Why We Love the Cuisinart Custom 14 Cup Food Processor
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- 52 things we love
Photo: Michael Hession
When my wife and I were planning our wedding registry, we threw a few classic kitchen gadgets on the list: a KitchenAid stand mixer, an Instant Pot, and a Cuisinart Custom 14 Cup Food Processor. All of these items get regular use, but it’s the food processor that has impressed us the most. And we’re not the only ones: This simple, reliable piece of gear has been Wirecutter’s top pick since 2013 because of its excellent performance and longevity.
Cuisinart Custom 14 Cup Food Processor
This is one of Cuisinart’s most basic models, yet it consistently chops, slices, and kneads better than any other food processor we’ve found for under $250.
Josh Scherer is the chef for the popular YouTube channels Good Mythical Morning and Mythical Kitchen, and he’s a fan of this Cuisinart food processor. “It’s just this indestructible, simple machine,” he said. “All it is is a motor and the blade.”
When we asked about the wildest thing he has ever blended in his Cuisinart, he was quick to answer: “We literally once burned out the motor of our Vitamix trying to make a bull penis pesto. The Cuisinart food processor was able to handle the strength of a bull penis to make a bull penis pesto. And it turned out pretty good.”
Bull penises—also known as pizzles—can be consumed by humans but are commonly dried to make dog-chew toys. So, yeah, they’re, um, difficult to blend. But not for this Cuisinart model!
A food processor is simple in concept—a blade that’s attached to a motor and can chop, slice, or grate faster and more uniformly than a human can. To that setup, Cuisinart added only minimal controls: just two buttons. One turns on the motor, which runs until you hit the other button to turn it off. You can also repeatedly hold and release the second button for a pulsing action.
The 14-cup bowl—yep, that’s where the name comes from—is large enough to handle most home kitchen jobs, whether you’re whipping up a salsa, mixing a pizza dough, or shredding a big block of cheese. The bowl also has enough room to store the blade attachments when you’re not prepping ingredients (because you don’t want any of the super-sharp blades sitting loose in a drawer).
Though the Cuisinart Custom 14 isn’t particularly inexpensive, its value comes from your not having to replace it every few years. Consider this food processor an investment—one that will likely last you decades.
How it started
Referring to the food processor’s history, Cuisinart’s Mary Rodgers said, “This style of product was done in several other model numbers with the same look and functionality” since 1995. The current version we recommend has been around since 2003. No matter how you slice it, that’s a proven track record measured in decades.
According to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, food processors took off in America in the 1960s, at least partly thanks to Julia Child, after she got her hands on an early French model. The museum quotes her as saying, “When I first started out, everything was done by hand. I think it’s very important for the home cook—that’s what I’m interested in—to have things like the food processor … to make fish mousse in a few seconds.” Though fish mousse may not be the main use for food processors anymore, the appliance is still just as handy as when Child raved about it more than 50 years ago.
How it compares
After testing more than 20 food processors since 2013, we’ve found that the Cuisinart Custom 14 is the best, for several reasons:
- It can cleanly chop, shred, or blend a wide variety of foods—including juicy tomatoes and soft mozzarella cheese—exceptionally well.
- A number of Wirecutter staffers have been using their Cuisinart Custom 14 for 10 years or longer without having to replace the motor or the blades.
- Pricier food processors come with more attachments or stronger motors, but we think those items are unnecessary compared with this Cuisinart appliance’s other features. As we note in our guide, “This 14-cup model’s pared-down design makes it easier to use and to clean than models with more settings or multiple bowls.”
- Thanks to its sturdy base, this machine won’t wiggle around your counter when processing heavy food items, like a double batch of dough.
- The machine and its parts are easy to clean and store compactly.
- Cuisinart covers the motor with a five-year warranty. Although that isn’t as long as the warranty coverage of some competitors, it’s still a respectable amount of time.
Make it last
When it comes to keeping your Cuisinart food processor in good working order, there’s not much you need to worry about, other than cleaning it. The pieces are all dishwasher safe. But if you don’t have a dishwasher, or if you need to do a quick wash, try blending some hot water and dish soap. Cuisinart also sells replacement parts, if you damage any of the components.
A version of this post was originally published as part of our 2020 “52 Things We Love” series, an ode to Wirecutter picks that have withstood the test of time. Read the entire series. The latest version was edited by Marguerite Preston.
