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The KitchenAid Cook Processor Vs the Thermomix – My Comparison

17/08/2015 | By

I’ve been putting the KitchenAid Cook Processor & the Thermomix through their paces and here’s my review.

KitchenAid Cook Processor vs the Thermomix

July 2016 – To see my review of the new Magimix Cook Expert head over here!

For a little while now I have been in the enviable position of having two of the most desirable kitchen appliances – the KitchenAid Cook Processor and the Thermomix (TM 31, not the fancy-pants new one) – sitting side by side on my kitchen bench. I’ve owned the Thermomix for more than seven years and was kindly given the KitchenAid Cook Processor to play with by the folks at KitchenAid Australia. I’ve been putting them both through their paces to compare them and, while I can’t cover absolutely all the bases in this one post, I have tried to be as objective as I possibly can – here’s what I think about how they weigh up.

Appearance – Design and Features

Straight up, I’m going to be very shallow and comment on their looks. The Thermomix has a functional, if oddly-shaped, white plastic base with a stainless steel jug – no excitement there. The KitchenAid Cook Processor, on the other hand, is of die-cast metal constructions, looks squat and sturdy sitting on the bench and comes in a range of stylish colours. Mine is a handsome, shiny red – ’nuff said.

Both machines come with durable, stainless steel cooking containers and a range of accessories, including large steamer baskets, scrapers, whipping blades and cookbooks.  In addition to these basic accessories, the Cook Processor comes with an inner steamer basket, a mini-bowl with mini blade for processing small amounts, a dough blade and the stir assist (more about that later).  While that seems like a lot of extra stuff to find room in your cupboards for, the KitchenAid Cook Processor also comes with a storage container. The Thermomix doesn’t.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 3.21.32 pm

Functionality and Use

The machines vary a little in their specifications.  The Thermomix has four blades making it capable of milling at high speeds and has a built in measuring scale. At 1050 watts the Cook Processor has a stronger wattage heating element than the TM’s  1000 watts, has a larger capacity cooking pot, will cook at higher temperatures than the TM and is programmable to slow cook for longer than my TM31 (I can’t speak for the new TM5 cooking times).

Both machines chop, mince, process, puree, stir and cook and the TM31 is fairly simply controlled by a speed dial, timer and temperature buttons, although the newer model has pre-programmed recipes built in to it. The KitchenAid Cook Processor has pre-programmed cooking functions for boiling, frying, stewing etc and speed, time and temperature controls which are moderated by a central dial, which is all simple enough to work, once you’ve familiarised yourself with the functions.

When it comes to use, there are a few differences between the units that need to be considered. The first is the absence of scales in the KitchenAid Cook Processor. Initially, this was a bit of a surprise as I had become accustomed to having them handy in the TM31, but as I have a reliable digital scale I quickly adapted.

The second difference worth considering is the lid design of each machine. I’ve always felt that the design of the Thermomix, with it’s solid steel bowl and non-transparent lid, disconnects the user from the cooking process, making it impossible to see what is going on in the bowl without switching it off and opening it. This issue is addressed in the KitchenAid Cook Processor with it’s clear lid, giving the cook a good view of what’s going on inside and reducing cooking interruptions. The KitchenAid lid also has more ventilation, resulting in a less ‘stewed’ result in some dishes where that is not desirable.

The shape of the two cooking vessels is also important. The TM31 design is more of a jug shape, with a narrow base and wider mouth, whereas the Cook Processor is a wide-based pot shape. This is a significant difference and impacts directly on the cooking processes. The broader base, combined with the KitchenAid’s higher temperature capacity, means that it is possible to achieve a degree of caramelisation and to  brown things when cooking –  an important flavour component in many dishes.

