This food processor is also a multi-cooker—but does it work?
We tested the Cuisinart Complete Chef Cooking Food Processor, which doubles as a multi-cooker.
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The world of cooking gadgets is not kind to those of us with small kitchens. New, must-have options seem to come out every year, competing for our already-limited counter space: stand mixers, food processors, blenders, toaster ovens, electric griddles, rice cookers, air fryers, slow cookers, electric pressure cookers, sous-vide machines, and more. On the other hand, as the world of multicookers also continues to expand, some of these gadgets are being combined into a single space-saving design.
I have to say, as a culinary-trained professional chef, I’m skeptical. Trying to cram too many functions into a multicooker often leads to unmet expectations.
So, we went into testing the Cuisinart Complete Chef with some apprehension. It promises to combine everything you love about a food processor—chopping, slicing, dicing, shredding, and kneading dough—with the ability to sauté, simmer, steam, slow cook, proof dough, and cook risotto. After spending two full weeks exploring its different functions, we found ourselves surprised at how much we loved this countertop gadget.
What makes the Cuisinart Complete Chef different from a food processor?
As a food processor, the Cuisinart Complete Chef is not all that different from the 14-cup model we named as our top pick for best food processors. It comes with all of the same blades to prep ingredients: a stainless-steel chopping blade, a shredding disc, and a slicing disc. Some of the discs got an upgrade—like making the shredding disc reversible for thick or thin shreds and allowing adjustments to the slicing disc for 22 degrees of thickness. The set also includes several additional accessories, including a dough blade for kneading, a whisk for whipping, a dicing kit that produces perfect 10mm cubes, and a stirring paddle to stir ingredients during the cook functions.
The Complete Chef diverges from a regular food processor because it also cooks. Instead of emptying the prepped food into a slow cooker or Dutch oven, the 18-cup food processor bowl doubles as a cooking space. It comes with a second lid designed to trap steam inside the bowl, and the digital display allows you to choose from the following functions: sauté, simmer, slow cook, and steam.
How does the Cuisinart Complete Chef work?
Using the Cuisinart Complete Chef as a food processor is easy enough. Simply click the desired blade into the bowl, twist the lid to secure it in place, and hit the start button. You can choose from the pulse, high, and low buttons on the left side of the unit, or select an option from the digital display. The speed for certain functions like chop/blend, slice, whisk, and knead are preset.
Additionally, you can choose to set a specific target time, and the unit will turn off when the time expires. If you use the quick buttons, the display records the time in use (or the number of times the pulse button was hit).
Under the cooking functions, you have a few options. You can choose from 200 built-in recipes, or you can use specific cooking modes. Some modes can be used with a stirring paddle that moves the food around the bottom of the bowl at low speeds, keeping the food from burning to the bowl.
You can either enter a custom cook time and temperature (from 85°F to 285°F), or select from built-in functions with adjustable defaults: sauce/soup (1 hour at 205°F), slow cook (2 hours at 205°F), sauté (10 minutes at 285°F), simmer (30 minutes at 205°F), steam (20 minutes at 285°F), risotto (30 minutes at 205°F), and keep warm & stir (1 hour at 160°F). When the time expires, you have the option to reset the time and temperature and proceed.
How we tested
We started by following the protocol established when we tested other food processors. To evaluate the Complete Chef’s abilities as a food processor, we chopped onions, minced parsley, ground almonds, sliced potatoes, tomatoes, and pepperoni, shredded mozzarella cheese, cut potatoes into julienne strips, and kneaded pizza dough.
Along the way, we considered whether the unit was easy to use. Was it difficult to lock the lid into place? Was the motor annoyingly noisy? Did the food processor wobble around on the counter when it ran on high speed?
Then, we tested the cook functions. We made several of the built-in recipes, including mashed potatoes, BBQ pulled pork, curried butternut squash soup, mushroom risotto, and a seafood and vegetable quinoa bowl. We also used many of the stand-alone functions to proof dough and sauté or steam vegetables. Cooking in the Complete Chef allowed us to assess the overall ease of cooking in a gadget that’s typically designed exclusively for chopping. We assessed each dish on appearance, level of doneness, and overall flavor.
What we like about the Cuisinart Complete Chef
Interactive screen with helpful built-in functions and recipes
The Complete Chef has pulse, high, and low buttons on the side for quick food processing, but we had more fun using the built-in functions. The high-resolution screen was easy to view, and the scroll bar allowed us to choose from a variety of food processing and cooking functions.
When we selected the step-by-step recipes, we were able to use the scroll bar as the machine walked us through every stage of the recipe, from prepping the ingredients (including which attachments to use) to cooking the food. We liked that the unit allowed adjustments for cook time, temperature, and speed before proceeding.
