The Best Food Processor

If you’re looking for a food processor that’ll save you hours in the kitchen, our pick for most people is the classic Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor for $179. It’s a basic-but-efficient model that excels at most tasks. However, if you will use it several times a week or place a premium on thoughtful design, spring for the much more powerful 16-cup Breville Sous Chef for $400.

Before you go into sticker shock, let me get this out there: good food processors don’t come cheap.
Before you go into sticker shock, let me get this out there: good food processors don’t come cheap. Yet: good ones are worth the money. They’ll chop, slice and grate more evenly than cheaper machines, and their heavy-duty motors (and, thus, heavier bases) can tackle mixing heavy-yeasted doughs. Think of a food processor as an appliance you’ll use hundreds of times over the course of many years, and anteing up for a good one won’t seem so expensive.

Over the course of 18 hours of research, I read every review I could find, scoured Amazon reviews, considered 45 different models and chatted with two authors of best-selling food processing cookbooks before calling in five top-rated models to test. I put each through their paces, chopping and slicing vegetables, grating cheese, grinding bread crumbs, pureeing silky-smooth hummus and mixing big batches of pizza dough to ultimately pin down the best of the best.

The French connection

Food processors first showed up in the United States in the early 1970’s after Carl Sontheimer, a MIT-trained engineer traveling through France, happened upon Le Magimix, a basic processor that let Gallic homemakers chop and mix in a flash. Sontheimer immediately saw the machine’s potential for American cooks and shipped a dozen processors home to study in his garage workshop, where he eventually developed the first Cuisinart, which he unveiled in 1973.

However, the Cuisinart didn’t really catch on until a few years later, when Sontheimer demonstrated the machine for major food writers and chefs, including Julia Child, James Beard and Jacques Pépin. The rest, as they say, is l’histoire.

What is a food processor and who should get one of these?

At its most basic, a food processor is comprised of a work bowl that sits on a motorized drive shaft. The bowl’s lid has a feed tube for inserting food to be chopped, diced, sliced, ground and even kneaded (in the case of dough). Most food processors come with s-shaped blades and various disks for grating and slicing, but there are a host of other attachments—such as Julienne disks and citrus juicers—also available.

…where it might take you 5 or 10 minutes to shred cabbage for coleslaw by hand, a food processor will tackle this in a manner of seconds.
It’s worth investing in a food processor if you cook a lot and want to prep ingredients quickly. For example, where it might take you 5 or 10 minutes to shred cabbage for coleslaw by hand, a food processor will tackle this in a manner of seconds. Similarly, a processor can cut butter into flour for pastry dough in a fraction of the time it’d take by hand. My favorite lazy-cook’s use for this machine is grating cheese, and shredding beets, carrots and other veggies for salads.

Some food processors will also liquify ingredients (tomatoes for pasta sauce, for instance), but if you’re looking to purée velvety soups or crush ice for smoothies, you’ll need a blender.

What makes a great food processor?

Parlsey in BrevilleTo suss out the features to look for I turned to two best-selling authors of food processing cookbooks: Jean Anderson, the James Beard-award winning author of Process This, and Norene Gilletz, author of The New Food Processor Bible. Both women were early adopters, purchasing their first Cuisinarts shortly after the company introduced them. Combined, they’ve logged thousands of hours on many machines.

Anderson and Gilletz agree that an 11- to 14-cup processor is most useful for most cooks. “It’s always better to go a little bigger than a little smaller,” says Gilletz. “It’s one investment that’s going to last you a lot of years. You’ll regret getting one that isn’t big enough.” I informally polled friends who cook, and a lot of them seemed happy with their 7- or 9-cup machines, but most of them also only cook for one or two people. For a family, or if you cook a lot, a bigger machine just makes more sense. Smaller processors (3 to 5 cups) are often called “food choppers” and are good for quickly grinding nuts, chopping garlic or herbs, and other tasks that are too small for a bigger processing bowl. Both Anderson and Gilletz keep mini processors for these tasks, and Gilletz swears by her Cuisinart Mini Prep ($32).

Some cheaper machines will do a passable job of chopping vegetables and even shredding hard cheeses like Parmesan. But these lower-end processors tend to struggle with more nuanced tasks. The Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Duo (~$100), for example, is one of the highest rated inexpensive models, but Good Housekeeping found it did a lousy job of slicing tomatoes and cutting Julienne strips—tasks that a higher quality machine will breeze through. These machines should chop vegetables and herbs evenly (without pulverizing them), grate veggies and cheese uniformly, and slice cleanly.