One of the other things that impacts on the quality of a dish is it’s texture and this is where the KitchenAid Cook Processor’s clever little StirAssist makes a difference.  When cooking food in the TM31 the procedure is to reverse the blade action while cooking to stir, rather than cut, the food. However, I find that I still generally end up with a dish that is more soft and processed than I’d like. With the Cook Processor, once the chopping part of the procedure is done, one swaps the blade for the stir assist which keeps the food moving without making it mushy. This means that you can cook whole cubes of meat or things like chicken legs, rather than just minced up protein. Combine this with the ability to brown things and it means that is it simple to make great stir-fried dishes in the KitchenAid appliance.

Both come with dedicated cookbooks and the recipes in the KitchenAid Cook Processor book are all beautifully photographed. They are divided up into the auto function categories to help the user get comfortable with each. Once familiar with the six auto functions it is a simple matter to begin adapting your own recipes.

When it comes to cleaning up, once again the two devices differ here. The TM31 jug is completely dishwasher-safe, as is the Cook Processor cook pot. Both are made of stainless steel, but the latter seems much less inclined to have things stick. Because of the wide base and curved sides it is very easy to give it a gentle scrub and, so far, that’s all I’ve needed to do.  On the other hand, I have spent lots of frustrating time trying to scrub the narrow base of the TM31 as things seem to stick to it more readily. (Edited 19 Aug 2015. Seems my instructions incorrectly stated that the KitchenAid Cook Processor was not dishwasher safe. In fact it totally is.)

Finally, there is the issue of noise. The TM31 is a terrifically noisy machine when running and makes intensely irritating beeping noises on completion of tasks. The KitchenAid Cook Processor operates more quietly and smoothly and has a much less annoying chime to indicate the completion of stages or cooking.

Thermomix controls

My Judgement

I guess it all comes down to what you want out of these machines and how you prefer to cook. If you are short of time, opportunity or inclination to stand around bonding with the stove, then one of these will make you very happy indeed. You’ll find yourself turning out wonderful homemade sauces, pastes, soups and stocks. Both will also produce great bread doughs and cake batters.

The Thermomix TM 31 is fast and powerful, which means this user must be very careful not to over-process things (something I still struggle with).  Also it is unable to brown foods or cook large pieces, so is limited when it comes to depth of flavour and variety of textures. I find most cooked dishes come out with a similar, soft texture, great for the elderly or kids, not so much for the rest of us. It also has a smaller capacity. Further, I dislike their direct-marketing sales methods which can leave the susceptible feeling a little pressured.

I like to connect with what I’m cooking so the ability to see what’s going on in the pot is important to me, and while this machine is almost as powerful as it’s competitor, I find it less likely that I will end up with over-processed mush, thus feeling a little more in control. I don’t want to eat food that is too soft or mushy, so I love the KitchenAid Cook Processor’s ability to make rich, flavoursome stews, casseroles and tagines with properly browned cubes of meat or chicken on the bone.  All in all, I much prefer the quiet performance, stylish good looks and wider cooking capabilities of the KitchenAid Cook Processor.

Obviously, I can’t cover every single aspect of each of these appliances on this page, but if you have any further questions, ask away and I’ll do my best to answer them.

The KitchenAid Cook Processor was kindly supplied to Lambs’ Ears and Honey by KitchenAid Australia.

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  1. Kate Woods

    Have you made jam in either of them ?

  2. Amanda

    Yes – in both. I found the cooking time to be a little shorter in the KitchenAid Cook Process because of the wider cooking base. I’ve also made lemon curd in both with similar results.

  3. sharon

    Thank you for your thoughtful and comprehensive report. A prayer answered x

  4. Peggy Bright

    Thanks so much for this review. I’ve wondered about both appliances—namely curious as to whether I really need one. This helps a lot.

  5. Liz (Good Things)

    Great to read this, Amanda. I have the Cuisine Companion, which I”m enjoying.

  6. Simon

    Good review! I’ve been trying to decide between them. Do you happen to know how th CP goes with milking nuts and the like?

  7. Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas

    An interesting comparison. Thanks for that. I have the TM31, and whilst I find it useful I don’t *love* it for pretty much all of the reasons you detailed above. Good to know there are comparable options should my current TM die.

