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Food Processor or Good Toaster Oven?

My daughter has a birthday coming soon and has expressed the desire for either a nice toaster oven (has an ancient and crappy hand me down) or a food processor (currently has a mini chopper). Any advice on which to get her? And, if a food processor, what's a reasonably priced decent if not great one to select? Thanks in advance for your advice.

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  1. I have the Breville Toaster oven (800XL model) the larger one, and it is fantastic. Literally as good as a regular oven. Great for roasting chicken, heating appetizers and pizza. Got it as Beth Bath & Beyond with the 20% off coupon.

    As for a reasonably priced food processors, the Cuisinart always gets high marks.

    As for which your daughter would prefer...

    1 Reply
    1. re: wanker

      If she has a small kitchen and primarily cooks for one, go with the Breville convection 800XL. It is the BEST kitchen appliance I ever purchased. Whenever I move into a house, I'll but a second one.

      It works perfectly and doesn't require the same amount of energy or disperse the heat as a traditional oven. I bake more than I ever had.

    2. Make your choice based on how your daughter cooks. If she does more prep with meals - food processor. If she does more straight cooking/toasting - oven. Without details, I'd suggest the food processor if she's an adventurous cook. It's also less likely to be duplicated by anything else already in the kitchen.

      Hamilton Beach Big Mouth is a good first food processor and should be around $75. It'll be fine for a while. If you want one that last though, there's no ducking the Cuisinart 14-cup models. I've had a Cuisinart for almost 20 years, and it's still going strong. In that same time, I've gotten other value models as gifts, but none has ever lasted more than 2-3 years. Cuisinarts are always on sale somewhere though so don't let the initial MSRP scare you. 20-50% discounts can be found if you're not in a rush.

      1. Sorry.

        I'm a "tool guy".

        So yes and yes.

        You need both.

        One before the other?


        If no cooking skills, toaster oven first.

        If cooking skillz (lolz), then food processor first.

        Toaster oven is a necessary convenience but a damn good one if not doing big prep chef/meals at home cooking for a big family.

        Good luck.


        Not only do I have a toaster oven but I have a "back up" unit.

        Once I get into NASA "triple redundancy" then do I know that I've totally lost it,.


        1 Reply
        1. re: jjjrfoodie

          LOL--we have 2 back-up coffee makers! The Cusinart had an acute failure one morning, and since we NEED our coffee, bought the 2 back ups.

          In fact, I tend to keep a "reserve" of most food items, too.

          1. I have no idea why anyone would need a fancy toaster oven. I have a cheap one that I use to toast nuts, coconut flakes, Eggos, and Thomas Muffins. I wouldn't use it for anything else. Roast a chicken? Uhhh...that's what a real oven is for. Cooking a pizza? Again, have folks forgotten most kitchens have this thing called an oven?

            I know some folks have no need for a food processor, but it is easily one of my most used kitchen gadgets. I do a LOT of Indian cooking and it is indispensable in whipping up curries. I also do a lot of grilling and I frequently use it for marinades and barbecue sauces. That said, I also have a cheap mini-chopper that gets pulled out quite a bit for smaller jobs.

            I've had a KitchenAid 9 cup model that I bought back in 2001 for (I think) around $200 and it still works as good as the day I bought it, which also makes it one of the most durable things I've ever bought.

            3 Replies
            1. re: The Big Crunch

              Here is why the better toaster ovens are nice: it's smaller, it preheats faster and cooks faster, it actually cooks and bakes evenly ( unlike the cheap one I had for years), it doesn't heat up my kitchen like my full sized oven does. Since I only have one oven in my current house it allows me more flexibility when I need to bake things at different temps at the same time. I've baked bread, cake, dinner rolls, tea cakes, pizza in it. If I'm only cooking for myself, I have cooked chicken pieces in it.

              1. re: rasputina

                I guess I can understand the need for a high-end toaster oven if you frequently bake multiple items at a time. I don't bake much, so I rarely am cooking bread, cakes, pizza, and dinner rolls at once. I'd say I use my stovetop for probably 90% of what I cook. I've lived in half a dozen apartments and rental houses over the last ten years and all the ovens baked evenly enough for me, but then again, I am not a demanding baker. I do find the uneven cooking in my cheap toaster oven annoying, but since it basicaly only affects my toasting of Thomas Muffins a couple of times a week, it's a minor inconvenience. If I did a LOT of cakes and breads, I suppose I may notice the difference. As for preheating, I don't see why faster is all that important. Our oven preheats in about ten minutes, it just means I need to plan an extra ten minutes into whatever I'm cooking.

                One other thing to note is the issue of space. How old is your daughter? Might she move into a place with a small kitchen at some point? If so, she'll be hard pressed to fit a giant, high-end toaster oven into a small apartment kitchen where counter space is often very, very limited.

