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Food Processor Advice Needed

Hi All,

I am an amateur cook/baker who is in the kitchen at home quite a bit. I keep running into recipes that say "in a food processor..." and so far I've gotten by without one, but it just seems like life would be a little easier with one. I'm looking for advice on the best bang for my buck. I found a Kitchenaid 7-cup for $80 but I'm wondering if 7-cups would be too small? I plan to use it for things like grinding graham crackers with other things for pie crusts, mixing up liquid ingredients for desserts, marinades, etc. Thoughts???


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  1. p.s. the next size up is the 12-cup which is nearly $200! This is why I'm so curious...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jackamuffin629

      I am also considering a food processor so I am curious to hear the responses. I know I would freeze a lot of sliced veggies if I could do them in large batches.

    2. I had a small, cheapo Black and Decker for 5 years or so before I upgraded to the 12cup KA. The bigger size lets you make things like pizza dough quite easily. But for cracker crumbs, peanut butters, etc., the 7-cup was fine. I never did a lot of really liquid things, because mine had a tendency to leak--I'd do liquids in a blender.

      The 12cup KA is a lot heavier, so your biceps will get a workout :)

      8 Replies
      1. re: nofunlatte

        Thanks! That is very helpful... now that you mention Black and Decker I'm exploring more options... Anyone else have thoughts on other brands?

        1. re: Jackamuffin629

          I got mine for a few bucks at a consignment shop--probably an unwanted wedding gift or something. Never used. But it was quite serviceable for what I needed (making nut butters, bread crumbs, cole slaw) but not for dough (not powerful enough). But I certainly got my $9 worth out of that baby! It was my first food processor and I even remember that first time I used it--for ajo de blanco (needed to grind the almonds). Now I'm getting wistful :)

          1. re: Jackamuffin629

            Depending on your budget, you might look at Magimix or Cuisinart. Robot Coupe is the professional level one, but all of these are hitting much higher prices. That said, a heavy motor is usually a good sign.

            1. re: Nocturnalbill

              Excellent advice. I still have and use the Cuisinart processor I bought about 30 yrs ago. I still remember standing in front of the display at Caldor, looking at all the brands and prices. I think the Cuisinart was around $80 at the time. The appliance was fairly new to the American market at the time, and everyone knew the Cuisinart name. I hemmed and hawed for a long time, until I happened to lift a few of the models on the shelves, and realized that the Cuisinart had the heaviest motor. Fortunately, that was a good decision. I have read that the stuff made under the Cuisinart name thses days is not as sturdy as the original models.

              If I were the OP, I would go to a large kitchen store/department store, lift the display models, and take notes. Then check online, thrift shops, and tag sales for a good price on a heavy processor.

              1. re: greygarious

                I actually did get one of the new multibowl models, not as pleasant as my mom's 1979 unit, but seems to be doing fairly well.

                1. re: greygarious

                  Wonderful advice greygarious, thank you!

                  1. re: greygarious

                    I also bought one about thirty years ago and I remember the price was more like $130. and it was and is worth ever penny, one of our best kitchen investments. It still works as well as when we first used it. This model was made in Japan and I'm sure it will still be working thirty years from now.

                  2. re: Nocturnalbill

                    Look for a used and possibly damaged (bowl, cover ,pusher, etc. If you can pick it up for a next to nothing price then look at this site they carry repair/replacement parts for most major brands. I almost threw out a KA DLCX MSRP of some $799.00, for a little over $100.00, I know have a great large food processor!!! Good luck!!!

              2. I've used a 7 cup Cuisinart for years and never felt I needed a bigger capacity. I do not use it for bread and any dough, including pie crust, that has more than 3 cups of flour. My other uses: breadcrumb, chopping meat, making pesto, dips such as hummus and baba ghanouj, compound butter, mayonnaise, thick sauces such as romesco. If you are not making huge batches of things, I don't think you need a bigger one. Also, a blender do many tasks such as crepe batter and liquid marinades better than a food processor.

                1 Reply
                1. re: PBSF

                  I inherited a Cuisinart, it must be over 20 years old. It is wonderful. 7 cups is fine for ricotta pie, pestos, strawberry shortcake dough etc. I love it so much, when I saw one a garage sale recently I purchased it for $15. Not that I needed 2.

                2. Cuisinart. I started with the first one many years ago, then went to one that you didn't have to turn the handle and could push a button, then went to the 11 cup. The first one is in the pantry but still works. The second two, one is in FL and the other in MI still going strong. I know that people that have bought the new one's are having some problems with them. Try Ebay for some older used one's. Actually, the first one was a Robet Coupe which became Cuisinart in the states, probably over thirty years ago.