  8. Amanda

    Simon – I don’t mill flour, so can’t really speak to that. The KA grinds nuts well and should be capable of making nut milks with some tweaking, but you’d need to strain it separately.

  9. Simon

    Thanks for that. Also hope people can have a giggle at my autocorrect comment above… I’m picturing rows of almonds in little stalls waiting to be milked…
    I did mean to write milling!

  10. Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ)

    Interesting – I have neither, but have obviously read a far bit about both – I keep wondering if I should get one but like you actually like the cooking process – have pretty much decided that I’m not really missing anything. Thanks for the comparison Amanda.

  11. Rosey

    Can I suggest you use the new TM5 Thermomix and compare all the functions. kneading, steaming, guided cooking etc. What about the warranty and support. Then you your comparison will be more up to date.

  12. Anna @ shenANNAgans

    Woah, well this post really is most helpful. I have been considering a Thermomix, but just not sure the $ would be well spent. Perhaps I will sell up all my bits and pieces and then purchase.

  13. Michael

    Excuse me for being a little cynical, given KitchenAid Australia provided you with their device, did that impact your impartiality between the two devices? I’m a fan of KitchenAid, but am caught with the quandary of making the right decision particularly given the cost.

  14. Hotly Spiced

    This is really helpful. I don’t have either and seem to have survived pretty well without the additional gadgets. I can’t stand noisy machines so I would definitely go with the Kitchen Aid xx

  15. Coral joyce

    Thank you . Your report has been most informative

  16. Janice

    Like others, I have been contemplating buying a Thermomix or similar – I note that you say the KitchenAid will grind nuts – will it grind them to the consistency of Meal and further, to Nut Butter? Also, will it make Risotto?

  17. Matt @ Inspired Food

    Thanks for the comparison! Two questions… Do you think using these types of devices takes the fun out of cooking? (I’m guessing no since you had a Thermomix?) and what recipe did you use for the lemon curd in the CP? 😀

  18. Amanda

    To answer some of your questions –
    Rosey – I didn’t have the TM5 at my disposal so can’t speak about it and, as I said in the first paragraph, I can’t comment on absolutely every aspect of the machines. This is just my opinion.
    Michael – Again as stated in my opening paragraph, I have tried to be as objective as possible. If you are looking for a machine that mills, then the TM will be more suited to your needs, but for processing and cooking I think the KA does a better job.
    Janice – I haven’t tried to make nut butter, but imagine the KA would be able to do so – maybe best to ask the folk at KitchenAid. And yes, it makes a lovely risotto without mulching up the rice at the bottom of the pot.
    Matt – I mostly enjoy the cooking process, unless I’m not in the mood. I’m addicted to gadgets though, and find having one of these machines to be a great aid in the kitchen. I made up the lemon curd recipe, so might have to hunt around in my notes for it.

  19. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Comprehensive reviews Amanda. It sounds like you preferred the KA for a few reasons. I don’t know if I would be inclined to buy either but it’s good to have the info on hand if I do.

  20. Dawn Taylor

    my daughter saw the Tefal brand being demonstrated in Harvey Norman, and was very interested in it. It sounds like another appliance that has been brought out to compete with the Thermomix, I’ve been trying to find a review just like you’ve done with the Kitchen Aid. Really appreciate the one you’ve done, will keep trying to find a Tefal one.

  21. Jack

    Thanks for your very interesting review. I am still trying to decide wether to buy the kitchen aid or not. I notice that the max rotiation is only 2300 in comparison to 10500 of Tm. Is this not a problem ? Does it chop and cut as well as Tm ?

  22. Suzanne

    I went to a demo and they said the kitchen aid one can go in dishwasher? The jug looked heavy though to be popping in and out like j always seem to be doing..

  23. Naomi

    The really important bit is missing though, how much is the Kitchen Aid? I know the Thermie is about $2000

  24. Amanda

    More answers for you, my lovelies and a correction –
    Suzanne – you are absolutely right! I was contacted today to say that the instructions sent with my unit were incorrect and the bowl is TOTALLY DISHWASHER SAFE.
    Jack – As I don’t require a machine to do any milling, the RPM speed was not an issue for me and I find the Cook Processor manages to process things thoroughly.