Meet your guide
Nick Guy is a former senior staff writer covering Apple and accessories at Wirecutter. He has been reviewing iPhones, iPads, and related tech since 2011—and stopped counting after he tested his 1,000th case. It’s impossible for him not to mentally catalog any case he sees. He once had the bright idea to build and burn down a room to test fireproof safes.
The Best Food Processor
by Michael Sullivan and Christine Cyr Clisset
Of all the models we’ve tested since 2013, the Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor remains our favorite because it’s simple, powerful, and durable.
Great Wedding Registry Gift Ideas
by Casey Johnston and Wirecutter Staff
We spent 30 hours researching the best way to construct a wedding registry to fill your space with the gifts that matter.
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Cuisinart Custom 14 Review | Tested by GearLab
One of the best food processors you can get on a budget without sacrificing too much performance
The Cuisinart Custom 14.
$227 at Amazon
Price: $250 List
By David Wise and Austin Palmer ⋅ May 12, 2022
#4 of 12
Chopping – 20%
Mixing – 20%
Pureeing – 20%
Shredding – 15%
Slicing – 15%
Cleaning – 10%
RELATED: Best Food Processors of 2023
Cuisinart has a long history of making food processors, becoming so ubiquitous that they have become a generic trademark. The Cuisinart Custom 14’s aesthetic remains similar to the earlier models, and this is what comes to mind for many people when they think of a top-tier food processor. This classic kitchen appliance scores very well and has a reasonable price.
REASONS TO BUY
Great at pureeing and slicing
REASONS TO AVOID
No adjustability of shredding or slicing
Editor’s Note: This product review was updated on May 12, 2022, with additional purchase information and help to better compare products.
Compare to Similar Products
Vitamix 12-Cup Attachment
Hamilton Beach 10-Cup
Ninja Professional Food Processor
$227. 44 at Amazon
$176.00 at Amazon
$54.99 at Amazon
$89.99 at Amazon
$39.89 at Amazon
|Pros||Great at pureeing and slicing||Great for pizza dough, pureeing perfection, easy to clean, mostly even slicing, little to no leakage||Great at pureeing, good at chopping, inexpensive||Great for shredding, slicing, good at chopping||Inexpensive, better than average at mixing|
|Cons||No adjustability of shredding or slicing||Not great for applesauce, average chopping and shredding||Leaky, not the best at mixing, loud||Little more difficult to clean||Shreds and slices poorly, loud|
|Bottom Line||One of the best food processors you can get on a budget without sacrificing too much performance||A food processor especially great for pizza, but you’ll need to own a Vitamix motor||For those trying to save some dough, this inexpensive model will get the job done, especially when it comes to pureeing and chopping||Offering all-around excellent performance given its price tag, this is one of our favorite recommendations to those on a budget||A small model that is the least expensive and lowest scoring of the group|
|Rating Categories||Cuisinart Custom 14||Vitamix 12-Cup Atta. ..||Hamilton Beach 10-Cup||Ninja Professional||Black+Decker 8-Cup|
|Specs||Cuisinart Custom 14||Vitamix 12-Cup Atta…||Hamilton Beach 10-Cup||Ninja Professional||Black+Decker 8-Cup|
|Bowl Size||14 cup||12 cup||10 cup||9 cup||8 cup|
|Dimensions||W: 7. 75″
H: 12.8″ (no base)
H: 19.6″ (on tested base)
|Measured Weight of Base||12 pounds, 6 ounces||8 pounds, 12 ounces. Varies, tested with Vitamix A2300 blender base||3 pounds, 1 ounce||4 pounds, 8 ounces||3 pounds, 2 ounces|
|Motor||720 Watt||Varies, tested with Vitamix A2300 blender base||450 Watt||850 Watt||450 Watt|
|Speed Control||On/Off/Pulse||Pulse/(On/Off), varies, tested with Vitamix A2300 blender base||High/Low/Pulse/Off||Chop/Puree/Dough/Disc/Low/High/Pulse||On/Off/Pulse|
|Cord Storage||None||Underside cord wrap; varies, tested with Vitamix A2300 blender base||Internal||External Cord Wrap||Underside Cord Wrap|
|Feet||Smooth Rubber||Varies, tested with Vitamix A2300 blender base||Suction Cups||Suction Cups||Suction Cups|
|Decibels at 3ft||61. 5||80.5, varies, tested with Vitamix A2300 blender base||96||80||95|
|Mini Bowl Blade||Yes||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Accessory Storage Case||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Slicing Disc||Non adjustable||2 discs large and small; Non adjustable||Non adjustable||Non adjustable||Non adjustable|
|Shredding Disc||Medium||2 discs large and small; Non adjustable||Medium||Non adjustable||Medium|
|Built-in Bowl Scraper||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|French Fry Disc||No||No||No||No||No|
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Cuisinart is an overall high performer with an excellent price.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
The Custom 14 did alright in our chopping test. We chopped almonds, carrots, and onions in each machine, looking for the most consistent, uniform chop with no aberrant large pieces. We also timed how long it took for the blade to stop spinning when the button was released, assessing the level of control you had over the food processor.
