FOOD

The 4 Best Mini Food Processors of 2024, Tested & Reviewed

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Straight to the Point

Our favorite mini food processor was the Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap 4-Cup Mini Food Processor. It had a generously sized bowl, while still feeling like a mini food processor. It easily emulsified tahini sauce and created smooth pesto. We also liked the Cuisinart Food Processor Mini Prep Plus 3-Cup, which was intuitive to use, processed food nicely, and was under $30.

Food processors are heavy and expensive (that is, if you’re getting a good one). But they’re super useful, capable of breaking ingredients down, whipping a sauce together, or kneading dough in the blink of an eye. Still, a food processor’s size is not for the faint of heart—or those who lack storage space.  

Enter the mini food processor. Its small stature takes up less space and is easier to move and store. Plus, many models are under $50. With its diminutive size, the mini food processor excels, perhaps unsurprisingly, at small-batch tasks, like making pesto, tahini sauce, marinades, and dressings.

To find the best mini food processors, I tested 11 popular models. I evaluated which ones were efficient at chopping and processing, intuitive to use, easy to clean, and didn’t leak. In the end, four stood out.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Mini Food Processor

Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap 4-Cup Mini Food Processor

Amazon


This Hamilton Beach model looks and functions like a full-size food processor. It has a feed chute that allows you to drop ingredients in, as well as an insert you can use to push the ingredients (like a small block of cheese) down into the bowl. It’s the only mini processor I tested that also comes with a disk that slices and grates.

Another Excellent Mini Food Processor

Cuisinart Core Custom 4-Cup Mini Chopper

Amazon


This mini food processor worked great, with a generously sized, 4-cup bowl sporting a sturdy, comfortable handle. It quickly and efficiently processed a single garlic clove, as well as chopped pistachios. The lid was easy to lock in place and remove and also had a sizable, contained area with two holes to drizzle oil into the bowl. Its dual switches offer a chop option (the blade goes forward and quickly chops ingredients) and a grind option (the blade reverses direction and grinds ingredients with the duller side).

The Best Smaller Mini Food Processor

Cuisinart-dlc-2abc-mini-prep-plus-food-processor

Amazon


This Cuisinart model was small in size but mighty in power. Similar to the above 4-cup model, it also processed garlic and nuts easily, but with a slightly smaller capacity and footprint. The lid had the same easy, twist-on and off mechanism, along with a large, contained area to drizzle the oil into the bowl. Its buttons also function similarly, with one chopping the ingredients, and the other reversing the blade direction to grind and smash things into a paste.

The Best Cordless Mini Food Processor

KitchenAid Cordless 5 Cup Food Chopper

Amazon


The KitchenAid was the largest mini food processor I tested, with a generous 5-cup capacity. Its cordless design meant it was easy to store and move around the kitchen, and the blade comes apart into a stem and blade disk, which made cleaning easier than most models. Pesto and tahini sauce came out perfectly emulsified, too.

The Tests

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin


  • Tahini Sauce Test: I made tahini sauce in each model by first processing a single garlic clove to see how well the food processor evenly minced it. I added tahini, water, and lemon juice to see if it leaked. Finally, I drizzled in olive oil while the processor was running.
  • Pesto Test: I made a pistachio mint pesto to see how well the mini food processor chopped harder ingredients like nuts, how easily it broke down leafy greens, and how it dealt with an oily sauce.
  • Cleaning Test: After each test, I took apart and washed each food processor by hand, seeing which parts were difficult to clean and how dangerous it was to scrub the blades.

What We Learned

Smaller Sizes Had Their Advantages

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin


A mini food processor excels at processing smaller amounts of ingredients, like a single garlic clove or a handful or two of pistachios.

Full-sized food processors are excellent for grating blocks of cheese or processing large batches of mirepoix, but smaller amounts can get lost in the big bowl (to this end, some models, like the Breville 16-cup also come with smaller inserts). The best mini food processors, with their tinier bowls and lower blades (see below), easily and evenly chopped the single garlic clove, allowing for a super-smooth tahini sauce. 

The Lower the Blade, the Better

A sizable gap between the blade and bottom of the mini food processor led to unprocessed ingredients.

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin


Mini food processors with blades set higher up in the bowl don’t chop or mince well. Instead, the ingredients clung to the bottom of the bowl, with the blade swinging over them.

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin


The best mini processors had blades stationed lower in the base, chopping and processing ingredients efficiently and evenly.

Speed Was Important

Too-slow food processors (like the one that made the pesto on the left) ineffectively processed and chopped.

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin


Many of the mini food processors had multiple speeds and/or the ability to pulse ingredients. My favorite models were middle-ground speed-wise. The processors that were too fast splashed liquid thanks to their alarmingly zippy blades and small capacity. Other models, like the Mueller Mini Food Processor, moved too slowly even at the highest setting, and were unable to process and chop ingredients finely. 

Handles Were Helpful

My favorite mini food processors had handles on their bowls. Though they look extraneous, especially for food processors that only have 2- to 3-cup capacities, a handle made it easy to add to and remove the bowl from the base of the machine. It was also nice to have something to hold onto when pouring the sauce or liquid out of the bowl. 

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Mini Food Processor

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin


Look for a mini food processor that is somewhere between three to five cups in capacity (any smaller isn’t particularly useful).  Any larger, and you might as well upgrade to a full-size food processor. Check to see how low the blade is to the bottom of the bowl. The lower the blade, the better and more evenly the ingredients will be chopped. 

Select a processor that has multiple speeds or can easily pulse, so you can initially break down the ingredients coarsely, before processing at a higher or more consistent speed to finely chop and mince. Finally, look for a sturdy mini food processor—one made of thick, durable plastic or metal.