A high-quality machine also does a nice job at grinding dry ingredients. For example, you should be able to grind bread into breadcrumbs with a few pulses,and chop nuts into a fine meal texture (you can even make nut butters). The better-quality machines with heavier bases will also grind meat—such as for these mouthwatering ground-sirloin-and-butter-burgers from America’s Test Kitchen (subscription required).

In all of the reviews I read, the cheaper machines also tended to make a racket. In testing, I found the best machines purred softly, even when shredding hard veggies such as beets and mixing pizza dough.

On that note, the best machines have strong motors and heavy bases that anchor them to the counter so that they can mix sturdy yeast doughs. Lower-quality machines, which also happen to be lighter, will often skid across the counter when processing dough, or the motor might even seize up (I actually had this problem with a higher-end model I tested). Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen looked for machines that would blend “a smooth, satiny dough in less than 90 seconds.“ Similarly, the machine should be able to cut butter evenly into flour for pastry dough. The machines usually come with a dough blade, often made of plastic.

I asked Norene Gilletz if it was worth investing in a machine that has a specific dough speed. “If you’re making a lot of bread, maybe. But if you don’t have that speed, just do a little dough and pulse and you won’t need the dough speed,” she says. In testing pizza dough, I actually found that models with a specific dough button didn’t outperform ones that didn’t have this feature. Overall, Gilletz said it’s more important that the machine have a pulse speed, which gives more control than just on and off buttons.

Although many people prefer a blender or immersion blender for puréeing soups, food processors can also perform this task. “My food processors can blend and liquidize as well as a blender,” says Jean Anderson. However, Gilletz doesn’t agree. “A blender acts like a centrifuge, everything gets sucked into the center and makes a purée more silky,” she says. “A food processor has a tendency to fling food outward.”

Beyond these basic functions, newer food processors have some bells and whistles that can be helpful. Some come with nesting bowls, so you can attach a smaller bowl that essentially acts as a mini-chopper. A few, such as those in the Cuisinart Elite series, come with a gasket on the lid of the mixing bowl to prevent leaks. Personally, I found this gasket trapped food, making the lid a pain to clean. The Elite series also has a locking blade, so you can pour from the bowl without risking having the blade tumble out. Other models have adjustable disks so you can control the thickness of slices. Most of these are adjusted manually on the disk. The newest KitchenAid, however, has a lever on the outside of the machine that does this.

In my reading, I found debate over recent changes in mixing bowl design. Old-school Cuisinarts had straight sides, and many models retain this design. But the sides of newer machines by both Cuisinart and KitchenAid gently taper toward the base. Some people seem to prefer one or the other, but in my testing I didn’t find much difference between the two.

Most companies have also redesigned feed tubes, widening them to accommodate blocks of cheese, potatoes, and other big hunks of food. There are usually two food pressers: a larger one that fits in the wide feed tube, and a smaller one nested inside that will keep thin objects like carrots upright when slicing. In my own testing, I found that some of the feed tubes weren’t wide enough to accommodate a big russet potato. Even if they were wide enough, I still had to cut the potatoes in half because the food presser must be clicked into the feed tube or the machine won’t run, a safety feature which ostensibly keeps you from accidentally shoving your hand down into the whirring blade.

Beyond the main blade, dough blade and disks for shredding and slicing, you don’t really need much else. Although you can purchase everything from a juicing attachment to an egg-white-beating attachment, these extras often go unused. Both cookbook authors I spoke with essentially said they were a waste of money.

Weighing (and measuring) your options

Quality food processors tend to be heavy. Their bases house powerful motors (the Breville, for example, has a 1200 watt motor) and can weigh 15 pounds or more. Heavy bases allow these machines to sit solidly on the counter so they can handle mixing dough and other heavy recipes.

If you have to constantly schlep your processor from a cupboard across the kitchen, you might not use it often. Gilletz recommends buying a processor that will fit on the counter under your cabinets. She keeps her machines on folded dish towels so they’ll slide out more easily.

For those with limited counter space, you can always get creative, like Anderson did when she lived in New York City. “I had a pop-up, like those old typewriter pop-ups that folded down underneath the desk. My processor pop-up folded down into the base cabinet and I just swung it up whenever I used the machine.”

