Pros: Solid Build, Relatively quiet, Excellent chopping, shredding & slicing performance, reasonably priced
Cons: 7-Cup size may be too small for some, Permanently mounted slicing/shredding disks, accessories expensive
(Note: As of this writing, the picture associated with this review is not the Cuisinart DLC-5, but a newer 7-cup model.)
Several years ago when my circa 1980 11-cup Cuisinart Food Processor finally gave up the ghost and would work no more I was forced to find a replacement. At the time I was a little more than shocked to learn that the updated 11 cup Cuisinart would cost about $250 to purchase. Although Cuisinart has long been touted as the best food processor available, I flinched. Ultimately, I cheaped out and purchased a Black & Decker FP1400 Quick & Easy Plus Food Processor at Target for just $29.95. Now honestly my experience with the B&D Food Processor was not all that bad, but it did prove that old maxim, “you get what you pay for”.
Its motor at 350 watts was just a little too lightweight for tougher jobs and it had a footprint that was just too large for it to be left out on the counter-top. Within a couple of years I had stripped the adapter for the reversible slicing/shredding disk. And although Applica, the current owner of the B&D brand was good about sending me a free replacement, I stripped that one too in a matter of months.
Interestingly, I found little reason to complain about its 8-cup size. No longer cooking for a household of 5, it was usually more than adequate for my needs.
Now you would suppose from all this that I would have returned to Cuisinart wouldn’t you? Makes sense to me too. But when I finally got around to doing the replacement the economy took its beating and I was probably less inclined than before to pony up the $250. So I took an additional detour by purchasing the Black & Decker FP2500IKT 10 Cup Food Processor. It had a brawnier motor, a smaller footprint and a large ingredient chute. Well let’s not waste a lot more time here. In a matter of months, the bowl developed stress fractures and I was tiring of talking yet again with customer service. I had to replace it.
Cuisinart 7-Cup DLC-5 Food Processor
Just when I thought I had no alternative but to pop for the $250 I saw an ad for the Cuisinart DLC-5 for just $79.99. Score! Sure it wasn’t as big as my 11 cup, but I had already realized that my needs could be satisfied by a smaller unit.
The Cuisinart DLC-5 bore a striking resemblance to my departed 11-cup model, but scaled down to about 2/3 rds size. At about 8.75”D x 6.5”W x 14”H and 9 lbs. the DLC-5 fits nicely on top of my counter under my cabinet. There is sufficient room to remove the food plunger/pusher without moving the unit. On the bottom of the unit there are rubber “feet” that hold the unit securely in one place on the counter. It is so secure, that it is actually difficult to move the processor without picking it straight up and setting it down elsewhere.
Using the Cuisinart DLC-5
If you’re familiar with the classic line of Food Processors you’ll be completely at home with a new DLC-5. It features the same double latching work bowl as the others. The work bowl is a heavy gauge lexan plastic and feels considerably more substantive than the Black & Decker work bowls.
Unlike my original Cuisinart there is only one switch that provides off/on/pulse functions. The on position is only one speed rather than 2. This doesn’t seem to be an impediment since I find myself using the pulse function for everything but blending.
When the work bowl is in place a chopping blade or either a shredding or slicing disk can be fit over the drive shaft in the center of the bowl. This model is a bit different than most other classic Cuisinart designs in that the slicing and shredding disks are permanently mounted on their stems. This does make storing blades a little more troublesome, but may prove to be an advantage given my tendency to strip the disks when subjecting the unit to extreme use (shredding 30 lbs of potatoes when preparing Hanukkah latkes).
I had forgotten how quietly and efficiently the Cuisinart goes about its business. The 600 watt motor doesn’t strain in the least. This is a far cry from my B&D FP1400 whose 350 watt motor sounded like a jet engine coming up to full throttle.
The DLC-5 Series has been around for several years. In an attempt to update its appearance, Cuisinart has changed the color of the base from white to a stainless steel colored plastic. I find that this color change works well with all the stainless steel appliances that now grace the kitchen.
The cutting and slicing/shredding blades are as sharp and honed as I remember Cuisinart blades to be. They are definitely superior to the blades of the B&D models and the chopping blade successfully turns over the ingredients nicely when used in the pulse mode. This provides a nice uniform chop. The continuous on mode reduces ingredients to a puree in little time and is appreciated when making various squash soup and guacamole recipes.
The Feed Chute
The feed chute on the top of the processor measures 3 ¼” x 2”, the same as that of most of the original Cuisinart processors. Some find this chute a bit too small, requiring some ingredients to be cut or trimmed before being fed to the machine. I find this to be a minor issue. Having used a big mouth processor and experiencing the problems associated with properly packing them, I actually find I’m usually more comfortable with the smaller chute that this model features.
The pusher/plunger that works with the chute features a small “drizzle hole” on its bottom to allow liquids to be slowly introduced to the contents of the work bowl, a very handy feature, particularly when adding oils to flour.
Several reviewers here and elsewhere have complained about leakage of liquids from the work bowl. This unit will in fact leak if more than 2 cups of thin liquid are placed in the bowl. The Operating Instructions tells you that this is the case. Most often when I’m using the DLC-5 the need to add this much liquid is not required. But on those occasions that it is I remember to use the drizzle hole to add thin liquids slowly to ingredients already being processed. So far that has prevented any leakage concerns.
The lexan bowl and cover of the processor is very easily cleaned either by hand in soapy water or on the top level of your dishwasher. I generally recommend handwashing the blades with caution. Blades and disks in the dishwasher run the risk of damage from other objects. The base unit with its square lines can be easily cleaned with a damp sponge.
When this model was originally introduced, Cuisinart offered several accessories such as special slicing and shredding blades. On their site you’ll note that these items are no longer featured as available. Not to worry though, as the accessories for the larger DLC-10 can be used with the DLC-5. It appears that while Cuisinart isn’t prepared to discontinue the DLC-5 it tries to up-sell its customers to the larger and costlier model. Be advised though that a set of accessory blades may cost you as much as the DLC-5 itself.
Cuisinart warranties all parts of the DLC-5 for 3 years from time of purchase. It also provides for a full 10 year warranty for the motor.
For the smaller family, the Cuisinart DLC-5 Food Processor offers a lot of Cuisinart goodness in a smaller form for a smaller price. For this family, it’s almost ideal. I recommend it.
Now go cook something good tonight.
See also: Black & Decker FP1400 Quick & Easy Plus Food Processor