on September 25, 2004
When I starting searching for a mini-chopper I was surprised by the huge rating difference between the Cuisinart DLC2 and the KitchenAid KFC3100, so I bought both and did a side-by-side comparison. The only explanation I can give for the ratings difference is that Cuisinart buyers must have higher expectations. For most operations they have nearly identical performance and for some operations the Cuisinart is the clear winner.
Onions: Many Cuisinart reviewers panned its performance here, claiming it made onion purée, but most KitchenAid reviewers praised its onion chopping ability. I found almost no difference between the two. Maybe its an issue with the instructions - for chopped onions you must use a few short pulses. A few more pulses and you get minced onion - more than this and both give you onion puree. I wouldn't say either is great at chopping onions, but both are equally mediocre.
I also tested chopping nuts, and making breadcrumbs with similar results. Both performed about the same for a course chop, although the Cuisinart produced a more even chop on the nuts, but its when you want a really fine chop that the Cuisinart starts to shine. The first reason for this is the grind feature found only on the Cuisinart. This spins the blade in the opposite direction which allows the flat, back-side of the blade to impact the food. More importantly, it redistributes the food, so if you've got a couple of chunks that refuse to be chopped, a short pulse in the opposite direction helps it drop into the blade. For perfect, fine breadcrumbs I alternate between the normal chop mode for a few seconds, and grind for one second.
The other reason the Cuisinart gives a better fine chop is that it does a much better job of cycling the food through the blade. This is a real key when you're working with softer foods like spreads, pâtés or purees. When I made a cream cheese spread in both choppers the Cuisinart did a far quicker and better job of pulling the ingredients down the center and into the blade. The KitchenAid kept larger chunks bobbing on top. If you're making dips, spreads or baby food, the Cuisinart is the hands-down winner.
On the practical side, both choppers were equally easy to clean. Both have small holes in the lid for pouring in liquids on the fly, but only The KitchenAid has a slot for dry or thick ingredients - if that's important to you. Overall, I found the Cuisinart easier to use for several reasons. First, the Cuisinart blade drops on easily, while the KitchenAid blade is keyed and I found myself turning it several times before it dropped in. Second, the KitchenAid lid must be removed first before you can lift off the bowl, but on the Cuisinart, the bowl and lid can be detached as an assembly. Finally, the Cuisinart blade has a "handle" that extends to the top of the bowl like a popsicle stick allowing you to remove the blade without getting your fingers in the food.
After all my testing, I really can't understand the large ratings difference between these two. Neither is perfect - you'll never get a perfect, even, course chop with things like onions or chocolate, but they do come in handy. For many uses either one will give you pretty much the same results. Because of its advantage with softer foods and its ease of use, I recommend the Cuisinart.
I got this as a gift from my boyfriend and have been using it regularly. This is one of those things that you don't think you ever need (and I did give this topic extensive thought), but once you have it, you would really miss it.
The good is that it is really good at FINELY chopping things.
The bad is that it is really good at FINELY chopping things.
Keeping this in mind, I've learnt when to use and when to just use my knife. For instance, when chopping walnuts for banana bread, I put a cup of walnuts into the processor and hit "Chop" - it immediately chopped the walnuts into good sized chunks, but there was a couple of walnuts that didn't get cut yet, so I hit the "Chop" button a couple more times, but that turned the rest of the walnuts to a very small almost "powder" consistency. I tried it again, with about the same results. I guess I could try putting in less walnuts at a time, but then that would defeat the purpose of "less work" since I'd have to put in a small amount, chop, dump out the first batch, repeat. It's much easier in this case to do a coarse chop with knife. Chopping Mushrooms in this device also was lacking, it kind of made a mushroom puree.
Where it shines though is in my daily meals where I'm making some kind of pan sauce. Just about all my pan sauces or pan meals start with butter/oil, then saute'ing some garlic and onions. I'll just peel a few cloves of garlic, coarse chop an onion, dump it all into the MiniPrep, and presto, it's done! When I'm ready to dump it into my pan, just remove the co, remove the blade and use a mini-silicone spatula to dump the contents directly into the pan. A quick rinse of the lid, blade, and work bowl, and the processor can be put away. That can't be any easier.
For larger meals and more ingredients, it's great to just coarsely chop your items, dump into the processor, let it do it's work, and then fill up your prep bowls with the different ingredients - making everything easier once you're cooking.
