The 3 Best Food Processors for Pesto

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Pesto is a delicious Italian food sauce and is one of the most flavorful foods you can eat. The Italians sure knew what they are doing in the kitchen when they created pesto. It adds a great touch of color with its bright green that can enhance any plain food, and it also adds the perfect touch of flavor.

Making pesto can sometimes be a messy chore, but it’s not so bad when you have the perfect food processor. So how do you make pesto without a mess or all the frustration? What can a food processor do for your pesto and how can you choose the best one?

The right food processor in your supply of kitchen gadgets will be the perfect addition to making your presto a smooth and simple process and to eliminate some of the struggle and mess that comes with mashing up, mixing, and chopping. 

Forget all that hard work and make sure you have a great food processor to help with the task! Maybe you already have a food processor but you feel like it’s just not doing the trick for you. Now is the time to upgrade your food processor and see how useful it can be! 

We understand that sifting through loads of information to choose a new kitchen tool can be a time-consuming hassle. That’s why we have done all of the work for you and put together a guide that will walk you through what you should know about purchasing a food processor and provide you with several of the best food processors for pesto. 

Keep reading to be in the know before you step out and make that purchase! 

What Is A Food Processor?

A food processor is very similar to a blender in the functions that they complete, but there are several differences as well.  A food processor is a kitchen tool that chops or purees foods of any kind to the desired consistency. 

Food processors do not require liquid to be added to them in order to work with the food you place in them. Food processors can be either electronic or manual. Both types work well for various functions and you can select one based on your own preferences. 

A food processor can do so much more than just finely blend or chop your foods. It can be used for chopping, dicing, blending, slicing, etc. Many food processors are made with a bowl to hold the processed foods, a blade to cut the foods, and then a lid and any additional parts required to function. 

Food processors are extremely versatile tools. They can be used for many different functions and you can do anything from blending your own applesauce, to making the perfect pesto, to just dicing your veggies. 

Features to Look For in Your Food Processor

There are so many food processors on the market and choosing a good one could be a strenuous task. How many blade features do you need, should you get a manual processor, does it have a big enough bowl on it? All of these are questions you might ask. 

We have several tips to keep in mind, but also remember that we are specifically discussing the best food processor for pesto. That being said, many of the food processors we will discuss in further detail later have multi-functional capabilities. They will be perfect for making pesto amongst other tasks. 

As you peruse your food processor options, keep in mind that you may prefer functionalities that are different than what other people prefer. This is why we have put together several features to consider and a guide that includes several processors – so that you can choose which one will be the best for you! 

Below is a list of features that you should make note of as you search out the best food processor for pesto. 

  1. Functionality – You want your food processor to be multi-functional with the capabilities to cut things smooth and fine, but also with the capabilities of chopping or slicing if necessary. For pesto, you will be primarily blending or chopping finely so it will be important to be sure your food processor is capable of doing so. 
  2. Noise – While this might seem like a given, some food processors are noisier than others. Obviously, there will be some noise no matter which model you choose, but if you want a machine that operates on a quiet note be sure to look for that feature or check out the cons and descriptions for notes on noisy processors. 
  3. Size – Food processors come in a lot of varying size options. As the size gets larger, the price tag often gets higher as well. On another note, the large the bowl feature, the more work you can do in one location. If you cook for large quantities or use your food processor for a lot of kitchen work, you should definitely go for a bigger processor. 
  4. Blades – Consider that your blades will get a lot of use. You may want a food processor that has multiple blades or insert options. For example, you can use paddles to work with bread dough. There are also serrated blades and straight blades. It is common for straight blades to need to be sharpened more often. 
  5. Storage & Durability – Some food processors can be quite large which could make it challenging to store them. You might want to consider the overall size and whether it will fit into your cabinets or onto your countertop appropriately.
    Additionally, you want a machine that will be stable and durable as you process your foods. If your machine is wobbly, it adds further noise and frustration. You need a strong and steady foundation, especially when you use it to chop hard foods like the nuts in your pesto.
  6. Cleaning – cleaning your food processor should not require juggling parts and the machine or trying to scrape out small and awkward places. Consider how simple (or not so simple) it might be to detach and clean various parts of the food processor. Also, consider whether it will be simple to clean the outside of the machine if you choose electric. Chances are you are bound to get food everywhere at some point. 
  7. Motor – The motor does matter. Pesto contains pine nuts and coarse salt. It is essential that your motor be able to power through the tough foods just as smoothly as it powers through the softer items. 

Blender vs. Food Processor

You might be wondering why you can’t just pull out your trusty blender to make your pesto and other items. While blenders and food processors have similar functions, there are different capabilities between them. 

For making pesto and sauces, as well as chopping vegetables or pureeing your foods, a food processor is really the smart way to go. Some of the functions of each one cross over. For instance, both machines can blend smoothies, puree foods, or make dips. But which one ultimately does it better. 

Additionally, there are some things that one may do better than the other or that one of the tools just might not be able to do very well. As an example, a blender cannot effectively chop or dice vegetables, but a food processor can. Let’s cover some basic information to differentiate each one. 

Food Processors

Food processors are great at chopping, shredding, dicing, and slicing. They are capable of pureeing foods or blending foods, but these are not their ultimate features. Food processors can also act as mixing bowls so that you can add ingredients to make sauces, such as pesto. 