Narrowing the choices

…most experts, editorials, and user reviews agree that the two main players are Cuisinart and KitchenAid.
Nearly every major appliance company makes food processors—from Oster on the low end to Breville and Magimix on the high end. Yet most experts, editorials and user reviews agree that the two main players are Cuisinart and KitchenAid. Both Norene Gilletz and Jean Anderson each keep Cuisinart and KitchenAid processors in their kitchens.

I looked to reviews from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated, Consumer Reports and Good Housekeeping to find the top-rated machines, and cross-referenced these with Amazon user reviews. As with most small kitchen appliances, there are many user reviews about these machines being lower-quality than they once were (because they’re made in China).

I chose two basic models that only come with a couple blades and disks, and three machines with extra mini-prep bowls, multiple disks and storage boxes for attachments. I was curious whether the extras would really add value or just take up space.

In 2013, Cook’s Illustrated chose the Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor ($179) as its top machine. Good Housekeeping and Consumer Reports also rated it highly. This is a very basic processor, just a bowl with on and pulse buttons. It looks very similar to Carl Sontheimer’s original, boxy Cuisinart, except a sexier brushed chrome base replaces the the white plastic one. The smaller Cuisinart Prep II Plus, DLC-2011 Food Processor ($179) also came highly reviewed. Similarly, it only comes with two blades and two disks, but has a designated dough speed.

On the fancier end, the Breville Sous Chef ($400), a whopping 16-cup processor with a powerful 1200-watt motor, was Consumer Reports’s and Good Housekeeping’s top pick. I cringed at the price, as it’s almost twice as much as any of the others on my list. The Cuisinart Elite Collection 14-Cup Food Processor ($235), Cuisinart’s higher-end model, received mostly positive reviews. It’s also Norene Gilletz’s favorite machine currently.

In years past, both Cook’s and America’s Test Kitchen chose the KitchenAid 12-Cup Food Processor as their top pick. However, this model has since been discontinued and replaced with the KitchenAid 13-Cup Food Processor with ExactSlice System ($190). It hasn’t received great reviews, earning only 3.1 stars on Amazon. But because KitchenAid is such a respected brand, and both Gilletz and Anderson like their machines, I wanted to see how this newer model stacked up.


I tested each machine 10 times, chopping vegetables and parsley, slicing tomatoes and potatoes, grating soft mozzarella, grinding bread crumbs, puréeing a particularly delicious hummus and mixing big batches of pizza dough. I also cleaned the bowls, lids and food pressers of each 10 times—a test that proved more revealing than I’d expected.

Our pick

At first the Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Processor seemed a little puny compared to some of the other models with nesting bowls, taller bases and big boxes full of attachments. But after two days of testing, its simplicity won me over. It was consistently at or near the top in every test, yet was easier to clean than most of the fancier models.

Ultimately, the Custom has everything that a great food processor should, without any unnecessary extras that would boost its price.
Ultimately, the Custom has everything that a great food processor should, without any unnecessary extras that would boost its price. It comes with just the most useful attachments—a stainless-steel chopping blade, a dough blade, and shredding and slicing disks.

At the end of my testing, I found that the Custom didn’t dazzle me, but, like a good workhorse, it did everything I needed it to. The 750-watt motor was less powerful than the 1000-watt Cuisinart Elite or 1200-watt Breville, but this didn’t negatively affect its performance. Pizza dough was our most motor-intensive test and it kneaded it effortlessly—even without a specific “dough” speed. It chopped veggies, ground bread crumbs and shredded soft mozzarella just as well as the more expensive models, and it took up less counter space. The work bowl can handle a double batch of pizza dough and didn’t leak (like the Prep II) when blending tomatoes and water.

Neither the Cuisinart Elite, nor the Kitchenaid Exactslice performed noticeably better than the Custom despite their larger accessory sets and higher price tags. In fact, while the Custom mixed a satiny dough in about 40 seconds, the KitchenAid’s motor strained, seizing up after about 20 seconds of mixing. When I started the machine again, it actually shook on the counter, literally bucking like a wild bronco. That’s not just bad. It’s dangerous.

I read a few reviews that didn’t like how the Cuisinart Custom’s lid locks with the feed tube in the back, rather in the front (standard for most models). This feature tripped me up as well, but I think that’s simply because I’m accustomed to using a processor that locks in front. One quirk I really didn’t like is that it’s hard to tell when the Custom’s lid is totally locked; if it’s not locked, the lid will rattle loose while processing and the machine will stop. But this is a minimal problem, and probably boils down to user error.

