Sleek, minimalist design
Powerful 720-watt motor
Versatile in use
Extra-large feed tube
Can be difficult to clean
Only a 5-year motor warranty
The Cuisinart name is synonymous with quality kitchen appliances and the brand’s Custom 14-Cup Food Processor is no exception. With its 720-watt motor, extra-large feed tube, and precise stainless steel blades, the Cuisinart Custom chops, mixes, slices, shreds, kneads, and purees at a level that’s basically on par with the best-in-class (but also costliest-in-class) Breville Sous Chef. This is the best food processor money can buy if you’re on a budget, and it will more than meet the needs of the average cook. But if you’re still debating over whether to purchase the more economical Cuisinart Custom or pay up for the Breville Sous Chef, read on for our verdict.
Performance: Leaves nothing to be desired
There’s no overstating the time and energy this food processor will save you in the kitchen, especially if you frequently cook for a large family or group of friends. Between the metal chopping blade, slicing disc, shredding disc, and spatula, the Cuisinart Custom has you covered for most any kitchen prep. Its 720-watt motor is fast and powerful enough to handle a wide range of tasks and it’s surprisingly quiet compared to other food processors.
The Cuisinart also boasts a wider food chute than most of its competitors, which is ideal for processing large ingredients like whole potatoes. We found the placement of the tube—at the back of the unit—to be somewhat awkward, though, as it requires you to reach over the machine to feed ingredients into the chute.
We chose to make an apple crumb pie based on a recipe in the Cuisinart’s instruction manual and it was a crowd-pleaser, with a near-perfect tender and flaky crust.
We used the shredding disc to shred potatoes and onions for making potato latkes, and the main stainless steel blade for ricing cauliflower to make a low-carb pizza crust. In a side-by-side comparison, this food processor essentially rivaled the Breville Sous Chef in its ability to deliver quick and consistent results. However, we found that the Sous Chef had a slight edge in the shredding category, as some larger chunks of onion stuck to the Cuisinart’s shredding disc, while others snuck past the blade and into the work bowl. In the end, though, the cauliflower pizza and latkes we made in the Cuisinart were delicious and even came out on top among some of our friends in a taste test.
The Cuisinart is also great at smaller jobs including pureeing dips like hummus with tahini and white bean spread, and more complex, heavy-duty tasks like making pastry dough. We never would have thought to knead dough in a food processor; in the past, we’ve always done it by hand or using a stand mixer. But sure enough, the Cuisinart’s swift-acting blade turned dough elastic in a matter of minutes with minimal effort.
We found that the Cuisinart Custom evenly blended dry and wet ingredients to yield a perfectly smooth and stretchy dough that was ready for baking. We chose to make an apple crumb pie based on a recipe in the Cuisinart’s instruction manual and it was a crowd-pleaser, with a near-perfect tender and flaky crust.
By the way, the instruction booklet is brimming with other recipes we can’t wait to try out, including mouth-watering appetizers like a blue cheese and pecan spread, entrees like ragu Bolognese, and dessert toppers like cream cheese frosting.
Design: Minimalist and elegant
The Cuisinart Custom boasts a sleek and ergonomic design, with a brushed stainless steel body and easy-to-use paddle-style buttons. This machine has only one speed and a pulse button that’s very responsive to the touch, making chopping more efficient.
If you’re averse to reading through thick instruction manuals like we sometimes are, you’ll feel you’ve lucked out with the Cuisinart’s intuitive design. We were able to connect the medium, two-part shredding disc without so much as a glance at the instruction booklet (though we do recommend referring to the manual for important safety precautions). It can be a little tricky to click the bowl and lid into place at first, and they must align properly in order to start the machine. With some practice, it didn’t take long for us to get the hang of the alignment, though.
If you’re averse to reading through thick instruction manuals like we sometimes are, you’ll feel you’ve lucked out with the Cuisinart’s intuitive design.
The Cuisinart’s extra-large feed tube allows you to process whole fruits and vegetables, reducing the need for pre-cutting and saving you valuable time in the kitchen. Additionally, the appliance’s 14-cup work bowl is made of sturdy, high-quality materials and sized for big jobs such as slicing pounds of potatoes for latkes.
