18 Uses of Food Processors | Different Uses for Food Processors

Different Uses of Food Processor

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A food processor is an electronic appliance used to prepare food by mixing, grinding, shredding, pureéing, chopping, slicing, kneading, beating, and juicing ingredients. This kitchen appliance is typically used to:

  • Make baby food at home
  • Slice big batches of potatoes into thin slices
  • Churn butter continuously
  • Blend chickpeas and other ingredients to make hummus

A food processor is made up of a motor, bowl, lid, feeding tube, and attachments. There are three food processor sizes: full-, compact-, and mini-size. A full-sized food processor bowl has a capacity of 9 cups to 13 cups. A food processor with a compact-sized bowl has a capacity of 5 cups to 7 cups. As for mini-sized bowls, these food processors accommodate 2 cups to 5 cups. Depending on the model of the food processor, in addition to the basic S-blade, it may come with a dough, egg whip, julienne dish, french dry disc, citrus juicer, or non-juicer attachment. These attachments will run at speeds from 300 revolutions per minute (rpm) to 3500 rpm.

While there are food processors that run on 1000 watts to 1200 watts, a 400-watt model will be able to execute most of the use cases below. Typically, a food processor should run from 650 watts to 750 watts. If a food processor with minimal electricity requirements, 400 watts, is used for 1 hour on a weekly basis, it will cost $0.20 to run.

Some brands offer mini food processors that will cost $20 to $50 and have a small capacity and basic features. On the other hand, models with multiple functions and attachments can cost anywhere from $100 to $1200. Regardless of the brand, a food processor can be used to knead pizza dough and make pasta at home. This appliance can also process bread to make breadcrumbs and be an alternative appliance to a mincer. Other use cases of a food processor include:

1. Chopping Nuts and Seeds

A food processor can be used to chop large batches of nuts and seeds. Place nuts and seeds into a bowl. Attach the S-blade to the food processor, secure the bowl onto its base and plug the appliance in. Add 1 cup to 1 ½ cups of nuts or seeds into the food processor. Place the lid onto the bowl and use the Pulse button to process the nuts and seeds. If your food processor does not have this function, process the nuts or seeds in the appliance for 30 seconds. Work in batches.

2. Mince Aromatics

Another way to use a food processor is to mince aromatics in it. First, peel your onions and garlic cloves. Place the S-shaped blade into the food processor’s bowl, plug in the appliance, and attach its lid securely. Select a slow speed as you drop your aromatics into the food processor via its chute or feeding tube. You can also choose to Pulse the onions and garlic if you have this function. Use a spatula to scrape the aromatics out of the food processor’s bowl and into a frying pan or jar for storage. Minced garlic can stay fresh in a jar for up to 3 months while chopped onions can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

3. Make Pasta At Home

Also, a food processor can be used to make pasta. First, add 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of salt into the food processor bowl. Pulse the dry ingredients together 2 times to 3 times to combine them well. Add 3 eggs and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a mixing bowl, and use a fork to combine the ingredients. Pour the egg mixture into the food processor bowl and use the Pulse button until there is no dry flour. After 30 seconds to 1 minute, the dough will start to gather.

Shape the dough into a ball with your hands and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let the pasta dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Roll out the dough and run it through the pasta maker 3 times to 4 times. You can also use a knife to cut the pasta into strips. Afterward, transfer the pasta onto a drying rack or swirl them into nests and let them dry on a floured surface for 30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil on High heat. Add in the pasta and stir them gently. This way, the pasta noodles will not stick together. Let the pasta cook for 1 minute to 5 minutes. This will depend on how thick the noodles are. Drain the pasta and toss in your preferred sauce.

4. Make Big Batches of Meatballs

Alternatively, a food processor can be used to make meatballs. First, place your meat of choice into the freezer. Let the meat harden for 30 minutes. While waiting, preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C) and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the S-blade into the food processor bowl, secure the appliance’s lid, and feed garlic cloves through the feeding tube. Use the High setting and add parsley and onions. You can also Pulse the ingredients 5 times to 6 times. When the meat is ready, feed it into the food processor and Pulse. Add salt, breadcrumbs, and eggs as well. Pulse the ingredients together 30 times to 35 times.