Cook’s Illustrated chose the Custom as their top choice, while Good Housekeeping gave it an A-, saying “it offers impressive slicing, shredding, pureeing, and chopping, but like many other Cuisinart models was less than impressive at chopping.” Personally, I found the Custom chopped nicely by using the pulse button. It took a little longer than with the Breville or KitchenAid, but the time difference certainly wasn’t a dealbreaker. It was third in the Consumer Reports review after the Breville Sous Chef and Cuisinart Prep II with 67 out of 100 points.

Unfortunately, the Custom doesn’t come with a storage case for its attachments, but it’d be worth purchasing one for about $22. You can also buy additional slicing and other disks if you want to use this machine like a mandoline. The included slicing disk, for example, makes approximately 5-millimeter slices—fine for tomatoes to top pizza but you’d probably want the 2 mm slicing disk to make homemade potato chips. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. You may get more accessories from the get-go with the Elite and Exactslice, but if you don’t use them, it’s just a waste of storage space. This way you get only what you need, when you need it.

Ultimately, the Cuisinart Custom performed well for a very reasonable price. Its 3-year limited warranty (5-year warranty on the motor) isn’t the best of the models I tested, but it’s still pretty good. I also appreciate the slightly retro, sleek design, and at only 15 inches tall, it should fit under most cupboards.

The step up: processor on steroids

Also Great
It's expensive (double the price of our pick) but worth the extra cash if you plan to use it several times a week or need a tough motor when cooking for large groups. It's also easy to clean.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $390.

The Custom is a great value for the amount of performance you get, but if you plan to use your food processor several times a week, need a more powerful machine to cook for large groups or if you use a scale for most recipes, consider investing in the $400 16-cup Breville Sous Chef. It may be expensive, but its 1200-watt motor and smart design saves you time both in use and cleaning. In fact, despite its many accessories, it was the easiest to clean of all the models we tested. That said, if you only use a food processor occasionally, the Breville’s high cost probably outweighs the benefits. And given that it’s huge—over 18 inches tall and nearly 20 pounds— you’d need a big kitchen if you want to keep it on the counter.

Price aside, the Sous Chef was the overall best performer of the bunch.
Price aside, the Sous Chef was the overall best performer of the bunch. The Custom was no slouch but the more powerful Sous Chef either matched or beat it in every test. It chopped vegetables, ground bread crumbs, puréeid hummus and shredded mozzarella about evenly with the Custom, but where the Sous Chef’s extra power really proved its worth was the slicing test. It went through an entire russet potato in less than a second—noticeably faster than any of the other models. Furthermore, despite this power, it was the quietest of the bunch at kneading dough.

Breville Sous Chef (Left) and Cuisinart Prep (Right) tackling some breadcrumbs.

The Breville Sous Chef (Left) and Cuisinart Prep (Right) tackling some breadcrumbs.

I also liked the Sous Chef’s mini-bowl better than those in the Cuisinart Elite and KitchenAid ExactSlice. Deeper than the others, the bowl’s design seemed to make it easier to uniformly mince fresh parsley. Yet it was the Sous Chef’s thoughtful design that really sold me.

I loved how the bowl fit flatly on the motor base because it enables you to put it on a scale if you’re into cooking by ratio. Instead of the standard shank that you place the work bowl on in other models, the Sous Chef has a flat attachment, with the shank attached to the inside of the work bowl. This means you can measure ingredients into the bowl with the blade attached, then seamlessly connect the bowl to the motor base. If you’ve ever struggled fitting the blade over a pile of flour in a processor bowl, you’ll appreciate this feature.

I also like how the work bowl can be removed with the lid attached; the KitchenAid EliteSlice and Cuisinart Elite also have this handy feature, but most models (including the Cuisinart Custom and Cuisinart Prep) require that you loosen the lid before removing the bowl.

The Sous Chef’s seamless food pressers also make for easy cleanup since there are no crevices to trap food. The pressers aren’t dishwasher-safe (water can get stuck inside them), but they’re easy enough to rinse off in the sink.

Breville clearly put a lot of thought into other design elements as well. The buttons are very easy to press; it’s the only model I tested with an LCD timer (which counts up and down), and it has retractable cord storage. The mini bowl is deeper than those on the KitchenAid and Cuisinart Elite (both are shallow and didn’t seem to work as well). In addition to the standard blades, the Sous Chef comes with a reversible shredding disk and an adjustable slicing disk that goes from a whisper-thin .33 millimeters to a 8 millimeters. It’s a true alternative to using a mandoline. I didn’t try the machine’s French fry disk, Julienne disk or whisk attachments, but the handy cleaning brush did a great job at getting trapped bits out of the slicing disk.

