The best food processors make light work of chopping, grating, blending, shredding and emulsifying. Even if you’ve got Gordon Ramsay-level chopping skills, a food processor will outperform you by using its speedy specialist blades to hack through ingredients in an impressive amount of time.
While some people forgo a food processor in favour of the best blender, they do a lot more than you might expect and much more than a blender offers, too. Other than chopping and pulsing, food processors can make baby food, cake mix, dips and even butter! But, as I’ve found in my extensive ‘foods you should never cook / put’ series, there are some foods that should steer clear from your food processor.
For the best meal results and to avoid dulling your blades, here are 7 foods you should never put in your food processor.
If you’re looking for more food tips, check out the foods you should never cook in an air fryer, on the barbecue, in a multicooker, in a slow cooker, using a non-stick pan, in a microwave, with a toaster, in a blender and in a juicer.
1. Smoothies and juices
A general rule of thumb when using a food processor is to avoid putting liquid in it at all costs. Food processors aren’t equipped to handle smoothies, juices or shakes, as they’re designed to process foods whereas blenders are made for drinks. Trust me, when I used to live at home, I tried making a smoothie using my parents’ food processor and it was without a doubt the worst drink I ever made. Food processors are super powerful but it’s a different kind of power that’s needed to liquify things. They won’t give your smoothie or juice the right flavour or texture, and even the top food processor models can leak if you put too much liquid in them. You’re better off sticking to the best Nutribullet or the best juicer to make these drinks.
2. Tough meat
While you can shred chicken and grind meat using a food processor, you should avoid using them to chop up tough cuts of meat. Tough meat which has a lot of muscle, marbling, fat and connective tissue are too heavy and chunky for your device to handle. Not only will your food processor shake all over the place and chop your meat irregularly, but it will put major strain on your appliance by overworking the motor and potentially dulling the blades. You’re better off chopping them up yourself using the best chef’s knives.
3. Bread dough
As we see each year on the Great British Bake Off, food processors are often used to make pastry dough. However, bread dough is a different story. While some food processors come with a hook blade attachment specifically for bread dough, dense or heavy doughs can push your processor to its limits. It’s important to make sure your machine is strong enough to repeatedly knead your dough for several minutes at a time, and if it’s not, you should look towards the best bread maker or the best stand mixer instead.
4. Unpeeled fruit and vegetables
If you don’t like chopping up fruit and vegetables, a food processor can take care of this for you, but it’s always best to remove the skin first. Fruits and vegetables with tough skin and peels can damage the inner workings of your food processor, and dull the blades quicker than normal. Pumpkin, squash, melons and pineapple are perfect examples of this, so try to peel them first before you whizz them up into a salad.
5. Coffee beans
Can a food processor grind coffee? Yes, but it won’t give you the best results. Food processors’ blades aren’t designed for coffee beans and the beans’ tough exterior can wear them down quickly. While you can pulse coffee beans in a processor if you don’t have any other option, the result will likely be too coarse and won’t work well with your best bean to cup coffee machine.
6. Hot food
Hot food should never go in your food processor for many reasons. When you put piping hot food into one, the steam will get trapped and create pressure. This will build up and can cause the food to splatter everywhere or the food processor lid to explode, making a mess and potentially burning you. Using a food processor on hot food can also give it a strange texture, funny colour and even melt the plastic portion of your processor’s blade. To avoid this, let your food cool down for 5-10 minutes before chucking it in your food processor.
7. Frozen food
To avoid breaking your food processor, you shouldn’t put frozen food or ice inside it. As the food is too hard and tough, this will dull or break your blade and put too much strain on the motor. Depending on how much you’ve put in there, the speed of the blade can also whip the frozen food around at some force, causing it to smash, crack or dent the bowl.