A blender is one of the most versatile appliances in your kitchen. You can make anything from smoothies and protein drinks to hummus, soups, and even nut milks. Blenders allow you to experiment with new techniques and make recipes all your own. To get the most out of your blender, proper setup and care are key. Use the following guide to learn how to use a blender for a range of creations.
How To Operate Your Blender
Operating your countertop blender is easy. Follow these steps to get started.
- Set your blender on a cool, flat surface.
- Fill the jar with your ingredients in this order: liquids, softer ingredients or powder, hard or frozen ingredients. Top it off with ice, if using.
- Secure the lid tightly.
- Press or switch on the power/start button and then select the appropriate speed or preset recipe program. Depending on your model, you may also have a stop button or you may simply need to select your speed to start.
- Once your desired consistency is reached, pour the contents into the container of your choice—and enjoy!
- For easier cleanup, immediately wash your blender jar with warm, soapy water. You can even add a couple drops of dishwashing liquid to the bottom, fill ¾ full with warm water, run the blender, then rinse. Wipe down the base with a damp sponge or towel. Dry completely before storing.
How to Use a Blender to Make Fresh Juices
If you have a high-powered blender such as the KitchenAid® High Performance Series, Pro Line® or K400 blenders, you can use it to make fresh juices. All you need are your ingredients, a heavy-duty blender, and a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth.
Blenders don’t technically juice, they puree, so you need to strain the puree through a sieve or cheesecloth to separate the juice from the pulp. The process for learning how to use a blender to juice is simple:
- Wash, cut, and peel all of the fruit that you desire in your juice. You can skip the peeling, but you’ll have more pulp to separate at the end.
- Add roughly ½ cup of juice (such as apple or beet), water, or coconut water for every four apples or similar hard fruit or vegetable. Add the liquid first for less chance of fruit or vegetable fiber gumming up your blender’s blades.
- Now add your chunked fruit and/or veggies into the blender jar.
- Close the lid and begin on a low setting, gradually turning up to higher speeds as the ingredients puree. Add a bit more juice or water if the mixture is too thick.
- Once you’ve reached your desired liquidity, turn off the blender, then strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a bowl or measuring cup. Discard or compost the removed pulp.
- Pour the strained juice into a glass and enjoy.
How to Make a Smoothie with a Blender
Arguably one of the most popular uses for a blender is to make blended drinks. If you’re planning to make smoothies, coffee frappes, daiquiris, margaritas or other frozen drinks that include ice, look for a blender that can easily crush ice. The K150 blender features a specialized ice-crush setting, perfect for icy drinks. Higher-powered blenders like the High Performance Series blender and the Pro Line® Series blender can quickly transform tough ingredients like kale and seeds into smooth, delicious results. Milkshakes and smoothies without frozen fruit or ice can easily be blended with an immersion blender. Or, make enough just for one with the new KitchenAid® Personal Blender Jar expansion pack for the KitchenAid® K150 and K400 blenders.
Smoothie – There are so many delicious and healthy smoothie recipes out there, such as this hearty green smoothie bowl. Or, learn these basic steps on how to make a smoothie in a blender:
- Cut your favorite fruits and vegetables into small pieces.
- Add coconut water, milk, or a nut, soy or oat milk substitute to the base of the blender.
- Follow the liquids with your powdered ingredients and softer fruits or vegetables.
- Finally, add frozen fruit or ice on top of your ingredients in the jar.
- Begin on a lower setting to draw the ingredients toward the blades, then gradually increase to a high speed. Blend until smooth. Add more liquid if the mixture is too thick.
Milkshake – Make a milkshake customized with your favorite ingredients. You can add your own fruits, syrups, nuts or additions such as crumbled cookies or chopped peanut butter cups to make a customized sweet treat.
- In a traditional countertop blender: Combine 2-3 ounces of milk to the bottom of your blender, followed by any solid add-ins such as candied chocolate pieces or chopped cheesecake. Add three scoops of your favorite ice cream and blend on high until smooth.
- With an immersion blender: When making a milkshake with an immersion blender, reverse the order of the ingredients, adding the ice cream first, followed by the milk and toppings. Push the stick of the immersion blender down into the tall cup or measuring cup and begin blending on high. Move the blender up and down inside the cup to blend all ingredients, ending when you have a smooth, consistent texture. Add more milk if it is too thick.