The Sous Chef was the top choice in two major reviews. Consumer Reports said it was “excellent” at slicing, chopping, grating and shredding and “very good” for puréeing and noise. Good Housekeeping said the Breville had “excellent customer service.”

Cook’s Illustrated wasn’t convinced the Sous Chef is worth the money. They found it “chopped so fast that it was hard not to make a puree when we wanted diced vegetables.” I had the same problem when chopping carrots, celery, and onions with the “on” setting. But in a second test, I used the pulse button, and the Sous Chef cut everything to a uniform size in just a few seconds.

The Sous Chef comes with a limited 1-year product warranty, and has a 25-year warranty on the motor—by far the longest of any of the models I tested.

The competition

The Cuisinart 11-Cup Prep was the next-best-rated processor in reviews after the Breville Sous Chef and Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor. It’s the same price as the Cuisinart Custom, but it only has an 11-cup mixing bowl. Good Housekeeping gave it an A- (ranking it above the Cuisinart Custom). America’s Test Kitchen says it’s the best machine to get if you make a lot of dough because of its specific dough speed. Yet I found it didn’t mix big batches of dough as well as the Cuisinart Custom due to its smaller bowl. The Prep also struggled grinding bread crumbs, leaving large chunks unprocessed while the rest was overprocessed. I also found that this model leaked around the shank at the center of the bowl. Our assistant editor Michael Zhao has had the Prep for two years now and his experiences back up these findings as well.

The Cuisinart Elite received a B+ in Good Housekeeping’s review. They said it was “very good at chopping onions, mincing parsley, grinding Parmesan cheese, cutting julienne strips, and slicing pepperoni and tomatoes,” but found it “does a poor job kneading dough” and found it “tricky to assemble discs.” The Wall Street Journal reviewed the 12-cup version, and liked that it has 6 slicing options, but said it’s a pain to use. Personally, I didn’t like the Elite’s lid. Instead of the traditional twist-on lid, the Elite’s clips on. If I didn’t perfectly hook the lid to the bowl’s pour spout, it wouldn’t attach. Worst of all, though, the gasket in its lid often trapped flour and bits of vegetables which made cleanup a royal pain.

The KitchenAid 13-Cup ExactSlice had fewer reviews than the others. In January 2013, Cook’s Illustrated tested this model against the Breville Sous Chef and Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup and found that “in almost every task, it lagged behind the Cuisinart and the Breville.” Our findings backed this up. Even worse, the food presser easily plugged up with mozzarella and sticky tahini from the hummus recipe. Finally, compared to the other models, the 1-year limited warranty isn’t all that impressive.

I also considered other models, but ultimately didn’t test them for a number of reasons.

I was intrigued by different models of Le Magimix ($350-$400)—the original French processor made by Robot-Coupe. The 14-cup version received high marks from The Wall Street Journal, but Good Housekeeping only gave the 12-cup version a B rating, noting that “it excelled at certain tasks, like chopping onions, slicing tomatoes, and kneading dough, but struggled with shredding cheese and mincing parsley.” Consumer Reports also says the 11-cup version doesn’t perform as well as other models in the same price point. Since I didn’t find overwhelming support for any one of these models, I opted not to test them.

The Braun Multiquick 3 Kitchen Machine received mostly good Amazon user reviews (4.5 stars), but I read that Braun no longer makes the machine. A call to Braun’s consumer service line confirmed that the company no longer makes household items for the U.S.

The Hamilton Beach 70579 Big Mouth Duo 14-Cup Food Processor ($94.50) intrigued me as a budget model, but Good Housekeeping said it “can’t knead dough” and was “noisy when in use.”

Oster also makes a number of budget models, but none rated all that highly. The only exception was a review by Food & Wine; they loved the Oster 10-cup processor, but that model has since been discontinued.

Additionally, I looked into blender/food processor hybrids by DeLonghi, Ninja, and Cuisinart. I liked the idea that you could get two machines in one, but according to reviews, they didn’t stack up to my top picks when it came to food-processing ability alone.

Tips and maintenance

I was surprised to find that, for many tasks, a food processor can replace an upright mixer. However, according to Jean Anderson, you usually need to use specific recipes developed for a food processor. In her book Process This, Anderson uses a variety of techniques for making quick breads, yeasted breads, cookies and cakes. In one recipe, she even allows a yeasted bread dough to rise in the work bowl and then “punches” it down by pulsing the blade.

