Which has better chops, a sharp knife or a food processor?

Consumer Reports News: October 04, 2011 09:11 AM

Consumer Reports' latest review of kitchen knives pits more than 50 sets against one another. Forged knives are the clear-cut winners, accounting for all eight of our recommended models. But how does a razor-sharp knife compare with a first-rate food processor? To find out, we armed one of our experienced kitchen hands with a top chef's knife and compared his skills with those of a high-performing food processor. The results of this man-versus-machine chop-off would make John Henry proud—though he might not take a sledgehammer to his food processor just yet.

Sliced squash Chef zipped through this task in just 14 seconds, turning out perfect quarter-inch slices. The food processor took more than a minute, because the squash first had to be cut to fit in the feed tube. The end results were fine but not all uniform.

Diced celery Chef took 24 seconds compared with the food processor’s 14 seconds, but his cubes were clean and uniform, without any of the stringy bits left in the machine bowl.

Chopped onion Again, the food processor was quicker, but the results were mushy and uneven, and there were large chunks mixed in with small bits and pieces.

Bottom line
A fine-edged knife, like any of the recommended models by Ginsu, Wusthof, or Zwilling J.A. Henckels, beats a food processor for precision and consistency, improving the taste and texture of dishes when the cut-up food is clearly visible, as in stuffing or tuna salad. If you have good skills, a knife can be quicker, too, especially when you factor in cleanup time. But we still recommend food processors for puréeing vegetables for soups and sauces, kneading bread dough, and other tasks no knife can handle. Our Ratings of several dozen food processors include 10 recommended models.

Daniel DiClerico

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