There are a lot of words in kitchen lingo that mean kind of the same thing. The final result might be a little different, but the action that gets you there is similar. For instance: chopping, dicing, slicing, chunking and mincing all mean to cut things into many pieces with a knife. Sounds simple, right?
Actually, it’s not quite that simple. Each different size can mean something different for a recipe, and you don’t want minced pieces when you’re supposed to have chopped pieces. Keeping that in mind, however, not everyone needs something as large or hardcore as a food processor to get the options they need for their food prep. Up until the last few years, I almost never needed a food processor for day-to-day cooking. I had a food chopper which was simple to use, small to store, and easy to clean. If you make gourmet meals on a regular basis, you’ll most certainly need more, but most beginning cooks or people without a ton of room can get by pretty well with what a food chopper has to offer.
The following are my picks for the best of the best as an alternative to a bulky food processor.
Best Hand Powered Food Chopper: Chef’n Veggie Chop Hand-Powered Food Chopper
You can save a fair amount of money while still getting a pretty useful tool by going with something that isn’t even electric. People managed to chop food for a long time without plugging anything in, so there has to be something to the usability of hand powered devices. The Chef’n Veggie Chop Hand-Powered Food Chopper just looks like a bowl with a fancy lid, but the pieces come together to do a pretty good job in a pretty short amount of time.
Electric processors are pretty fancy, but this one has an operation even cooler to observe. Obviously, you aren’t going to want to use it for hours at a time because that could get exhausting, but for a quick chop with your own sweat equity, it’s super fun.
Once you remove the ring that goes around the lid of the chopper, you’ll see it is connected to a string. From that point, the operation is pretty similar to starting a lawn mower. You pull the cord repeatedly toward you, and the pieces and parts inside start to spin. Unlike your lawn mower, however, it won’t start running of its own gas-powered accord. You still have to do the work until everything is chopped up the way you want it.
I like that this can handle all sorts of small foods, even though it’s not engine-powered. I expected to have to stick to pretty soft foods with this, but that’s not the case. You can get some pretty dense or hard foodstuffs chopped up with this little mechanism.
And if you’re like me, and you’re a big fan of pretty, it comes in two bright colors: red and lime green. This nearly handheld device probably won’t make enough food to manage an army, but it will do the perfect job for a quick salad or whatever you need in moderation. With a price of just $20, you really can’t go wrong. Stop by and pick one up right over here.
Best 1.5-Cup Food Chopper: Proctor Silex 72500RY Food Chopper
Sometimes I don’t need all the chopping space a standard food processor has. There are some foods I just don’t use a lot of. My husband can’t stand onion, so when a recipe calls for them I have to sneak them into it in small quantities so I can get the flavor without him realizing they’re tainting whatever I’ve made. The amount of onions I chop up at one time, whether for something I’m cooking or for my famous salsa, is never enough to fill a whole food processor bowl, and sometimes it doesn’t even fill the bottom of it. That means the blade can’t get to them and I end up chopping them by hand.
NewsFlash! I never chop onions by hand. I’d rather starve.
Anyway, something like the Proctor Silex 72500RY 1-1/2-Cup Food Chopper would be perfect for the times I need to smuggle in onions like nobody’s business. I don’t have to worry about the machine being too small, and it’s less to clean, considering how little I’m using. Better yet, it gives me the kind of control I might have on a food processor even though it’s a small, compact machine. Like my food processor, I can put it on pulse so I have a little more control, rather than starting and stopping it at full power and possibly overdoing it. Now this is the part I love so much, and you probably will, too: most of the pieces that get dirty are dishwasher safe! This thing is the perfect size for getting a little bit of chopping done, and it won’t add a lot to your cleaning chores. You also don’t have to worry about denting your wallet too much. At $16, you could buy this to use it one time and almost get your money’s worth out of it. I wouldn’t do that, though. It deserves way more kitchen action. Find your new buddy right here.
1.5-Cup Food Chopper Runner-Up: Black & Decker HC306 One-Touch Electric Chopper
I liked the idea of a 1.5 cup electric chopper so much that I couldn’t pick just one. The Black & Decker HC306 1-1/2-Cup One-Touch Electric Chopper also does a really good job of making your small kitchen work a little easier, but it doesn’t quite have the staying power of the Proctor Silex. However, at $13 the price is even better, and it will still get your food chopped post haste.