At 11 x 7.9 x 14.8 inches, the 14-cup food processor we tested takes up a considerable amount of space on the countertop but its shorter height allows you to conveniently tuck it under most kitchen cabinets when not in use. If storage is still a concern, this food processor is also available in 4-, 8-, 11-, 12-, and 13-cup models with smaller dimensions.
Weighing about 17.3 pounds, the 14-cup food processor is relatively heavy, which is no trouble if you plan to keep it on your countertop but could become an issue if you’d prefer to store it out of sight in a cabinet. The choice is yours but we think it’s a piece you’ll be proud to display on your kitchen countertop.
Material: Sturdy and durable
The Cuisinart Custom has a brushed stainless steel body as well as stainless steel blades and accessories. It features high-quality materials designed to be shatterproof, leak-proof, and resistant to water, scratches, heat, rust, chipping, tarnishing, staining, and odor. The work bowl is constructed of premium-quality Lexan plastic, ensuring that it is sturdy and will last for a long time.
Cuisinart notes that all parts of the food processor that come in contact with food are BPA-free, which means you don’t have to worry about dangerous toxins leaching into your food.
We found the placement of the tube—at the back of the unit—to be somewhat awkward.
Cleanup: Easy as pie
The Cuisinart food processor is entirely dishwasher safe. But even if you choose to wash it by hand, as we did, you’ll find the process super easy. After gently scrubbing the pieces with a warm, soapy sponge, they were sparkling clean in just a few minutes.
Price: Reasonable and well worth every penny
Retailing for roughly $200, the Cuisinart is pricier than some competitors but worth every penny. Since it’s so versatile, you’ll find many ways to put the appliance to work.
Competition: The battle of budget vs. high-end
Breville Sous Chef: Created by another renowned kitchen appliance brand, the Breville Sous Chef is considered by many critics and customers to be the best in its class. Ranging in price from about $300 for the 12-cup food processor to $500 for the 16-cup Peel & Dice, this food processor can chop, shred, slice, puree, knead, and emulsify—plus it comes with fun additional features like the Julienne and french fry cutters. Still, we think the Cuisinart’s three basic blades for chopping, slicing, and shredding are all you really need for most jobs. Plus, Cuisinart offers a variety of additional blades for this food processor on its website if you want to branch out.
The Cuisinart Custom comes with a 3-year warranty for manufacturer’s defects and a 5-year warranty for the motor, the latter of which could be concerning to some. The Breville has a shorter 1-year limited product warranty but comes with a 25-year induction motor guarantee.
There’s no denying the Breville Sous Chef’s power, performance, and prowess, but there’s really no need for the average cook to splurge on the commercial-grade food processor. The Cuisinart Custom is the perfect lower-priced alternative.
Oster Total Prep 10-Cup Food Processor: Despite offering a lot of bang for its buck, the Cuisinart Custom is by no means cheap. Those on a tighter budget may look to other options like the 10-cup, 500-watt Oster food processor, which retails for $50. Before testing the Breville Sous Chef and the Cuisinart Custom, we had this Oster model and it did the trick for most simple jobs like chopping or slicing food.
However, this food processor showed its limitations when it came to recipes requiring a finer output. For example, when we tried to make a nut-based salad dressing in the Oster, it blended most of the ingredients just fine but left behind little unwanted chunks of nuts. Meanwhile, the Breville and the Cuisinart both easily delivered smooth, creamy dressings without any nut remnants. If you have any wiggle room in your budget, we think it’s worth splurging for the $150, similarly-sized 11-cup Cuisinart food processor.
- Product Name Custom 14-Cup Food Processor
- Product Brand Cuisinart
- MPN DFP-14BCNY
- Price $199.00
- Weight 17.3 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 11 x 7.9 x 14.8 in.
- Color Brushed aluminum
- Material Stainless steel, Lexan plastic
- Cleaning Dishwasher safe
- Warranty Limited 3-year warranty for manufacturer’s defects and 5-year motor warranty