I find the "Chop" and "Grind" feature to be pretty much the same thing, just in opposite directions. The opposite direction thing is helpful to get the food to drop down to the blade. If you don't put too much in the processor, once the piece is chopped, it gets flung to the sides of the work bowl and sticks there, creating empty space for the unchopped foods to drop into the blade. Everything gets chopped evenly...it just gets chopped very finely too.
The entire unit is very easy to use and clean. The blades are extremely sharp, so be careful when washing those. The clear plastic work bowl does get a little scratched up and not so clear anymore after a bit of use...but then, it's a work bowl. The buttons are under a protective plastic, sealed - so no chance of anything getting under the buttons, just a quick wipe and it's clean!
Overall, the unit is small, solid, quiet, easy to use, and easy to clean. It's great for fine chops to puree, not so great for coarse chops/dice. Perfect size for meals for 2 people. For making larger meals you may want to look at the larger cup sized processors, or just make a couple of batches.
on May 30, 2010
We bought this item to replace an older, larger food processor from Hamilton Beach which died after many years of service. This little rascal is great! We're just cooking for two, so it's plenty big for most all of our needs. The secret seems to be to pulse the cutter using the "chop" button. (Just like the directions tell you to!) If you let it run, you'll turn your ingredients into a puree. (That's French for mush!) Of course, if that's what you're after, go for it. I've used it for onions for hot dogs, pickles for potato salad, jalapenos for salsa, black beans for soup, etc.
I used to always chop onions with a knife, now I just cut the onion into cubes, throw 'em into the Mini prep, jog the "chop" button a few times, and viola, chopped onions. Clean up is easy, too. The knife lifts out, and there's just the knife, the lid, and the main container to clean up.
It doesn't take up nearly as much precious counter space as my old food processor, either. Would definitely buy this item again!
on July 30, 2006
A time for every seasoning......and a utensil for every purpose. The Cuisinart Mini Prep does not serve well as a primary processor for heavy jobs. That was not its intended design, or function. It is not a parmesan cheese grater nor does it compete with a sharp French knife for uniformly chopping onions.
I obtained my first mini prep as a promotional gift with a DLC-7 purchase. For many years they have been contributing to my cooking enjoyment as a problem-free, complimentary team in a busy kitchen. When their lexan lids eventually chipped, (which admittedly is a major cause of aggravation with Cuisinart's products) I opted to replace them rather than spend up to 50% of their new cost for replacement bowls. I upgraded the old DLC-7 that is still mechanically perfect, with a MP-14 TM Limited Edition.
The Mini Prep perfectly compliments larger processors.
The mini prep makes delectable, creamy homemade sauces and dressings. It performs equally well making pesto, creamed butter, chopped fresh herbs, including garlic, chopped nuts, small portion purees, deviled eggs, spreads, and speedy fresh salsas. It has a fast and slow lever whose function I like because they may be "pulsed" on and off with an instantaneous response. This offers a demanding cook tremendous control over several types of prep functions conducive to small processors.
Mini Prep seems perfectly designed to make small portions of emulsified sauces and dressings, such as cilantro mayonnaise for grilled fish, or a dollop on fresh grilled corn salad.
Here is a basic example of how I use this workhorse.
Herb mayonnaise: place dry seasonings, a dab of honey, poupon mustard, flavored vinegars, or lemon/lime juice in the jar. Pulse to mix. Add about a tablespoon (who measures?) of Just Whites, dry pasteurized egg whites to the liquid (no cholesterol, calories, or salmonellae fears) ---pulse to mix---add a hand full of fresh herbs (cilantro, or dill, or tarragon is nice)----pulse to chop slightly. Then use the wonderfully designed lid that holds oil and has two holes on the top that will drizzle in the oil of your choice, without opening the lid, or fiddling with additional attachments that drizzle oil. You have the additional control to shift the motor speed instantaneously from high speed, to slower, or pulse mode, in direct accordance to your temperamental sauce's precise requirement as it thickens.
Result: Restaurant quality chef's sauces come together effortlessly in minutes! Large processor's work bowls are too large for this type of job. One must repeatedly scrape the bowl's sides, and the motors are additionally too powerful to make small portions described above as successfully as the Mini Prep's performance.
The Mini prep is very lightweight which makes it a delight to store in the pantry. It assembles and disassembles quickly and effortlessly. I especially love the function of the two (tiny) holes on the lid, along with the ease of the lid's removal for ingredient additions. The design and function permit those who love to cook an opportunity to enjoy their creativity in the kitchen without fighting with obstinate, dysfunctional appliances.