                  1. A few useful bits of info. For most brands you can only fill the bowl (yes it looks big) about a third with liquid - solids 2/3.

                    If you are going to use it for pastry - the smaller models will only make enough for one single crust pie. You might want to bake two pies at the same time - freezing one for later use. I have a medium sized one and wish I had bought the largest in the range.

                    I bought mine for pastry - it works so well - but many of my friends still make theirs by hand. A FP really comes into its own when cooking for a family - its slices and grates in seconds.
                    You can easily manage with a good knife and micrograter - it all depends on your needs.

                    And none are dishwasher safe - most come with warnings about low temp washing and that dishwashers will degrade the parts over time. So I wash mine by hand.

                    I am also using mine for smoothies ( not ideal but it saves buying another appliance) and the orange squeezer attachment (as with most stand mixers) is great.

                    For bread and cake dough mixing I hear a stand mixer does a better job.

                    I bought a French made Magimix ( expensive) to avoid a made in China motor.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Mistral

                      Everyone I know puts their FP parts through the dishwasher and I've never had a problem whether it was large or small, new or old.

                    2. I think a 7cup processor is just too small. I would opt for an 11 or 14 cup one for household use. It is just more practical.

                      1. I would definitely get an 11-cup at least. I'd say about 75% of the things I use mine for would not work in a 7-cup. Like a pp said, it doesn't even have a 7-cup usable capacity. I would rather go without one than lose $80 on something that doesn't do what I want with it.

                        I use my two so frequently that I could not handle not washing them in the dishwasher. I basically refuse to hand wash. It probably has damaged my bowls some, but I will buy new bowls if I have to.

                        Btw, I really love the Kitchen-Aid version best. I think Cooks Illustrated did as well.

                        1. Thanks all this is some great fodder for my food processor shopping trip!

                          1. Hi..Just saw this post and thought i'd reply.Just bought a food processor myself and ran into the same troubles. I wanted functionality, and i was looking for as wide a range of function as possible for the best price. As I don't have much counter/cabinet space left, I want something that will slice, shred, chop, make doughs, but I would also prefer to have something that will puree and crush ice, too...most food processors will not do a good job of this but I don't want to spend on a food processor AND a blender! Here's what I found: another post recommended a food processor and immersion blender as the major kitchen essentials. Blender optional - not really necessary but if you want to crush ice and grind spices, you do need one. Sigh. So I went out looking for a full-size food processor. Those with 4 to 7-cups had some interesting competitors which offered blender/juicer attachments, but the size was just too small.

                            I ended up buying two food processors after extensive research, with the intent of trying both and returning whichever one wasn't up to snuff. I bought a Cuisinart 12-cup Elite Die Cast (beautiful!) for $350 (but got it on sale for just over $220) and a Black & Decker 10-cup Wide-Mouth 3-in-1 with Blender and MiniChopper from Walmart for $88. I expected the Cuisinart to win hands-down, as it had a 1000watt motor to the B&D's 600watts, and an adjustable slicing disk which allows you to dial in a thickness of 1 to 6mm. But unexpectedly, I've been wowed by the B&D - it even seems to have a wider range of functionality! Here's what I found:
                            B&D has the advantages but of:
                            -ease of use (easy to dissassemble/assemble - Cuisinart, at least in past, is very difficult to manipulate, and people liken it to opening a bank vault)
                            - 6-cup (full size) glass blender jug which allow crushing ice, grinding spices, pureeing and making smoothies and liquid batters more effectively than the food processor (Cuisinart has no blender part, will not chop ice)
                            -minichopper (4-cup) bowl - not nested (unlike Cuisinart, which has nested 12 and 4 cup bowls, and thus, both bowls get dirty if only the small one is used, as it cannot be used independently)
                            - maneuvrable and light - 5lb vs. 22lb base for Cuisinart
                            -fits under cabinet (unlike Cuisinart which is 18.5 inches and won't fit under cabinets if assembled
                            - has 2 speeds, with a HI-Low-Pulse option, unlike the Cuisinart (one speed - on/off/pulse)

                            Overall, the B&D does everything one could need, and that has been a big surprise. It slices, shreds, chops, makes doughs, batters, crushes ice, grinds spices and coffee, makes smoothies, etc.. The Cuisinart, unfortunately, doesn't do quite as much. Although it does have an adjustable slicing disk and a fine/med shredding blade, that's the extent of what it will do - you can buy a julienne blade for it, but there is no grating blade, juicing attachment, or egg whipping attachment. So really, the two things the Cuisinart will do that the B&D won't, are slicing in different thicknesses (a large range, anyway), and julienning, if you buy the blade to do this.