Food processors often have various tools and blades with them. Some food processors include a chute that allows you to add ingredients as you go. The primary purpose of food processors is to simplify the daunting tasks. 

Food processors do not require additional liquid and can typically operate with little to no liquid as they chop, shred, or slice. This is far different from blenders that require liquid to operate. 


Blenders are more limited in overall functionality. They simply are not designed to chop, slice, or dice. The primary purpose of a blender is to blend and puree items. They are ideal for things like soups, purees, and dips. 

Blenders are most commonly used for making smoothies and that is something they are very good at. There are many types and sizes of blenders as well. Some blenders are made to blend a single serving and are even designed to allow you to turn your blending compartment into a cup. 

Additionally, there are larger blenders that have a pitcher sized blending compartment. This might be used to make large batches of your concoctions. Blenders require a certain amount of liquid in order to operate properly while food processors can operate with dry foods. 

The 3 Best Food Processors for Pesto

It’s time to really get down to business and sort out the best food processors for you to look through. Below we will discuss and define 3 different food processors that we have determined will be the best options for making pesto, amongst other things. 

RankProductKey Features
1.Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food ProcessorSlicing and shredding discs, chopping/mixing blade
2.Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor5 discs, 3 blades, 2 bowls (large & small)
3.Hamilton Beach 70725A 12-Cup Stack & Snap Food ProcessorShredding side & slicing side, 'S' blade

You can read more about each one of these great food processors in the next sections.

1. Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor

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This Cuisinart model food processor is a basic model that does an outstanding job at whatever you put it up to. It will smoothly and perfectly help you create that delicious pesto that you are working towards. 

Key Features:

  • 4 mm slicing disc, medium shredding disc, and chopping/mixing blade included
  • 14-cup bowl feature
  • 720-watt with pulsing features

Look no further for a versatile machine that will not only make your pesto art simple and easy but will also work great for many other tasks in a basic model that is quite affordable for its functions. 

This food processor is stainless steel and has a 14-cup bowl that will allow you to work with plenty of room as you add ingredients and continue processing. The feed tube is a significant length and size to allow you to feed things through without additional work. 


  • Simple button settings that include on, off, or pulsing features
  • Includes a spatula and a recipe booklet as well as an instruction booklet
  • The disc stem is detachable
  • All detachable parts are dishwasher safe
  • Multiple blades for multiple purposes


  • The latches on the lid are hard to clean
  • Inconsistent results when working with dough and breads

2. Breville Sous Chef Food Processor

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If you’re willing and able to spend a bit more for a high quality machine this one is definitely the choice for you. The Breville Sous Chef model is an elegant portrayal of the tool that can do everything and do it all well. 

Key Features:

  • Includes 5 discs and 3 blades
  • Includes 2 bowls – 16-cup and 2.5-cup
  • 120 volts with LCD display feature

This food processor takes the cake because it can literally do everything and it does it like it was designed to do – with perfection and ease. This comes with a disc or a blade for literally anything and will have your pesto made in no time! 

The feeding chute is extra wide, which allows you to feed things through without having to pre-slice your items. You will be impressed that this food processor is well worth the extra dollar it costs to obtain. 


  • Includes a storage area that is part of the machine to house blades and discs
  • Sleek design that is easy to fit in your storage space. 
  • Extra-wide chute
  • LCD display with timer capabilities


  • A pricy machine
  • Tends to overwork when working with dough

3. Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Stack & Snap Food Processor

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The Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap food processor is what we would call small and mighty. This is one of the most affordable food processor options we are sharing and it is a great size as well as being easy to use. This will work wonderfully for your pesto. 

Key Features:

  • 450-watt motor with 2 speeds and pule options
  • 12-cup capacity bowl
  • Includes an “S” blade as well as a disc for shredding, slicing, and chopping

If you’re worried that the lower price tag on this machine will mean it’s not a great quality, think again! It is very simple to disassemble and use as well as clean. This food processor has a wide chute that allows you to add ingredients with no mess or additional slicing. 

This food processor is very multi-functional with a simple design that allows you to do everything you need without the extra cost or fancy design. This model was designed to stack so that it is easy to store and use without taking up an exorbitant amount of space. 


  • Stainless steel base and blades
  • Stacks and snaps together for simple assembly and disassembly
  • Multiple speeds that allow you to work with multiple foods, as well as pulsing features
  • Cord storage area in the base of the machine


  • Can be noisy with certain functions
  • Difficult to wash

Related Questions

We hope that this guide has been useful and informative for you as you determine which food processor you would prefer to use to make your pesto. We invite you to review our question and answer section below for additional information as well. 

What Is the Difference Between a Food Chopper and Food Processor?

Food processors and food choppers are simply not comparable in overall function. Food choppers are designed simply to chop food. They typically can only chop a small portion at a time (1-4 cups worth) while food processors work on a much grander scale with larger bowls and a variety of functions including chopping, slicing, shredding, etc. 

Do Food Processors Have a Standard Size Option?

Food processors come in many various sizes. The most common size is 12-cups, however, you may find larger or smaller options as well. Depending on your purpose and how much bowl space you want, we recommend going with something close to that size. 

Up Next: The Best 3-Compartment Meal Prep Containers

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