Good Question: What Size Food Processor Should I Buy?

Reader sweetheart has a good question about buying a new food processor. She writes:

I am geared up to buy my first food processor and I have a few questions. I hope to get into baking more and am not sure if I should get a particular sized food processor? I'm a single lady so I am gravitating to the 3-cup but if I want to make a pie crust will that be too small?

I was also wondering if you could recommend reasonably priced processors that would be a good value? Thanks for your guidance!

A food processor is a controversial appliance among cooks. Some swear by theirs; others feel it's a waste of cupboard space. We are somewhere in the middle, with a compromise. We keep a very small food processor around, and so far it has really served all our needs. We use it most often for dips, sauces, pesto, purees, salsa and other chopped mixes. We rarely use it for the things that food processor manufacturers advertise: regularly slicing onions, peppers, and other vegetables. We find that our chef's knife and mandoline are both much better options for those tasks.

So that's our own take on the food processor, and we do think that a 3-cup is big enough for most uses. We often make pastry in our food processor, too. A 3-cup food processor will handle enough pie dough for one to two pies without a problem. We also like to make these tea cookies in our chopper.

Now to the question of brand. We own a KitchenAid chopper and it's done just fine. We do find that it doesn't perform well when less than half full, and we are a little wistful for a Cuisinart. A Sur La Table product manager told us once that every company in this space does one thing well. For KitchenAid, that's mixers. For Cuisinart, that's food processors. Stick to what works.

Having said that, we think that either of these choppers would do well for you, and they aren't very expensive. Our KitchenAid is nearly four years old and working like new.

Cuisinart DFP-3 Handy Prep 3-Cup Food Processor, $47.99 at Amazon
KitchenAid Chef Series Food Chopper, $37.42 at Amazon

Any other food processor advice for sweetheart?

Related: Good Question: Can My Food Processor Do More?

(Images: Amazon.com)

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