Different Blender Settings and What They Do
From soups and sauces to nut butters and smoothies, blender speed settings are designed to puree, crush and liquefy ingredients. Kitchen blenders are a great tool when making recipes that you drink, drizzle or dip. The perfect blend consistency can depend on the blender setting you use.
If your blender has multiple setting options, you may wonder if you’re using it to the best of its ability. This guide helps you understand blender settings so you can choose the ideal blend for your recipe.
Blender speed settings guide
Whether you’re using a set program or a manual variable speed, blender settings control the speed of your blender blade. When programmed properly, this single blade can crush ice, finely puree and even liquefy ingredients. The secret is in the way you set the speed of the blade to blend ingredients to your desired consistency.
Read on for a general overview of blend settings. Keep in mind that blender settings and speeds will vary by model. For more details, refer to the owner’s manual for your blender.
Some blenders feature numbered speed settings starting low and slow then increasing speed as the numbers go up. If you have a small number of speeds, such as 1–3, you can think of these as low, medium and high. A larger number of speeds means you can fine tune your blending for a wide range of textures and techniques from low to high and everything in between. Select KitchenAid® blenders feature a variable speed dial with 5 to 11 speeds, allowing you to explore every taste and texture from chunky to smooth.
To stir ingredients in a blender, start with a low, slow speed and gradually increase it to a medium speed. Blend until ingredients are completely combined. This technique can create a uniform consistency for thick, sticky foods and help you combine liquids. It’s ideal for mixing milkshakes into a smooth, thick texture, making pancake batter and salad dressing, or stirring together your favorite summer cocktails and mocktails.
Select KitchenAid® blenders are designed with the Soft Start® Feature that starts the motor at a slower speed to pull food into the blade, then quickly increases to the selected speed setting.
You can puree your favorite ingredients into soups, sauces, baby food or any recipe that calls for transforming solid ingredients into a paste-like or smooth texture in a blender. To puree ingredients, slowly increase your blender settings until you reach a high speed while pushing ingredients toward the blade with your blender’s tamper to help with even blending. Continue blending until your desired texture is reached. You can choose to create a chunky puree or a silky smooth one with the right speed settings on your blender. A slow speed at the end allows for the mixture to settle and reduce froth.
This blending process is ideal for pureeing hot ingredients. KitchenAid brand offers a Pro Line® Series Blender with Thermal Control Jar that blends and heats soups and sauces in minutes.
If your blender does not have a designated Chop setting, using a manual variable speed setting on your blender works well when you want to chop ingredients. It offers control when dicing fruit, vegetables, meat or grating hard cheese. You can experiment with a variety of savory recipes, like asparagus red pepper quiche, cauliflower rice bowl with chimichurri or salsa in a blender.
Most blenders have at least three adjustable speeds with some featuring as many as eleven speeds, like the KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series blender, which offers more precision in chopping and blending for your culinary endeavors.
To turn solid foods into liquid, use the highest blade speed on your blender. A powerful blender running on high speed can blend most foods with fiber, skin or seeds to a fine, smooth texture. Some blenders feature specialized settings to help you liquefy ingredients like fruits and vegetables into smooth soups, juices and smoothies.
Both the KitchenAid® K400 and Pro Line® Series blenders feature a Smoothie preset recipe program that takes the guesswork out of choosing the right blending speed.
To grind and process harder foods like peanuts and almonds for luscious nut butters, or seeds for a paste or flavorful sauce, start your blender on speed 1 or low. Once the nuts or seeds have begun to release oils, gradually increase your speed to a high-medium and continue until smooth. You can then incorporate additional flavorings or liquids using the Stir setting, or a low speed for recipes like maple cinnamon pecan butter or almond paste.
Select KitchenAid® blenders feature an Ice Crush setting that can also be used when grinding nuts and other ingredients for recipes like citrus rosemary upside-down cake or hazelnut lovers’ cookies.
Note: When grinding thick or tough ingredients, a blender with a tamper can help create an even blend. Use the tamper while blending to guide ingredients toward the blade and to scrape down the sides of the blender jar.
6. ICE CRUSH
Ice Crush settings run at an optimal blender speed to crush large amounts of hard foods, such as ice, frozen vegetables or frozen fruits. This cycle gradually ramps up to full power to process tough ingredients. It works well for drink recipes such as frozen margaritas, smoothies and protein shakes with ice.
Many blenders have a Pulse button for quick bursts of high speed blending. You can use the Pulse setting during manual operation to add a boost of power momentarily, or to incrementally blend recipes that require a chunkier texture. It allows precise control of the duration and frequency of blending ingredients such as sweet and savory crumb toppings, meat salad for sandwich fillings or chopped fruits and vegetables. Try it with recipes that require a light touch like watermelon gazpacho with feta and grilled flank steak with kalamata tapenade.
Do all blenders have the same settings?
No, not all blenders have the same settings. Though you will typically find some variation of low, medium, high and Pulse, this can come in the form of numbered speeds, tasks such as Puree or Chop, or even preset recipe programs like Soup or Smoothie.
For simplicity and a streamlined set of functions, look for a blender that has around three speeds and Pulse. Blenders with more powerful motors may offer a wider range of settings, recipe programs and variable speeds so you can blend with precision. Variable speeds can help you achieve the difference in texture between a fine puree and a coulis or a variety of salsas from chunky to smooth.
Are some blender settings interchangeable?
Some blender settings can be interchangeable depending on the model. For example, the highest number on a variable speed blender is usually the same as High on a blender with fewer settings. Likewise, if you don’t have a Mix setting on your blender, you can blend on low or on a low numbered speed instead. Experiment with your favorite recipes to find the best mode on your blender.
What blender setting is best for smoothies and drinks?
If your blender doesn’t have a Smoothie setting, start out on low, gradually increasing to medium and finally high. If you have it, use your variable speed dial to combine ingredients for more control over the results. Start on low to allow ingredients to fall into the blade, then gradually dial it up to a high speed to blend to your desired texture.
Adding fibrous vegetables like kale and frozen fruit to your smoothie requires a blender that can crush and pulverize ingredients. The same setting is recommended in making drinks with ice like a frosty and sweet frappe or to mix and liquefy a frozen craft cocktail.
Is my blender’s smoothie setting the same as puree?
Some smoothie settings are designed to crush and pulverize hard ingredients like ice, frozen fruit or frozen vegetables. To puree, you usually work with softer ingredients to create a paste-like or creamy, smooth texture. However, a Puree setting will usually work to make a smoothie when you don’t have a dedicated recipe setting. Refer to your owner’s manual for more information on your blender model’s settings.
How do I choose the best blender setting for a recipe?
Use preset recipe programs on your blender or specific blending instructions for your recipe. Otherwise, use a low speed or Pulse for chunkier results or all liquid ingredients. For tough ingredients or ice, start blending on a low speed and move gradually to a higher speed. The harder the ingredient, the higher setting you’ll need. Keep an eye on the process to achieve your desired consistency.
If you have a tamper, you may want to use it to scrape the sides of the jar as you push ingredients into the blending vortex. Learn more on how to use a blender.
Explore KitchenAid® Blenders
Whether you’re stirring, pureeing or liquefying, the right kitchen blender can help you fine-tune, chop or crush tougher ingredients. Select KitchenAid® blenders feature a 3-part blending system that easily combines even the toughest ingredients to a consistent texture. The Intelli-Speed® Motor Control senses and maintains the selected speed to power through whatever your recipe calls for. Choose from a range of blenders featuring a streamlined set of controls, or up to 11 speeds with preset recipe programs to meet your blending needs.
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