This model’s blade stops spinning immediately, offering you precise control over how chopped your food is. This kitchen appliance did a good job at chopping almonds, tying for third place overall. The almonds weren’t chopped as much as we would like, but they weren’t pulverized into dust like other models. However, chopping carrots wasn’t its strong suit, and it earned one of the lower scores here.
The mediocre chopped carrots produced by the Custom.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
The size wasn’t very uniform, and the mix got a bit over-chopped while trying to reduce the larger chunks to an appropriate size. It did a bit better chopping onions, however.
Only a handful of larger chunks snuck past the blade when chopping onions with the Custom.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
This food processor did about average, performing similarly to the Cuisinart Elite. The mixture was primarily uniform, though a handful of larger chunks were thrown in.
This model lacked a dough blade, so we used its chopping blade for all of our mixing tests.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
Our mixing metric consisted of making pizza dough, pie crust dough, and mayonnaise from scratch in each machine and comparing the results. The Cuisinart performed about the same as chopping.
It did a great job making pizza dough, tying for the top-quality product with some of our high performers. This model was by far the fastest at mixing the dough, with no signs of a struggle from the motor. The Cuisinart lacks a dough blade, but there were no apparent negative effects. Performance decreased slightly when we mixed pie crust dough in this machine. It would shoot flour out while mixing, failing to incorporate it and making a less consistent dough. It was unable to make our mayonnaise recipe entirely — the blades didn’t mix the lemon juice and egg, although perhaps doubling the recipe would help.
The Cuisinart Custom displayed its pureeing prowess in this metric — one of the highest scores overall. We compared the quality of the nut butter, applesauce, tomato sauce, and hummus produced by each machine and determined how much water leaked out of the devices when they were filled to their maximum fill line and turned on.
The Custom 14 whipped up an excellent hummus. Both the tomato sauce and the applesauce were the perfect consistency after the prescribed amount of pureeing time, earning this model one of the highest scores in both of those tests. Nut butter was ground to satisfaction in about 19 minutes, though it required a spatula scrape at the very start of the test to keep it happy. This need for human intervention dropped its score slightly.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
This model didn’t leak at all, taking about three and a quarter cups of water to reach the marked line. The water was about a half-inch below the seam when filled to this point.
The shredding blade installed on the Custom.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
The Custom does an above-average job at shredding. We looked at how this model shredded potatoes, carrots, and cheese and if the shredding blade had any adjustable settings.
This model did a fantastic job at shredding carrots, earning one of the highest scores of the entire group. The shreds were crisp and dry, though not on the same level as the Breville.
These shredded carrots were just narrowly beat out by the Breville’s for the top score.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
This model did about average when it came to shredding potatoes. However, it left two large slices of potatoes un-shredded above the blade.
The shredded potatoes were more acceptable than extraordinary.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
This food processor performed a little worse when shredding cheese, making strands that were a little on the weaker side. It only comes with a medium shredding disc.
The included slicing blade on the Cuisinart Custom.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
The Cuisinart did better at slicing than shredding, tying for the runner-up position. We sliced tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini, looking for consistent, uniform slices without noticeable taper. We also compared the ability to adjust the blade to alter the slice thickness.
This model came with a 4mm slicing disc, though others can be purchased separately. It had the largest feed tube among our favorite food processors and easily fit even the largest of our test tomatoes. The slices were fantastic, with no noticeable taper or mangling of the tomato.
The slices were great, but not quite top-quality.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
This device also did the best at slicing potatoes, producing as close to perfect slices as you could expect. The zucchini slices were average, as some botched cuts and slices of varying thickness.
