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12 Magical Ways To Use A Food Processor

12 Magical Ways to Use a Food Processor collage.

Honestly, my whole life has been leading up to this moment.

It’s time for me to come clean: Pinch of Yum is really just a place for me to publicly document the progression of my major love affair with my food processor. That’s all it is, you guys. It has happened without me even realizing it.

I think the level of food processor obsession that I’m dealing with really started to sink in when got a comment on our reader survey a few months ago that constructively criticized me for having so many recipes that require a food processor, and that made me realize: wow, I really do use that thing a lot. Like, CAN’T STOP.

And that, my friends, has brought me to this post where I count the ways that I love that machine for all the magic it can do in the kitchen.

Slash has brought me to the point where I take food processor selfies. Cheeeeez!

Food Processor Selfie.

My options at the food processor obsessed crossroads in my blogging lyfe:

  1. I can try to use the food processor less in recipes, knowing that not everyone has one or enjoys using it as much as I do.
  2. I can try to bring you on board the crazy train with me.

You guys! There are so many cool things that food processors can do with food! 12 Magical Things, to be specific, and that’s only scratching the surface. So obviously I chose my second option. You, me, and the food processors riding the crazy train together? Fuhhhhn.

Before we jump into the 12 Magical Things, though, let’s take a walk down Food Processor Memory Lane.

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I honestly feel like I didn’t learn how to cook until the day I first brought home a food processor.

…From a garage sale.

…From the FREE box.

Oh my gosh, I’m gross.

Garage Sale Find food processor.

I remember bringing it up to the lady hosting (hosting? do you say hosting in reference to a garage sale?) and asking what it was. She told me it was a food processor and she didn’t think it worked anymore, which was why it was free. Umm, let me think. SOLD.

I took it home and washed it out 500 times and started making things with it – primarily recipes I had bookmarked for the day when I would someday have that elusively magical thing called a food processor. Most of my starter recipes were sauces and dressings and things like that. I actually specifically remember making a Cashew Chicken recipe from an Indian food cookbook in the dank kitchen of the college-y house that my friends and I rented, and I also specifically remember being amazed at the texture and flavor of the sauce once it took a run through that little machine. Because it’s normal for college students to make spicy Indian-inspired food from scratch on a Saturday night? Just… I don’t even know.

Sadly, that old garage sale beauty isn’t around anymore, and I have no idea what brand it was, but she deserves a mention for starting this whole addiction.

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Next up!

I graduated up to the KRUPS Mini Chopper. This is what I registered for when Bjork and I got married five (almost six! ahh) years ago. The original chopper is no longer available on Amazon, but I’ve linked to a similar Cuisinart product.

Mini Chopper.KRUPS Mini Chopper

I remember the exact moment, standing in Crate & Barrel, looking at all the food processors with a scanner gun in my hand and my mom at my side, and trying to figure out if we were going to be *those people* who register for the cadillac of food processors as young 20-somethings who don’t really know how to cook, or if we were going to be normal and try to keep it under control with a smaller, more efficient, less expensive version.

I opted for the mini chopper, which is like a tiny, compact food processor, and it served me well for a few years. It was actually just last summer that this little guy died mid-basil-dip-making-session during summer vacation at the cabin. Because, yes, I am the girl who packs my food processor in my suitcase when I go on vacation. The death of this mini chopper was really sad (um, hello understatement). This little friend and I enjoyed four sweet, delicious years together, and for the price, I felt like it was a great starter food processor that helped me step it up from my free garage sale find.

PS. If you’re out there reading this, dear person who got us our first mini food processor for a wedding gift, I hereby credit you with most of the success of this blog. THANK UUUUU.

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But ultimately where this food processor journey is bringing us is to the BIG GUY – the amazing, the beloved, the Cuisinart 7-Cupper.

Er, okay, fine, it’s the Cuisinart Classic 7-Cup Food Processor, if we’re being official.

Cuisinart.Cuisinart Classic 7-Cup Food Processor

I was definitely sad to lose my baby food processor last summer – well, I mean, like, not BABY food processor, just, like, baby … food processor. UGH wordssss. But the silver lining was that I had always wanted a big, profesh food processor and this was my time to get one!

You guys. I’ve had it for about 9 months now, and I mostly just want to say one thing: this machine is INCREDIBLE. If I could only choose one kitchen appliance to have for the rest of my cooking life, it would be this. No hesitation.

