A 14-cup bowl capacity means that the Cuisinart Elite can handle just about any food prep task you throw at it. Triple batches of soffritto for pasta sauce? Quadrupled pie crusts for Thanksgiving? This machine is made for the challenge. We loved the light-up display and that, like the Breville Sous Chef 12, the pieces click into place rather than turning and locking. This model comes with a special case for holding all of the attachments (a benefit if you’ve ever reached into a kitchen drawer and cut yourself on a loose shredder blade) and a nifty cord that retracts into the base, which eliminates the need to rubber-band an unruly plug. Best of all, it includes a smaller stainless-steel blade and 4.5-cup bowl insert for when you have smaller projects to complete and don’t want to make a mess of the whole machine. In that way, it’s a bit like a full-size and mini food processor in one.
What we didn’t like about the Cuisinart Elite Collection 2.0 14-Cup Food Processor
The Elite is quite heavy. At 20 pounds, it’s a beast to lug out onto the countertop and, despite the case’s neatness, you’ll have to find a large storage space for it as well. In our opinion, the plusses outweigh the minuses, but it may not be a the best gadget for a small kitchen.
Cuisinart Elite Collection 2.0 14-Cup Food Processor
How we tested
We focused our testing on three of the most commonly used food processor functions: chopping, shredding, and processing. For the first, we used the chopping blade on two onions with the pulse function and examined the results for consistency and quality; points were deducted for uneven pieces or watery, pulverized results. For the second, we used the shredding disc to dispatch a large block of sharp cheddar cheese, taking note of the texture and consistency of the shreds and how much (if any) waste was left over. We also considered how hard it was to wash and clean the shredding blade. To test the processing power, we prepared a batch of hummus and our favorite pie dough in each machine, swapping out the metal blade for the dough blade if included. We kept an eye on the performance of the motor, the ease of use and cleaning, and the quality of the finished product.
What we looked for
Besides examining the results of the individual prep tests explained above, we considered the following for all food processors we tested:
How powerful is the motor and how large is the capacity of the bowl?
The whole point of a large food processor is to make daunting prep tasks more manageable, so we were looking for models that could easily accommodate generous batches of dough, small mountains of shredded cheese, and an oversized Dutch oven’s worth of stew ingredients. We also paid attention to the strength and smoothness of the motor: Did it strain when working at high speeds or processing thick and sticky mixtures? When chopping, were its pulses firm and even?
Is it intuitive to assemble and use? Does it have any notable attachments or design features?
Most food processors have similar standard parts: a motorized base to which a food processor bowl attaches and a small selection of blades and shredders that rotate from a spindle inside of the bowl. We made note of extras like dedicated dough blades, bowls that doubled as measuring cups, and adjustable slicing discs that went the extra mile. While a dishwasher-safe model is nice, we didn’t let that factor in too strongly, because we suggest hand-washing food processors to preserve the longevity of the gaskets.
When to use a food processor, when to use a blender
The desire to avoid redundancy in your kitchen tools is a common one, which is why many people make the mistake of thinking that food processors and blenders are relatively interchangeable. As nice as that would be, the two appliances are suited for very different kitchen tasks, and frankly, are subpar at doing the job of the other. Food processors are great at chopping and mincing veggies, grating blocks of cheese at high speed, kneading pizza dough and bread dough, or making thick dips and sauces like pesto or hummus. However, because a food processor’s bowl is so wide, it can’t thoroughly blend ingredients for a super smooth purée. Blenders really only function well for tasks with high amounts of liquid due to their long and narrow shape. They are perfect for puréeing soups and smoothies. but a consistent rough chop is nearly impossible, even in a high-end blender like a Vitamix. That being said, heavy-duty blenders with powerful motors are great for making nut butters. Liquids or ultrafine consistencies? Go for the blender. Anything chunky, choppy, or thick? Food processors are the better choice. And, given their totally different design, this should go without saying, but neither make a particularly good juicer. You can find our list of the best blenders here.
Other food processors we tested
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor
This is the newer model of the iconic food processor, once called the Classic Series. We found this to be a totally workable processor at a more affordable price point for people who want a straightforward machine with no extras. The Breville was simpler to set up, quieter, and came with a wider range of attachments, so ultimately this model lost the top spot.
Cuisinart Elemental 13-Cup Food Processor
This one is even simpler than the Custom 14-cup model above and comes at a reduced price. It’s noticeably flimsier than its more expensive siblings, which we noticed is called out in a significant number of Amazon user reviews. Additionally, the machine’s pulsing function allows for less precision than other models because the blade doesn’t stop spinning abruptly; after the motor stops, it continues spinning for a few split seconds until it loses momentum on its own.
Breville Sous Chef Pro 16-Cup Food Processor
This is our winner’s big sister; it comes with a number of additional attachments and four extra cups of bowl capacity, making it the largest processor we tested by two whole cups. It was also the heaviest (at 26 pounds) and tied for the most expensive. We found the Cuisinart Elite 2.0 lighter, more streamlined, and easier to use, so it won out in the luxe category.
Ninja Professional Plus 9-Cup Food Processor
This was the least expensive model we tested and also the smallest—though the 9-cup work bowl was more than enough for a batch of hummus or single pie crust. Each of the two included blade attachments (one for chopping, one for dough) had a unique double-decker design that helped integrate all the ingredients without stopping and scraping them down with a spatula. But the reversible slicing blades weren’t as effective as some of the other models we tested, leaving large unsliced chunks of onion and hunks of cheese.
Magimix by Robocoupe 14-Cup Food Processor
This pricey processor didn’t live up to its promise. The volume and violence of the motor while processing onions was off-putting, it leaked flour into the base when prepping pie dough, and left large chunks of cheese untouched when shredding cheddar. And the whole thing—a giant base and huge battery of attachments—took up so much counter space it seemed impractical for all but the most zealous home cooks with enormous kitchens.
KitchenAid 13-Cup Exact Slice
This one fell to the bottom of our list in terms of both aesthetics and user experience. We found the base and accessory box needlessly bulky, and the performance, though satisfactory for basic chopping tasks, inconsistent for shredding and pastry.
If you’re a serious cook who regularly tackles recipes that require significant prep, the Breville Sous Chef 12 is a great investment and a joy to use, and it can seriously help cut down on tedious prep tasks. If you’re willing to spend $50 more for a few additional bells and whistles, you can do no better than the Cuisinart Elite Collection 2.0. It’s a hefty appliance, but has a larger capacity and tons of extra attachments, including a bowl insert that turns it into a mini chopper for smaller projects.
How do you finely chop without a food processor? ›
When the recipe calls for a food processor to mince or chop, a blender is likely to be the better choice. Use the mixer when trying to cream a combination of liquid and solids such as butter, flour and milk. Use the mixer to whip and aerate in recipes such as meringues and whipped cream.What food processor does Cook's Country recommend? ›
The Best Food Processor: Cuisinart Custom 14 14 Cup Food Processor. After all the chopping, shredding, slicing, and kneading was done, we had a winner.Does a food processor chop? ›
A good food processor can chop, slice, dice, knead and puree, making it one of the most versatile tools you can have in your kitchen.Can I use my food processor to chop vegetables? ›
Sizemore says food processors are great for chopping, from coarsely broken up to finely chopped. She suggests putting them to work on firm vegetables such as carrots, onions, celery, root vegetables and winter squash.Can you chop in a blender? ›
Both appliances can puree, liquefy, and blend, but a food blender cannot perform cuts on solid foods. The blade assembly on a food blender is best suited for liquefying ingredients to make soup, sauces, or pesto.