Cuisinart Complete Chef Cooking Food Processor
Controls temperature well
Can stir as it cooks
Dicing kit works well
Beep is very quiet
Menu order is quirky
We purchased the Cuisinart Complete Chef Cooking Food Processor so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
There’s a new trend in appliances that combine two or more functions in one product, like the Cuisinart Complete Chef Cooking Food Processor, a fully functional food processor that can also cook. I readied plenty of foods to process, bought more food for some of the included recipes, and planned a few of my own cook-and-stir recipes. To test out all its capabilities and determine if it's a worthwhile splurge, I used Complete Chef for all of my meals—including salads—and I've got plenty of results to report.
Design: Modern Metal
With its two-handled metal bowl, the Complete Chef looks a bit more modern and industrial than its peers with plastic containers. The cooking lid, with a steam vent, looks a little unfamiliar, while the food processor lid looks very familiar. Overall, it’s going to look good on any kitchen counter. The bowl is insulated but still gets warm during cooking. It holds 18 cups, but the cooking capacity is less—about 10 1/2 cups.
I particularly liked that there were three different-sized feed tubes. I had to cut the largest foods to fit, but that’s to be expected. The middle and smallest were handy when I had long, thin foods like carrots that would have tipped over in a larger tube.
The cooking lid has a steam vent that slides back and forth to release more or less steam. It can also be removed completely. A funnel is included that fits in the vent hole. At first, I thought the funnel was a little silly, but the first time I used it, I appreciated that I didn’t have to remove the lid—which would have stopped the stirring and let out the heat—to add the next ingredient.
Unlike food processor bowls that twist onto their bases, this one goes straight down and clicks into place. It releases by holding the two buttons on the handles, which is incredibly intuitive. The lids twist on. It took me a few uses to get accustomed to exactly how they fit, but then it became a habit.
This comes with multiple blades and paddles that push onto the spindle at the bottom of the bowl. While they don’t lock on, they’re held tight enough that the bowl can be emptied with the blade in place. Or they can be pulled out to get them out of the way.
The base is surprisingly light compared to other food processors I've used, but I didn’t mind that when I needed to move it. It has suction cups on the feet to help keep it in place. The bowl adds some weight since it’s metal, but overall it’s still not excessively heavy.
My largest gripe was the low volume of the beep. Even at the highest setting, it was hard to hear, even when I was nearby. When it comes to cleaning, all parts except the motor base are dishwasher safe.
Processor Performance: As expected
I expected this to do a fine job with the normal food processor tasks since Cuisinart has been a market leader in the category for a very long time. Still, I tested it by pureeing peanuts to make peanut butter, shredding cabbage, chopping onions, whipping egg whites, and kneading bread. As expected, the processor did a great job.
Next, I attached the dicing kit. With all of the other removable parts, it was simple to see how the pieces fit, but I admit I had to check the manual for dicing. Once it was installed, I diced some potatoes and got some cute little cubes that were great for a hash and would have been perfect for soup.
Cooking Performance: A robot-stirring stove
I started with a few simple things, like steaming some hard-boiled eggs using the machine’s recipe. Next, I steamed asparagus and then broccoli. The included steaming basket is a reasonable size and easy to remove once cooking is done thanks to the handle. Moving on to more complicated recipes, I made hollandaise for my steamed vegetables. I loved the result and also loved that it wasn’t a huge amount. It’s easy enough to make more when you need it.
Risotto was the best thing I made. It was as easy as recipes I've made in a pressure cooker, but since the machine stirred the rice, it released the starch in a way that a non-stirred version can’t replicate. It was super creamy and totally delicious. When I made rice pudding, the technique was similar, but the ingredients were obviously different.
Another useful feature is the warm and stir mode, which keeps food warm—or warms it up—while stirring.
When I kneaded my bread dough, the machine wobbled a bit but didn’t try to walk off the counter. I followed the machine’s instructions to let it rise in the bowl at a gentle heat. It was perfect. Then I transferred it to a bread bowl for the final rise and bake. It was almost as easy as using a bread machine. The processor also has complete recipes for a few types of yeasted dough—or you could use your own.
Basically, the food processor bowl can be used as a saucepan for any recipe, but it’s a saucepan that can also stir the food. It can also cook without stirring, like when I made soup stock. While I might not pull out a food processor when I want to steam some food, I might use it if it’s already on the counter or when I already used it for chopping, shredding, or slicing for a recipe.
