Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus Food Processor Review

I was so happy that my mom gave me a Cuisinart Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor for Christmas. I was planning on purchasing one after the holidays myself, so it was a wonderful surprise.

I wasn’t sure if the 7 cup would be large enough for everything I wanted though. Meatloaf, bread, cookies, salads, etc. So, I asked her if it was okay if I exchanged it for a larger model; my mom agreed.

I scoured the reviews on Amazon.com“>Amazon.com and a bunch of cooking forums like Chowhound and Cooks Illustrated. I was pretty sure I was sticking with a Cuisinart, but which size and model?

At the end of it all, I chose the Cuisinart Prep Plus 11 cup Food Processor, but first let me take you through the process (no pun intended) of my decision. Be warned, it’s long and detailed. Maybe too many details for most! If you want to forgo all the details, skip to My Findings.

Before seeing any food processors in person, I was very confused but I managed to create a list of pros and cons for a few of the models, including the new Cuisinart Elite 12 cup and Elite 14 cup food processors.

You might notice I didn’t even create a Pro/Con list for the Prep Plus models. Reviews online were mixed, and I had every intention of probably purchasing one of the Classic/Custom models. There was even a possibility of keeping the 7 cup.

First up, the Classic/Custom models

Cuisinart Custom 14 cup Food Processor – about $177 at Amazon for black chrome.
Cuisinart 11-Cup Pro Custom 11 Food Processor – about $170 at Amazon.
Cuisinart Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor The processor my mom picked out for me – $100 at Amazon.com

PROS:

  • the 7 cup is small for counter
  • additional compact cover – I love that the Custom/Classic line includes a choice of either the small short cover or the normal cover with the feeder tube.
  • extra large feed tube – holds whole foods for slicing and grating
  • 4mm disk for slicing, shredding disk, dough blades, small and large pushers. The 11 cup even included a 2mm thin slicing disk
  • 5 year warranty on motor, 3 year warranty on entire unit

CONS:

  • Cuisinart customer service isn’t so hot if you believe the reviews online
  • only one bowl. No mini bowl
  • Note after handling in person: The Classic/Custom models are tried and true, and the reviews are mostly glowing, but once I viewed them in person, I found the bowls and covers were very difficult to turn to remove and insert. I found them as awkward as my older Hamilton Beach model.

EXTRAS available to purchase: (7 & 11 cups)

  • 6mm disk for slicing: $32
  • fine shredding disk $26
  • blade and disk holder: $30
  • 3 pack- 3×3 Julienne, 6mm Slicing, Fine Grater Discs $70
  • Fine grater $36

Next, both Elite models

Cuisinart Elite 12 cup Food Processor – $217 at Amazon

PROS

  • Includes 2 bowls: a 12 cup and a 4 cup bowl for smaller jobs.
  • Sealed for liquid jobs
  • Able to use each bowl without messing the one(s) underneath
  • Pour spout
  • Ability to adjust slicing height using same disk – 1 to 6mm
  • Reversible shredding disk for two sizes: fine and medium
  • Locking blade so contents can be poured without worrying about the blade falling out
  • Dough blade
  • Wide mouth feed tube
  • Touchpad not paddles for easy cleaning
  • 10 year warranty on motor, 3 year on whole unit

CONS

  • Complaints on cleaning, food gets stuck in between gasket & lid making it difficult if not impossible to clean
  • Food gets stuck in bowl seams
  • Food falls through finger holes on disk when shredding
  • Price is more expensive
  • No compact cover
  • No retractable cord on the 12 cup, although the 14 cup Elite includes this.
  • No dough speed like the 14 cup Elite, but that probably wouldn’t matter
  • No storage box like the 14 cup Elite
  • cuisinart customer service isn’t great according to online reviews and comments.

EXTRAS available to purchase:

  • storage box $20
  • nothing else extra to purchase except replacement parts

Cuisinart Elite 14 Cup Food Processor – $273 at amazon

PROS

  • Includes 3 bowls: 14 cup, 11 cup, and 4 cup
  • Sealed for liquidy jobs
  • Able to use each bowl without messing the one(s) underneath
  • Pour spout
  • Ability to adjust slicing height using same disk – 1 to 6mm
  • Reversible shredding disk for two sizes: fine and medium
  • Locking blade so contents can be poured without worrying about the blade falling out
  • Dough blade
  • Wide mouth feed tube
  • Touchpad not paddles for easy cleaning
  • Dough speed
  • 10 year warranty on motor, 3 year on whole unit
  • Storage box is included
  • Retractable cord

CONS

  • Complaints of cleaning, food gets stuck in between gasket & lid making it difficult if not impossible to clean
  • Food possibly gets stuck in bowl seams.
  • Food falls through finger holes on disk when shredding.
  • Price is more expensive
  • No compact cover
  • Cuisinart customer service isn’t the greatest according to online reviews and comments.

