My food processor gets a lot of use because it is one of the most versatile tools in my kitchen. Food processors can do everything from pureeing ingredients for soups to whipping up fluffy whipped cream to kneading pizza dough – and that is just the tip of the iceberg. They’re also fairly large, as countertop appliances go, so if you are going to make room for one in your kitchen, you want to make sure that it is a good one. In a recent issue (Jan/Feb 2016), the Cook’s Illustrated test kitchen decided to put food processors to the test.
The test kitchen took eight full size food processors – all retailing under $300 – and tested their ability to handle a wide variety of tasks, as well as evaluating their construction and user-friendliness. The tests included chopping everything from almonds to onions, slicing both tomatoes and potatoes, shredding, micing, pureeing and leaking (or lack-thereof). The winning food processor was the Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor, which earned a “Highly Recommended” rating. This machine was quiet effective and easy to use. It did not have as many bonus features as some of its competitors, but it didn’t need anything to shine.
The Breville Sous Chef 12-Cup Food Processor and the Black + Decker Performance Food Processor were awarded the “Recommended” rating. The Breville excelled at most tasks, but struggled a bit when handling a large batch of bread dough. The Blac + Decker had a cheap feel and was loud, but was able to slice and shred as well as more expensive models. Cuisinart’s Elite Collection 2.0 12-Cup Food Processor and Elemental 11 Food Processors did not fare quite as well, with problems with the lids on both machines and less-than stellar mixing ability, snagging the “Recommended with Reservtations” title. Hamilton Beach, Oster and KitchenAid all had models that were not recommended at all by the kitchen.