I have a pretty good track record with most kitchen appliances, but when it comes to mini food processors, I've had more misses than I've had hits. I went through two other mini food processors (each lasted about a year) before I brought home one of KitchenAid's mini food processors, and it quickly became one of my absolute favorite kitchen gadgets.
I've had mine for about 3 years now, and it's just as sharp and easy to use as it was on the day I got it. I love it so so much and I've been meaning to write a whole dang post for you all about it for a while now. So today I put on Avengers: Endgame, sat down, and started writing (pausing only to cry when Cap said "Avengers: Assemble" and they did and then again when Tony, well, <spoilers>).
But I digress. This isn't about my favorite movies. This is my honest review of my favorite mini food processor.
Look at her. Isn't she beautiful?
Why do you need a mini food processor?
A mini food processor isn't a replacement for a full-size food processor. The mini food processor is designed to handle smaller portions that don't have enough volume for a large food processor.
Some full size food processors come with shallow bowl inserts and shorter blades in an attempt to provide mini-food processor functionality, but I have yet to find one that works as seamlessly as it claims to.
Besides, getting out a whole big food processor just to chop some nuts or make a bit of salsa or a vinaigrette salad dressing? It's annoying. You still end up having to clean all the parts — including the big bowl, which you didn't even use.
The KitchenAid 3.5 cup mini food processor is super lightweight and easy to use. As someone who is exceedingly practical and always avoids making any more dishes than I absolutely have to, a kitchen gadget has to be easy to grab quickly and easy to clean in order for me to want to reach for it with any frequency.
This mini food chopper checks both of those boxes (lightweight and portable, easy to clean) so much so that sometimes I do actually use it to chop nuts when I just can't be bothered to chop by hand.
KitchenAid Mini Food Processor Specs
- 9.7 x 7 x 6.9 inches
- 2 speed control
- Stainless steel locking blade
- BPA-free bowl
- Easy pour spout
- Slow drip opening in the lid
- Cord wrap storage space in the base
- Comes in a variety of fun colors!
What that means: Each KitchenAid mini food processor is compact and lightweight, comfortable to hold and easy to use, with a BPA-free plastic bowl.
Unlike the 5 cup cordless food chopper, the stainless steel blade locks into place, preventing it from sliding out when you pour. (Honestly, that locking blade is one my absolute favorite things about this mini food processor, and I really don't get why it's not standard in every food processor regardless of size.)
To operate the food processor, simply press down on (or squeeze) the tab sticking off of the lid — it lines up with top of the handle.
For easy storage, the cord wraps neatly into the gap along the bottom of the base. This mini food processor is a bit taller than some of the other options on the market — but the base is narrower and less bulky thanks to the round cylindrical design.
The KitchenAid mini food processor has two speed options, which can be adjusted by a switch on the base. Choose to chop, for small batch guac or pico de gallo, or choose to puree to make creamy hummus, a gorgeous pantry pesto, or a vinaigrette salad dressing. To pulse, just squeeze the lid to the handle in rapid succession.
Oh, and, a small round basin on the lid allows you to easily drip in olive oil with the machine running, crucial for making emulsifications like homemade mayonnaise.
Pros and Cons of the KitchenAid mini food processor
Few gadgets are truly perfect, and the KitchenAid mini food processor is no exception. But the pros vastly outweigh the cons. So let's get into them:
- The squeeze-to-operate function means no fumbling with buttons or levers that are hard to press if your hands are wet. Too many food processors have flat buttons that are hard to press with just one hand — you need one hand to hold the processor in place so you can press with the other hand. The KitchenAid mini food processor can be operated with just one hand.
- The locking blade stays in place even when you pour. It releases easily with a quick twist when you do want to take it out.
- It is SO super easy to clean. The blade, bowl, and lid can all go in the dishwasher. And there's no small nooks and crannies for crumbs and gunk to get stuck in. The base wipes clean easily, too.
- Unlike food processors with complicated locking mechanisms, the simple and easy-to-see tab design of the KitchenAid mini food processor lid is easy to twist and lock into place. If you've ever cursed up a storm at your food processor because the lid just. won't. click. into. place. you know how crucial this feature is. The prominent tab sticking off the lid aligns with the top of the handle so you can squeeze it to operate, which means it's easy to line up and twist into place without feeling like you're stuck in an episode of Crystal Maze. With a previous mini food processor I owned, I had to wedge one of those fridge poetry magnets into the locking mechanism to get it to run after a fragile bit of plastic snapped off the lid the first time I used it. You won't have that issue here.
True Story: In one of my final weeks of pastry school, my instructor saw me fumbling to get the lid lined up on the heavy-duty, professional mini food processor in the pastry school kitchen (I had the lid backwards, but it's hard to tell!) and came over to explain how mini food processors work. What I wanted to say was: "I know how they work, I just hate this particular mini food processor because it is not my beloved KitchenAid mini food processor that I have at home." (What I actually said was: "Thank you, chef.")
- The handle-press operation of KitchenAid's mini food processor means that you need to be squeezing it for it to run. You can't turn it on and walk away to do something else while it's running.
- A number of reviewers on Amazon have left comments saying that the cup capacity maxes out at 2 cups (a full 1.5 cups less than KitchenAid says!) — so I measured mine and, while it's not the 3.5 cups KitchenAid says it is, it does only fit 3 cups of water.
Mini Food Processor Uses
You can use a mini food processor for so many things. Here's some ideas to get you started:
- Chopping nuts
- Making the filling for tuna melt hand pies
- Small batches of nut butters
- Small batch pesto
- Mayonnaise from scratch
- Vinaigrettes and salad dressings
- Turning granulated sugar into superfine sugar
- Pico de gallo
- Small batch salsa roja
- Quick-n-easy no-cook pizza sauce
- Tuna melt filling for these hand pies
- Hollandaise sauce
- Hazelnut praline paste (which I used in this mocha hazelnut cake)
- Chopped mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery)
- So much more!