Our Favorite Mini Food Processors

The Best Mini Food Processor

Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap 4-Cup Mini Food Processor

Amazon


What we liked: This Hamilton Beach model was the only food processor that offered the same sort of versatility as a standard-sized one. The lid had a chute that was large enough to accommodate a small block of cheese, as well as whole ingredients like shallots. It also had a pusher with a hole in its center, which lets you slowly drizzle oil into the bowl, making it easier to produce emulsified sauces like mayonnaise. The thick handle felt comfortable to hold, and the bowl also had a pouring spout. 

It was the only processor I tested that had an “on” button that allowed it to run continuously (the rest of the models just had a pulse option). Tahini sauce came out silky and pesto was smooth. The machine also came with a reversible slicing and shredding disk, which no other model offered. The base has suction cups on its underside, adding stability.

What we didn’t like: The lid snaps onto the top of the bowl with two clamps, but also has a piece of plastic that needs to be slotted into the bowl’s handle, which was fussy. 

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 13.5 x 8.25 x 6 inches
  • Attachments: Bowl, lid with feed chute, food pusher, chopping and mixing blade, reversible slicing/shredding disc
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes, removable parts are dishwasher-safe
  • Material: Plastic; stainless steel
  • Wattage: 250 watts
  • Stated capacity: 4 cups
  • Weight: 3 pounds, 5.75 ounces
  • Warranty: 1 year (US) or 5 years (Canada)

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin


Another Excellent Mini Food Processor

Cuisinart Core Custom 4-Cup Mini Chopper

Amazon


What we liked: This 4-cup mini food processor easily tackled everything from a single garlic clove to pistachios, taking them from whole ingredients to a smooth paste in a flash. 

The lid twisted on easily and intuitively and featured a large, contained area with two holes in it, where you could pour oil and let it drizzle into the processor. It had two large switches: chop and grind. The chop button turned the blades forward, slicing the ingredients into smaller bits. The grind button reversed the direction of the blade, with the blunt end smashing ingredients into a smooth paste.

What we didn’t like: Unlike the Hamilton Beach 4-Cup model, you need to constantly press the power button for the Cuisinart to stay on, which can get tedious.

 Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.5 x 5.5 inches
  • Attachments: Bowl, lid, blade, spatula 
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes, removable parts are dishwasher-safe
  • Material: Plastic; stainless steel
  • Wattage: 250 watts
  • Weight: 2 pounds, 9.875 ounces
  • Stated capacity: 4 cups
  • Warranty: 18 months

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin


The Best Smaller Mini Food Processor

Cuisinart-dlc-2abc-mini-prep-plus-food-processor

Amazon


What we liked: With a smaller 3-cup capacity, the Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus was a more compact offering that still created smooth pesto and emulsified tahini sauce. This model has all the same features as its larger 4-cup sibling, including a locking lid with two holes for oil drizzling, and a blade that moves in different directions (chopping when forward and grinding ingredients in reverse). 

What we didn’t like: Like the Core Custom 4-Cup model, this model requires you to constantly press the on button for the Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus to run continuously. 

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 9 x 7 x 5 inches
  • Attachments: Bowl, lid, blade, spatula 
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes, removable parts are dishwasher-safe
  • Material: Plastic; stainless steel
  • Wattage: 250 watts
  • Weight: 2 pounds, 6.25 ounces
  • Stated capacity: 3 cups
  • Warranty: 18 months

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin


The Best Cordless Mini Food Processor

KitchenAid Cordless 5 Cup Food Chopper

Amazon


What we liked: Less expensive than a full-size food processor, with a much smaller footprint, the KitchenAid 5-Cup did a great job processing small ingredients like a single garlic clove, while still having the capacity for larger tasks. 

This mini food processor is also the only one I tested that was cordless, which made it easy to store and move around. The interior blade is made of two parts, with a blade disk that you can remove from the stem, which makes cleaning a breeze. The food processor also comes with a whisking disk that can be used to make things like whipped cream.

What we didn’t like: To turn the processor on, you press and hold a trigger on the handle, which felt annoying during long processing times.  You can’t charge and use the food processor at the same time.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 10 x 5.5 x 7 inches
  • Attachments: Bowl, lid, drive adapter, blade, whisking disc, and charger
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes, removable parts are dishwasher-safe
  • Material: Plastic; stainless steel
  • Wattage: Unknown
  • Weight: 2 pounds, 11.75 ounces
  • Stated capacity: 5 cups
  • Warranty: 1 year

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin


The Competition

FAQ

What is a mini food processor used for? 

Mini food processors are ideal for making things like sauces, salad dressings, salsas, and mayonnaise, as well as chopping smaller amounts of vegetables and produce.

Is it worth getting a mini food processor? 

Depending on your lifestyle, a mini food processor might be a great addition to your household. Mini food processors cost significantly less than a full-size food processor and can be versatile. They are also easier to store and take up little countertop space. 

What’s the best size for a mini food processor?

For most people, a 3- to 4-cup capacity mini food processor is ideal. This size is large enough to fit most sauce recipes, but not so large that small amounts of ingredients bounce around without getting chopped. 

Why We’re the Experts

  • Irvin Lin is a cookbook author, recipe developer, food writer, photographer, and ceramicist. He wrote Marbled, Swirled, and Layered, which was picked by The New York Times as one of the best baking cookbooks of 2016. 
  • Irvin also runs a blog called Eat the Love, where he’s developed, photographed, and written recipes since 2010. 
  • He’s product tested and reviewed hundreds of kitchen items including stand mixers and digital thermometers.
  • For this review, Irvin tested 11 mini food processors, making tahini sauce and pesto sauce and hand-cleaning them after each use to find the best ones.
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