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When most of us think of baking, food processors aren’t usually the first kitchen appliance to come to mind. That’s understandable, but I’ve actually found that the right food processor can be really useful in baking.
With a good food processor, you can knead dough quickly and easily. Likewise, making cake batter in the food processor can be simple and effective.
I’m always looking for ways to save time in the kitchen, and I’ve found that it is often quicker and easier to use the food processor, as opposed to bringing out the stand mixer, for fairly simple baking tasks such as kneading pizza dough or whipping up batter for cupcakes.
If you end up really enjoying using the food processor for baking, you’ll be happy to find that there are quite a few dessert and bread recipes online which are specifically made for the food processor.
Food processor cookbooks also often have chapters dedicated to baking. The basics are very simple, though, and with just a little bit of trial and error, you should be able to knead a variety of doughs and mix different kinds of batters in the food processor with ease.
I’ve found that not all food processors are equally suitable for baking, though. There are some great food processors on the market that, unfortunately, just aren’t that good at kneading dough, for instance.
So, with that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to a few of my favorite food processors that really shine in the realm of baking. I’ll begin with a couple honorable mentions and end with what I consider to be the overall best food processor for baking.
#3 Black & Decker FP2500B PowerPro Wide-Mouth 10-Cup Food Processor (Budget Pick)
This is the most budget-friendly of my recommendations (view on Amazon) by far. It’s not the best food processor available for baking (we’ll get to that one later), but it does a great job and is extremely affordable.
There are several fairly inexpensive food processors on the market but, unfortunately, most of them cannot handle basic baking tasks such as kneading doughs or mixing thicker batters.
If your food processing baking needs don’t go any further than chopping onions for a quiche, then most any food processor will suffice, but for anything even a bit more intensive, you’ll want to be careful which inexpensive machine you choose.
In addition to its extremely reasonable price, another great thing about this food processor is that it performs well for a wide variety of tasks.
Most budget-conscious shoppers won’t want to buy a food processor exclusively for baking; we want something that will fulfill all of our food-processing requirements, and this is a great all-around machine. It chops, slices, shreds, and purees with ease.
Its 10-cup capacity allows you to process a fairly substantial amount of ingredients at a time, but this is the smallest capacity machine included in my recommendations.
The most important thing though, for the discussion at hand, is that this performs well for baking-related tasks. You can use it to knead dough, and you don’t need a dedicated dough blade for this; the regular stainless-steel chopping blade that comes with the machine works well for dough.
It is important to note here, however, that this food processor excels primarily with lighter doughs, such as pizza crusts and white breads. Unfortunately, at this price point, there simply isn’t a food processor that can handle the denser doughs.
So, if you make a lot of whole grain breads, for instance, you may want to consider my next couple of recommendations, as opposed to this one.
Aside from kneading, this machine does a great job of other baking preparation tasks such as mixing batters, pureeing fruits, and chopping nuts. It’s a great machine at this price point and will work well for those bakers whose food processing needs are rather light and simple.
#2 Braun FP3020 12 Cup Food Processor
This one is significantly more expensive than the Black & Decker, but it is also much more powerful. With a 600-watt motor and a bowl that fits up to 10-cups, this is a strong food processor with the capacity to work with large amounts of ingredients at a time.
As you would expect, it works extremely well in a wide array of functions. It also comes with a variety of attachments for shredding, slicing, whipping, kneading, and even juicing citrus.
With regard to its functionality for baking-related tasks, you can rest assured that this food processor is up to most any challenge.
A food processor’s kneading capabilities are often the ultimate test of its abilities. Kneading requires not only power, but also a roomy bowl capacity, and a design sophisticated enough to allow thorough kneading of all the ingredients without problems with half-kneaded dough getting stuck to the sides or under the blades. This machine succeeds in all of this.
The only caveat is that the bowl capacity shouldn’t be overloaded. The 10-cup capacity actually means that it can handle 12-cups of dry ingredients or 9-cups of liquid. I would recommend staying slightly under these limits in order to ensure even kneading.
In terms of other baking tasks besides kneading, this comes with a whisk attachment which does an excellent job of whisking wet ingredients quickly and evenly. You’ll love using the citrus juicing attachment when making lemon meringue pie, and it does a great job of everything from grating chocolate to chopping walnuts.
Another important thing to note about this food processor is that it generally works very quietly. Most of the time, you’ll only hear a gentle humming as it runs; during the most intensive kneading, it gets a bit louder, but is still fairly quiet.
Unfortunately, less expensive machines—even the Black & Decker recommended above—are simply not quiet when running. In fact, they are generally quite loud and tend to shake a bit when run at higher speeds.
So, if you have a sleeping baby in the house, or just don’t like loud noises, you may want to consider the benefits of paying more for a quiet machine such as this one.
#1 Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor (Top Pick)
In all honesty, it’s a close race between the Braun and this Cuisinart. Both are excellent food processors, but with careful consideration, I’ve decided that this is my number-one recommendation for the all-time best overall food processor for baking.
Like the Braun, this isn’t a cheap appliance. It’s a bit of an investment, but one that I think you’ll feel is worth it in the long run. With a very generous 14-cup bowl and a 720-watt motor, this is a large and extremely powerful food processor.
With regard to kneading dough—one of the most straining tasks for any food processor—this machine shines above all others. Since it’s never a good idea to pack ingredients in to maximum capacity when kneading, the larger capacity bowl is especially useful.
You can knead a large amount at one time without worries about the pitfalls of overloading the bowl. Dough comes out perfectly, and this processor kneads quite quickly as well.
Unlike the Braun, this one does not come with a dough blade, although you can buy one separately. This may seem like a drawback for some, but I’ve found that the regular blade works perfectly well for kneading.
My recommendation would be to buy this and try it out with the regular blade and see if that works for you before purchasing the dough blade. I actually like the fact that this food processor does the same level of work with less attachments.
I find that too many attachments can make things confusing and unnecessarily complicated; it can be frustrating stopping in the middle of food preparation to try to figure out which blade or attachment to use for each task.
On the negative side, this one isn’t as quiet as the Braun while running, although it is still significantly quieter than most food processors.
It’s also the heaviest of my recommendations, so you may want to keep it on the countertop or store it in an easily accessible place to avoid a lot of lifting. That said, it is still much lighter than a stand mixer, so you’ll appreciate the ability to do some of the tasks often assigned to mixers–such as kneading and whisking—without the heft and space requirements of those larger appliances.
Overall, this Cuisinart food processor (view on Amazon) is truly amazing. It handles all baking-related prep tasks with ease, and its roomy capacity is a standout quality for bakers.
Many of us bake for holiday gifts, birthday parties, and large gatherings. Being able to work with large amounts of ingredients at one time is really a time-saver when entertaining or baking for a large family.
Lastly, I want to point out that this is an extremely user-friendly food processor. It functions very intuitively without a lot of unnecessary attachments or settings, and most importantly, it does this while also performing beautifully at a wide range of tasks.
While the food processor isn’t an appliance that is always automatically associated with baking, it remains one of the most useful tools in the arsenal of any home baker. Unfortunately, general reviews of food processors don’t always provide enough information about each product’s functionality with respect to baking.
Now that you’ve read these recommendations, you’ll hopefully be able to make the most informed choice.