It is a great convenience and a breeze to use. I love this little workhorse.
on March 4, 2005
I read the reviews from others before buying the product--disregard the bad reviews about things turning to mush. The only way things turn to mush is if you hold the chop button down. If you do quick pulses, you get exactly what you want. This is the essential appliance because it helps to do exactly what the name says--prep. Often after coming home late I want to make a meal, but the thought of chopping onions, garlic or veggies seems daunting. Not with the mini-prep. It saves so much time. Plus I use fresh ingredients more often. I am completely happy with this product.
on July 14, 2002
I have the Mini-Prep and I have the big guy version, but I use the MP 10x as much. It does everything! Want chopped garlic? peel a couple heads, add 2-3T of olive oil and about a 1/4-1/2tsp. of salt. It keeps in a jar in the fridge and tastes a heck of a lot better than the store kind! Fresh herbs, nuts, peppers without burning hands...it's great! When I'm done, I just rinse it out. This is my favorite appliance after my blender, and if this made smoothies and margaritas, it would be my favorite!
on February 27, 2011
I bought this at Costco as an impulse purchase knowing that if it did not live up to my expectations, I could return it. Borrowing a phrase from the NRA, you will have to pry it from my cold dead fingers! I purchased Cuisinart DFP-3 Handy Prep 3-Cup Food Processor several years ago but have never been even slightly satisfied with it. This one, on the other hand, is a gem! I tried chopping onions with it and it works great! Alternating between pulse and chop seems to give the most consistent results. Using that alternating method yielded very evenly sized chopped vegetables. I tried onions, peppers, nutmeg, and potatoes. Why potatoes? Because their starch content makes them naturally sticky and therefore a challenge to chop evenly. The onions, as well as the peppers were chopped evenly and without any 'mush'. I was able to create a rough chop as well as evenly diced veggies. The potatoes surprised me and chopped equally well. The nutmeg was tried to see how it handled a very hard item and to see if I could use it as a spice grinder. The result was evenly chopped nutmeg, about the consistency of coarsely ground coffee, not fine enough to use for baking and a little bit uneven. You could use it to create very finely chopped nuts but not any smaller. The good thing is, it doesn't turn veggies into mush. I even tried crushing ice with it and was able to get a fairly even grind. However, the weight of the ice cubes and the force created by the blade actually caused the blender to 'hop around'. I needed to hold it down while grinding. There are two small holes in the lid that allow you to add liquid to whatever your are processing which makes it very easy to achieve the right consistency. I also found that it was much easier to attach the container to the base if you remove the blade and align the handle of the container with the "4" on the base label, then install the blade. I like that I can remove the lid with out removing the base, but even more than that, I appreciate that the blade has a 'handle' that is as tall as the container, allowing me to easily remove the blade when emptying the contents without dipping my fingers into the chopped/ground product. Cleaning is a snap; the interior is smooth without any nooks to hold debris.
Finally, a small countertop version of a food processor that actually works!
EDIT: Process small batches! If you try to do large batches you will be less satisfied with the results.
on July 31, 2009
I was grinding garlic and salt together and the blade broke off and tore through the plastic bowl. If I was holding it, it would have sliced through my hand! I called Cuisinart to report the problem and they were very rude. They kept telling me that it was out of warranty and there was nothing they could do. You would think they would want to know what happened and perhaps tell the manufacturer to attach the blade more securely!! This thing is a hazard don't spend your money on it or count on Cuisinart to stand behind their product.
on March 26, 2004
I had this Cuisinart DLC Miniprep first, and was not happy with it. I wanted a small food processor primarily to chop up an onion and some garlic cloves, and with the Cuisinart, I pretty much ended up doing almost all of the chopping before I put the food in the processor, otherwise large sections wouldn't get cut.
After reading the reviews here about how the Kitchenaid has the reverse sprial action which pulls down the food, I thought I'd try that one, and it's true!! The Kitchenaid KFC3100 is a superior product! Now I can just cut the onion into quarters and throw in whole garlic cloves and it cuts them all up perfectly. If your not sure which of the two products to buy, get the Kitchenaid KFC3100!
on May 21, 2003
This is about the fifth (or more) mini processor I've ever had, and it's the greatest! After I got this baby and tried it out, I took my old big Cuisinart (circa late '70's) off the counter and moved it to the back of a cabinet. Prior to this one I had been using the Cuisinart Mini Prep for about the last eight years and it was adequate. But when I tested the new Mini Prep Plus on fresh parsley, it chopped it as fine as the big one did. The same for onions which came out finely minced instead of pureed. The difference, I realized, is the chopping blade -- it's almost the same one as on the big models. It's no noisier than any other appliance and cleaning it is a snap.