It’s so, so, so sturdy. And big – yes. That’s something to consider, and I can say that with experience being that I am a person who operates out of a 90-square-foot kitchen. But wowsa, they pack a lot of power into that motor base! It’s like a brick, that thing. This Cuisinart is SO STRONG and SO STURDY that you could have the thickest of mixtures in there and it wouldn’t even budge, squeak, or smoke in the slightest. Trust me – I’ve really given it a run for its money.

There is just one button – you either push it up to leave it on, or you push it down to just sporadically pulse something. EVEN I CAN FIGURE THIS OUT.

If you are in the market for a big, real, going-to-use-it-for-a-long-time food processor, this is a winner. Reviews on Amazon: 4.5 stars out of 1,500 reviews.

A quick note: this machine comes with lots of parts, but for today’s post, I’m only talking about using it with the primary blade (see pictures) and the short, easy to use top. Okay, fine, confession: I literally never use the tall top and alternate blades. I have them in a special “extra things” drawer in my kitchen and I’ve never used them, not even once. Because you don’t need to! Also: LAZY.

You guys.

Let’s jump into the MAGIC of what this machine (or the smaller versions, for that matter) can do for your cooking life!

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1. Making Homemade Nut Butters

Food processor.

Yay! We just talked about this in a post not that long ago – remember that homemade peanut butter that can be made in five minutes? Or this luscious five minute cashew sauce?

The texture of homemade peanut butter is everything. And you guys? If you need me, I’ll just be over here making nut butters from every type of nut possible.

2. Grinding Meat

Meat in a food processor.

Mmm, glamorous.

Pictured here is some nice pink salmon, being prepared for awesomely textured lemon herb salmon burgers! I use my food processor to grind meat for meatballs and burgers galore.

3. Homemade Pesto

Sauce in a food processor.

Obviously!

But this pesto is a favorite healthier version from a pesto pasta bake that I made last summer which is now taking over my life again. I ♡ THIS STUFF. Yay for customizable pesto that we can put on everything!

4. Curry Paste

Sauce in a food processor.

Umm, yeah, we just talked about the wonders of making curry paste at home. Food processors = making people feel like they’re awesome cooks.

I’m digging it. Next up: bring on the red and green curry pastes!

(tip! tip! tip! spray the white part of your blade with nonstick cooking spray to prevent neon yellow stains. that darn turmeric…)

5. Getting Awesomely Textured Veggies for Salads

Carrots in a food processor.

I use this food processor ALL THE TIME when it comes to quickly chopping things up for salads.

Carrots, especially! I love to use it to cut up carrots, onions, and celery for a soup base and I also use it for cutting up veggies in stuff like this Herbed Quinoa Garden Veggie Salad!

Also pictured: white beans and herbs that I was chopping up for these little 10 minute artichoke toasts.

Food in a food processor.

6. Making Homemade Hummus

Sauce in a food processor with a spoon.

Right? I love my food processor for hummus! We made some at my dinner club the other night and it was so easy + so good.

My favorite recipe for homemade hummus is this one – but warning – the best best best texture comes from spending a little time taking the skins off the chickpeas. I know, annoying, but so worth it if you’re a texture freak. (The version pictured here did not have the skins removed. Still delish.)

7. Inner Goddess Chocolate Truffles (and other healthy snacks)

Chocolate in a food processor.

The Cuisinart LOVES dates, date balls, date bars, and other date mixtures. Seriously, it works like a dream for making awesome “dough” out of healthier ingredients like nuts and dates.

Inner Goddess Chocolate Truffles alone might be worth the price of admission!

8. Chopping Nuts

Chopped nuts in a food processor.

It’s just one of those little things that’s annoying to do on a cutting board.

I pop the nuts in, whir them around for a few seconds, and voila. I usually keep a jar of crushed almonds like this for topping recipes or using in salads. Perf!

9. Homemade Dressings

Food processor with liquid.

Like the dressing in this Chopped Thai Salad with Sesame Garlic Dressing. HELLOOOOOOOO.

I love the food processor for dressings because you don’t have to cut up the garlic or the herbs at all. The food processor does ALL the work and you get a nice, smooth dressing! So many good dressing vibes.

10. Cutting Butter Into Flour

Crumbs in a food processor.

Okay, right now I’m in the midst of a sugar free 60 day thing, so I won’t be making any bars or pie crusts or other wonderful things for a little while.

BUT. If you are needing to cut butter into flour to make a beautiful dough for any delicious reason, the food processor works beautifully for that. There is actually a separate blade that you are supposed to use for it – I think it’s plastic rather than the sharp blades pictured here, but like I said before, I never change my blade because a) the regular one works for everything, and b) laziness.