  25. Helen | Grab Your Fork

    Wow interesting that KA is moving into the all-in-one market too. Soon we’ll be doing away with stoves altogether! Haha…. never!

  26. Johanna GGG

    I have neither machines but hear so much about the thermomix – it is really interesting to hear you views – I have had some reservations about thermomix as it does seem to process everything so finely and it is good to hear I am not alone in this – really useful review

  27. Kathinver

    Great comparative review, Amanda; I enjoyed reading it.
    I’d be surprised if Choice did better, though I am interested in the $$$ comparison which they, no doubt, cover. But you’re the better read!

  28. Lucy

    Wow thanks for the comparison …. I’m now happy to go with the KitchenAid Cook Processor. Browning my food is important to me (more tasty). Shame it doesn’t have scales but I can live without that. Also like the fact it’s bigger than TM and less noisy. 🙂

  29. Linda

    Thank you for the review. While I don’t have the $$ for either yet I am doing some research as well as the cheaper brands. I have a KA stand mixer and love it, so it would look good on the bench with it, but can’t afford $$ for looks alone. I also have a 6 in one slow fast cooker and use it more in winter than all year, and this has been a good appliance to use, just got to work out now do I need another gadget/appliance? And then to convince the Husband!

  30. Kp

    Interesting read you are obviously loving your new toy. I would be interested to hear about some of its weaknesses as you discover them for consideration.

  31. Claudia

    Great article, I’ve been researching on which one is better, but as you said, I guess it comes back to how I want to use it and how i usually cook. i’ll get one for Christmas!!

  32. lyn

    Great article, I have a knock off thermie and have used it quite a lot, my husband bought me the kitchen aid cup as an early Christmas pressie and I absolutely love the fact that when it ice going we can still have a conversation without yelling and also that we can have normal food instead of baby mush.

  33. Katrina Busuttil

    I absolutely love your review- thankyou! My concern is the recipes- you can google TM recipes and buy endless amounts of cook books. Are recipes easy to adapt?

  34. Lucy

    What a great review. I just opened up a catalogue that came in my letterbox featuring the Kitchen Aid cook processor here in Adelaide, Australia. I didn’t know Kitchen Aid made a cook processor so thought I’d jump online and see if there were any reviews. The shop “Creative Cooks” is selling the KA cook processor for $1999 (plus a bonus cast iron casserole dish and $150 voucher). I’m not sure I can afford this – but it’s certainly very appealing. I work full-time in childcare, so I’m always looking for ways to cook quick, healthy dinners for me when I come home from work and trying to limit the amount of take away I eat. I’m excited to hear the KA does brown meat. Have you cooked casseroles in it? I’d be very interested to know what they are like. Thanks again.

  35. Anne-Maree

    Thank you Amanda – your review is very helpful. A few questions: Could I use thermomix recipes in the KitchenAid Cook Processor 5KCF0103? Have you ever made playdough? (I hear this takes 7 mins in thermo); Is it difficult (or messy) to change from blade to stirring tool during cooking? I have more questions but will resist the temptation!! Thank you again. Your comparison has been fabulous and I can’t access the Choice results without paying. Does anyone know what the final result of the comparison was?

  36. Amanda

    Sorry Anne-Maree, but I haven’t made play dough in either machine, so can’t help. The recipes in the Thermomix books can be used in the KitchenAid Cook Processor, but not as-is – they would need to be adapted each time.

  37. sally

    Thank you for a good informative comparison. I have heard so much rave about TM and have tried food cooked from it. I personally dislike the mushy texture and bland taste despite all the amazing functions that the machine can perform. KA would be my choice if I finally decided to get one.