                            My major reservations with the B&D are primarily that there are some parts that the mfr won't sell, so it may not be reparable if it breaks, and also that you cannot buy any extra blades to increase the functionality (no julienning or grating possible...but you can do a very fine shred to approximate grating of hard cheeses, and you could just slice instead of julienning...I suppose). As for repairing it....I can buy new blades if mine dull, and it's a decent price, so if anything else goes after the warranty period, I will buy a new one, I suppose.

                            I'm almost heartbroken not to keep the Cuisinart, because I got it on such a wonderful sale, and it looks very sleek...but at the end of the day, I need function more than 'pretty'.

                            Of note: I did consider Kitchen Aid. You might wish to do so as well. My primary reservation was that it has a problem with leakage, even in the high-end, large capacity machines. It apparently leaks around the lid and the stem, and thus will not hold more than 4 cups liquid even in the 12cup machines (the stem is short and the lid doesn't seal tightly). I considered this a major flaw, despite the wide range of functionality (you can purchase extra blades and attachments (for about $100 extra).. to grate, julienne, do med/thick slicing, med/thick shredding, whip eggs , juice ctirus fruits). The overall cost is high - $379 for a 12-cup machine with 4cp nested bowl plus extra blades, and although I found a sale offering the entire set for $279, I figured that leakage would be a bad thing. I wouldn't enjoy working hard to prepare something which leaks on the counter and leaves me cleaning instead of eating at the tail end of all of that effort. But that's my opinion. if you can get past the leakage issue (or don't eat any liquids) then maybe it's your machine - it does offer to do an awful lot.

                            For me, I think the B&D is likely the best option. At least it has a couple of different blades (thin slice/fine shred and very thin slice/very fine shred). It chops, slices, shreds, purees, chops, makes doughs and batters, blends, crushes ice, grinds spices and coffee beans, and seems to do most of what I will need. i would actually have paid more for it,, had I had to....
                            If you're interested in it, here's a link to a site where you can read about /purchase it:

                            Sorry, I know that was a bit long, but I hope that this will help someone. I spent a lot of time researching my options, so I'm quite confident about what I've written above. Just as an aside to the person who was considering a 7cup machine...I do think that's just too small, as you will be limited in the amount of dough and batter you can prepare. The liquid line will be quite low, I think... Also, with Cuisinart's 7-cup machine, you will have to buy extra blades to increase the functionality, and this can get pricey. There are other machines with similar sizing and power but with increased functionality for the same price (e.g.Wolfgang Puck's 3-in-1 Blender/Processor/Juicer - 4 cp processor, I believe, but blender is around 6 cups; has numerous attachments and on-board storage of parts in a drawer under the base....not that I'm recommending that one, per se, just to note that you might get more bang for your buck elsewhere. Cuisinart is reliable, though.....



                            1. I honestly don't know how I could live without my food processor.

                              I absolutely recommend an 11 quart one. I have had 2 Cuisinarts over the past 30 years and they have been great.

                              The 11 quart is $135 at Amazon. Free shipping too, i think.


                              1. Oh yea, life is totally easier when you have a food processor in your kitchen lol. I have one and I absolutely love it, seriously could not go without it once I got it haha. I saw some others sharing some good deals on some, here is one for less than $65 bucks if you want to try one out.

                                Good luck!


                                1. I was so happy to find this thread today because it looks like I'll be buying a new food processor soon. My 2004 Kitchenaid 5-cup has been moderately used for the last 5 years, but this year went up to almost daily because I've been making my own babyfood. And despite saying it was dishwasher safe (though due to the daily need I mostly hand wash), it came out of the wash last week and the spring-loaded handle had completely come apart. Kitchenaid has told me that the no longer carry parts for this discontinued model, so I can either try to buy a replacement online ($50 - no way!), or get a new one. But if the life expectancy of a Kitchenaid is only 5-6 years, I don't think I'll be investing in another. Based on the reviews here, it looks like I'll probably get a Cuisinart after some in-store touch and feel investigation (and deal-hunting).

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: jboeke

                                    Buy the largest you can afford.

                                    Take a look at how low that liquid line is!

                                    The bowls appear large but actually hold so much less (about one-third).

                                    I bought a medium size and it is too small for making decent amounts of dough etc.

                                    I can only make one pie crust at a time.

                                    1. re: Mistral

                                      I really think the right size depends on what you are using it for. If it is too big for an application, things will not get processed. Too small and they'll spill over or not be able to hold the ingredients. I have both a large one and a small one and sometimes I think a medium would have been the perfect size...but the small one was cheap.