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The Best Food Processors
Our longtime favorite is powerful and easy to use, but is it still the best choice?
What You Need To Know
I didn’t grow up using a food processor, and now I wonder how I managed without one. It can make an astonishing range of recipes faster, easier, and more approachable. This tool is excellent for salsa, pesto, and other chunky sauces. It’s perfect for big-batch cooking; shredding pounds of carrots, zucchini, or potatoes to spare you the labor—and shredded fingertips—of a box grater; and slicing as fast as a professional prep cook. It rapidly cuts cold fat into flour so that you get the flakiest pie crust—and the bragging rights. It kneads pizza dough without making a mess, and it even shreds cheese and purees tomato sauce to top that pizza. It chops onions, makes bread crumbs, minces herbs, grinds beef into hamburger, and even whips up fresh mayonnaise in a minute flat.
In the test kitchen, our longtime favorite has been the Cuisinart Custom 14 14 Cup Food Processor, which has performed well for years, but with new competitors on the market, it was time to see if it was still the best choice. We bought a fresh copy of our previous favorite and six competing food processors, with capacities from 9 to 14 cups and put them through more than a dozen tests, assessing how well they performed and how easy they were to handle, use, clean, and store. We also evaluated their capacities, noise levels, and the usefulness of their accessories.
How Food Processors Work
All the models we tested operate similarly: The bowl sits on a motorized base, and the blade is positioned in the bowl on a central stem that passes through the bowl to the motor, which spins the blade. Safety features keep the blade immobile if the lid isn't fully secured. For chopping, an S-shaped blade is positioned in the bowl, the food is added, and the lid is secured in place. For slicing and shredding, a disk-shaped blade with either raised holes for shredding or a raised cutting edge for slicing is positioned in the bowl, the lid is secured in place, and the food is placed in the lid’s vertical feed tube and steadily pressed down with a “pusher” onto the spinning disk. Surprisingly, while all our machines worked on these principles, they performed differently and took varying levels of effort to use and maintain. Only one met our highest standards.
Level of Control Varies from Model to Model
We expect the S-shaped blade of a food processor to be able to chop, mix, or puree food to whatever consistency we need. When we tried chopping onions, carrots, and celery into ¼-inch dice for mirepoix, the foundation for many soups and braises, not all the machines made easy work of it. We watched as chunks of vegetables bounced around the bowl of the least-efficient machin...
Everything We Tested
Reviews you can trust
Reviews you can trust
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.