EXTRAS available to purchase:

  • nothing else extra to purchase except replacement parts

Off To the Stores

I knew I couldn’t make an educated decision without really handling them in person, so I went out to the stores to view all the models and sizes.

I traveled to Bed Bath Beyond, Macy’s, Williams Sonoma, and the Kitchen Store.

My Findings:

I wasn’t thrilled with the older style Custom/Classic Cuisinart models, which is the 7 cup model my mom gave me. On the demo models, it was very difficult to insert and remove both the lid and bowl. Now I don’t know if it was just the demo versions being abused by everyone, but it seemed like every single classic demo I tried, it was not very smooth. I didn’t want to have to worry about problems after years of usage.

I handled the new Cuisinart Elite machines as well. At Williams Sonoma I had a good opportunity to see both sizes up close. It was very smooth to remove and insert both the bowls and covers. I loved the extra bowl(s) for smaller jobs too. But the first thing I noticed was OMG, they are massive, especially the 14 cup. My advice is to view them in person first to make sure it’s not too humongous for your kitchen counter!

I was really considering the Elites, but I was hesitant because of the complaints I read about food getting trapped in between the new leak-proof gasket and the top of the lid. I checked out the lid very carefully; even though there are air holes at the top of the lid, it’s definitely possible that food could become lodged. I suppose if you cleaned it immediately after use, you could swish out what ever got caught up there, but it would be a huge chore if something was caught.

The Cuisinart Elite Food Processors are gorgeous machines, but I didn’t want to take a chance on any cleaning issues. You never know though, it could be a machine I might look into in the future. It’s still fairly new, so things can be improved.

So what was my reason for choosing the 11 cup Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus when I wasn’t even considering it.

I was at Macy’s looking at the demos again. I noticed how easy the Cuisinart 9 cup Prep Plus was to handle. The bowl and cover attached with an easy turn and click, smooth as silk. Not at all like the Classic/Custom models.

I noticed there was one last box for a chrome 11 cup Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus but there was no demo model on display. So, I asked the sales clerk about pricing for both the 9 and 11 cup models.

She took both boxes to the register for a price scan. I was amazed when she told me the 9 cup was $150 and the 11 cup was $100. What? $100 for an 11 cup Prep Plus? Can that be right? So, I excused myself for a few minutes and got on my iPhone to check pricing online.

It was $173 on Amazon and $200 at macys.com. I couldn’t resist. How could I pass up $100 for an 11 cup model, when the 7 cup my mom gave me was the same price! Of course I grabbed it!

I was a little concerned that perhaps it was a defective return or something, but when I opened the box everything seemed to be new and in its place. I still am not sure why it was such a cheap price, I suppose it could be a mistake or maybe they were discontinuing that model or color (chrome).

So did I make the right choice? I think so. I can’t say that I would have chosen it, had it not been such a low price, but I am happy with it.

I was afraid that the bowl would be too large, especially for chopping garlic or onions, but if anything, I wish it were larger. I haven’t used it for dough or meat (meatloaf) yet, but veggies slice and chop very nicely. It’s very easy to clean. I can handwash or let the dishwasher do the cleaning.

I keep it on the counter all the time, and it’s not too overwhelming. Right now, I am keeping the disks, blades, and other parts in a cardboard box, but I will need to find a better organizer for them soon.

Yes, I am happy with the 11 cup Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus and would recommend it to other home cooks.

ETA June 12, 2010: Just made bread dough in my 11 cup Cuisinart this afternoon. It worked very well, didn’t get bogged down at all. See the recipe details here: http://www.thatsjustme.com/2010/06/mixing-bread-dough-in-food-processor-best-bread-ever-book/

2 thoughts on “Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus Food Processor Review”

  1. Hello! The food processor is no harder to clean than any other processors – all parts go into the dishwasher. I have to admit I don’t use it much, as it’s a bit much to lug it out when a simple knife and cutting board would be just as quick and easy.

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