Use a large spoon or a ⅛ cup to ¼ cup and scoop the meat into your hands. Form the meat into balls. Place the meatballs onto the baking tray and bake for 25 minutes to 30 minutes.

5. Easily Rice Cauliflower

A food processor can be used to make cauliflower rice. First, prepare the cauliflower by thoroughly washing it and cutting the whole head of cauliflower into 1-inch to 2-inch florets. Use the S-shaped blade attachment. Add the cauliflower pieces into the food processor bowl and Pulse the florets until they have a grain-like consistency. You may need to work in batches and put the larger cauliflower chunks back into rice. After the cauliflower is riced, place the cauliflower into a large paper towel and squeeze out any excess water.

Heat up a large skillet on Medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and add the cauliflower rice into the skillet. Use a wooden spoon to mix the cauliflower in the oil and coat all of the pieces. Cover the skillet and cook the cauliflower rice for 5 minutes to 8 minutes. Stir occasionally. Afterward, add salt and pepper and serve. Cooked cauliflower can also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days.

6. Make Your Own Breadcrumbs

An alternative way to use a food processor is to make breadcrumbs in the appliance. To make fresh breadcrumbs, take a slice of bread and break it up into 1-inch to 2-inch pieces. Pulse the bread pieces 10 times using 1-second pulses. Use breadcrumbs immediately or store the bread crumbs in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1 week. Fresh breadcrumbs can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

For dried bread crumbs, preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Place the slices of bread onto a baking sheet and bake the bread in the oven for 30 minutes. Afterward, let the bread cool down. Break up the bread into 1-inch to 2-inch pieces and use the S-blade. Use 1-second pulses and Pulse the bread pieces about 10 times. Use immediately or store in an airtight plastic bag in the pantry for 1 month. Dried breadcrumbs can also be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Making bread crumbs in food proceesor

7. Mix Energy Balls

Another way to use the food processor is to mix and make energy balls in it. For simple chocolate peanut butter energy balls, re-hydrate your dates if you are going to use dry ones. Place them in a small bowl and add enough boiling water to cover the dates. Let the dates rehydrate for ten minutes before you drain the bowl and pat the dates dry with a paper towel.

Place the S-blade into the food processor bowl. Add the dates into the bowl and Pulse until the date pieces gather into a small ball. Add oatmeal, chocolate chips or chunks, peanut or almond butter, chia seeds, and salt into the bowl. Use 1-second pulses until the ingredients are broken down into small pieces. Add cocoa powder and use the Pulse button 3 times to 5 times to combine. Use a spoon to scoop the mixture into your hands and roll it into a ball that is about 1 inch in diameter. Consume immediately or refrigerate for 10 minutes before consumption. Energy balls can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 week or stored in the freezer for 3 months.

8. Do-it-Yourself Flour

Also, a food processor can be used to make homemade flour. Using the S-shaped blade, place your grain of choice into the food processor bowl. Quinoa, oatmeal, and rice are popular choices. Securely attach the lid of the food processor and use a High speed to grind the grain into fine flour for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides to process all of the grains. Use immediately or transfer homemade flour into an airtight container. Use the DIY flour within 3 months.

9. Make Baby Food

Alternatively, a food processor is an appliance that can be used to make baby food at home. Cook or prepare your ingredients according to their packaging or your preferred technique. Roast or steam vegetables and wash then chop your fruit. Attach the S-shaped blade to the food processor bowl and fill up the bowl with ingredients. Add ingredients into the bowl until it is about ⅔ full before securely attaching the food processor’s lid. Use the High speed of your food processor to break down and combine the ingredients for 30 seconds to 60 seconds. If you would prefer a chunkier texture, Pulse the ingredients 5 times to 6 times. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 day to 2 days. Homemade baby food can be frozen for 1 month to 3 months as well.