The components of the Cuisinart Custom, set out to dry.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
The final metric, cleaning, is where we assessed how much of a pain it was to clean these products after using them. The Cuisinart Custom wasn’t too bad, as it didn’t cause much frustration when it was time for dishes.
The bowl, lid, blades, and discs are all dishwasher safe, though it is recommended that they are washed on the top shelf only. The blade was a little on the short side, making it somewhat challenging to clean around where it attaches to the shaft. The bowl is simple to clean, with no extra plastic details to catch food. The lid had a few problem areas, but nothing too bad.
The included accessories with the Custom. The Cuisinart Custom all set up with its chopping blade.
Should You Buy the Cuisinart Custom 14?
This model is an excellent bet if you want the best possible food processor you can get while still saving some cash. It scores high across many metrics, with no serious shortcomings or pitfalls. This is a great model for most kitchens.
This model is a great value — enough to earn it an award. It was the second-highest score overall and had a price that isn’t terrible on the wallet.
The Cuisinart Custom is one of the best value options out there.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
What Other Food Processors Should You Consider?
If the price is too high, you may want to consider other value options. The Ninja Professional Food Processor and Hamilton Beach 10-Cup are both excellent performers that feature much lower price tags. If you want the best you can get, though, we give that honor to the Breville Sous Chef 16 Pro.
David Wise and Austin Palmer
The Best Food Processors for Home Cooks
A food processor is one of the most important things in your home kitchen because it’s versatile. Having a really good quality food processor reduces the amount of skill you need with a knife and also speeds up the process of chopping, slicing, chopping meat, chopping just about anything, or cooking any kind of food. Relatively new in home kitchens, the food processor is a downsized model of the industrial blenders that were popular in French kitchens decades before.
The wide, wide possibilities of a good food processor only increase with time. Today you can find great processors to help you beat egg whites, make pastry dough, knead dough, and even juice vegetables!
Understanding how food processors work will help you evaluate which one is best for your home kitchen. As a rule, they consist of several basic elements – an engine, a container for collecting what is being processed, a lid for this container and a supply tube. Depending on the many tasks you can do with your food processor, you may also have different attachments to help with tasks such as mixing dough ingredients.
Depending on what kind of food you are cooking and how big a food processor you can actually handle, you may need a larger food processor that comes with all the bells and whistles rather than a smaller one. These are the ones that usually have juicing and dough-kneading capabilities, and also have bowls with a larger capacity (usually up to 13 cups). However, they are also heavy and difficult to move around the kitchen.
If you only need it for small jobs, a mini processor that holds 2 to 5 cups of product should be fine. Just be aware that smaller processors move more and therefore will need to be held up more than some of the larger processors (many of which can weigh up to 30 pounds!).
Here is a list of some of our favorite food processors you should consider for your kitchen! They are sorted as a mix, from 1.5-cup processors with the simplest features to processors with more and higher functionality.
Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor & Vegetable Chopper with Bowl Scraper, Stainless Steel (70730)
Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Stack & Snap Food Processor & Vegetable Chopper, Black (70725A)
Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-cup food processor, brushed stainless steel – silver
Cuisinart DLC-10SYP1 088 Food processor, 7_cup, White
Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini Prep Plus Food Processor Matt Chrome and Nickel
Ninja Mega Kitchen System (BL770) Blender/Food Processor with Auto-iQ Stand 1500W, 72oz Jug, 64oz Processor Bowl, (2) 16oz Cups for Smoothies, Dough, etc.
Ninja Blender / Food Processor with 450W Base, 48oz Jug, 16oz Chopper Bowl and 40oz Processor Shake, Smoothie & Cooking Bowl (QB1004)
90 014 Express Chop Ninja Food Chopper with 16oz 200W Bowl for Chopping, Chopping, Chopping, Mixing and Cooking (NJ110GR)
Cuisinart FP-8SVFR 8 Cup Food Processor, Silver (Refurbished)
ZYLISS Easy Pull Chopper & Manual Food Processor – Vegetable Slicer & Dicer – Manual
BLACK + DECKER 3 Cup Electric Food Chopper, Better Assembly, Black, HC300B
AmazonBasics Food processor with 4 cups, black
Cuisinart CH-4DC Elite Collection Chopper / Chopper with 4 cups, die-cast
Chopper Cuisinart Elemental 4-C, 4 cups, metal gun
BLACK + DECKER HC306 1.5-Cup electric chopper, white 02
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A good food processor can save a lot of time in the kitchen. Acting like an electronic sous chef, they can chop onions, chop peanuts, puree chickpeas for hummus, grate cheese and knead dough for pies. But which model is best for what you do in the kitchen?
