What Size Food Processor – How Big Is Too Big?

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Owning and maintaining a reliable food processor in the kitchen can make cooking delicious meals a breeze by significantly reducing the food preparation time while also making cleaning faster and simpler.

However, choosing the right size food processor for your needs can be a surprisingly difficult task.

I’ve found that if you’re a family of two then a 3 to 5 cup food processor is perfect. However, if you’re a family of four then you’ll likely want to upgrade to a 6 to 9 cup. That said, if you’re a baker or enjoy batch cooking then either a 13 or a 16 cup food processor is going to be best.

In this detailed guide, I’ll help you understand the questions you need to ask before making your final decision on the right food processor size for your needs.

Is A 3.5 Cup Food Processor Big Enough?

A 3.5 cup food processor generally measures around 45cm tall, 25cm wide and 25cm deep. The appliance will weigh between 3kg and 5kg and come with between a 400watt and 600watt motor.

As such these appliances are fantastic for single people or a couple living in an appartment who want the benefits of a food processor but don’t have much space.

A 3.5 cup food processor is big enough for;

  • Chopping onions, fresh herbs, and an assortment of nuts.
  • Constructing homemade toppings or bases like herbed breadcrumbs and custom frozen parfaits.
  • Puréeing smallish batches of sauces and dips like hummus, basil pesto, or garlic aioli.
  • Combining minced entrees such as spicey lamb meatballs, falafel, or prawn cakes.

However, a 3.5 cup food processor might be too big for;

  • While some food processors of this size include a dough blade, it is not ideal for the motor for this food processor size.

Is A 5 Cup Food Processor Big Enough?

You can often purchase mini 5 cup food processors which measure a similar size to the 3.5 cup food processors at 45cm tall, 25cm wide and 25cm deep, yet they have that increased food capacity.

Ingredients for italian national traditional genovese pesto sauce in food processor bowl. Flat lay view

Generally these appliances will still weigh roughly 3kg and come with between 400watts and 600watts of power making them perfect for single people and couples who again would like a food processor but perhaps don’t have a large kitchen or the storage space for anyhting bigger.

A 5-cup food processor is big enough for;

  • Slivering soft to medium cheeses and carrots, brussels sprouts, pumpkins, potatoes, and coleslaw.
  • Slicing ingredients for salads, vegetable soups, and vegetable gratins.
  • Making dough and pastry fillings for hand-made steak pies and vegetable dumplings, beef empanadas, and pork dumplings.
  • Puréeing tomatoes for soups and Bolognese sauces,
  • Softening dark chocolate for sauces and desserts and combining dips like roasted garlic satay dip.

However, a 5-cup food processor might be too big for;

  • Larger ingredient amounts due to the smaller or narrower pusher tube.

Is A 7 Cup Food Processor Big Enough?

A 7 cup food processor is often the go-to appliance for a small family. They generally measaure around 45cm tall, 30cm wide and 30cm deep and weigh around 4kg.

Given the increased food capacity a larger motor is required which often has capabilities of between 600watts and 800watts.

A 7-cup food processor is big enough for;

  • Dicing and chopping spring onions and normal onions.
  • Creating rich tomato-based salsa with slivered vegetables.
  • Simplifying a chocolate nut mixture for frozen parfaits.
  • Kneading stringy dough for cakes, pizza crust, and biscuits.
  • Dicing ingredients together for flavoursome buffalo chicken wings, and vegetable burgers.

However, a 7-cup food processor might be too big for;

  • larger ingredient amounts – such as pumpkins – due to the smaller or narrower ‘pusher’ tube.

Is A 8 Cup Food Processor Big Enough?

Much like a 7 cup food processor, an 8 cup food processor is ideal for a small family and measaures around 45cm tall, 30cm wide and 30cm deep and weigh around 4kg.

Again you can expect to find 8 cup food processors with motors of between 600watts and 800watts which makes chopping up a large capacity of food a breeze.

Generally speaking an 8-cup food processor is big enough for;

  • Everything you can do with the smaller food processors we have previously described, such as mixing, chopping, and puréeing to shredding, slicing, and kneading.
  • Processing larger food groups with the wider ‘pusher’ feeder tube.
  • The larger cup-sized capacity makes this food processor an ideal kitchen partner for covering those multi-batch recipes.

However, an 8-cup food processor might be too big for;

  • The right processor motor strength to knead, julienne, and dice large foods.

Is A 9 Cup Food Processor Big Enough?

If you’re looking for an upgrade to a 7 or 8 cup food processor then you might look to a 9 cup model.

These are great for families who are looking to make dinnertimes quicker and easier but also have the storage space for a slightly larger appliance.

I’ve found that a 9-cup food processor is often big enough for;

  • The ability to shred, chop, slice, and puree all ingredients from fresh vegetables to most cheese types, delicate sauces, and tomato-based salsa.
  • Processing larger food groups with the wider ‘pusher’ feeder tube.

However, a 9-cup food processor might be too big for;

  • Chopping and thinly dicing awfully hard matured cheeses.

Is A 11 Cup Food Processor Big Enough?

If you’re a baking enthusiast, have a large family or enjoy batch cooking then an 11 cup food processor (or larger) is likely going to be best for you.

Given the capacity the size and power of the appliance the cost of purchasing is often significantly more than a 5 or 7 cup model. However, buying a larger food processor means that you’re certainly going to be able to do more with it.

An 11-cup food processor is big enough for;

  • Creating extensive batches of various recipes ranging from sauces to dips, heavy vegetable-based soups, pie fillings.
  • Making sweet and savoury apple and cinnamon scones, lemon-scented jelly donuts, cheesy-based hash brown.

However, an 11-cup food processor might be too big for;

  • Chopping and dicing large coconut pieces.
  • Kneading dryish biscuit dough parcels.

Is A 12 Cup Food Processor Big Enough?

If you regularly cook for a group, host parties or have a large family then a 12 cup food processor is likely going to be a great choice.

However, a 12 cup food processor will have a larger circumference and therefore be harder to store inside a kitchen.

Modern Kitchen design in scandinavian style. stylish light grey kitchen interior with modern furniture and stainless steel appliances. wooden countertop, steel stove, board,knife and spices

The motor required to power such a food processor will also be larger and therefore significantly heavier. As such if you struggle to lift heavy objects you may have to get someone to help you move this appliance.

A 12-cup food processor is big enough for;

  • Everything you can do with the smaller cup-sized food processors previously discussed, from chopping, mixing, and puréeing to shredding, slicing, and kneading.
  • Processing larger foods with the wider ‘pusher’ feeding tube.
  • Creating extensive batches of various recipes ranging from sauces to dips, heavy vegetable-based soups, pie fillings.
  • Dicing dairy produce, and hard cheeses.
  • Making the crust and filling for caramelized onion feta cheese tarts, fruit bowls with ricotta cream, and coconut and ginger cheesecakes.