Cuisinart Food Processor Not Working (Causes & Troubleshooting)

Cuisinart is one of the most well-known kitchenware manufacturers on the planet. As such, many of its appliances, like food processors, are designed to outlast its competitors by quite a lot. But what should you do when pressing the pulse button doesn’t spin the blade attachment?

If your Cuisinart food processor isn’t working, make sure the bowl is assembled properly. You can also try resetting the food processor by pressing the activator button while pressing down the “on” button. If neither of these solutions works, you might need to replace the food processor entirely.

In this guide, I’ll assist you in troubleshooting your faulty Cuisinart food processor after identifying the most common causes. I’ll also explain how to tell whether your food processor has reached the end of its life.

Why Won’t My Cuisinart Food Processor Start?

Here, I’ll explain the most likely causes behind by your Cuisinart food processor won’t start and what you need to do to get it working again.

The food processor is unplugged

You’d be surprised by how many people actually forget to plug their food processor in before hitting the pulse button. Clearly, the appliance will not do anything unless there’s electricity to power to motor.

Solution: Plug it in

Again, the solution to this simple problem is a no-brainer. Look for the end of the appliance’s power cord and see whether or not it’s plugged in. If it is plugged in, then keep reading.

The motor is overheating

If your Cuisinart food processor worked just a second ago but won’t start now, it’s probably because you left it running for too long. Cuisinart has given its food processors a fail-safe mechanism that prevents the motor from burning out. When it reaches a certain temperature, it will automatically lock itself out, preventing you from running the appliance until the motor has cooled down.

Solution: Wait 10-15 minutes for the motor to cool down

In older models, the food processor might require a bit more time to come down to temperature. Also, in the future, try not to place whole ingredients inside the food processor’s bowl. If possible, pre-chop the ingredients with a knife on a cutting board. Larger ingredients will overwork the motor and dull the blades more quickly.

The blade is jammed

It might be the case that your food processor is 100% functional, but the cutting attachment won’t spin. This can be caused by trapped debris inside the drive shaft or a hard ingredient, such as a whole walnut, preventing the blade from spinning.

Solution #1: Clean the cutting attachment

First, empty out the food processor bowl and see whether or not that solves the problem. If it doesn’t, remove the cutting attachment and dunk it in a basin of soapy water. Use pipe cleaners to clean the inside of the shaft before rinsing and drying it out. Now, try reinstalling the blade inside the food processor’s bowl and hitting the pulse or on button.

Solution #2: Clean the driveshaft on the base

If cleaning the cutting attachment didn’t solve the problem, then you might need to inspect the base’s driveshaft for debris. Use a narrow tool, such as a bamboo skewer, and poke the inside of the driveshaft. Carefully remove any debris you find in there before reinstalling the bowl and hitting the pulse or on button.

The bowl and cutting attachment aren’t locked in place

Apart from adding a built-in heat gauge in its food processors, Cuisinart has also implemented a safety measure to prevent the motor from turning off whenever the attachments aren’t in place correctly. That way, the bowl or cutting accessory won’t go flying off the drive shaft and base in the middle of blitzing hard ingredients.

Solution #1: Lock the attachments in place

For the most part, you only need to check the bowl to make sure its lock is engaged before hitting the pulse button. Simply line the handle with the line indicator on the base. The indicator will let you know where to position the handle to lock the bowl on the base. The cutting attachment will easily slide onto the bowl’s shaft. If you’re using a feed chute attachment, double-check that it’s securely in place.

Solution #2: Replace the bowl

In very extreme cases, the locking latch on the food processor’s bowl may have snapped off or become damaged in some way. When this happens, your only option is to replace the bowl. However, if the base doesn’t register a locked bowl, then you should replace the base.

The power cord is faulty

If the power outlet where you plugged in the food processor works on other appliances but not your food processor, the power cord might be faulty. This can happen when you improperly disconnect the cord from the outlet or if moisture somehow gets into the cable.

Solution: Replace the cord

This problem is a lot more annoying than it sounds. Assuming you know how, you can snip the cord and reconnect it to a fresh cord, making sure to keep all the copper wires inside the cable where they belong. However, since there’s no way to tell which section of the cable is faulty, you should consider replacing the entire cord or even the base.

The pulse or on button is broken

Although food processors can last for up to a decade with proper maintenance, that doesn’t mean your food processor will make it past its warranty period without experiencing mechanical problems. One of the most common mechanical issues is that the pulse or start button is defective. This can be caused by moisture or debris getting into the base and drying on the button mechanism.

Solution #1: Clean the base

While cracking open the base to clean the buttons isn’t advised, especially if the food processor has an electronic control board, it might be worth doing if you think you can put it back together again. Please take note that attempting to get into the base may void its warranty.

Solution #2: Replace the base

If the base is still under warranty, you can reach out to Cuisinart (1-800-726-0190 or and let them know what’s going on. If the base isn’t under warranty, you’ll have to place an order for a replacement base. They’re the costliest part of a food processor kit.

The motor is defective

Another common mechanical issue is that the motor has become damaged and will not start. This can be caused by overworking the motor or moisture somehow leaking into the food processor’s base.

Solution #2: Check the motor for continuity

If you can crack open the base, use a multimeter to check for continuity. If electricity isn’t flowing into the motor, then you’ll need to replace the entire base.

How to Reset a Cuisinart Food Processor Motor

How to Reset a Cuisinart Food Processor Motor

Believe it or not, Cuisinart food processors have a button that allows you to restart the motor. On the base, you’ll find a tiny hole with the activator button. You’ll need a narrow tool, such as a pencil tip, to press the button and begin the reset sequence.

To reset a Cuisinart food processor’s motor, this is what you need to do:

Remove the bowl and cutting attachment from the base.

Use a narrow tool to press the activator button on the food processor’s base. At the same time, press the on button.

If the motor is still in working order, it will spin the driveshaft. You’ll hear a slight whirring noise.

After about 10 seconds, turn the food processor off and reassemble the unit.

Take a look at this video by Cuisinart to see how you can reset the motor. If this procedure still doesn’t work, you might need to get a new food processor.

Should I Replace My Cuisinart Food Processor?

If you’ve done everything in your power to fix your food processor without success, then, unfortunately, you will have to replace it. If it’s still under warranty, ask a customer service rep whether or not there’s anything they can do to resolve the issue. At best, they’ll send a replacement base or a new kit to your place.

However, if your food processor isn’t under warranty, or if you voided the warranty by opening the base, then you’ll have to pick up a new food processor. The sad reality is that food processors, even those sporting the Cuisinart label, can break down without warning.

Should I Get a Cuisinart or Ninja Food Processor?

Both Cuisinart and Ninja are excellent food processor brands. For the most part, their food processors last for up to a decade with frequent maintenance and proper usage. They also offer food processors at all price levels so that you can pick up an ultra-cheap chopper or a semi-commercial-level food processor.

If you want to try another brand, I wholeheartedly suggest giving KitchenAid a try. Some KitchenAid food processors come with a wide range of cutting accessories, while others come with one or two blades for chopping and slicing. The more you spend on a KitchenAid food processor, the more accessories you’ll receive, and the more versatile the appliance becomes.

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