Features: Lots of options
The display and menus were simple to navigate but not always intuitive. I got used to them fairly quickly and was able to look through the menus to find what I wanted, but wondered why some of the menus weren’t alphabetical.
When I went to the recipes section, I had to do a lot of scrolling to make my way through all of the options to pick out the ones I wanted to make. Fortunately, the recipes are grouped; that made it easier to scroll through smaller groups, like sides, mains, breads, and more. The ability to save favorite recipes was one of the best parts of the digital interface since the ones I'll use over and over are limited—I'm much more likely to use my own recipes.
I wondered why the recipes were in alphabetical order by the title rather than the dish itself. That meant that the spring vegetable risotto was nowhere near the wild mushroom risotto. But it’s not a deal-breaker. It’s just something to get used to.
One thing to note about the recipes is that it’s possible to scroll past steps. This is both good and bad. The first time I made rice pudding, I totally skipped a step and had to figure out what went wrong so I could fix it. Now, I'm more careful not to scroll ahead.
Risotto was the best thing I made: It was as easy as recipes I've made in a pressure cooker, but since the machine stirred the rice, it released the starch in a way that a non-stirred version can’t replicate.
On the other hand, when I modified a risotto recipe and deleted the dried mushrooms, I appreciated that I could scroll past the step for hydrating the mushrooms. I also like that if I prep ingredients ahead, I can easily scroll past those steps in the recipe. I loved modifying recipes as I worked. That meant I could add a minute or two of cooking time right away when I knew I needed to, or I could add a few minutes after the recipe was done. If something wasn’t as well-chopped as I preferred, I could chop a little more without having to leave the recipe.
This processor can also be used rather simply, with the pulse, high, and low buttons to chop, shred, and blend foods. Cooking can be done simply as well, by choosing a temperature, time, and speed for stirring—or no stirring (which is what I chose when I made stock).
Another useful feature is the warm and stir mode, which keeps food warm—or warms it up—while stirring. This keeps food from sticking and burning, and it’s completely hands-off. There's no need to babysit the gravy while it stays warm.
There’s no way—yet—to save modified recipes or to create your own, and there is no separate app or Wi-Fi control. However, this does have a USB port that will eventually be used for updates, so I expect there will be more recipes and possibly more interesting features in the future.
It's also worth noting that Cuisinart has excellent customer support. I managed to slice the included spatula when I was stirring/scraping the processor when it had the cutting blade installed (completely my fault). I emailed Cuisinart explaining this, and they sent a new one.
Storage: Neat and easy
One of my pet peeves with appliances that have a lot of parts is trying to store them efficiently. This processor solves the storage problem with two storage boxes—one is for the dicing kit, and the other is for the rest of the tools. They stack to take less space and are designed to be compact.
At around $700, if this was just a food processor, I'd say it’s too expensive. But as a one-stop processing and cooking appliance, I don’t mind the price.
Cuisinart Complete Chef Cooking Food Processor vs. Thermomix TM6
The Thermomix TM6 (view at Thermomix.com), which The Spruce Eats also tested, is a close cousin to the Complete Chef, but the Thermomix comes with a much higher price tag. The Thermomix includes more recipes, particularly with the recipe subscription, and it has an integrated scale. While the Thermomix can chop, whip, blend, and knead, the Complete Chef is a fully functional food processor that can also make neat slices, grate, shred, and dice—the operation is familiar for anyone who has used a food processor. While I like the scale on the Thermomix, I have to give the nod to the Complete Chef; I love the food processor functions as well as the significantly lower price.
Three thumbs up!
While I'll confess that I'd probably buy the Cuisinart Complete Chef Cooking Food Processor just for its risotto-making capabilities, the fact that it’s a food processor makes it a must-buy, and the cooking functions are icing on the cake.
- Product Name Complete Chef Cooking Food Processor
- Product Brand Cuisinart
- MPN FPC-100
- Price $699.95
- Product Dimensions 11.5 x 11.5 x 17 in.
- Color Stainless steel
- Bowl + Cooking Lid Weight 10 lb. 9 oz.
- Bowl + Food Processor Lid Weight 11 lb. 4 oz.
- Bowl Capacity 18 cups
- Motor Power 550 Watt
- What's Included Stainless steel processor bowl, steaming basket, adjustable slicing disk, dual-sided shredding disk, dicing kit, stem for the disks, chopping blade, stirring paddle, whisk, dough blade, funnel, spatula, 2 lids, 2 storage cases
- Warranty 3 years