Food processors can seem large and clunky and not always suitable for quick, small uses, but for the right job, they are priceless. Most often they will save you time and give you a superior result. And remember, all the attachments can go in the dishwasher! Here are four suggestions for different ways you can use your food processor as a go-to kitchen tool.
1. Grating cheese
Elbow grease and a hand-grater will get it done, but for a recipe that requires a lot of cheese, using the grater blade on the food processor is a much faster option. And while you’ve got it going, why not grate extra cheese to have on hand for the rest of the week. The grater blade is also perfect for carrots as well as beets and apples.
2. Slicing onions
Flip that grater blade upside down and your teary onion slicing days are over. The slicing blade on a food processor makes this a fast and easy job and the onions will be sliced uniformly, helping them to cook evenly.
3. Mixing pastry
Incorporating butter into the flour by hand, the way our mothers did, is the traditional way of making pie crust. But for a fast and easy alternative, use your food processor. The speed of the blade cuts through the butter quickly, without the warmth of your hands affecting the dough. The result is a lovely, flaky pastry.
4. Puréeing soups, dips and spreads
Winter is a great time to make soup. Instead of bothering with finicky chopping, give your vegetables a rough chop when making your soup, then purée the final product into a lovely smooth and cozy bowl of comfort food.
Here are 12 recipes to get you started:
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Food processor recipes
Save your energy with large dishes that call for big portions of grated cheese but busting out the processor and using the grating attachment. We like to use it when making classic lasagna.
Another time and evergy-saver in the kitchen is throwing carrots in the processor for a quick spin through the grater attachment. (Who doesn't want to get to that slice of carrot cake as fast as possible, anyway?)
Try it: Carrot cake with white chocolate icing.
With just three ingredients (and a food processor), you've got a sweet, tangy spread for tomorrow's breakfast toast. Try it: Clementine marmalade.
Dress up your winter salad with crisp, super-thin peices of apple. Try it: Apple and walnut crunch salad.
Forget crying over your onions (especially when you have to slice up a kilo or two for soup). Your food processor will shoulder the task, no muss, no fuss.
Try it: Slow-cooker French onion soup.
Shredding brussels sprouts
The processor can shred these small cruciferous veggies cleanly and evenly. It makes the perfect substitution for crisp lettuce in salads, too.
The key to making it so creamy? Letting the food processor run for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Try it: Creamy hummus.
If you don't have an immersion blender handy, pull out the food processor to do the work.
Try it: Squash soup with smoky bacon.
Making chocolate-hazelnut butter
Sweet, salty, crunchy, smooth . . . Why settle for store-bought spreads when you can tailor-make your own in just 10 minutes?
Try it: Chocolate-hazelnut butter.
Making perfect pie pastry
Careful pulsing of your ingredients in the processor can help you incorporate your ingredients together quickly, without over-working the dough.
Try it: Classic lemon tart.
Mixing pizza dough
Say goodbye to your delivery guy. Delicious homemade pizza is easier to make than you think (and it’s so much tastier than takeout).
Try it: Perfect pizza dough.
Making dumpling wrappers
It's Chinese New Year on February 8, and if you're feeling inspired (or plan to celebrate!), why not go all in and try making your own dumplings at home? Try it: Homemade dumpling wrappers.
Whipping up dessert
You can purée almost any frozen fruit into an instant sorbet. Keep grapes or raspberries in the freezer for last-minute desserts.
Try it: Grape sorbet.
Originally published October 2011, Updated January 2016.