Food processor and chopper, what's the difference?

althetrainerJanuary 22, 2010

I am a kitchen gadget junkie. I have pretty much everything but a food processor. Hubby asked if I wanted one for Christmas but I really didn't want to have to create more space for yet another appliance.

I know there're some small food processors that don't take up a lot of space but they look very much like the mini chopper I have! I even measured the "S" blade, the length of the arms and how close it sits to the bottom etc. They looked almost identical. So what's the difference between a small food processor and a mini chopper? I have tried using a mini chopper in a recipe that required a food processor; just couldn't produce the right texture. My question is... do I need to buy a "big gun" in order to do the right job? What's the difference, really?


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If you want to make smooth purées, you will need a heavy duty FP. I have one that is not quite powerful enough, and so when I make hummus or bean dip, it's not as smooth as I would like. I also have a small food processor that I use for making finely chopped items. It's easy to control because it has a pulse option, and so I can use it to make pickle relish without making pickle purée. I don't have counter space for a large FP, and so I store mine in a lower cabinet, and it is a pain to get it out.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 2:21PM
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Al, I have a big food processor and it stays on the counter. My counter space is precious, the only things that take it up are the KA mixer, the food processor, the bread machine and the microwave. Everything else is stored in a cupboard, in the garage or in the basement.

At any rate, as Lars pointed out, a big food processor is necessary for ultra smooth hummus, I make hummus at least weekly. It's necessary for Jessica's lime chipotle marinade, my blender gets the cilantro all wrapped around the blade. I also use it to finely chop meat for sausage and/or burgers and it's great for pasta making and for grinding stale bread into homemade bread crumbs. It's a champ for shredding cabbage when I pack sauerkraut too.

I haven't been successful in using it for pie crust, chopped vegetables (I get that puree, or I get a bunch of different sized chunks), and I've not tried it for bread dough.

I don't have a mini chopper so I can't tell you the similarities or differences but I will admit that it's worth the counter space to me, as it multi-tasks nicely.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 2:26PM
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One of the things not addressed so far is the discs that come with the large food processor. I have something like 8 or 9 but only use about 5. You can make wonderful even neat slices in 1 mm 2 mm and on up to ^ mm slices. I figure that if I want something cut into 6 Mm slices I will use a knife, but I often use the 1, 2 and 4 mm discs.
And I use the medium and fine shredding discs too...for cheese, carrots, potatoes to name a few things...Oh and bread crumbs too.
So the FP makes dough in a flash and great purees, but I most often it for slicing and dicing.
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 3:14PM
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Thanks Lars, Annie, and Linda C!

Lars, I was thinking a small FP to save counter space. Knowing how I am, I probably won't bother to use the FP if I have to pull it out every time I need it! I am just too lazy! LOL

Annie, I have an Oster blender that does a very good job making puree. I need a food processor that will make coarse texture like pie crust crumbs. I also would like to use it to process cooked chickpeas to make vegetarian burgers, also very coarse texture. These are the two main reasons I want a food processor.

Linda, I have an Old Kitchen Center that has all the discs for slicing and dicing. Strange enough, it doesn't have the "S" blade so can't use it as a food processor.

One of these days I might just get rid of all these odd gadgets and get one or two very large ones to replace them all. Wouldn't it be easier that way? LOL


    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 5:52PM
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I have a B&D mini chopper, which isn't so great for smooth purees, but is great for chopping nuts and making curry paste. I have an ancient Braun FP that I use for hummous and smooth cream soups, but it is really lousy for grating or slicing. I would like to get a better machine for grating (latkes were such an ordeal last Chanuka), but I don't want another honking big appliance to find space for. Any recommendations???

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 5:53PM
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Al, is your Kitchen Center one of those thing that built into the counter? My mom had one built in when they built back in the early 80Âs. It doesnÂt work but all the attachment are still there if thatÂs what you have I will look next time I go visit my dad and let you know if the "S" blade is there. I have been trying to clean out and get rid of stuff that I know my dad will never use and if it the right thing I will send it to you.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 11:43PM
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Claudia, that's very thoughtful of you! The Kitchen Center I have was made in the early 80's but not built into the counter. It does everything slicing, dicing, shredding, mincing, grinding, mixing, beating, and kneading... only food processing is not part of it. There's no "S" blade made for this unit, at least not the one I have. Here's a picture of the manual book. Does it look anything like what your dad has? Al

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 1:06AM
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No it doesnÂt look like that at all oh well I tried someone out there could probably use those attachments. I bough that big Cuisinart at Costco but after unpacking it I realized I wouldnÂt use it often so I took it back. I have the mini Cuisinart and its great but I still would like something a little bigger sometimes.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 7:08PM
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Thanks Claudia! I hope you enjoy your mini Cuisinart. One of these days I will get the big gun! LOL Al

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 7:48PM
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Nancy zone 6

I have that same Kitchen Center, and have always liked it. Gets terrible reviews, but mine has always worked well for me, although I mostly use the mixer part of it. Got a new kitchenaid mixer for Christmas, but I haven't quite let go of the kitchen center yet because of the attachments :) Lot of stuff to store though...

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 9:10PM
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Al, my stepmother has that Kitchen Center and it still works fine, I used it for years to grate the cabbage for kraut.

She doesn't cook, so she seldom uses it any more, but it still works on the rare occasion that she wants to use it for something.

I know hers doesn't have an "s" blade either.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 9:29PM
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Exactly, ngraham and Annie, I love my Kitchen Center; very much attached to it. :-) It's old but it's a workhorse! I still use it almost every day. It really does pretty much everything except what the "S" blade can do.

I have tried to use my blender, Magic Bullet, and mini chopper to make coarse crumbs, peanut butter, and chickpeas burger... the result is always soup under the blade with chunks sitting on top. I need to be able to process the food without having to add liquid but none of my gadgets can do such a job. :-(


    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 11:04PM
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A chopper usually only has one speed or a pulse only.

I hae a little KA chopper I think we paid $20 for. It's great for herbs, nuts, crumbs, etc. (And I do make hummus in it, but maybe it wouldn't pass the smoothness muster for other folks. )

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 3:58AM
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