What is a Manual Food Chopper?

Author: Chef Sydney

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What is a Manual Food Chopper?

A manual food chopper is a tool that is powered by a person, not by electricity.  These choppers are usually smaller than a food processor.  They come in a variety of materials, but all of them use motion to chop the food.  These motions are press, push, and crank.  Some food choppers are specific to certain foods, such as apple corers or egg slicers.

What are Manual Food Choppers Used For?

Manual food choppers are used to cut foods so that you never come near a sharp blade.  Manual food choppers are most commonly used for vegetables because they are firm and can be harder to cut, but fruits and other foods are also placed in a manual food chopper.

What are the Different Types of Manual Food Choppers?

  • Push
  • Press
  • Crank


The push design, sometimes called hand-slap design, of a manual food chopper is common.  It involves a lid with blades in the top, a lid secured on top of the container with a type of grate for the food to pass through, and a container at the bottom to catch all of the food.  You place the food on top of the middle layer and press the lid closed on top of the food to chop it into smaller pieces.  This type of chopper is often made of plastic with metal blades.


The press design of a chopper is similar in style to that of a French press coffee machine.  The food is loaded into a container in the bottom and the top is often snapped or screwed on.  Then, you press the handle at the top of the container, which presses the blade onto the food.  Releasing the handle will pull the blade back into the top of the container.  This type of chopper is often a mixture of plastic and stainless steel on the outside with metal blades.


The crank design of a chopper uses a rotating handle, similar to a bike pedal, to chop foods.  This chopper usually has one large bowl with a blade at the bottom and a lid with the crank attached to the top.  Place the food in the bowl, secure the lid, and rotate the handle.  This design is typically made of plastic with a metal blade.

Recipes Using Manual Food Choppers

Easy Chunky Vegetable Soup

Use a manual food chopper to diced carrots, onion, tomatoes, and celery. Begin to soften the vegetables in a stock pot. Add vegetable stock, tomato paste, garlic, red kidney beans, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, basil, oregano, rosemary, and a bay leaf. Simmer, then add in soup pasta. Continue to simmer until the soup thickens and the pasta is cooked.

Pico de Gallo

Enjoy pico de gallo as a chip dip or topping to a finished dish. Use a manual food chopper to dice tomatoes and red onion. Add a finely chopped jalapeño, lime juice, sea salt, pepper, and cilantro. Stir and enjoy.

Apple Slices Snack

Make a quick and easy snack by using a manual food chopper. Wash a red apple, dry completely, and place on a cutting board. Then, using an apple corer, line up the center circle above the stem of the apple. Firmly press down on the handles and apply pressure until the corer meets the cutting board. Pull slices away from the apple core. Dip slices in caramel sauce.

Greek Salad

Pull together a quick and easy Greek salad. Use a manual food chopper to dice cucumber, red onion, fresh tomatoes, and a red bell pepper. Add vegetables to a bowl with green olives and feta cheese. Toss with a vinaigrette and serve topped with fresh parsley.

Easy Marinara

Preparing a homemade marinara sauce is easy! Use a manual food chopper to dice onions and tomatoes. Place onions in a preheated skillet with olive oil to soften. Then, add in garlic. Once the onions and garlic have softened, add in diced tomatoes, water, tomato paste, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and basil. Simmer until sauce thickens. Serve over your favorite pasta, or use a hand blender to blend the sauce until smooth.

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