If you aren’t a big fan of the food processor, you don’t know what you are missing. First if you have not bought a food processor yet check out our full in depth buying guide here. You may have gotten one as a wedding present from your aunt or as a housewarming gift from your parents. Or, let me guess...you just bought one for yourself.Is it collecting dust in your kitchen cupboard? What a waste!It doesn't have to be hidden away until you have to slice carrots and onions. You could be making…
Pie dough!And Ice cream! And even homemade mayo! Chances are, you aren’t getting the use out of your food processor that you could (and should!) be. Food processors have a wide variety of applications beyond chopping veggies. A good food processor can turn you into quite the chef while saving you time, and, not to mention, keep dozens of pots and pans from needing a clean.Here is a list of twenty food processor hacks that will just make you fall in love with the big ole’ machine.
Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish cold tomato soup, perfect for hot summer days. It uses fresh tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, celery, herbs, oil, vinegar, and spices. As you can imagine, this could take a lot of chopping. If you are like me, the vegetable juices will ooze off the chopping board and get all over your kitchen counter...what a mess? Don’t freak out; you can save on this by putting all the gazpacho ingredients in the food processor. You can find a great food processor gazpacho recipe (with a Californian twist!) at Simply Recipes click here.
• Nut Butters
Have you ever wondered what is really in your peanut butter? If you look at the ingredients of most commercial nut butter, it is likely you won’t recognize many of them. Why not make it at home? For the most basic recipe, all you need is an oven and nuts. Roast the raw nuts of your choice for about 10-15 minutes at 350F, moving it around once or twice, so they are evenly cooked. Put them in your food processor, and you will notice the nuts have turned into a moist powder. Scrape down what was stuck on the sides and turn on the food processor again. Repeat this multiple times until it starts to clump, and let your food processor run. It will take about 15 minutes for the nuts to turn into a delicious, creamy, all-natural nut butter.
Pro Tip- Add the flavors of your choice – cinnamon, maple syrup, raw sugar, dark chocolate… let your imagination run wild!Check out the step-by-step recipe for roasted almond nut butter at Heather Eats Almond Butter.
• Meat Grinder or Meat Shredder
High-quality ground meat is a lot more expensive per-pound than the same quality meat when it is whole. You will love it when you make yours at home. Healthy Green Kitchen has a delicious recipe for homemade pork breakfast sausage made from organic, grass-fed pork shoulder.
Shredding chicken and other meats is also a breeze with your food processor. Put your thoroughly cooked meat that you want to shred in the food processor and only use the pulse function. Tap your pulse button until you have the meat shred to your liking. Make sure to be very quick with your pulses the power of your food process will quickly take the shredded meat into ground meats in a second. These shredded meats are perfect for recipes that call for shredded chicken or pork to be pulled apart by forks save your fingers and sweat use your food processor!
Pro Tip- Make sure the meat is cold when you want to grind it, so it doesn’t turn into mush when you process it. Make sure you meat is fully cooked when you want to shred it.
• Homemade Mayonnaise
Let’s face it. Mayo is on the black list of sauces. It is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and some critics point to potentially dangerous ingredients like soybean oil.
It doesn’t have to be that way; if you have your food processor handy, you can make a delicious, healthier homemade mayonnaise with an egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil and skip all those nasty preservatives. Adding a mustard turns your mayo into a remoulade and makes for a very taste spread. Check out the full recipe with mustard at Umami Girl.
If you are a seasoned food processor user, this might come as a no-brainer. But, believe it or not, people will pay good money for some bottled pesto sauce. You don't have to be one of those people make an amazing batch of pesto at home and save some cash. Pesto is incredibly easy to make. Once you have all of the ingredients on hand, it takes about three minutes. It’s the secret pesto bottlers don’t want anyone to know.
The traditional recipe calls for basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil, tossed in the food processor and blended until smooth. Are you feeling adventurous? You can make any variation of the classic recipe you want. You can use carrot tops instead of basil, almonds instead of pine nuts, and asiago instead of parmesan there are countless recipe variants.
Check out a step-by-step guide on how to make pesto at Gimme Some Oven.
• Creamy Dips
Do you have some unexpected guests coming over? You can make a delicious dip in minutes by mixing a creamy base like yogurt, cream, cottage cheese or – for some vegetarian versions – tofu and avocado. Toss the ingredients in the food processor, add some garlic, lime, and seasoning and serve with pita chips or crackers. Chowhound has a great article on 20 different dips you can make in a food processor we have tried most of them and have not found one that we disliked. Check the recipes out here!
Three ingredients. Food processor. Delicious tangy spread for your morning toast. It’s not too good to be true!
• Pasta Dough
If you have ever made pasta dough before, you probably remember what a mess it was to clean up the sticky dough off your fingers, the bowl, and the spatula. Rather than kneading the pasta dough by hand, you can mix all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. When it is done, the dough just needs to be rolled out and cut into your desired shape and cook.
The Second Pancake has a great recipe for food processor pasta dough and the guide has great pictures for reference. You can find the full recipe here!
• Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower rice has gained popularity in many health and fitness circles as a great low-carb alternative to regular rice. Its applications go way beyond a simple side dish. You can use cauliflower rice to make pizza crust, stuffed peppers, and even sushi.
Cauliflower rice is the simplest thing you can imagine. After washing your cauliflower head, cut it into chunks put it into the food processor using the grater function. To prepare it before a meal, steam or sauté for a maximum of 10 minutes with desired ingredients.
• Homemade Gluten-Free Flour
Yes! Your food processor can also make flour! Believe it or not, it will only take about three minutes.
Remember the nut butter I mentioned before? For the first few minutes, the butter was more powdery than it is buttery. This powder can be used as flour. When it comes to nut-based flour, almond flour bakes best, while oat flour is the easiest to make.
To make it, just place the desired flour base (oats, cashews, almonds, sunflower, hazelnut, buckwheat, and more) in the processor and grind them for 1-2 minutes. Some tips on different bases for gluten-free flour can be found at Attune Foods.
• Baby Food
Homemade baby food is healthier, more natural, and cheaper than store-bought baby food. You can puree almost anything – from carrots and pears to peas. If you have a full week ahead of your, you can plan ahead and make large batches and freeze the puree in small storage containers.
Do you have someone you want to impress with your skills in the kitchen? Even the word Truffle sounds fancy. Mix all of the necessary ingredients in a food processor, only to roll and chill. Find the full recipe at My Yellow Farmhouse here.
• Pie crust
Call me strange, but my favorite part of pies has always been the crust. I can tell when the crust is frozen, store-bought or homemade. Homemade crusts are always the best, and any pie fan will tell you that there is nothing quite like a pie made from scratch.
• No-Cook Fudge
Fudge doesn’t have to be something you only enjoy at the state fair. Using your food processor, you can make fudge, without having to turn on your stove.
Usually melting the chocolate is a vital part of making fudge to make sure all the ingredients are properly mixed. A food processor does this without needing the chocolate melted. Using a food processor not only saves you time but also gets room temp fudge into the refrigerator meaning it will be hardened faster!
• Cole Slaw
Cole slaw is a classic summer side. While cole slaw doesn’t have very many ingredients, when done in the traditional manner, cole slaw takes lots and lots of chopping. You can put the cabbage, onion, and carrot into the food processor, and toss with the dressing of your choice. Its super quick and super easy to make slaw fast.
Pro Tip- Use the pulse setting on your food processor. You don't want to turn your shredded veggies from a slaw to mush.
No need to get store-bought salsa after this hack. Put tomatoes, onion, cilantro and lemon juice in the food processor, and two minutes, you will have the perfect appetizer for taco night. As you get more comfortable with experimenting, you can add garlic, green and red peppers, jalapeños, corn, vinegar, and anything else your heart desires.
Pro Tip- For salsa just put your food processor on full speed and let it really go to town on everything in the bowl. For Pico De Gallo use the pulse setting and stop while your tomatoes and veggies are still chunky.
With this recipe for Chocolate-Hazelnut Macarons from Good Housekeeping, you can take the batter straight from the food processor bowl to the cookie.
Pro Tip- If they aren’t eaten within the first day, they get a little soggy. Freeze them, they will last up to one month.
If you make oily dressings in a bowl, they will often separate into phases. If you make them in a food processer, however, all of the ingredients will temporarily blend, allowing you enjoy the tastes of each of your dressings’ ingredients.
For a fluffy, creamy dressing, check out this recipe for food processor Caesar dressing straight from Cuisinart.
• Making Ice Cream at Home
This hack alone is worth buying a new food processor. Not only can you make ice cream at home, but you can also make it with one ingredient, and it is much healthier than commercial ice cream. Watch this great video below on how to make your homemade ice cream.
Pick a fruit – any fruit! Place it in the freezer for at least 4 hours, and then whip it up in the food processor. If you like your ice cream a little sweeter, you can add honey, cinnamon, chocolate, or any additions you can think of. After it is blended, scoop the blend into a storage container and place it back into the freezer.
• Churn Heavy Cream into Butter
Churning butter has got to be the coolest food processor hack. Imagine being able to say you churned your own butter? Well, it’s not churning so much as it is processing – but the end-product is just as yummy, and takes only a fraction of the time. What could be better than high-quality, freshly churned butter? Plus if you add fun stuff like honey or garlic during the process you have homemade garlic butter or homemade honey butter.
You can learn how to make your own butter from heavy cream at Frugality Gal. Not only does Frugality Gal do a great job explaining how but all the trail and error she went through plus cost savings by making your own butter.
Your food processor can be your greatest ally in the kitchen if you do not have one check out our full guide here. We also have a guide on when to use your food processor, blender, or immersion blender here. Not only can it help you save time as you make your favorite weeknight staples, but the food processor can also help you to be a bit more adventurous, and try making something new.Food processor truffles for dessert, anyone? Bon appetit!