In this Serious Eats article, J. Kenji López-Alt found that a food processor did a better job than a standing mixer at kneading pizza dough. His food processor dough came together in a fraction of the time it took in a standing mixer, and rose nearly twice as much—indicating that the food processor made dough with better gluten formation.

Even more surprising, you can make ice cream in a food processor, as shown in this video. Given how much space an ice-cream maker can take in a cupboard (and how infrequently I actually use mine), I think this is a particularly cool feature.

As for cleaning, Norene Gilletz recommends putting water and a few drops of dish soap in the work bowl and running the machine. A bottle brush is handy for cleaning the feed tube, inside the food pressers and the sharp blades. Never submerge the base of a food processor in water; you should only ever wipe it down with a damp cloth or sponge.

After testing models with storage boxes, I found they’re handy for keeping attachments organized and worth investing in even if your model doesn’t come with one. You can also organize blades and disks in a designated tupperware container, basket or other receptacle. I read that some people store extra blades and disks inside their processor’s work bowl.

Most of the major brands have warranty information and user manuals on their websites. The Cuisinart Custom’s was easy to find, as was the Breville Sous Chef’s. These brands also sell replacement parts, which may come in handy after the limited warranty on parts expires. You’ll find replacement bowls, food pressers, blades and various other attachments for the Cuisinart Custom here, and for the Breville Sous Chef here.

Wrapping it Up

At a reasonable price, the Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor excels at most tasks and even kneads big batches of dough effortlessly. Its simple design and efficiency will satisfy novice and experienced cooks alike.  However, if you need more processing power, you won’t beat the effortless handling and thoughtful design of the Breville Sous Chef.

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  1. Food Processors, Cook's Illustrated, January 2013
    “With its razor-sharp blade whirling at warp speed, a food processor should buzz through core cutting tasks—shredding, chopping, slicing, and grinding—with ease. But as we put the processors to work, we discovered that the design of the feed tube can cause problems even before the food hits the blade. With a too-large tube, food falls out of position for the blade; with a too-small tube, you find yourself squashing or trimming the food extensively—and at that point, you’re better off using your chef’s knife."
  2. Food Processors, America's Test Kitchen
    “What should a food processor—at minimum—be able to do? For starters, it ought to chop, grate, and slice vegetables; grind dry ingredients; and cut fat into flour for pie pastry. If it can’t whiz through these tasks, it’s wasting counterspace. The cheaper models failed most of these basic tests.”
  3. Food Processor Reviews, Good Housekeeping
    “Healthy cooking starts with fresh ingredients — then, often, there's loads of tedious, tiring prep work. Luckily, a good food processor (or its little sister, a mini- chopper) can save your wrists — and your diet. We tested 17 full-size units to see how well they handled tasks such as julienning potatoes, slicing tomatoes and pepperoni, shredding mozzarella, and even kneading pizza dough. We put the six mini-choppers to work on onions, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. We also rated all the machines on their ease of use. These slice-and-dicers can really reduce your time in the kitchen.”
  4. Food processor & chopper buying guide, Consumer Reports, February 2013
    “Plugs by celebrity chefs have helped to make food processors the fastest-growing small kitchen appliance. But celebrity cachet doesn't guarantee a meal ticket to the top of our tests. Nor is more power or higher price a sure bet. Some fancy models we tested actually made more work than they saved.”
  5. J. Kenji López-Alt, Equipment: Which Food Processor Should I Buy, Serious Eats, May 11, 2010
    “The thing about food processors is, they ain't cheap. What could be worse than shelling out three figures for an appliance that either doesn't do its job, or is so cumbersome to use that it ends up as just another place to practice your dusting?”

Originally published: September 3, 2013

  • Harvey

    Ok, I hear you. I’ll save my money and buy the Breville Sous Chef. Thank you for the great reviews and your section on the Sous Chef made me realize that I don’t want to settle for the Cuisinart Custom.

  • Kurt

    I like the Waring Pro which is the Restaurant version of the cuisinart, even more expensive, but a true beast.

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      We only looked at consumer-grade processors for this story. I’m sure there are many other options in the commercial-grade category. We’ll keep the Waring in mind!

      • Kurt

        When your over $200 for a counter top appliance the Pro vs Sumer start to merge IMHO. Im not concerned how a product is marketed. I consider function before form, especially in a machine designed for production. I wouldnt consider a commercial toaster for home use but there’s very little visual or size difference btwxt pro level blenders and food processors and the consumer versions. Who cares if the buttons light up.

