How We Tested Food Processors

By:
David Wise and Austin Palmer

Last Updated:
Monday
October 16, 2017

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Getting ready to test out how well these machines can chop onions.
Getting ready to test out how well these machines can chop onions.

How do we test food processors? We did enough food prep to feed a veritable army, and split the testing process into 6 metrics: chopping, slicing, shredding, mixing, pureeing, and cleaning. Each model's performance was compared head-to-head with its competitors until some clear winners emerged.

Chopping


Our chopping test consisted of three different food tests — onions, carrots, and nuts — where a panel rated the quality of the finished product, and a "Pulse" button test, where we evaluated how long it took for the blade to stop spinning when the button was released.

For the onion test, we were looking for a uniform chop, with no leftover large pieces. We also were looking for properly chopped onions, not a mush, and docked points from models that were a little overzealous in their processing.

The results of our onion chopping test. We were looking for the most uniform chopped onions that weren't mush.
The results of our onion chopping test. We were looking for the most uniform chopped onions that weren't mush.

We performed a similar test on carrots, but in addition, we recorded the number of pulses it took to achieve the desired result. We also chopped almonds and compared the result, looking for small uniform pieces, no residual large almonds, and little to no pulverized almond dust.

Mixing


For the mixing test, we made pizza dough, pie crust, and mayonnaise from scratch. We used the identical pizza dough recipe in each machine and ranked them in the quality of the dough produced and how much the machine struggled — if at all — while mixing it. Of course, we also rolled out the dough and made pizzas with the products in the toaster oven review.

We were quite happy combining the results of the tomato sauce test  shredded cheese test   and the pizza dough test.
We were quite happy combining the results of the tomato sauce test, shredded cheese test, and the pizza dough test.

We performed the same test with pie crust, rolling it out to find any inconsistencies in the dough and rating it. For the mayonnaise test, we used this recipe and saw if the machine could successfully make mayo in the amount listed.

The results of our shredded cheese test.
The results of our shredded cheese test.

Pureeing


We made copious amounts of hummus, nut butter, tomato sauce, applesauce to determine which models pureed the best, as well as filling each bowl to its maximum fill line with water and running the machine to check for leaks.

We aggregated the tasting score of our panel to rank the machines in terms of hummus quality, looking for the smoothest, most consistent hummus.

Our panel of tasters sample the hummus made by each machine to evaluate quality and texture.
Our panel of tasters sample the hummus made by each machine to evaluate quality and texture.

We mixed tomato sauce and applesauce in each appliance and then rated the finished products for consistency and quality. We did a similar process for nut butter, though it was necessary to factor in whether or not the machine required human assistance to actually make nut butter, and whether or not it even finished grinding the nut butter. Some machines did very well, while others did not.

Finally, we conducted our leak test. We filled each model the maximum amount recommended in the user manual or marked on the bowl, and then ran each model to check for leakage. The results were varied, with some models retaining all of the fluid, with others leaking horribly.

Twenty carrots  ready to be shredded and ranked to see which food processor can truly shred.
Twenty carrots, ready to be shredded and ranked to see which food processor can truly shred.

Shredding


We set up each food processor with its shredding disc and tested its performance on cheese, potatoes, and carrots. We also awarded more points if models had adjustability when it came to shredding settings.

The Cuisinart Elite set up to shred.
The Cuisinart Elite set up to shred.

We were looking for shredded food that was even and defined, not too stringy or crumbled. We also looked at how efficient each machine was, and how much residual food became trapped between the disc and the lid. We also awarded extra points that had large enough openings that it required minimal trimming.

The results of our shredded carrot test.
The results of our shredded carrot test.

Slicing


Slicing tests were conducted almost identically to shredding, except that we used tomatoes, zucchini, and potatoes. We looked at how difficult it was to set up the slicing disc, whether or not we could adjust the thickness of the slices. We also gave a higher score to models that had adjustable settings that corresponded to real units, preferring 2mm-10mm over an arbitrary 1-10 scale.

The results of our zucchini slicing test.
The results of our zucchini slicing test.

We were specifically looking for models that produced even slices of consistent thickness without any taper. We also compared the amount of unsliced food trapped between the lid and the disc, as well if we had to slice the food to fit in the feed tube.

Cleaning


After completing all of the other tests, we had a decent idea of which ones were easy to clean, and which ones weren't. We broke the score into three parts, separately rating how easy it was to clean the blade, lid, and bowl of each model, noting if there were any nooks and crannies that made it easy to trap food.

The components of the Cuisinart Custom  set out to dry.
The components of the Cuisinart Custom, set out to dry.

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