The bowl and the chopping blades click into place
One of our favorite features of the Complete Chef was how the bowl locked into place. Simply press down to secure the bowl to the unit with a satisfying click. When we were finished, releasing the bowl was as easy as pushing the buttons on the handles as we lifted. It’s such a simple thing, but it eliminates the annoying twist-and-lock mechanism used by other Cuisinart food processors.
Similarly, we loved how the chopping blades don’t just rest inside the bowl. Instead, they attach to the star-shaped mechanism at the bottom of the bowl. That means the blades stay put instead of falling out of the bowl when removing the contents.
The recipes made it easy to cook
The built-in recipes on the Complete Chef are perfect for beginner cooks. They detail the specific recipe quantities needed and also walk the user through each step of prepping and cooking the ingredients. Even if you’ve never cooked a more complex dish like risotto or pulled pork before, we think most people would feel confident using one of these recipes.
It kept track of the number of pulses
When using a built-in function like chop or slice, the Complete Chef allows you to set the time and speed, and the display counts down when you hit play. But sometimes we just wanted to get chopping, so we used the quick buttons on the side instead—high, low, or pulse. The display panel kept track of the time we used the unit or the number of pulses. (This is really helpful for recipes that call for a specific number of pulses.)
What we don’t like about the Cuisinart Complete Chef
It doesn’t chop well when the bowl is full
We had no issues chopping onions, carrots, celery, or grinding almonds when the bowl was less than half full. But when we filled it up to its maximum capacity, things got a little uneven.
We added seven medium onions (chopped into 1½-inch pieces) to the bowl to reach the max line. When we used the pulse button to start chopping, the onions on the bottom of the bowl were quickly reduced to small pieces while the ones on top remained large. When we repeated the test with only two onions, the results were much more uniform.
It moved around a lot when kneading dough
The Complete Chef has rubber suction cup-like attachments at the base’s four corners, but they didn’t keep the unit from moving when it was in heavy use. We made a standard pizza dough recipe using the dough blade and the Cuisinart’s built-in dough function (which was set to medium speed).
After about a minute, a dough ball formed and rolled around the bowl. The blade slowed down as the mass came together, and the Complete Chef began to rock on the counter. We had to physically hold it down to keep it from moving around.
The alarm was very quiet
The Complete Chef beeps when it’s finished with a set function or a step in a built-in recipe. Unfortunately, the alarm was super quiet, even when set on the highest volume setting. (We couldn’t hear it from the room next to the kitchen!) Most of the recipes have multiple cooking and prepping steps, so you’ll have to pay attention if you walk away in the middle of a recipe.
Overall, how did the Cuisinart Complete Chef perform?
The Complete Chef performed as expected as a food processor, and it exceeded our expectations as a multicooker. Everything we cooked in the unit turned out fantastic.
The seasonings from the recipes might be a little off—I found myself adding herbs and spices here and there—but the cook times never failed us. The mashed potatoes were light and fluffy, and the pulled pork was tender and shreddable. We were particularly impressed with the quinoa rice bowl.
The one area where the Complete Chef didn’t wow us was in its pureeing function. It was fine for thicker sauces like marinara, but we wanted a smoother texture for soups like the curried squash soup recipe we made. The blades didn’t move fast enough, and the soup was a little grainy. We had to transfer it to a Vitamix blender to achieve the desired consistency.
The Cuisinart Complete Chef is covered by a limited three-year warranty, stipulating that the unit will be free of defects in materials and workmanship under normal home use for three years from the date of original purchase. The warranty only applies to customers in the United States and Canada and does not cover any damage caused by accident, misuse, shipment, or other than ordinary household use.
Is the Cuisinart Complete Chef worth it?
The $699.95 price tag for the Cuisinart Complete Chef is certainly steep. But, when you add up the cost of a food processor, all the included accessory blades, a slow cooker, and a rice cooker, it doesn’t seem as bad. It’s not necessarily a replacement for an electric pressure cooker because it doesn’t cook under pressure. That said, the lid does allow you to trap steam inside the bowl, and the unit also has the same sauté function you’ll find on most electric pressure cookers.
It definitely isn’t a replacement for your kitchen range—it can’t roast like an oven, and you can’t cook over-easy eggs in it. But, after extensive testing, we think the Complete Chef is perfect for anyone with limited kitchen space. It crams a ton of prep and cooking functions into an appliance that takes up roughly 2 square feet, and it works really well. It’s also great for new cooks who don’t want to chop everything by hand or need help building confidence in their cooking game. Simply follow along with the recipes, and you’ll be well on your way to impressing your dinner guests.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.