Home baking is officially on the rise again. If you’ve had the pleasure of folding and kneading dough until your fingers ache, you may be ready to find an easier solution that still ends in fresh bread, pizza, and cookies.
A great solution is a food processor!
Food processors are not only able to mix and knead dough, they can do it in a fraction of the time that it would take you to do by hand. They may even be able to do it more effectively as well.
What is the best food processor to use for making dough? The best food processor for kneading dough should be a well-made, reliable, and sturdy food processor. A dough mixer option and dough blade should ideally be included, too. Larger capacity food processors are a good idea if you are making bread dough.
We have curated a list of the 9 best food processors for dough. Each of them includes a dough blade among many other highly versatile attachments. No matter what kind of dough you are planning, the machines on our list will help you produce delicious baked goods in record time.
Why Knead Dough?
Not all dough needs to be kneaded. Kneading is generally something required of gluten and yeast-containing dough.
Yeast produces gas bubbles inside the dough and gluten provides the elasticity needed for the dough to expand and allow those bubbles to exist while still being contained. Together, this process encourages the dough to rise.
When dough is first mixed, the gluten is very tight and not elastic enough to allow for growth. Kneading relaxes the gluten, allowing the proteins to become longer, stretchier, and stronger.
The stronger and stretchier your gluten is, the larger the yeast air bubbles can become and the lighter and fluffier your bread, pizza crust or other baked good will be.
Dough that isn’t kneaded enough will have weak gluten proteins that don’t have the strength to maintain the structure when the gas bubbles grow. This can lead to collapsed bread.
Kneading dough can take up to 20 minutes to do by hand. Using a mixer with a dough hook is another option. But we prefer using a food processor to get the work done in minutes with little to no effort.
Making Dough in a Food Processor
Using a food processor to make dough is easy. The most difficult part of the process is learning how to identify dough that is properly kneaded.
To help you out, here is a simple 3-question checklist to see if your dough has been properly kneaded:
- Does the dough break when you pull a piece? If yes, it’s not quite kneaded enough yet.
- Is the dough tough and dense? You may have kneaded it too much.
- Is your dough smooth, elastic, and wonderfully pliable? You’ve probably got it just right!
9 Best Food Processors for Dough
Many food processors come with a dough blade specially designed for using your machine to create well-kneaded bread.
A dough blade isn’t always necessary and, in fact, some bakers prefer the standard metal blade for their dough, but we like to have options.
Dough blades help collect the dough from the sides of the processor bowl as it kneads. While this isn’t mandatory for using a food processor to make dough, it’s a highly useful attachment to have.
If you purchase a machine that comes with a dough blade, you have the option to use it or not. If your machine does not have one, you are stuck using a standard blade whether you want to or not.
That is why the options on our list of the best 9 food processors for dough all have a dough blade option. You can experiment with different blades and various recipes at will.
|1.||Ninja Mega Kitchen System and Blender||Complete kitchen system|
|2.||Ninja Professional Plus Food Processor||Powerful and versatile|
|3.||Cuisinart Food Processor||Unique adjustable slicing kit|
|4.||NutriChef Multipurpose Electric Processor||Very sturdy and stable|
|5.||Decen Food Processor||Easy to control speed settings|
|6.||KitchenAid Food Processor||Lots of attachments|
|7.||Hamilton Beach Professional Food Processor||Reliable overall quality|
|8.||Cuisinart Elite Collection Food Processor||Best warranty|
|9.||AICOK Compact Food Processor||Light and small, easy to store|
Let’s look at each one more closely, shall we?
1. Ninja Mega Kitchen System and Blender
If you’re looking for a food processor that can do nearly everything, not just make incredibly efficient dough, this machine is the clear winner.
It comes with an 8-cup food processor bowl and dedicated dough blade making it easy to produce to 2 pounds of dough in less than 1 minute. Not only will the time to make homemade bread be dramatically reduced, but it works for pizza or cookie dough just as well!
- Complete kitchen system: 72 oz ice crushing pitcher, XL 8-cup processing bowl, 2 cups, dough blade
- 1500 watts of power with 4 blending speeds
- Dishwasher safe and BPA-free
Biggest Drawback: This machine has the potential to be the only food processor you’ll ever need but it only comes with a 1-year limited warranty. It is a good machine, but, as with anything in life, nothing is perfect. They do offer 3 and 4-year added protection upgrades though, which you may consider to protect your investment.
2. Ninja Professional Plus Food Processor
Ninja really does make great food processors, which is why we have two options for you back to back. This machine is just as good as the professional version, just on a slightly smaller scale.
This machine doesn’t have the smoothie blender benefits of the previous one, but it is a solid food processor, chopping, pureeing, slicing, and shredding in seconds. Of course, it also comes with a powerful dough mixer that will fold your ingredients together to produce up to 2 pounds of dough in 30 seconds.