11. Making Healthy Ice Cream

Chocolate liquid and chocolate chunks in a food processor.

Ahh! So excited to share this recipe with you because CHOCOLATE, REFINED SUGAR FREE, GLOWY HEALTHY YUM. Go check it out!

Also, you must try this peanut butter banana soft serve ice cream – I’ve also been dying to try this with frozen fruit like mango, strawberries, etc.

12. Magic Green Sauce

Green sauce in a food processor.

It’s only appropriate that I’d end this post of 12 Magical Ways to Use a Food Processor with THE MAGIC GREEN SAUCE.

If you haven’t tried it, what is life like for you? Is it sad?

If you’re only going to make one thing from this post with your food processor or mini chopper or garage sale food-processor-like thing, make it this green sauce and just try not to put it on everything for the rest of your life, ever.

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In my mind, these Something Besides a Recipe posts are always really quick and easy to throw together. But somehow, I feel like I just ran a marathon. THE BEST KIND OF MARATHON. I was made for this kind of work.

After all that…

I love you guys. ♡ And I love your creative minds. Let me know what else we could add to this list by leaving a comment!

And finally, I’d like to officially welcome you to the Food Processor Lovers’ club. Whether you’ve got the KRUPS Mini Chopper or the Cuisinart Classic 7-Cup Food Processor or something in between, there are good times ahead.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links for all the food processors I mentioned in my walk down Food Processor Memory Lane! I want you to have one so bad.

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342 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I thought I was the only one who had a love affair with food processors so large that she has 3 different kinds, with backups of each. They are just SO AMAZING.
    These are some great ideas…I need to get on the food processor ice cream train! Pinning!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      My Food Processor has served me well for years but it really struggles for it’s life when I grate cheese. I should invest in something better. Does yours have a grater attachment?

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        Valerie

        I have the same Cuisinart food processor and the smaller one as well. I buy it in the 5 lb. brick and grate the entire thing in 2 mins. The smaller one has a chute attachment so it pushes it out into a bowl as it grates. The larger one doesn’t have the chute so it just collects all the grated goodness in the unit. I also use the grating attachment a lot in the fall when the zucchini is ready. I grate it up and put it in the freezer so it’s ready to make bread or muffins. I prefer the smaller one for grating large quantities and the large one for smaller amounts. Sounds a bit backward but with the chute attachment the smaller one really works better.

      2. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Ali

        Definitely use the grater attachment and large chute for the cheese. Also, make sure the cheese is a) a harder cheese, not a softer one, and b) really cold, not kinda cold or room temp. The first time I grated a block of sharp cheddar in my Cuisinart (same model shown in this post), it was almost a religious experience. It was over so quickly, and all I could do was stare, with misty eyes, at the pile of perfectly grated cheese. Just writing about it brings back that warm glow!

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Taylor, you’re not the only one. I too fall in love with huge processors which saves huge time and effort into doing the cutting and grinding. This article will make others to step into buy a new one. Cheers 🙂

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m also in love with my food processor! My baby one died last year in the midst of making granola bars, so I finally upgraded to the big guy too. I use it so often that I wish I could just leave it out on my counter all the time, but that would essentially eliminate all my counter space (hello, tiny kitchen). I love using mine for nut and date-based granola bars, pie crust, and salsa!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I have a food processor but the only thing I have used it for is making nut butters. I was selling my homemade almond butter before I moved and used that thing ALL THE TIME. Now I have some weird fear that if I use it for anything else it will taint my precious almond butter. I know I can use it for a million other things but I am being weird.

    I usually make my pesto in the Vitamix but maybe I will try it in the processor. The only thing is that I have an 11 cup one and so I have to make larger batches of things. I don’t really think there’s anything wrong with a large amount of pesto though. Not at all.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Sandy

      Can you just order an extra bowl? Lable them, one for almond butter and one for other stuff.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    sharculese

    When I was growing up I learned to cook with my dad’s 7 cup Cuisinart that was older than I was. When my parents offered to help me set up my first kitchen number one on the list of stuff I wanted was one just like his.

    Sadly, it’s been sitting in storage for 3 years, after I moved out of state and didn’t have a good way to transport it. But I’m moving back in a week and a half and can finally liberate it!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    CUTTING BUTTER INTO FLOUR.

    You just blew my mind. I never, ever, ever, would have thought to use my processor for that. I have specifically been avoiding recipes that require me to cut butter into flour because I’m not good at it and think it’s a pain in the butt. Life changed.

