Bowl Capacity: How to Choose The Right Size For Your Needs

Imagine you’re packing for a vacation.

If you try to cram too much stuff into a small bag, things get messy and cramped.

Conversely, if you have a large suitcase for just a few items, it feels wasteful and inefficient.

Like selecting the right bag for your trip, choosing the most suitable food processor work bowl is about picking the perfect size and material for your culinary adventures.

Think of a food processor as your kitchen’s trusty sidekick, streamlining even the trickiest culinary tasks.

While we touched upon the motor’s power in Part 3, the work bowl is just as important.

It governs how much and what types of food you can manage, which influences the outcome of your recipes.

Choosing the correct bowl by considering its size and material will ensure maximum efficiency, lasting durability, and utmost food safety.

Let’s jump right in.

Choosing the Right Food Processor Capacity

From blending soups to kneading dough, the capacity of your bowl dictates what you can do and how much you can handle.

Here are your choices:

  • Standard Bowls (7-12 cups): These are your everyday companions, perfect for chopping veggies or grinding nuts for a family meal.
  • Mini Bowls (2-5 cups): Tailored for petite tasks, they shine when you’re crafting sauces, grinding spices, or chopping herbs.
  • Large Bowls (13-20 cups): When you’ve got a house full of guests or a week’s meal prep on the agenda, these are your go-to.

When choosing your ideal work bowl capacity, consider several personal and practical factors to find a size that perfectly suits your lifestyle and cooking habits.

Here are some key questions to guide your decision:

1. How large is your household?

  • Consider the number of people you usually cook for. A big family or frequent entertaining may require a bigger bowl.

2. What types of meals do you often prepare?

  • Think about the dishes you make regularly. Do they involve large quantities of ingredients, or are they typically small, quick meals?

3. Do you like batch cooking or meal prep?

  • If you like to prepare meals in advance for the week or freeze portions, a larger bowl can handle bigger batches more efficiently.

4. How much kitchen space do you have?

  • Assess your kitchen storage. Larger bowls mean larger food processors, which require more space on the countertop or in cabinets.

5. What’s your budget?

  • Generally, larger-capacity food processors can be more expensive. Determine how much you’re willing to invest versus your needs.

6. Do you bake often?

  • Baking, especially kneading dough, can benefit from a larger bowl to accommodate the dough’s rise and ease of mixing.

7. How frequently do you cook?

  • If you cook often, investing in a bigger bowl might save time and effort in the long run, even if you cook for just a few people.

Reflecting on these questions helps determine the optimal bowl size for your needs.

Ensuring it matches your regular cooking demands while balancing practicality and efficiency.

The aim is to choose a size that caters to larger tasks and everyday cooking without overwhelming your kitchen space or budget.

Why Bowl Size Matters

Let’s take a closer look.

  1. Preventing messy overflows, especially with liquids, is easier with the right-sized bowl.
  2. A slightly larger bowl offers flexibility. After all, it’s preferable to have some extra space rather than not enough.
  3. Processing in one go with a larger bowl can save time and energy compared to the repeated hassle of smaller batches.

Thinking Ahead…

While it’s tempting to choose based on current needs, it helps to think long-term.

Circumstances change; families expand, and social events might become a norm.

Or you may embrace weekly meal prep.

Thus, investing in a more generous size now could eliminate the need for a future upgrade.

Typical Bowls That Come With a Food Processor

All food processors ship with a standard bowl. But some brands include additional work bowls.

You’ll come across these:

1. Main Processing Bowl: This comes standard with every brand. Its size varies with the model, but for household units, you can expect something in the 7-12 cup range. This versatile bowl meets most culinary demands, from blending to kneading.

2. Mini Bowl: Many brands include this size. This bowl and its accompanying blade fit snugly within the primary bowl. Its purpose? To manage those smaller tasks efficiently without having to clean the main bowl.

3. Midi Bowl: Some innovative brands, like the Magimix, offer a ‘midi’ bowl, striking a balance between the main and mini. It’s a “just-right” solution for those intermediate tasks.

4. Specialty Bowls: A few processors include bowls designed for niche tasks, like juicing or specific grinding techniques. These might not be universally standard, but they’re a boon for culinary enthusiasts craving variety.

The Advantage of Variety: Multiple bowl sizes are like having a bespoke suit; they fit the task perfectly. This variety can reduce cleaning, enhance processing efficiency, and streamline your culinary workflow, especially when juggling multiple recipes.

Food Processor Bowl Capacity Comparison

BrandNumber of BowlsMainMidiMiniBPA-Free
Breville Sous Chef® 16216 cupNo2.5 cupYes
Magimix 5200XL316 cup12 cup6 cupYes
Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 114 cupNoNoYes
KitchenAid 13-Cup Food Processor113 cupNoNoYes
Ninja BN601 Professional Plus Food Processor19 cupNoNoYes
BLACK+DECKER 8-Cup Food Processor, FP1600B18 cupNoNoYes

Material Matters: A Closer Look

Your bowl’s material impacts functionality, longevity, and food safety.

A) Plastic Bowls: Most household food processors feature plastic bowls due to their versatility and cost-effectiveness.

They’re lightweight, transparent, and affordable.

However, they might scratch or retain odors over time.

For safety, opt for bowls that are BPA-free.

B) Stainless Steel Bowls: These are the darlings of commercial food processors. Renowned for their durability and professional look, they are typically weightier than plastic.

They look sleek but can be heavier, and their opaque nature means you might be lifting the lid more often.

Their resistance to wear, tear, and odor retention makes them invaluable in professional settings.

You can find processors with stainless steel bowls from Brands like AvaMix and Robot-Coupe.

C) Glass Bowls: Rarely seen in standard food processors due to weight and fragility concerns, glass bowls shine in smaller food choppers or mini processors.

A model like the KOIOS 500W Electric Food Processor integrates them.

They resist scratching and odor retention but are the heaviest and most breakable of the lot.

When selecting your work bowl, deciding which size to buy is the most important consideration.

Your choice of material is limited to plastic since most home-use processors come with plastic bowls.

Just make sure that your bowls are BPA-free, impact and shock-resistant.

However, during my research, I did come across a few budget brands (under $100) offering machines with both a glass and stainless steel bowl.

But they are more like a food chopper than a regular full-size food processor.

This wraps up Part 4 of our Mastering Your Food Processor series. In the following article, we’ll talk about food processor blades, another cornerstone in your culinary journey. So stay tuned!


1. Is it worth getting a food processor with multiple bowl sizes? 

Yes, especially if your culinary adventures are diverse and vary in quantity.

2. Can plastic bowls affect food taste or quality? 

High-quality, BPA-free plastic bowls ensure there’s minimal interaction with food. Yet, long-term wear and scratches might cause flavor retention.



Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.