In the world of kitchen tools, there are two options for slicing and dicing. Technically, there are a lot more if you include every knife, grater, electric slicer, etc., but I’m talking about the two main ones. Some kitchens need one or the other, and some cannot function without both. Let me explain the differences so you can decide which one your kitchen needs, or if it needs both.
Why Do I Need One?
Here’s a good example of why you might really want one of these in your kitchen: My husband’s mother has a meatloaf recipe she absolutely loves. By proxy, my husband loves it. It’s not like the meatloaf I’m used to, which is primarily just meat. Hers has a lot of other stuff in it, too. It’s mostly vegetables, but they have to be chopped up really, really small, or my husband won’t eat them.
The meatloaf itself takes, like, 10 minutes to make. The chopping, though, takes just about…forever. Without something to cut down the time for all the chopping I have to do in order to serve up this delicious dish, it wouldn’t get made very often.
So How Do I Get It Chopped?
There are two ways I can get the vegetables down to the size I need them to be in order to make my husband happy and save me hours of time. I can use a food processor or a food chopper.
First and foremost, the biggest difference between the two is size. Food processors are made to process a lot of different foods in a lot of different ways. It takes a bigger machine to house the bigger motor, and you need a bigger bowl if you’re going to move a lot of food all at once. They’re usually fairly heavy and take up more room under, or on top of, your counter.
Food choppers, on the other hand, are a lot smaller. You won’t find one that holds more than 3 to 4 cups. Because they’re smaller, they’re friendlier for small kitchens or cabinets that are already bursting at the seams.
Food processors tend to be quite a bit more expensive, but that’s not true across the board. In fact, you can get a food processor for $30-$50. The quality might not be all there, but it’s not quite right to say all food processors are more expensive than food choppers. For a really good quality food processor, you’re going to spend at least $100. The more powerful the motor and the bigger the bowl, the more expensive they get.
You can get a passable food chopper, on the other hand, for about $15. It’s probably only going to hold a cup or two, but if you don’t need it for much, it should do the trick. Food choppers can be as expensive at $40 or more if you’re going for something really fancy. You shouldn’t have to spend more than that, though, if a chopper is all you need.
All The Uses
If you’re looking for flexibility, then you want a food processor, hands down. Food processors usually come with a bunch of attachments in the box, and even more that can be purchased. They have different blades for slicing large pieces, slicing small pieces, chopping, dicing, grating, pulverizing, kneading, and a ton of other things. You have to be careful because every single one of them is sharp, but the food processor is absolutely, without a doubt, the more flexible tool.
The chopper is going to chop. It might also dice and some puree, but it’s pretty much a chopping tool. You aren’t likely to get minuscule pieces out of it like you can with a food processor, but there is still get enough flexibility for a few different options.
It’s A Matter Of Scale And Precision
If you’re trying to decide whether to go chopper or processor, you have to remember that scale and precision are at the heart the matter. You get much more control with a processor than a chopper. You can do all sorts of things from kneading dough to grating cheese to pulverizing stuff, and you can do it in just about any quantity, but usually more than 4 cups and as much as 14 cups.
With the chopper, on the other hand, you get convenience and ease of use, but not a lot of other options and you won’t be cooking for the whole family with what comes out of the chopper. You’re more limited in functionality, but it saves a lot of money and a lot of space.