    We have a mini chopper, Cuisinart maybe? Then I have my big boy power house processor, also Cuisinart. I love having both!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I KNOW RIGHT! I have never been good at that but I think I saw it on TV once or something where they used the food processor to cut the butter in. So genius!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Nichole

        This is so funny to me, because I got a food processor as a gift (“Someone gave me this, I don’t need it, want it?” YES) and I immediately tried using it to cut butter into flour, because I love making pies and have also done this process with a fork. The one time I tried with the food processor my pie crust FAILED. I still only cut in butter by hand, but my food processor has found many other uses. Homemade mayo is my favorite!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sommer

    I am so embarrassed and envious that I do NOT have a food processor! I keep using my Osterizer blender that only has ‘on’ or ‘pulse’, which I love the simplicity of, but I don’t think it can do all of the amazing things above. I have always wanted a food processor for the amazing things you can do with it, but it seems so big and clunky and has a million parts that would be annoying to clean. Your post has answered a lot of my questions. Thank you!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Agreed, my food processor is the single tool I use the most in the kitchen. I LOVE it! From nut meal/butters, to soup, to cutting butter into flour this baby gets used several times a day some days!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I freaking LOVE my food processor. I have a Cuisinart 9 Cup, and use it for all those things listed above. I love using the shredder attachment (doooooo it Lindsay!!) for shredding veggies – I just posted a salad today where I used it for zucchini, raw beets, and carrots. YUM. So +1 vote for you trying the attachments!

    But the #1…. ? Definitely nut butters or homemade ballz. Ballz/truffles forever.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      YES I promise to try it. Soon! Do you have a spiralizer and/or does it work the same way? Or is it a different type of cutting? I’ll have to start practicing…

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Teresa

        I have a spiralizer AND A food processor with shredder attachment. The shredder attachment makes flat, short strips of veggies and the spiralizer makes longer, rounder noodles of veggies. Two different textures, so much so that I find it worth it to have both.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sheri

    My lovely husband gave me a Kitchen Aide food processor and I never use it. I would rather chop, shred and mix by hand, I hate the clean up and all the parts, I despise doing dishes in the first place, so to add 7 more things to wash, instead of a 1 knife, a shredder box or my hands it not worth it to me. I look at in the cabinet and feel guilty for not using it, as I was told it was a commercial top of the line model. Sorry honey!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Mine only has three parts to wash – the blade, the bowl, and the lid. 🙂 And I usually just throw them in the dishwasher! But to each their own – I respect that! 🙂

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Lindsay Marie

      Do you have a huge KA model, Sheri? Somebody mailed one to my doorstep(!!!), knowing I have trouble with my tendons but also like to cook from scratch for the freezer. It was such a kind and unexpected act that the memory overwhelms me years later; and yet, I find washing all the parts of the KA too painful for day-to-day use. Now if I have a family, and especially if its with my current boyfriend who is used to washing his own dishes through years of bachelorhood and and says he’d gladly wash dishes for me, I might use it much more…) For Christmas I got a processor that is smaller and made of less parts. Like Lindsay with her CuisinArt, I find it easier to clean.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Holly

        This thread is years old but +1 for cuisinart. I had a KA 7 cup for yrs & washing it is a PITA. The lid even has nooks & crannies for food to get stuck in. This means that I used it only for the most labor intensive jobs – like shredding pounds of cheese. Recently upgraded to a cuisinart classic 14 cup. The difference is like night & day. My KA is now in the garage sale pile.

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Barb

          I had a 14 c. Hamilton Beach that had the same kind of lid. I returned it and bought a Cuisinart, but haven’t used it yet. It just came today.

    3. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Mary

      Sheri, I have two. A 2 cup and an 11 cup. ALL parts go into the dishwasher with no problem. I even make my pie crust in the larger one. You really should try it.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Megan Lipps

      Agreed. I never successfully made pizza dough until I read this post from Kenji at SeriousEats about why you should use a food processor:

      https://slice.seriouseats.com/2010/10/the-pizza-lab-how-to-make-great-new-york-style-pizza.html

      Although I actually find this epicurious recipe works best:

      https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pizza-dough-237338

      Now I make pizza dough all the time, plus other yeast doughs come out perfectly in the food processor too! I have this terrible $30 food processor I bought on Overstock.com. It sounds like I am murdering it everytime I make dough it in, but it’s not dead yet so I keep on keeping on. When I do kill it, I’m going to replace it with a Ninja set that does food processing, blending, and smoothie cups all in one (I think).