  38. Margaret Elmendorp

    Hi Amanda, thank you for your review. It was this review, rather than the Choice review that determined which machine I bought. The plus’ and minus’ that you highlighted were most important to myself. I have been happy and in some cases, very happy, with the results of my KA. I am learning to adapt Thermomix recipes – swapping the ‘reverse’ instruction for the ‘stir assist’ paddle and guessing the speed instructions – be nice to have specification charts from both products, but not going to happen! Note to KA though, need more basic instructions as well as more recipes.

  39. Jane Homberger

    Hi everyone and thank you Amanda for your fabulous review. I was concerned about the cost of either machine and therefore always put off buying one. Late last year I was lucky enough to be able to purchase the CP with points through my credit card. It has been incredible. I love the machine so much and use it for absolutely everything. The risotto is dreamy, the macaroni cheese fabulous and it makes incredible sauces. I am so glad I have it now and in hindsight I should have bought it long again and spent my money. I would also recommend the CP to anyone.

  40. Ina Berkhoff

    Many greetings from ‘thermie’ country Germany. Over here the TM5 seems to be like a ‘religion’ to countless people.
    Nevertheless, I ventured for the CP a couple of weeks ago and I can truly say that it is a gorgeous gadget and its quality is indeed stunning. It is much less noisy, has a bigger pot, can deep-fry and is ever so easy to handle. I wouldn’t think of ever swapping it into a TM5 or whatever. CP has my full recommendation! 10/10!

  41. Sass

    This review sealed the deal for me. I bought the CP yesterday! I have used it once today to make pizza dough which i used to make weekly in my stand mixer (which has one broken dough hook…grrr) and must admit was a bit disappointed. I had to bring the dough together afterwards and let it prove further. I am not sure the short kneading time does the job as it didnt rise very much BUT I am yet to make other recipes, trying out a bolognese sauce tomorrow. Big price tag but cheaper than the new thermo I believe. Glad to have a browning function too. It just feels very sturdy and strong, and looks super cool too. Hope I can find a plethora of recipes online to inspire me, at present they are are a bit thin on the ground!

  42. daniele

    Hello. Thanks for the review.
    I’m undecided whether to take KA or TM. I already KA mixer; fantastic.

    I wanted to know if the plastic KA accessories are resistant or if there is a risk that in the high-temperature liquid from stretching?
    In TM seems to me it’s all steel meter butterfly is plastic
    Thank you

  43. Amanda

    The KA accessories are all heat resistant.

  44. cheryl-lynn roberts

    This was very helpful…my friend just purchased the TM31 and I was looked for competitors to have a choice and not feel pressured. Thank you for being so helpful in your report.

  45. Michela

    Hello, nice review! Thermomix can be Also used to make icecream grinding ice. Can kitchenaid cook processor do the same thing? Thanks

  46. michelle

    Hi I am in the process of making the big decision to purchase the kitchenaid cook processor and I found your review really helpful. As this machine is going to replace my regular processor which I love does it do a good job of grating and shredding vegies for coleslaw etc or will I still need my processor for that which has a grating attachment, thanks

  47. Amanda

    This machine will chop to a fine consistency, but if you want a distinct grate you will still need a processor with a grating attachment.

  48. Julie

    I want to be able to make flours, breads & milks due to my food sensitivities. Will the Kitchen Aid do this as well as the TM?

  49. Amanda

    The KA Cook Processor can knead bread dough and will make nut milks, but won’t grind grain to flour.

  50. Bel @ Mums Take Five

    Thanks for the article! Was exactly what i was looking for. Bring on a new KA!

  51. C

    Thanks for a great report!
    I’ve read that the k/aid is great for stews, but can it replace a slow-cooker in terms of cooking big chunks of tender meat? What’s the longest amount of time you can stew for?

  52. Amanda

    The longest the timer can be set for at a time is 2 hours.

  53. Debbie

    Great review and so helpful. I want to make sugar cookies, do you still the kitchen aid is a great idea. I am gluten sensitive and find even mixing cakes with normal wheat, when I bake for others, is an issue for me. So I am thinking of purchasing this so that I can still make cakes and cookies without having the flour float around the room. I make lots of sugar cookies. Will this do them ok

  54. Amanda

    I’m sure this would be fine.

