As far as its appearance goes, this machine is aptly named: kind of aggressive-looking in a sexy way. In terms of functionality, it can create milkshakes and smoothies, knead dough, crush ice and chop, slice, shred or puree vegetables fit for a shogun.
It also hits kind of a sweet spot in terms the balance between capacity and compactness at 9½ by 8¼ by 17¾ inches.
More interestingly, this is the only food processor we’ve selected that doubles as a blender; you’d think there would be more, but it turns out that combining these two distinct functions into one machine is actually not straightforward. This is the only model we’ve found that doesn’t have some pretty serious drawbacks.
A Jack of All Trades
Taken solely as a blender, this appliance is already worth considering even at this price (if you’ve just decided that you actually don’t really need a food processor after all, you will probably want to check out this cheaper Ninja).
It has no problem crushing ice to a fine consistency, placing several classic cocktails within easy reach. More interestingly, it comes with two 16-ounce travel cups you can hook up directly to the base for quick breakfast smoothies with minimal cleanup.
On the food processing side, it does some useful stuff right out of the box, though like most processors, its lowest speed is still much faster than a stand mixer and will easily overwork pastry dough. By spending about $70 extra on a matching “prep system”, however, you can increase its repertoire almost to the level of the KitchenAid KFP1466ER.
Specifically, you’ll be able to produce (short) French fries in minutes and slice vegetables with a crinkle-cut pattern for homemade potato chips or funky salads. Significantly for bulk cooks who’d like to make use of the Ninja Mega’s heavy-duty motor, you’ll also get a different bowl with a continuous ejection tube. This allows you to collect your processed veggies in a bowl on the side without having to empty your food processor after every few cups.
Nothing Is Perfect
Plastic bowls are always going to be prone to cracking, but in this case they are reassuringly thick and easy to clean by hand or in a dishwasher. Crucially, however, the food processor as supplied doesn’t have a feed chute in the lid, making it impossible to use a disc rotating at the top to slice and shred. We would definitely recommend that you get the “prep system” expansion kit at the same time as the basic Ninja.
While we appreciate the effort to keep the price of the basic unit down, including only a flat, non-feed lid seems a lot like sneaky upselling. It may be that the upgrade was only an afterthought and they haven’t yet gotten around to offering the whole shebang in a single package.
Despite the suction feet on the bottom, without which this 9-pound appliance would be in danger of tipping over, the powerful motor does mean that it’s on the loud side even for a food processor. As far as quality in general goes, everything seems reasonably well-built, but bear in mind that only the motor and base is covered under warranty.
Naturally, getting one appliance that does two jobs saves a lot of space and, unless you’re happy with replacing a less well-built machine every year or so, money too.
On the other hand, this isn’t the best food processor on the market. When making tahini or nut butter, you’ll have problems achieving a smooth texture, it can mix and knead dough very fast but not really to the correct consistency, and the chute-less lid that comes as standard is a real disappointment.
- Excellent for making drinks
- Included smoothie cups fit directly onto base for stirring
- Very powerful
- No feed chute in standard lid
- Struggles to achieve a fine puree