A food processor is a powerful tool to have in your kitchen arsenal. Whereas stick blenders and jug blenders are handy for soups and smoothies, they can’t handle dry ingredients well – and that’s what a food processor excels at. Plus, it does its work in mere seconds.
If you’ve never used a food processor, it’s a fairly straightforward setup. It has a big motor, a bowl on top, and an extremely sharp rotating blade. For controls, you tend to just have ‘stop’ and ‘go’ buttons, as well as ‘pulse’ – allowing you to control how finely you chop.
Food processors come with a whole host of attachments, allowing you not only to blend with a rotating blade, but also grate, julienne and even knead dough. If you find knife work a chore, or resent grating lots of veg at a time, it may just be the shortcut you’re looking for.
If you’re wondering what you’d use your food processor for, we’re here to provide a little inspiration. From nut butter and coleslaw to pesto and mayonnaise, here are a few quick food processor ideas you may not have thought of.
Making pastry by hand can be a real hassle – but with a food processor, it’s effortless. The sharp blade is able to cut the butter into the flour quickly, before the butter gets too warm. The result? Perfectly buttery shortcrust, ideal for pies, quiches and more.
This recipe makes two 9-inch pie crusts (for 2 single crust pies, or 1 double crust pie).
- Pulse 300g flour, 1tbsp sugar (optional, for sweet pastry) and 1tsp salt in the food processor a few times to mix. Add 225g cold, cubed, unsalted butter and pulse 3-5 times until butter is broken up into pea-sized chunks.
- Slowly add 80ml ice cold water, running the food processor until all the water has been added. The mixture will start to come together – stop before it forms a ball (some crumbs are fine). Don’t overmix!
- Divide into two, cover and chill for at least an hour before using.
Fancy natural peanut butters or almond butters can be shockingly expensive. With a food processor, you can make your own fresh nut butters, and flavour them however you want! Try out cashew nuts, pistachios, walnuts or hazelnuts – you’ll never buy shop-bought again.
- Take 3 cups of any type of nut and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 180°C. They should be fragrant and a light golden brown. Allow to cool a little.
- Tip into the food processor and blend until creamy, scraping the sides down every so often. This could take around 10 minutes.
- Once creamy, you can optionally add salt, vanilla extract or other flavourings and blend again.
The secret to good homemade hummus? It’s a food processor. The powerful motor will eliminate grittiness, and result in a rich, creamy dip. Try customising with extras such as lemon zest, avocado, roasted red peppers or cooked beetroot.
- Add the juice of one lemon and a big tablespoon of stirred-up tahini into your food processor. Blend until creamy.
- Add a can of drained chickpeas, a peeled garlic clove, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt and cumin. Blend again until smooth, adding a tablespoon or two of water if it looks too thick. Serve garnished with olive oil and herbs.
The difference between homemade pesto and the stuff you get in a jar is like night and day. With the help of a food processor, you could get a delicious plate of pesto pasta on the table in minutes. Use the ‘pulse’ function on your food processor to get your pesto as smooth or as coarse as you like.
- Add 85g each of toasted nuts (pine nuts, cashews or almonds work well), basil (or other herbs/greens) and hard cheese into the food processor. Add 150ml olive oil, 3 garlic cloves, the juice of one lemon and some salt and pepper.
- Pulse until the pesto is your desired consistency – we like to leave it a little coarse. Stir through hot pasta, storing leftovers in a jar topped with more olive oil.
Have you heard of this healthy alternative to rice? Cauliflower rice is a surprisingly easy and delicious swap – and it’s a doddle to make in your food processor. Once you’ve chopped it up, it only needs a zap in the microwave to get perfectly cooked.
- Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and cut out the hard stalk. Pulse the rest in the food processor until it has turned into grains roughly the size of rice.
- Tip the cauliflower rice into a heatproof bowl, cover and microwave on high for 7 minutes. Stir in optional extras and serve – we like fresh coriander and a pinch of cumin.
Coleslaw is a super economical dish to make at home – and the food processor cuts out all the chopping and grating. Use this coleslaw as a side dish, or use it to top burgers or pulled pork sandwiches. Far tastier than shop-bought!
- Using the grater attachment of your food processor, finely slice a small white cabbage, 4 carrots and a large red onion.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine a handful of chopped parsley, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 heaped tablespoons mayonnaise and 2 heaped tablespoons sour cream or yoghurt.
- Add the sliced veg, season and mix thoroughly.
Have you ever tasted freshly-made butter on bread? Your food processor can turn cream into butter in a matter of minutes. You can customise this recipe by adding garlic, herbs and other flavourings. Our favourite addition? A tablespoon of Marmite!
- Pour a pint of double cream into your food processor, and blend for about 3 ½ minutes. It will first whip up, then split into granules, then separate into butter and buttermilk.
- Pour off the buttermilk – it’s great for baking or marinades – and add half a cup of ice water to the food processor. Using a spatula, mash the butter and ice water around, and then pour off the cloudy water. Repeat 3-4 times until the water runs clear.
- Process the butter for another 20 seconds or so, until it forms a ball. Tip out into a bowl, and work in half a teaspoon of salt (plus any additional flavourings).
- Wrap in a cheesecloth or thin tea towel and squeeze out any remaining buttermilk. Place into a container and keep in the fridge.
You might not think making mayonnaise at home is worth the effort, but when you taste the results, you’ll change your mind. And when a food processor makes the process so easy, it may just become a go-to recipe.
- Process a large room-temperature egg in the small bowl of your food processor for 20 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar and ¼ teaspoon salt. Blend for another 20 seconds and scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Put 240ml neutral oil (vegetable oil or sunflower oil work well) into a jug. Then, with the food processor running, very slowly drip the oil in.
- After about a quarter of the oil has been added, the mixture should start to emulsify – you can then increase to a very thin stream of oil. Once all the oil is added, scrape the bottom and sides, blend for 10 seconds and taste for seasoning and acid.
Looking for the best food processor to add to your kitchen arsenal? Take a look at our energy-efficient appliances here.