10. Whip Up Nut Butter

A food processor can be used to make almond, hazelnut, cashew, pecan, sunflower seed, and peanut butter. To make almond butter, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the almonds in a single layer. Toast the almonds in the oven for 10 minutes to 15 minutes and make sure to stir the almonds halfway.

Let the almonds cool. Attach the S-blade to the food processor bowl. When the almonds are warm enough to touch but not yet cooled to room temperature, add them to the food processor bowl. Process the almonds on Medium to High speed and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. First, the almonds will be ground and start to become more crumbly in texture. Then, the almonds will start forming clumps as the oils from the almonds are released. After 10 minutes to 15 minutes of processing, the almond butter will form. Process for up to 20 minutes for a creamy texture. Let the almond butter cool and transfer into an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.

11. Blend Hummus

An alternative way to use a food processor is to blend hummus in it. First, attach the S-shaped blade to the food processor bowl. Then, add tahini and lemon juice to the bowl. Process these two ingredients for 1 minute, scrape down the bowl, and mix them again. Add the minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and cumin into the food processor. Process the ingredients in 30-second pulses. Do this 2 times to 3 times.

Open a can of chickpeas and drain them in a colander. Rinse the chickpeas before adding half of the can into the food processor. Process the ingredients for 1 minute before taking a break to scrape down the food processor’s bowl. Add the remaining chickpeas into the food processor and process for 1 minute to 2 minutes. Add water as needed adding 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Add salt to taste. Scoop out hummus onto a plate and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika. Homemade hummus can also be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

12. Shred Cheese

A food processor doubles as a cheese shredder. First, chop up your block of cheese into 1-inch to 2-inch blocks so that they will fit into the food processor’s chute. Then, attach the shredder disk to the food processor bowl. Place the lid on top of the appliance and slowly feed the blocks of cheese through the food processor’s feeding tube. Turn off the food processor and scoop cheese out. Use immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

13. Slice Potatoes

Another way to use a food processor is to slice large batches of potatoes in it. First, thoroughly wash and scrub your potatoes with cool water. Dry the potatoes with a paper towel and then remove the skins if the recipe you are following requires this step. Slice the potatoes in half or fourths making sure that the potatoes will fit through the food processor’s feeding tube. Attach the S-blade into the bowl and securely fit the appliance’s lid on top. Add your potato chunks or wedges into the food processor via the chute and use the plunger to process the potatoes well. Feed potatoes through the chute one potato at a time.

14. Knead Pizza Dough

Alternatively, a food processor can knead pizza dough. In a small bowl, add warm water and yeast then mix the ingredients together for 3 minutes to 5 minutes. Attach the plastic blade to your food processor bowl. Add the flour and olive oil into the food processor bowl and process the ingredients. Gradually feed the water and yeast mixture through the chute and continue to process the ingredients. Add the remaining flour and process the ingredients until a small ball forms.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the pizza dough for another 2 minutes to 3 minutes. Oil a bowl and roll the pizza dough in it. Thoroughly coat the dough and cover the bowl with a damp towel. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C.) Dive the dough into two and form them into balls. Again, cover with a damp towel and let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Transfer a ball of pizza dough onto a floured surface and roll it out. Place the dough onto an oiled baking sheet and add your desired toppings. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes to 18 minutes and remove from the oven. Let the pizza cool before slicing and serving.

15. Pureé Soup

A food processor can be used to make soup. For vegetable soup, wash and peel your vegetables. Attach the slicing disc to the food processor bowl and securely attach the lid. Feed the onions, celery, carrots, leek, potato, and fennel through the chute and slice up your vegetables. In a skillet, heat up the oil on the stove. Add the sliced vegetables to the skillet and cook until all of the vegetables are soft. Add vegetable stock and preferred herbs into the skillet as well. Let the soup simmer before turning off the stove and letting the soup cool. When the soup has cooled, pour it into the food processor bowl and process until smooth. Serve immediately.