                1. re: rasputina

                  Agree. I have the large Breville Smart Oven and use it far more often than I use the oven in my range, for all the reasons you mentioned, but most especially because it doesn't heat up my entire kitchen.

                  Countertop ovens like the Breville will do most anything a built-in will do. They're not just for toast and pizza. I bake fish and chicken, broil garlic bread, you name it, it does it well.

              2. I think it really depends on how she cooks and what her kitchen set up is. Our full sized Breville gets used multiple times a day, but I can't imagine not having a food processor, I've had one for almost 30 years. Longer than I've owned a toaster oven.

                1. Thanks for your input and for offering some quite good questions to consider. I still have a few days to decide. She is a somewhat adventurous cook (my daughter after all) but I know that she hates the groady toaster oven her bf brought into their kitchen. She wants me to pick and surprise her.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: debbypo

                    I've got both a Kitchenaid FP and a Breville Smart Oven (the large one). While both pull duty in my kitchen, the Breville sees much more use, and I'm not a baker. It did take me a while to learn to trust it to do more than toast things, but now it's used more often than my range oven.

                    It just seems like less hassle for me to use a chef's knife for slicing and box grater or microplane for grating fruit/veg than to deal with the cleanup of the food processor. I've found the bowl and lid take up way too much room in my dishwasher so I hand wash it. It's most frequent uses are grating and shredding parmesan (I prep an entire block at one time) and for making laundry soap.

                    I have a Cuisinart Mini-Prep that sees much more use than my big Kitchenaid unit, and it doesn't take up a ton of space in the DW, plus it's super easy to hand wash. It gets called on mostly for mincing garlic and herbs.

                    You should know that I normally cook for 2, so your daughter's mileage may vary. :)

                    1. re: debbypo

                      Ohh, careful. Is there a future in this relationship? What is she telling the bf if she has mom replace the toaster oven he supplied? :-)

                      Go for a good food processor with lots of fun attachments.

                    2. Rigmaster has it right. If your daughter does a lot of cooking from scratch, then a food processor will save her time and effort in prep and will do some things better than she can. But if she's more into food that's already prepared and needs to be thawed, toasted, baked, roasted, or broiled, and if she's cooking for just one or two, then she might prefer a good big toaster oven to cranking up the full-sized oven in her stove - and heating up the place in the summer.

                      I have a stand mixer and am pretty good with the kitchen knives, so I've given counter space to a Krups toaster oven with convection and use it just about every day. If I had more counter space then I might get a food processor too. Or I could get along without either, as I did in my previous apartment.

                      1. Frankly, I'd go for a good convection toaster oven. I use mine practically daily. Breville and Cuisinart make good ones. Take your time in making your choice.

                        The slightly larger ones with convection are really versatile, and in the summer, they are lifesavers, because they don't heat up your kitchen as bad as a regular oven. And they save electricity because they heat up so much faster than a regular oven. And they are easy to clean.

                        1. If she's good with a knife, and has a blender, I would say go with the toaster oven. I have a good toaster oven (Krups) at one house, and a crappy one at another house, and continually curse it because it burns nuts, its not big enough to slide my egg pan in to brown the top of a frittata like my good one. However, If she cooks a lot for a crowd, the FP is handy... tough choice!

                          1. Another vote for the high end toaster oven. I have the full sized Breville, as well as a trusty old '80s vintage Cuisinart. I cook all the time (and consider myself a pretty darn good one, modesty aside) and use the toaster oven daily, for anything form toast to broiling to baking casseroles. The food processor comes out of its cabinet once a month or so. Most prep work I can do practically as fast with my chef's knife. The main thing I use the processor for is making fresh horseradish.

                            1. If I could have only one or the other, I would go for the food processor. While many folks use it for one or two chores and maybe infrequently, they really are very versatile. We make fresh ground meat with ours weekly rather than buy ground; also the shredding, slicing, grating tasks regularly. Dough is also delightfully simple and quick. The trick is to
                              a. not put it away and
                              b. have a good food processor recipe book handy for ideas if not for the recipes. Here is a link for an excellent cookbook (we have it), regardless of food processor brand:


                              Cuisinart is always a safe bet.

                              1. I do use my Breville full size all the time and my food processor not so much- but that's how my husband and I cook.

                                1. Hi... just to let you know. I was totally undecided until the 'day of' and then it turned out her boyfriend didn't have his gift picked either. He got the food processor (an 11 cup Cuisinart) and I got the middle sized Breville toaster oven. She seemed pretty happy! Thanks all for your input.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: debbypo

                                    Lucky lady, your daughter! So glad you didn't have to choose just one. :)

                                    1. re: debbypo

                                      Sounds like a BF with his head on straight!

                                    2. A happy ending! Couldn't be better.