How to Use a Blender as a Food Processor
If you don’t have a food processor in your kitchen, there are a few tasks typically done with a food processor that you can use your high-powered blender instead. You’ll need to modify how you process the food when using a blender instead of a food processor.
Small batches: The biggest difference when you want to use your blender as a food processor is processing ingredients in smaller batches vs. all at once. Only put about ¼ of your ingredients into the blender at a time and process to the desired consistency. If you put too much in a blender, the foods on the bottom of the jar will likely get over processed while those towards the top won't have the same texture as the bottom.
Pulse setting: Because it is quite easy for vegetables to quickly turn into puree when you want them chopped, use the pulse setting. When you press pulse on your blender, you get quick bursts of blade movement. You can stop and check the consistency of your mixture frequently and give another pulse or two until your ingredients are blended to your preference.
No-go ingredients: Some vegetables, such as tomatoes, don’t belong in the blender unless you want them pureed. If you don’t have a food processor and need to dice tomatoes, you’re better off dicing by hand than using your blender. While a blender can adequately chop small batches of firmer vegetables or fruits, softer ones such as tomato and mango cannot be diced in a blender.
What Else Can You Make in a Blender?
Beyond blended drinks, there are many other recipes you can make in your blender. Here are a few to try:
Salsa – Assemble all the ingredients you need to make your favorite salsa, like tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Put the ingredients into the jar of a conventional blender or use your hand blender immersed in the bowl of ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips. Also try our recipe for Fresh Tomatillo Salsa, which can be made in your KitchenAid® food processor or blender.
Hummus – There are so many variations to a hummus recipe that you can make with your blender. Here are a few of our favorites from the KitchenAid® page on Yummly.com. Classic hummus with chickpeas and tahini. This recipe includes three variations: roasted garlic, kalamata olive, and roasted red pepper hummus. Looking for a change to your hummus flavors? Try our Avocado Hummus or Edamame Hummus. Just add the ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth.
“Grind” or “Grate” Hard Cheeses – Cut hard cheese into chunks and place the blender on high until desired size is reached. Use the pulse setting at first, then move to high speed, if needed.
Bread Crumbs – If you have bread around the house that has gone stale or some that you’ve purposefully dried out, slice it into chunks. Put the dried bread along with your favorite spices and herbs in the blender jar and pulse until you reach your desired consistency. Make bread crumbs to top creamy crab cakes and more.
Baby Food – Put cooked ingredients in the blender jar and puree on high until smooth. The new Small Batch Jar expansion pack for KitchenAid® K150 and K400 blenders is perfect for making just a few servings of homemade baby food. A sealed lid lets you store any leftovers or prepare batches in advance to keep them fresh for meal times. This works great for bread crumbs, sauces, and other toppings as well.
Soup – Craving some homemade soup? Your blender can help with that, too. Try this recipe for Creamy Roasted Vegetable Soup. Roast veggies to golden perfections, then add them along with liquid ingredients to your blender for a healthy and hearty pureed soup. If you have a KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series blender with a thermal control jar, your blender can not only puree or blend your soup, it can also heat and keep your soup warm—all in the same appliance for added convenience.
Tips and Tricks for Using a Blender
Knowing how to use a blender properly is important to get the best results, experiment confidently, and operate safely.
- Fill the blender jar up to but not past the max fill indicator line to account for movement and air while blending. Do not overload your blender.
- Do not pour boiling liquid into your blender. Let soups and sauces cool slightly before blending in a countertop blender.
- Use the feeder cap on the top of the blender’s lid to add ingredients while you blend. This technique is perfect for emulsifying, such as for sauces, mayonnaise and salad dressings.
- Wash your blender’s jar immediately after using to avoid food drying on the blades and walls, making it harder to remove.
- Never reach inside the blender while it is operating. To push ingredients toward the blades or scrape the sides, use the tamper that comes with several KitchenAid® models such as the K400 Variable Speed and High Performance blenders. You can also purchase a standard tamper or a flex-edge tamper separately.
- Always start blending on low speed and move gradually higher. The KitchenAid® K150, K400 and higher-powered blender models are designed with the Soft Start® Feature which automatically starts from a slower speed to pull food into the blade, then quickly increases to the selected speed setting. This feature ensures even blending while reducing splatter for less mess.
Use Your Blender to Explore New Kitchen Creations
With so many ways to use a blender, the possibilities seem endless. Follow these recipes and techniques or experiment with your blender and explore new culinary adventures by inventing your own creations.
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