  55. Florence

    Great review, thanks ! I have also hesitated a lot, but I have decided myself with a KA cook processor. I haven’t received it yet, and I’m really looking forward to using it asap !!!
    One thing to add to your review is that now KA has created a new food processor accessory kit that allows the CP to cut shred so as any classical food processor – sth that thermomix is not offering at the moment … it make the CP becoming as Cook Expert from Magimix.
    Thanks again for your review, hope I will experience it as you have !

  56. Jessica

    Great review! I have read it 3 times now and have been deliberating for over a year now (lol). Finally have made the decision to get the KA. So grateful for the information that has helped me decide on this big purchase – thank you!

  57. Elisabeth

    Re the comment from Florence about the food processor accessory kit for CP, is this correct – I think it’s only for the stand mixer!

  58. Amanda

    Florence – As far as I’m aware there are no shredding accessories available for the KA Cook Processor.

  59. Cathy G

    Excellently written and objective report that answered all my questions. I’ve been wondering about switching from a TM31 to the KA and this has been so helpful in convincing me to change.

  60. Dissatisfied

    Thanks for the review. While i’m really pleased for you that you got the machine for free and while i appreciate the time it takes to write such a review, I also think it’s really difficult to be write an honest review when it hasn’t cost you anything. i paid for mine and have found it to be unsatisfactory in every function other than steaming (which makes it a very expensive steamer!). it cannot saute due to the ‘hot spot’ at the back. it can’t handle any amount of dough used to make bread. the recipes suck (and the TMX recipes aren’t always replicable as the machines have significantly different functions). it makes porridge well, however the smell of the last meal cooked in it is retained in the rubber seal and stir attachment, so it ruins the taste of the porridge (even if the consistency is good). i actually can’t understand how anyone who has bought this would have many positive things to say about it. That’s my 2 cents worth.

  61. Amanda

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re not happy with it, Carole. I don’t think any of the recipes for these machines are directly interchangeable – they all need a bit of a tweak to accommodate the differences. I’d suggest you contact KitchenAid Australia re the other problems. Mine has no hot spot and kneads dough very well.

  62. Jenny

    Hi Amanda, thanks for the review. I have just bought the KA. I am unsure as to whether I can use it for making cakes i.e mixing eggs, butter, flour etc.

  63. Amanda

    Yes, you sure can, there are cake recipes on their website.

  64. Sean Hortz

    Thanks Amanda for your review, I’m a Home Economics Teacher. So far I love the Kitchenaid. You may not be aware but you can also purchase a standard for processor bowl and disc attachments that convert the motor into a standard food processor. These include shredding, slicing and grating disks. While this can be expensive I’ve found Kitchenwarehouse have included these as a bonus offer. While I too enjoy the process of cooking and baking I have limited time to do this during the working week so this machine has really filled a gap.

  65. Bianca

    Hi Amanda! I just got a KA and am learning to work with it. On average I’m very happy with it and it helps tremendously. I noticed though that the lid doesn’t close completely. If I am blending liquids it would spill in the back where the handle for the new lid is located. Is this normal?
    Also I tried to get a different machine since it has this annoying high frequency but the customer service of KA referred me to the online seller where it was purchased. Does that make any sense???

  66. Amanda

    I’m not sure why they would send you elsewhere. I’d suggest trying them again or contacting them via their Facebook page. They are usually very helpful.

  67. Paola

    Thanks for your review. Thermomix can be Also used to make icecream grinding ice. Can kitchenaid cook processor do the same thing? And what about nut cream? How it works the heating system ? Induction? Can you cook large pieces of meat? Thanks for any feedback.

  68. Amanda

    Yes to all of the above Paola, although I tend not to use mine for cooking meat. I prefer the stove top or oven. Check out their website. There is also a very active Facebook users group which has some great recipes and ideas.

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