Note: I am a Vitamix affiliate and received the product to test out and receive a small commission if you make a purchase through affiliate links at no extra cost to you. As always, the opinions in the article are my own.

I have been using the Vitamix FoodCycler for two months now. These are my initial experiences, thoughts and opinions of the FC-50. I will continue to update the review as I use it more and incorporate the resulting fertilizer into garden soil.

Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 on Counter

I was super excited about the FoodCycler in our goal use food scraps for good and reduce food waste.

The Vitamix FC-50 FoodCycler is super easy to use and a surprisingly quick way to turn all your food scraps into soil-ready nutrition. You simply place all your food scraps into the bucket, press the power button and 4 to 7 hours later, the result is clean (clean feeling and smelling) fertilizer ready to feed the garden.

When I found out about the Vitamix FoodCycler through the Vitamix email newsletter, I was so excited and intrigued. Throwing food scraps into the trash just seems like a shame. Not only is it bad for the environment (methane gas in landfills, etc.), but it is potential nutrients for the garden going into the trash. A complete waste.

We have been thinking about composting for a long time, but one of those large bin composters just isn’t an option. They take up a lot of space and it takes quite a while (up to a year) before you can use the compost in the garden. Maybe we can blame instant delivery these days for making that an issue.

This is why a countertop food scrap processor that makes garden-ready fertilizer perked my ears and got me so excited.

So, yep, I got one (Vitamix sent it to me to test out). Let’s dive into what I love and what I don’t love about the FoodCycler FC-50.

My Review After 3 Years with the Food Cycler
Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 on Counter overhead

The Process of How it Works

  1. Drying Phase: Removes moisture from the food scraps.
  2. Grinding Phase: Grinds and continues to dehydrate the scraps into smaller pieces.
  3. Cooling Phase: Cools the waste mixture, so it is safe to handle.
food waste in vitamix food cycler

How to Use It

Always read the manual and follow manufacturer’s instructions.

  1. Keep the removable bucket on your counter, under the sink or anywhere convenient.
  2. Place your food scraps in the bucket and cover them with the lid equipped with a carbon filter to prevent smells from escaping.
  3. When the bucket is filled to the capacity line (or after a few days), place it into the FoodCycler machine, secure the processing lid and press the power button to start the cycle.
  4. Wait until you hear the beep and the cycle is complete, 4 to 8 hours later.
Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 results in hand vertical
The clean fertilizer results after processing in the FoodCycler

The Good: What’s to Love

Some of the good and some of the bad are the same, just depends on your specific situation.

  • It really works! It kinda feels like magic. What comes out looks nothing like what went in.
  • Gives almost instant gratification: Go from food scraps to fertilizer in 4 to 8 hours (mine usually runs about 5 hours). Seriously, it’s pretty amazing.
  • There is only one button that means start: No need to program it, use an app or understand any complex steps. Just press start and it does the rest.
  • You will take your trash out less often: Your food scraps are often the ones that will stink up your trash. When you run them through the FoodCycler, they don’t smell anymore.
  • Takes up only 1 cubic foot of counter space. If you already keep your food scraps out of the trash; then you likely already keep a container on your counter.
  • No smells! (Unless you leave unprocessed food in it too long.)
  • Better than composting: It takes less effort and you can include items like meat and cheese into the FoodCycler that you wouldn’t put in compost.

The Bad: What’s Not So Great

  • Takes up some counter space: If you have a compact kitchen, taking up 1 cubic foot of your valuable counter space isn’t optimal. If you have a huge kitchen, it’s not a big deal. Or if you have an area in your garage with a power outlet, even better.
  • The capacity of the bucket can be too small: We fill up the 2.5-liter bucket about every two days. Sometimes I wish it could fit more, but if it lasted longer, then the contents could start to smell. So it’s not a big deal. If you need more space, you could buy another bucket or a separate bin to keep on your counter for overflow.
  • Some noise: The sound is about as loud as a loud refrigerator or dishwasher when it’s running. Really though, the sound doesn’t bother me at all, especially when running it at night.
  • Power usage: It doesn’t run on air and does use some power. Vitamix says that it uses 0.8 kWh to run a cycle, which isn’t much.
  • Cost to purchase: Probably the biggest negative to the product is the cost. It retails at $399.95, but does go on promotion for $50 off or more. This is definitely a high-quality premium product like all Vitamix products are. And you pay for that.

What I Put in It

Food and veggie scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, cheese, meat scraps and other produce that has gone past its prime in the fridge.

What I Don’t Put in It

  • High-sugar-content items like candy. They can caramelize during the dehydration process and stick to the blade.
  • Bones: The instructions say you can put meat scraps and soft bones like chicken or fish bones (after you make chicken bone broth) into the FC-50, but you should then not use it as fertilizer in your garden. I prefer to be able to incorporate the “recycled food compound” into the garden soil.
  • Bread and pasta as they can turn to mush.
  • Fats and oils, hard pits, nut shells, strong leaves like pineapple leaves.

*Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Advantages Compared to Regular Composting

  • Time: It takes only 4 to 8 hours instead of three months to a year.
  • Fill it and press start. That’s all you have to do. No maintaining it, adding water, mixing, etc. It does everything for you.
  • Space: Sure, it takes up about a 1×1 cube. But that is way smaller than a composting bin.
  • Wildlife: Compost bins can attract rodents and insects.


What are the FoodCycler’s dimensions?

(W) 12.6 ” x (H) 14.2 ” x (L) 13 “

How much electricity does it use?

The manufacturer specifies that each cycle consumes approximately 0.8 kWh. You can figure out the cost by multiplying 0.8 x the cost per kWh that you pay on your electricity bill.

How much does the FoodCycler FC-50 cost?

The retail price is $399.95, but there are sometimes promotions available.

How does the FoodCycler work?

Place all your qualifying food scraps into the bucket and then into the machine. Press start and it dries and grinds everything into a garden-ready fertilizer in 4 to 8 hours.

For a full list of FAQs, visit the FoodCycler website.

Where to Buy It

The Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 is available directly from Vitamix and on Amazon.

vitamix-fc-50 product image
Courtesy Vitamix


The Vitamix Food Cycler FC-50 helps eliminate your food waste from going into the trash by turning scraps into fertilizer in hours. It is a solid, premium product that comes at a price, which is worth it if minimizing waste is important to you.


Read my 12 Steps Toward Zero Waste (and yep, it includes the FoodCycler) and review of our Fulgor Gas Range from the new kitchen reveal.

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