on Amazon.

8- To 14-Cup Food Processor For Slicing

If your primary use is slicing and shredding, choose a larger processor. This will give you more space under the blade and reduce the need to keep emptying the contents every time it fills up. For slicing, you would want at least an 8 cup food processor. For prepping large salads or your vegetables for the week, choose a 12-14 cup processor.

See this food processor with multiple slicing disks on Amazon.

How Big Is An 8-Cup Food Processor?

The 8 cup food processor is considered to be on the more compact side of food processors. Most agree that it will accomplish most prep jobs or larger jobs in batches. The dimensions and height will vary based on the motor size as well as feeding tube height. This video review gives a good idea of the actual size and capacity of an 8 cup processor.

Click here to see the blender from the video on Amazon.

12- to 14-Cup Food Processor For Dough and Meats

For kneading dough, go with a bigger model over 12 cups. More space is required since dough recipes are to serve several people. The process of kneading the dough also requires more available space to form properly.

Larger food processors are also great for grinding meats. Like kneading dough, to get a good grind, you'll want to allow more space in the processor to avoid it turning into a mash or puree.

What Size Food Processor For Bread Dough?

A bread recipe usually makes a large amount. It will need space to mix and knead. We recommend using a 13-14 cup processor for this type of dough.

See this 14-cup multi-functional processor with a kneading attachment on Amazon.

Is A 14-Cup Food Processor Too Big?

A 14 cup food processor has the most versatility, attachments, and ability to handle large jobs. It is necessary for some jobs like weekly prep and dishes for entertaining. For regular use, it's a great choice.

A 14 cup processor would be too big if you aim to only grind some nuts now and then. This size can have a hard time processing small amounts of herbs and spices without the proper attachments. Investing in a 14 cup processor might not be worth the money spent and space used up in your kitchen for the casual user.

What Size Food Processor For A Family Of 2?

Whether two people or eight people, the size of your food processor should depend more on what you intend on putting in your machine. Use these recommendations to find the best processor for your household.

In Closing

Now that you know how big your food processor should be for your various kitchen tasks, consider your space and how often you'll use your machine. Choose the best food processor for your lifestyle!

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