- Complete food processing system: 9-cup processor bowl with feed chute lid and pusher, chopping blade, dough blade, reversible slicing/shredding disc, and adapter
- 1000 watts of power with 4 preset programs, including 1 touch dough making
- Dishwasher safe and BPA-free
Biggest Drawback: Even though this machine is supposed to be dishwasher-safe, we don’t recommend placing any parts of this machine in the dishwasher. The high heat of the washer will make the plastic more brittle. And there is only a 1-year limited warranty with the Ninja, so you want to take care of your pieces.
The blades are best cleaned using a bristle brush. You want to be sure that you get all bits of food out and a brush is the only way to really get into all the nooks and crannies. If you’re willing to take care of this machine, however, it will take care of your food processing needs in return.
3. Cuisinart Food Processor
Previous generations of Cuisinart food processors required perfect alignment to get the machine to work, which was sometimes frustratingly difficult to manage.
With this machine, the locking blades and new SealTight system all everything to snap into place effortlessly. It is as easy to use as it is safe.
With the dough blade, you can more easily mix and knead up to 1 pound of dough within 1 minute rather than the 20 or more minutes it would take to do by hand. That’s definitely worth the short time it takes to wash the processor.
- Includes: 13-cup extra-large processor bowl, 4.5 cup bowl, chopping/mixing blade with patented blade lock system, dough blade, small and large s-blades, reversible shredding disc (fine/medium), and adjustable slicing disc
- 550 watts of power with 4-speed electronic touchpad controls and blue LED lights
- Incredibly safe with patent-pending SealTight Advantage system to seal the bowl and lock the blades
Biggest Drawback: This is a light machine and it has only 550 watts, so it isn’t the most powerful machine in the world.
If you’re making a heavy dough, you may have to hold the machine in place to keep it from rocking too much when it gets started and the dough is getting knocked around. Still, we think that is a small concession to make for the saved times and hand cramps.
4. NutriChef Multipurpose Electric Processor
The compact size, smart design, and the added feature of silicone feet on the bottom make this machine very sturdy for mixing and kneading dough.
Whether your making pasta, pizza, or bread, this machine will have your dough ready in minutes.
It’s also not difficult to clean, though we do recommend getting a bristle cleaning brush for safety and efficiency, and as your dough is rising or baking, you can use the machine to prep the rest of your food. Whole meals accomplished in minutes – that’s what this food processor offers!
- Includes: 12-cup processor bowl, chopping blade, dough kneading blade, emulsifying blade, slicer/shredder disc, masher blade disc, and citrus juicer
- 600 watts of power, multiple speed settings, and electronic overload protection to ensure your machine will never overheat
- 2L capacity holds up to 12 cups of dry ingredients or 9 cups of liquid ingredients
Biggest Drawback: Even though part of the appeal of this machine may be the electronic overload protection, it still can and will overheat if you work it too hard. Don’t rely on the tech to protect itself.
If you find the motor is running too hard when you’re making a big batch of dough, or the machine is heating up, stop it manually and give it a short break. As with some of the other product drawbacks, we think this is a small price to pay for the overall features and ease of use.
5. Decen Food Processor
The dough blade on this machine is very good at mixing your ingredients, but if you want to knead, you may have better success switching it out after mixing to use the steel blade.
The scraper included makes this switch easy and you’ll have your dough fully prepared in just a few minutes. It also makes sure you get as much of your dough out as possible.
Having all the accessories that come with this unit makes your food prep options nearly limitless with minimal time or energy expenditure on your part.
- Includes: 12-cup processor bowl, stainless steel blade, dough blade and bowl scraper, and 3 slicing/shredding discs
- 600 watts of power, 3 speed settings, and LED light indicating the machine is in use
- Security lock features for added safety and leak prevention
Biggest Drawback: The most disappointing thing about this machine is that it’s quite loud. Regardless of how you’re using it, be prepared to be a noisy chef.
It works well, but if you are the type of person to try to get food prepped while the family naps or watches television in the background, you might find it creates a bit of tension.
6. KitchenAid Food Processor
One of our favorite things about this unit is the storage case. The machine itself is great, but having so many removable pieces with all of these multipurpose units becomes much easier to keep track of when there is a specific storage case to hold everything.
The adjustable slicing kit is also unique and very useful, though neither of these amazing features helps with making dough, the machine excels in this area as well.
- Includes: 14-cup processor bowl, 4-cup processor bowl, lid with feed chute, lid without feed chute, 2 multipurpose blades, dough blade, and slicing and shredding discs, dicing kit, cleaning tool, and storage kit
- 420 watts of power with 3 speed settings
- Features an adjustable ExactSlice System with an external lever that allows you to go from thick to thin slices
Biggest Drawback: The blades are very sharp and because the dicing kit is adjustable, there is a bit more risk to your fingers with this machine than some of the others.
As long as you handle all the pieces carefully, especially while cleaning and adjusting, you should have no difficulty with this machine. The storage kit makes it easy to keep all the sharp bits contained and out of reach of children.
7. Hamilton Beach Professional Food Processor
Hamilton Beach is a brand to be reckoned with in the kitchen appliances space. While this food processor isn’t the fanciest or most unique on our list, the fact that it is backed by a 5-year warranty is impressive.
