Best food processor for peanut butter, and other uses.
August 21, 2014 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Tell me about your food processor, especially if you use it to make peanut butter. Our food processor's bowl is cracked, and rather than replacing the bowl, we're thinking of upgrading. Consumer Reports recomments a Cuisinart ($180-$300) or Breville ($400), but the high end of that price range seems too steep for us, considering how much we use the thing. That said, we're willing to pay around $200 for a good machine. I'm interested in your recommendations.

The primary use of our food processor is make peanut butter from roasted peanuts, about once a week. We frequently make hummus (though I imagine just about any food processor could handle that task pretty easily). I also commonly use it to make vegan loaf, which means chopping up nuts fairly fine and also chopping up some veggies, and a little light processing, as well as chopping up stale (sometimes very hard) bread for breadcrumbs.

We don't use our food processor to process large batches of soup (we have an immersion blender that we like), or make dough. (We have a brute of a Kitchenaid mixer with a dough hook. 'Nuff said.)

Our current food processor (a Regal "La Machine", probably from K-Mart 15 years ago), is miserable at slicing or shredding. I'd love to make more beet salads and cole slaws and the like, though.

What we care about:

- Noise. La Machine est très bruyant. We would like something quieter.

- Durability. Obviously. Don't want to drop $200+ on a machine that will burn out in a couple of years.

- Small size. Our barely-6-cup food processor is pretty great, size-wise. We have enough capacity to process in one batch 95% of the time, and it stores easily. Also, I like how our current model can mince a couple cloves of garlic dropped into an otherwise empty bowl, and I fear that a larger model might not do as well. (This is based on comparing small-sized choppers, good at chopping finely, to larger food processors, which are less good at chopping, but I don't know if it's a linear relationship...)

We don't care if it comes a million blades and accessories, and kind of prefer not. If it chops well, great. If it shreds excellently, that's a nice bonus.

Any suggestions?
posted by BrashTech to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
We have had a Cuisinart Pro Classic for many years and it's been pretty much perfect for our uses. We regularly make almond butter, hummus, and slice onions and carrots. That's about all we do with it.

I replaced the blade recently after about seven years, not because it was dull but because it started to crack.

I'd buy another one in a heartbeat.
posted by gyusan at 9:25 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

In my mind, Cuisinart is the iconic food processor that lasts forever, kind of like KitchenAid mixers.

The 30 year old Cuisinart in my mom's kitchen is still going strong. We finally had to replace the bowl a few years back because the spring loaded piece that makes it lock onto the base (necessary to run the motor) broke, but other than that it's a champ.

I got a Cuisinart for a wedding present several years ago and I've always been happy with it. I like that it has a compact top (it also comes with the top that has the slicing chimney, but I use that less often and store it separately.)

I have some shredding disks and I'm happy enough with them. The thing shreds cabbage for coleslaw like a beast.

On preview, I have the Pro Classic as well, and my mom has whatever the 30 year old version of it is. At a glance, the Elite doesn't really look worth the extra cash, though I haven't investigated extensively. I'd save the $150 and put it towards a Vitamix blender, myself.
posted by telepanda at 9:25 AM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

My Cuisinart 11-cup is from 1992, I think, and it lives on the counter. I just this year replaced the bowl and lid, both of which had been dropped kind of a lot.

The blade is still sharp. I have not ever made peanut butter in it, but I have made perfectly good hummus a hundred times. I also make almond flour so fine it's almost powdered.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:27 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nthing Cuisinart. I've made peanut butter in mine. I've had it for almost a decade and I think I only spent about $70 on it.
posted by something something at 9:29 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

In re noise: get an anti-vibration mat/pad (I use a sewing machine mat, but there are other options. You can just get a sheet of sponge neoprene and cut it down to size)
posted by crush-onastick at 9:42 AM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Cuisinart is cool but I think I fucked up the motor on mine making nut butters.
posted by latkes at 9:48 AM on August 21, 2014

For kitchen gear related 'what to buy, specifically' questions, I typically check out Sweet Home, Serious Eats and Americas Test Kitchen (uhg but that ugly paywall…worth it, if you cook a ton) and between the three, I usually get enough overlap to find the gear i'm looking at.

If you're looking to do nut butters specifically and grinding nuts, you'll probably get a better texture with a meat grinder attachment for your stand mixer; bro can handle nuts great, and gives a much better texture (IMO) than the food processors out there.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:57 AM on August 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Cooks Illustrated recommends:

Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor (model DFP-14BCN): "...the model is efficient and sturdy, with blades so close to the bottom of the bowl that we could whip as little as ½ cup of cream."

KitchenAid Chef's Chopper (3 cup; model KFC3100)
posted by melissasaurus at 9:58 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding both the Cusinart (I've had mine since 1998) and the grinder attachment for the Kitchenaid.
posted by KathrynT at 10:02 AM on August 21, 2014

My Braun Robot Culinaire was much less expensive than the equivalent Cusinart models (based on quantifiable metrics like watts, bowl capacity, etc.), came with more blades/disks and is still going strong despite heavy use lo these many years. If you go this route, you can use the savings to buy a mini food processor just for the occasional small job like chopping garlic, whirling sun-dried tomatoes or grinding spices. First bonus: the mini takes up much less space in the dishwasher. Second bonus: "Robot Culinaire" is much more fun to say than "Food Processor."
posted by carmicha at 10:14 AM on August 21, 2014

Yet another voice for the Cuisinart. I have a 7 Cup food processor, and it does exactly what you want. In the last 12 months, I've made over 40 lbs of peanut butter in that thing (I bought a big bag of peanuts in bulk and went through it, those are not b.s. numbers), as well as a good amount of almond butter, and it's solid as a rock. Our machine is probably 10+ years old with no signs of damage or breaking. It's also our go to shredder/slicer for large amounts of veg. It's not a terribly loud machine, but I think processing peanuts is going to be loud in any sort of food processor where the bowl isn't insulated or something.
posted by DGStieber at 10:15 AM on August 21, 2014

Cuisinart. But like kitchen aid stand mixers, you're better off buying an older model on eBay.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:45 AM on August 21, 2014

I'm going to shout out for the infomercial favorite. the Ninja Mega System.

We have this set up with the wet blender, the dry bowl and the two single serving size cups. It is a MONSTER when it comes to pretty much anything we want to mix, blend or destroy.

It's the best thing I've ever bought that I've seen first on an infomercial.
The only drawback is that it's a wee bit louder than most food processors, but it's a great multi-use tool.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 11:44 AM on August 21, 2014

I've had a cuisinart since 2002. No problems. I've successfully made almond butter with it. My parents have a cuisinart that is probably at least 20 years old and still going strong.
posted by leahwrenn at 2:04 PM on August 21, 2014

I have an Elite Collection Cuisinart. There are some good advantages to it, but the one part that's really significant to me is how much easier it is to clean than my old food processor. I don't know if the other Cuisinart models are made similarly, since my old one was a different brand, but it's a feature I really appreciate.
posted by ohisee at 6:23 PM on August 21, 2014

furnace.heart has it...check The Sweethome and ATK for this sort of thing.
posted by Kreiger at 6:56 PM on August 21, 2014

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