        • Christine Cyr Clisset

          Visually, you’re right, pro versions do look very similar to consumer-grade ones. However, for the size we’re covering here (11 cups and above), the price is significantly higher for pro machines.

    • Kimberly Young

      I’m considering a warning pro as well. Having a hard time finding reviews. How is it making bread? I make tons with my kitchen aid stand mixer, but need a food processor and wanted something that could make excellent bread also.

  • Cromulent

    Little disappointed we didn’t see a test of mayo here.

    • RicardoB

      How much mayo are you making? An immersion blender is my go-to appliance for mayo.

      • Cromulent

        Yes, I use an immersion blender too. The model recommended here in fact.

        But I’d like to make bigger batches. The setup I have now is a bit limiting. And of course a food processor would do many other things too.

        • RicardoB

          fwiw, you probably want something that can handle a large liquid volume preferably with sloped sides but you can likely do with a relatively weak motor.

          • Cromulent

            Maybe what I need is simply a proper vessel in which to use the immersion blender; something considerably bigger than the one that came with it.

          • RicardoB

            You can use it right in the container you’ll store the mayo in! Unless you’re subdividing it.

          • Cromulent

            I think its probably best to have a container with sloped sides. Currently I’m using a container about the same size as a plastic margarine bowl for storage. Wouldn’t work for the mayo making process.

  • Michael

    Also, for those looking for a serious device, I would recommend the Bosch Universal. Incredibly powerful motors, made by a company who knows something about motors and transmissions. My wife uses hers for many things, but mostly for whole wheat bread. The Bosch Universals are well known for lasting a long time.

  • Simon Yu

    The Magixmix food processors seem to be newer to the states and new models are only sold by Williams Sonoma (other places online sell refurbished models) so there’s not as much buzz about them. They seemed to try to spread the word more through various food blogs last year which is where you’ll find most of the reviews out there. They’re kind of where Breville was some years back, a European company popular over their for a while but not yet recognized in the US.

  • kirrabelle lovell

    Brilliant review for me, I’m thinking of buying my first food processor and this is really useful! Haven’t quite decided which one to get but I think one of these two. I’ve looked on the wirecutter before for a food processor review slim glad you’ve done one now. Thanks :)

  • Holly Harrington

    One thing that people neglect to factor in is the cost of replacement
    parts. I’ve owned the Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus for 5 years and their mini
    chopper for about 10. I’ve had to replace bowls for both processors
    almost every year and, sadly, they are very expensive. I could have bought the Breville already and saved myself $$.

  • Sarah

    If you had to choose between the Cuisinart Elite (with it’s smaller inner bowl) or the Cuisinart Custom and an additional mini-chopper thingie… which would you go with? The small inner bowl is something I’ve longed for in a new food processor (now that my wedding-gift model has died after 14 years) but the not-stellar reviews of the Cuisinart Elite has me skiddish. Cleanup isn’t that big a deal for me, functionality is my big thing.

    Would love to hear opinions on the Elite vs two appliances.

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      Hi Sarah. I think I would personally go with the Custom and a separate mini chopper. I really didn’t love the Elite. I think the Custom was just more functional. Not to push you into an even more expensive option, but if you’re in the market for an immersion blender, I’ve really enjoyed using the mini chopper attachment of the Breville Control Grip. It’s super easy to use. I have also used a Cusinart mini-prep for years and it has also served me well (although, I’ve kind of retired it now that I’m using the immersion blender attachment). Hope this helps!

  • riposter

    this article needs an update. your selection has been replaced with a newer model.

    • tony kaye

      Thanks for the heads up!

      • Yvonne

        Regarding riposter’s comment: I spoke with a Cuisinart customer service representative (on August 1, 2014) regarding the availability of the Cusinart Custom 14. The Cuisinart Custom 14 (DFP-14 BCN) has not been replaced; it is still in production, and there are no plans to discontinue it. The DFP-14 BCN has a brushed stainless steel/black finish and comes with a how-to DVD.(However, there were other colors in the Custom 14 line that were discontinued in 2010.)

        • tony kaye

          Thank you for this!!!

  • Tara Melissa

    Does anyone know if this comes in a smaller size? Living alone, I feel like 14 cups is huge (and I can’t find anything conclusive about single people and food processor size). I see that there’s a model called the “Cuisinart DLC-8SBC Food Processor, 11 Cup Pro Custom” but the difference in model number makes me worried that I’ll be getting something different.