16. Churn Butter

Another way to use a food processor is as an alternative appliance to a butter churner. First, attach the S-shaped blade to the food processor bowl. Add 2 cups of unpasteurized cream into the bowl. Turn on the food processor and use a Moderate speed for 4 minutes to 7 minutes. Pour out the buttermilk or liquid into a separate bowl or container. Add cold water into the food processor bowl and pour it out. Continue rinsing the butter until the liquid is clear. Add your flavoring of choice (e.g., garlic or herbs.) Fold in the flavoring or mix the butter in the food processor on Low speed.

Scoop out the butter and strain it on a cheesecloth or kitchen towel. After removing the excess liquid you can use your butter immediately or roll it in parchment paper. You can chill the butter before use or store it in the refrigerator for 5 days in an airtight container.

17. Mince Meat

A food processor also doubles as a mincer. First, cut your meat of choice into 1-inch cubes and place them onto a baking sheet. Arrange the meat cubes in a single layer and place the S-blade onto the baking sheet as well. Let the S-shaped attachment and meat chill for 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Afterward, attach the S-shaped blade to the food processor bowl and add your meat cubes. Fill up the bowl about halfway. Attach the food processor’s lid and use 1-second pulses to process the meat. Pulse the meat 8 times to 10 times. Cook meat immediately, shape it into patties, or freeze in an airtight container.

18. “Cut In” Butter

Also, a food processor can be used to “cut in” butter. This process breaks down the butter so that it is evenly distributed into the dry ingredients. This results in flakey, buttery layers in pastries. First, attach the S-shaped blade to the food processor bowl. Measure out and add your dry ingredients into the food processor bowl. Divide your butter into 6 parts to 8 equal parts. Add the butter chunks into the bowl. Use 1-second pulses to incorporate the butter pieces into the dry ingredients. Use 4 pulses to 8 pulses. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as instructed.

Common Mistakes for Food Processor Usage

As you are learning how to use a food processor for the use cases above, avoiding the common mistakes below can help you maintain the quality of your appliance and efficiently process ingredients:

  • Putting the ingredients in first. You should always place the attachments (e.g., S-blade) first. When ingredients are placed into the food processor bowl first, the blade or other attachments will not securely fit into the bottom of the bowl and connect to the motor. This can damage the food processor, cause injuries, or mean that you have to take out the ingredients and put them back into the bowl after putting the attachment into the bowl.
  • Pressing down on the Pulse button for too long or not long enough. The Pulse button is not meant to be used continuously for a long time, that is what the other speeds of your food processor are for. When the Pulse button is used for too long, ingredients can be too liquified and the motor may overheat. On the other hand, not pressing down on the Pulse button for at least 1 second may mean that the ingredients may not be processed well enough.
  • Not scraping down on the sides of the food processor bowl. To properly process your dry or wet ingredients for the use cases above, remember to scrape down the sides of the appliance’s bowl. This will ensure that the ingredients will be well incorporated and minimize the chance that you will have to manually mix, pureé, chop or blend ingredients afterward.
  • Adding too much liquid into the bowl. Food processor bowls will have indicator lines that tell you just how much liquid can be added to the appliance. In general, a food processor bowl should not have more than ⅓ of liquid so that it will not splash around or out of the appliance.
  • Not chopping up your ingredients. When the ingredients are too big, they will not be able to fit down the chute or you will have to use more energy to press down ingredients with the plastic plunger. Ingredients that are not chopped up may not be processed well either. It is recommended to chop up ingredients into 1-inch to 2-inch pieces before using the food processor.
  • Forgetting which parts are dishwasher safe. In general, the food processor’s bowl, the lid, and the blade or attachments can be washed in the dishwasher. It is a good practice to double-check. Additionally, dishwasher-safe food processor parts should be washed on the top rack so that the heat from the appliance’s lower levels will not damage the bowl, lid, or attachments.
  • Adding hot ingredients into the food processor. When ingredients are too hot, these solids or liquids can discolor or damage the plastic of the attachments or the bowl. In general, hot ingredients should cool and either be warm or at room temperature before being processed in the appliance.
  • Using the same blade or attachments for years. Over time and use, the S-blade of the food processor will become dull. When there are scratches or if the blade has been worn down, it is time to get a replacement. This will also ensure that the appliance efficiently processes ingredients.
  • Purchasing the wrong food processor bowl size. If your food processor comes with various bowl sizes, smaller food processor bowls are optimal for slicing vegetables, making soup, or grinding nuts. Bigger food processor bowls are great for kneading dough or making large batches of hummus.