Not all food processors are created equal, and here we are. We’ve rounded up the best food processors based on what you’ll be using them for in your cooking.
Best: Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor
If you ask a group of home cooks about their favorite food processor, they will overwhelmingly recommend this 14-cup model. I am no different. Had the box of my cuisinart not gone missing when we moved in a few years ago, I would probably still have the one that was a wedding present. However, it was immediately replaced to resume those tasks in the kitchen that I would have preferred someone else to do. Cuisinart food processors have been popular in America since 1970s when Julia Child made them her favorite kitchen equipment and Cuisinart food processors are still bestsellers today.
There are quite a few Cuisinart food processor models, but the Custom 14 gets our votes for its stainless steel accessories and powerful motor. Not only does it run with the reliable speed and power of the Cuisinart – 720 watts of power – but because it doesn’t have a ridiculous amount of tiny nooks and crannies, cleaning is easy.
My own Cuisinart is a cheaper model than this but I can aim. Although many users report a difference in quality between older models and newer versions, these machines are known for their long life so you can consider them a worthwhile investment in your kitchen.
$167 at Amazon Buy Now
Best Equipment: Breville Sous Chef 16 Peel & Dice Food Processor
Not only does this food processor have a chute in three different sizes, but it also includes an updated dicing attachment. Adding a set to your purchase gives you the option of dicing eight and 16 millimeters for precise cooking.
According to the manufacturer, there is also a peeler that can process “up to seven potatoes at a time.” The device comes with a bowl of 16 and 2.5 cups for a variety of jobs. In addition, it includes a micro-toothed S-blade, double-sided chopping, variable slicing, and julienne discs.
If that’s not enough, there’s a french fry cutting disc, beater disc, dough hook, plastic spatula, its own storage box and a cleaning brush to finish the job. The price tag isn’t cheap—usually around $500—but depending on how much you cook at home, it can be worth the money spent.
$493 at Amazon Buy Now
Best Capacity: 16 Cup KitchenAid Pro Line Food Processor
There are quite a few food processors with a 16 cup capacity, but the cool aspect of this KitchenAid model is the ability to switch between 16 bowls, 10 and four cups.
Amazon reviewers describe its 28 lb weight as built like a tank. But if you’re making large quantities, then tank space won’t be easy. Plus, it comes in KitchenAid’s signature candy red. Win!
$589 at Amazon Buy Now
Best Workhorse: Breville Sous Chef 16 Cup Pro Food Processor
This Breville food processor boasts over 1000W of super-powerful motor. This Breville food processor is a less expensive option than the Peel & Dice model mentioned above from the same brand. However, it still comes with a tool kit, but it doesn’t include a potato peeler. Breville also stands behind their product – the company offers a 25-year engine warranty.
$400 at Amazon Buy Now
Best on a Budget: Hamilton Beach Deluxe Big Mouth 14 Cup Food Processor
This food processor has a large capacity and is easy to clean. In addition, all parts are dishwasher safe and break down to fit in a kitchen cabinet.
Equipped with a 525W motor, enough for most kitchen jobs. Plus, it’s BPA-free and has three speeds as well as a pulse setting, plus enough tools and trays to meet all your vegetable needs.
$49 at Amazon Buy Now
Beginner-Friendly: Magimix 14-Cup Food Processor
The founder of Robot-Coupe, the company that makes Magimix, actually invented food processors. It goes without saying that if they had the first one, they would make it easier for cooks to learn how to use it.
The Magimix food processor has only three buttons: on, off and pulse. The bowls, which include 12, 10 and six-cup options, nest neatly into each other for use and storage. The food processor also comes with a dough blade, grate, slicing discs and more.
$400 at Williams Sonoma Buy Now
RELATED: The easy way to prepare healthier, more comfortable meals.
Best Mini Food Processor: Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus 24oz
Bath & Beyond Bed
Not ready to buy a full size food processor? We understood – they can definitely fill the counter. A good option to add convenience to the kitchen is mini. Cuisinart mini with a 24 oz bowl and the ability to handle both hard and soft foods is a great choice.