    • Tara Melissa

      I reached out to Cuisinart and got a response! If anyone was wondering:

      “Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, they are pretty close to being the same, except for the size of the unit. The DFP-14BCN is 14 cups and the DLC-8S is 11 cups. Other than that they are the same.” – if anyone is looking for the Custom in a smaller size, this may be an option for you. I believe it also comes with an additional disc – mine has an additional slicing disk, in addition to the slicing and shredding disks the 14-cup comes with. I got mine on sale at Macy’s and so far, so good.

      • tony kaye

        Glad they got back to you! Thanks for the feedback!

  • Lisa Amico Kristel

    Would you get the FP 14DC Elite collection? Includes 4, 11, and 14 cup bowls, blades (including adjustable slicer, two sided shredder) and a storage case ?

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      We tested the 14-cup Cuisinart Elite model for this review and didn’t like it as much as the regular Cuisinart we recommend. Although the different size bowls could come in handy, we found that the model we recommend operated better and more consistently.

  • Lisa Amico Kristel

    By the way, great review…

    • tony kaye

      Thanks. Our researchers & experts are the best!

  • everytomorrow

    I got the Breville Sous Chef for Christmas. It’s a magnificent beast of a food processor. Almost too big even for my massive kitchen, but it just slips under the cupboards in a corner. Cleaning it for the first time won me over entirely.

    • tony kaye

      Glad you like it!

  • PrairieMom

    I want to get my husband a meat grinder for his upcoming birthday. It just so happens that I’m also in the market for a food processor! Do you (or anyone) recommend any particular machine for this?

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      Hi PrairieMom, we haven’t tested specific meat grinders here at the Sweethome. But some of our editors really like the meat grinding attachment on their KitchenAid mixers, if that helps!

  • dilu

    Hi I saw that someone had asked about the Cuisinart elite 14 with the nested smaller containers because they were interested in a smaller bowl for smaller food prep (which is what I’d also like) and you still recommended the custom 14 plus a smaller food chopper/processor.

    Unfortunately I live in Australia where there is nobody stocking custom 14 unless I buy it from an American seller on eBay and then need to buy a transformer because our voltages are different here. This option will cost me about $350 (including significant postage) and I’m still interested in a smaller volume alternative and kitchen aid mini is $120 for us.

    There are many Cuisinart elite 14s selling on Australian eBay for $460. Given the fact that the only custom 14 I can find is not suited to australian plugs (but I can get around it), do you still recommend that I get the custom 14 plus a smaller kitchen aid?

    The other thing I was thinking was perhaps getting the vitamix (even 750 if that’s what you might suggest). I’ve read thesweethome’s review on vitamix. And I’m wondering if I could get away without a food processor as the vitamix does chop and mince etc.

    All I’m wanting to do with my food processor is chop onions, garlic and herbs, grate carrots, slice tomatoes and cucumbers and shred cabbage for salads. I’m also interested in making breadcrumbs, grinding spices instead of using a mortar and pestle, and making almond meal. Can the vitamix do all of these? If not, which are possible? I’d only be making small quantities too (hence initially being interested by the question of Cuisinart elite 14 with the smaller volume container)

    The only other thing I wanted from a food processor was make pesto, tomato paste and hummus and mince meats (which the vitamix can do) and perhaps making dough for pastry sheets and dumpling skins (less essential) . Would those be possible with the vitamix?

    I’d absolutely love any input and advice you can give me!! Thank you so much :) :)

  • RicardoB

    According to specs from each manufacturer, the Cuisinart can handle much less liquid volume than the Breville (6 vs 12 cups respectively, and less if it’s thin). How much of an issue is that?

  • Jeremy Lenz

    I just got the Cuisinart Custom 14 and it doesn’t come with a dough blade.

    • Christine Cyr Clisset

      Hi Jeremy, it should come with a dough blade (plastic, white blade). What link did you use to buy it? Ours?

      • Christine Cyr Clisset

        Actually, Jeremy, looks like if you purchased from the Home Depot link, they don’t include the dough blade. The original link we had on Amazon when up significantly in price, but I do believe it had the dough blade included. You can purchase a dough blade for this model from Cuisinart:

        Hope this helps!

        • Jeremy Lenz

          I got it at retail from Bed Bath & Beyond. I don’t really make bread anyway so it’s ok!

  • Jackie

    Hello! Just curious on how this model compares with the newer die cast model:

    Thanks so much!