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Lynette

        I have the Ninja set. The smoothie cups are fantastic for small amounts of sauces and dressings. So easy to use and clean up, too.

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Leti

    I love my food processor! I’m so happy to see this post spreading the word. I have the Cuisinart Classic 11 cup, which I scored on a super sale at Macy’s for $100–I love that I scored a good deal almost as much as I love this machine. I upgraded in the last year when my fiance’s 5 cup Hamilton Beach finally died. We ran it into the ground, and the difference was night and day. I love being able to slice up tons of veggies at a time–especially onions, which I like to caramelize in large batches and freeze. We also use it for all of our nut butters. I like having a small one, too, for dressings and sauces because there’s less clean up, and it’s easier to get it out of the bowl.

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    HeyBeckyJ

    At first, I was totally sad, because I didn’t even know what Magic Green Sauce was. And then I looked around your site, and now I can turn my life around. But you should definitely add the link to this post. Can’t wait to try it.

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Two words. Cauliflower Rice.

    I do use the shredding attachment a lot, but otherwise it’s the S-blade all the way, baby! I love my Cuisinart, but I have to admit I’ve never considered taking a selfie with it. I might need to rethink that. It was a gift from my husband when we were first dating, so if it ever dies, I’ll be very sad indeed.

    RIP Krups Mini-Chopper.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Oh my gosh, YES! I have done that before, too! And please rethink the selfie decision. These are the types of things that you always want documented, just in case.

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I seriously don’t know why I don’t own a food processor! Been wanting one for a while. I’ve been using my blender… I know, terrible! But, after this post, I am sooo ready to have one in my life!

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    You are tempting me to purchase a one way ticket onto the food processor crazy train. Choo choo! I have one of those baby…food processors, but I wanna get on board (I can’t deal with the puns) with the big daddy Cuisinart! I laughed when I saw you ended with the Magic Green Sauce. Saving the best for last! 😉

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Ilona

    Absolutely! I asked my husband for a food processor for Christmas three years ago, and man, did I have to overcome some serious resistance! “Nooooo!”, he said, “Only dud husbands buy their wives appliances for Christmas! What’s next, a vacuum cleaner??”

    What a sweetie, huh? Once I convinced him that a food processor wasn’t so much an appliance as a creative indulgence, he was on board. I have used that thing at least 4 or 5 times a week ever since. Very often for your AMAZING chopped Thai salad, which the whole family looooves.

    Now you’ve posted this list, I have even more reasons to use it. Can hardly wait to make me some curry paste!

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love mine! Which was TOTALLY free. Someone got a new Cuisinart and so gave us her old one. It’s a little yellow-y, but works SO well! I also kind of love the Ninja system for processing: hello, five blades in a blender! I use mine for salsa, baby food, and hummus. I wish they made them a little prettier so that it wouldn’t be such a big deal to leave it out all the time. Kind of like my lovely blue stand mixer (that I saved up FOREVER for). Can we start a make-food-processers-prettier campaign? Which is weird, because normally I don’t care. But I’d love to leave that bad boy out on the counter to use it more and it’s UG-LY.

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    No joke the food processor I had died the DAY I wanted to use it to make hummus for the first time. I ended up using an immersion blender in my desperation. Talk about texture problems… But I recently moved in with roommates who have one and despite it being super old I’m so glad to have a food processor in my life again!

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love my black & decker chopper I bought on Amazon a few years ago when I was really cranking out recipes for the race track crew. I use it all the time. it’s small enough for the two of us and use it all the time. I even named it… Mr. Chopper
    He’s gotten a workout lately with the magic green sauce.

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Meredith

    I got that exact cuisinart food processor for my birthday in January and I’m also in LOVE with it. My latest favorite thing to do with it is to make pizza dough. It is SO EASY. I learned from a Mark Bittman video and it just takes a couple minutes and the dough is PERFECT.

    Also- love the shredder attachment for cheese. 🙂

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Angie

    I would like to purchase a ticket please to the food processor crazy train!! I love mine too… and did you know that you can buy chickpeas that are already skinned? Life changing knowledge bomb! (in my world).

  21. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sandra Lea

    I love my Cuisinart food processor. I use it all the time. I know people who don’t use it because they hate to wash it. I don’t understand the big deal.

  22. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I use the big Cuisinart for heavy-duty stuff, and the mini for breadcrumbs and grating Parmesan cheese. Such a time-saver!