The 70-watt motor can chop, mince, dice, etc., and it has a super sharp blade to make sure everything turns out the way you want it. It also gives you the pulse control on the single button to make sure you can stop the machine when you want it done and over with. You also get the perks of being dishwasher safe here, and you get the added bonus of a special lock on the lid which makes sure your chopped stuff stays inside until you want it out.
More so than any of the others I’ve seen like this, this one really looks like a pocket-sized food processor. The base is a little different, but it kind of looks like someone took a shrink ray to a 10-cup machine and turned it into the little one sitting in front of you. That’s not a complaint, it just gives you an idea of how it’s actually designed to work. And at $13, you can fill your whole kitchen with them so you can chop a bunch of ingredients at the same time. Small quantities are easy to master when you have 1.5 cups on your side. Find yours here.
Best 3-Cup Food Chopper: Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor
This processor is not new to this website, and I actually spend a whole bunch of time going through the ins and outs of this tiny little bad boy in my full review. If you want to look a little closer, you can read about it here. I won’t rehash everything because you can get a pretty good idea of the power by going there, but I couldn’t make a page about the small and pocket-sized choppers and processors of the world without mentioning it here.
The Mini-Prep is one of my favorite items on the page because it does so much in such a little space. It doesn’t take up a lot of room, it doesn’t have too many bells and whistles, but it will absolutely do the job without a problem. Every time. It’s a pretty impressive tool, when you think about it. And it comes in a ton of colors so you can make sure to get one that fits your decor – or just makes you happy with its cheery brightness.
The Mini-Prep is a lot more powerful than most of the smaller alternatives, but that’s because it’s really a processor, not a chopper. It has the power so you can use the power.
Again, the Mini-Prep really is one of my favorite items on the whole page, and I’m pretty sure that no matter what else I buy, I’ll be getting one of these to supplement my chopping needs. It costs a little more than a comparable chopper, but it does enough to make it worth it.
Best 4-Cup Food Chopper: Oster FPSTMC1250 Top Chop Chopper
Choppers don’t have to be small. In fact, some of them have almost as much room as an actual food processor. They’re not designed to give you as much control or have as many functions as full-sized machines, but I like the idea of being able to get the smaller and easier to store machine in sizes that work for what my kitchen needs.
The Oster FPSTMC1250 Top Chop 4-Cup Chopper is a lot of machine in a 4-cup package. It has a real motor on it with 250 watts to get your food the way you want it, and all the chopping power is kept in the fancy lid. It’s actually a really cool mechanism.
So you start by loading the to-be-chopped material into the bowl like you would any other bowl. You don’t have to worry about the blades filling the bottom or making sure they’re in the right place. Then, you latch on the top that has the motor inside and the blade of your choice hooked into it, and it does all the chopping from overhead. When it’s time to take your chopped goodies out, you take off the lid and put it somewhere safe, and then you just have a bowl again.
And if you’re like me and you want to use as few tools as possible, you’ll love that this one is marked so you can easily figure out how many cups of goodness you have without adding a measuring cup to the mix. It’s a pretty good deal, if you ask me.
If you like all this fanciness and want it to be yours for less than $20, you’re in the right place, my friend. Find it here.
Best 3.5-Cup Food Chopper: KitchenAid KFC3500 Series Food Chopper
If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a sucker for things that come in pretty colors. I like them a lot, and I want them to be mine a lot. I want to buy multiples because I can never decide which color I want the most. It’s not a good way to make decisions, but I like bright things and that’s probably never going to change. So, along with all the other great perks, the diversity of available colors means the KitchenAid KFC3500 Series 3.5-Cup Food Chopper is right up my alley. It comes in ten different pretty colors so I can get one to match my kitchen. Because that’s important to me.
Beyond the way it looks, though, it has a lot of room for chopping compared to some of the other electric choppers. The 3.5 cup bowl is almost as big as an actual processor bowl, and it comes with blades that can get through just about everything. Even better, you can add wet ingredients while you’re chopping without it leaking all over the place. That’s better than a lot of the full size food processors I’ve seen.
And, unlike a lot of other options, this bad boy comes with two settings: chop and puree. How’s that for control despite small size and minimal price? It does come in at a higher price than a lot of other alternatives, but at less than $40, it still saves you quite a bit if you don’t need a full size food processing machine. If you’re ready for some big chopping power in a smaller unit, you can get what you want right here.
Don’t forget to check out all the colors!