Avoid these mistakes and maintain your food processor in order to process ingredients more efficiently.

History of Usage of Food Processors

To understand what a food processor is today, we have to understand where the appliance came from. The first food processor was the brainchild of a French salesman, Pierre Verdan. During his time in a catering company, Verdan had noticed that his clients had spent a majority of their time in the kitchen chopping up, shredding, and mixing ingredients. As a solution, he invented the Robot Coupe. This appliance was made up of a bowl with a revolving blade attached to simplify processing ingredients in the kitchen. This boomed in the catering industry in 1960 and was modified with the introduction of the commercial induction processor later on in the decade.

This invention was then modified and evolved into Le Magi-Mix in 1963. It was during an exhibition in 1971 Paris that Carl Sontheimer, an amateur gourmet and former physicist from MIT took interest in Verdun’s invention. After signing a distribution deal, the Magimix was modified for the American market.

In 1971, Le Magi-Mix was modified and became the household name Cuisinart. This food processor was designed for domestic use and is still a popular model today.

Uses of a food processor

Does the Use Cases of a Food Processor Change Based on Type?

Yes, the use cases of a food processor change based on the type of food processor it is. A blender food processor is optimal for processing liquids. However, there are blender food processors that are designed to process soft ingredients and others that can be used to blend chunkier ingredients. There are also mixers which are food processors that can stand upright or are meant to be handled by hand. Stand mixer food processors are used to mix, knead, and whisk ingredients. Hand mixer food processors can liquify or blend small batches of ingredients.

There are also all-in-one food processors that can be used for all of the use cases above. These food processors are available in different sizes (e.g., full, mini, and compact) and have different attachments that can be used to grind, mix, blend, slice, shred, or knead ingredients. There are also commercial food processors which can also be used for all of the use cases above but are the best type of food processor for large quantities of ingredients. On the other hand, hand-operated food processors are generally compact in size and can be used to process small amounts of ingredients.

What Food Processor is Best For Making Hummus?

The best food processor for making hummus is an all-in-one food processor. Not only does an all-in-one food processor mix the dry ingredients that will be used to flavor hummus, but it can also chop up the chickpeas or garbanzo beans and garlic well. An all-in-one food processor will also incorporate the liquid ingredients and you can use the Pulse button to process the hummus well.

What Has More Use Cases: a Chopper or a Food Processor?

Comparing the two appliances, food processor vs. chopper, the food processor has more use cases. A food chopper is a great appliance to cut down food but this kitchen tool requires manual power. On the other hand, a food processor can be used to chop, slice, blend, emulsify, knead, and mince ingredients. With the ability to process both solid and liquid ingredients, a food processor has more use cases and can run on electricity to efficiently process ingredients.

Other Kitchen Tools With Various Use Cases Similar to Food Processor

Other kitchen tools with various use cases similar to a food processor include:

  • Coffee Grinder: A coffee grinder can be used to process whole coffee beans into a smaller size that is optimal for different brewing sizes.
  • Blender: Similar to a food processor a blender is an electric kitchen appliance that can be used to chop, mix, liquefy, or pureé ingredients.
  • Chopper: A food chopper is worked by hand to powerfully chop up solid food into smaller pieces.
  • Grater: A grater is a kitchen tool that has raised edges or holes on its surface that are used to shred or grate ingredients.
  • Bread Maker: A bread maker is an appliance that has a mixing bowl with paddles in place that is used to mix ingredients, knead them, and automate the rest of the bread-making process.

While these kitchen tools have similar functions to a food processor, each has its unique use cases specific to the appliance. Learn more about these 5 kitchen tools and their 5 other use cases here.