To chop or process, that is the question. A food processor chops food. A food chopper chops food. However, a food processor and a food chopper are different things. Confused? Let us shed some light on the situation.
A food chopper is a small appliance – it will usually hold between 1 and 4 cups – used to chop, grind or mix a variety of foods.
A food processor is larger than a food chopper – it can process up to 12 cups of food at a time, depending on the model.
While a food processor chops, grinds and mixes food, it also slices, grates and shreds it. A topnotch food processor can also knead dough. The kind of dough used for gourmet pizzas and braided breads.
The Food Processor
Imagine you are looking at a food processor as you are reading this sentence: how would it look different from a food chopper? As noted above, a food processor is usually fairly large, being able to process between 7 and 12 cups of food at a time. Importantly, it has some extra hardware: a feeder tube and discs – that can slice and grate. It may even have a fancy kneading hook.
The Food Chopper
Now imagine you are looking at a food chopper. It is a compact kitchen appliance, able to chop between 1 and 4 cups of food at one time. It has no feeding tube, nor discs for slicing and grating. It is a visually appealing machine with a blade – likely not detachable – that ready to crunch up some peanuts or mix up some of your famous salsa. It does not look like it is up to slicing up a vegetable salad – and it isn’t.
How is a Food Processor Different from a Food Chopper?
There are three main machines that process food: the blender, the food chopper and the food processor. A blender works best with liquids; if you want to make pumpkin soups, creamy milk shakes and spinach smoothies, it is your machine. If you want to process hard foods like carrots, parsnips, nuts and the like, you want a food processor or a food chopper.
So, let’s get back to the food processor and food chopper
A food chopper is a convenient size: it is easily stored. Depending on the model, it can chop or mix up to 4 cups of food at a time. A food processor is considerably larger than a food chopper; it can process up to 12 cups of food at a time. It is not as easily stored as a food chopper but can do more at one time.
A food chopper can chop or mix food. Period. If you have an onion or two to chop, the food chopper is your tool. It is a no-fuss machine.
A food processor can easily take care of those onions too, and 6 or 7 more. Oh and if you want your onion sliced or grated, the food processor has got that – and the ability to knead fabulous bread dough. You can’t make your signature peanut butter cookies with a food chopper. Or slice red beets without staining your hands.
A top-of-the-line food processor will cost you much more than a top-of-the-line food chopper. Why? It costs more to manufacture; it offers different functionality. This is not to say that a food processor always trumps a food chopper. It depends on how you cook and if you bake – or if you want to morph into a baker.
The top complaint about food processors is that they take time to clean. Surely you have heard a friend or family member lament that they do not use their food processor as often as they thought they would because they are not into cleaning it?
Should you buy a food processor or a food chopper? Or both?
Who should buy a food processor? If you cook for crowds, love to entertain, bake regularly and are passionate about experimenting in the kitchen, you need a food processor. You probably already know this, as you own creative cookbooks whose authors assume you have one.
Who should buy a food chopper? If you do not regularly entertain, regularly cook for only one or two people, and are not passionate about experimenting in the kitchen, you need a food chopper. You will find it to be a convenient tool that does what you need it to.
Who should buy a food processor and a food chopper? If you are a serious cook, you may want both a food processor and a food chopper. Why? Sometimes you won’t want to set up your food processor to chop an onion or crunch up some pecans. (Hey, it is OK to spoil yourself now and then.)