A machine that will work well for a minimum of 5 years is hard to find, and knowing that this manufacturer is willing to stand firmly behind their product is a great sign of quality. It will still do the basic home kitchen jobs you need it to do as a food processor, so as long as you don’t need a machine to operate at commercial standards, you should be okay.
- Includes: 14-cup processor bowl with pour spout, lid with 3-in-1 feed chute, attachments for dicing, slicing, shredding, kneading, chopping, mixing, and pureeing, and a storage case
- 600 watts of power with 3 speed settings
- Backed by a 5-year warranty
Biggest Drawback: This is one of the largest and heaviest models on our list. If you have a large counter with space that won’t require you to move your food processor often, this machine is very useful.
If you have to constantly relocate it, it may have to become part of your exercise regime because it weighs over 15 pounds.
8. Cuisinart Elite Collection Food Processor
With the exception of the Ninja Mega system, this is the most powerful food processor on our list. The 1300 watts of power truly does make this machine elite.
Mixing and kneading a large portion of dough is heavy work. If you’ve ever done the process by hand you know this to be true and this machine makes it look easy.
Using the dough blade will mix and fold your ingredients together almost magically, even separating beautifully from the sides of the bowl. For dough that needs a lot of kneading, the blade can be switched for the chopping blade once mixed. The 14 cup bowl will have plenty of space for your bread, pizza, or mega batch of cookies.
- Includes: 14-cup processor bowl, 4.5 cup bowl, both with pour spouts and measurement markings, wide-mouth feed tube and cover assembly, large and small stainless-steel chopping/mixing blades, adjustable slicing disc, dough blade, and accessory storage case with lock, and a spatula
- 1300 watts of power with 3 settings (on/dough/pulse) and safety off switch
- Impressive 20-year warranty on the motor and 3-year limited warranty
Biggest Drawback: This really is an elite machine, but if you’re only planning to use this machine for the occasional batch of cookies, you may find this to be too tall of an investment. However, if you’re looking for a long-term kitchen investment and plan to bake fresh bread and pizza regularly, this machine isn’t likely to disappoint.
9. AICOK Compact Food Processor
AICOK isn’t as well known of a brand for many in the U.S., but it is a very respectable machine. It has all the necessary attachments, including a dough blade, a good motor, and a 24-month warranty.
It isn’t the most powerful or fancy, but it’s also smaller and lighter than many of the other units, making it easier to store and move around your kitchen. This is a great unit for the occasional cook or baker as well as any home baker who is short on space.
- Includes: 12-cup processor bowl, 2 feed tubes, 2 pushers, stainless steel S-blade for chopping, plastic S-blade for dough, and reversible shredding/slicing disc
- 900 watts of power with 4 speed controls
- All attachments are dishwasher safe and BPA-free
Biggest Drawback: You have to be wary of overworking or overheating this machine. When you use it for kneading, be sure to keep an eye that the motor doesn’t work too hard for too long.
The benefit of making dough with a food processor is that the whole process should only take 30 seconds to 1 minute. But if you have a particularly heavy batch of dough, give your machine some time to rest between bursts of kneading to protect the motor.
Does Metal Kill Yeast?
If you’re making pizza dough in a food processor without a special dough blade, you may be concerned that contact with the metal blade will kill or disrupt the natural reaction of the yeast in your dough. Many recipes caution against mixing yeast dough in metal bowls or with metal utensils because of this theory.
This is probably advice leftover from the days when more metal bowls contained aluminum and copper, which can react negatively with acidic doughs such as sourdough.
However, there is no evidence that using metal of any type in the process of making your dough will kill the yeast.
Can You Over-Knead Pizza Dough?
Yes, you can over knead pizza dough. Perfectly kneaded pizza dough is strong and stretchy, easily pulled or thrown into a relaxed yet sturdy pie.
Over kneaded pizza dough will rip easily, lose its shape, and resist stretching or contract after being stretched. Once baked, the crust will be dense and tough, making it difficult to chew.
Under kneading pizza dough will create very similar results, though it’s more easily fixed. You can tell your dough needs more kneading if you feel lumps remaining from ingredients that have not melded together. If it’s lumpy, continue kneading.
If it’s smooth and tough, let it relax and try to shape it again in a few hours.
What to Do With Over-Kneaded Dough?
If you accidentally entered a meditative state while kneading your dough, only to slowly realize you’ve created a tough, firm ball of dough instead of a pliable, elastic pillow, you may have over-kneaded it.
The best first step to recovery is to simply allow the dough to rest. Let it relax for twice as much time as the recipe suggests. You can even cover it and allow it to rise slowly overnight in the fridge.
When your ready to shape it, be as gentle and quick as possible. Try not to work the dough any more than absolutely necessary. Allow the second rise more time than called for as well.
Bake your bread as per the directions and hope for the best! If it still comes out tough, congratulate yourself on baking the perfect bread for croutons, breadcrumbs, or stuffing.