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How to use a blender: 6 tips

Mix, puree, stir, chop, liquefy—when it comes to making food prep easier, you can accomplish just about anything with a blender. However, as with any kitchen appliance, properly using a blender comes down to learning the right techniques. 

Blenders may seem relatively simple from the outside, but with some added knowledge, these machines can become any chef’s secret weapon. From countertop machines to handheld immersion devices, a blender can pull together sauces, puree soups, and—of course—create a delicious smoothie. 

But before you hit the power button on your kitchen appliance, make sure you know how to use it. Develop your smoothest cooking skills yet with our top six tips on how to get the most out of a blender.

#1 Know your blender

Before you start blending, it’s important to know you have the right type of machine for the task at hand. Different blenders will have a metal blade to prepare food as needed. However, not all blenders look the same—or have the same function. 

Depending on your cooking needs, different types of blenders will achieve different tasks more efficiently, and some of these types are listed below:

● Countertop blenders – When you hear the word “blender,” a countertop blender is typically what comes to mind. Countertop blenders are sizable machines that contain a glass or plastic blender jar with a metal blade at the bottom, a lid for the vessel, and a base with a power connection. These machines can vary in size and power, with multiple settings for different consistencies.

● Personal blenders – For single-serving smoothies or dishes, a personal blender can deliver pureeing power in a small package—and often come equipped with a blender jar that doubles as on-the-go tumblers. They come in a variety of sizes, often with easy-to-use features and dishwasher-friendly parts. 

● Immersion blenders – Also known as hand blenders, immersion blenders are handheld blenders that you can use directly in a pot or bowl. They typically resemble a long stick with a small metal blade at one end and a rubberized handgrip at the other. Immersion blenders work best for large quantities of hot liquid or soft ingredients to emulsify soups, sauces, baby food, and smoothies. 

See related: What is an immersion blender

Blender vs. food processor

It’s important to note that food processors are not the same as blenders. While both use metal blades to change the texture of foods, a food processor is typically larger than a blender. Also, a food processor is used more to chop, slice, or mix foods rather than create a perfectly smooth texture. Blenders will blend food, pureeing and liquifying to a fine texture. Using the right attachment, food processors will prepare food by chopping, slicing, dicing, and so on.

#2 Prep and assemble your ingredients

A great bite starts with the right ingredients–in the right shapes and sizes. While your blender will do a lot of the heavy lifting, you’ll still need to make sure your ingredients are blender-approved and blender-ready to achieve the desired texture.

To avoid blunders like clogs and undesired textures you need to understand how blenders work to create the luxuriously smooth textures–or chunky chopped textures–that you desire.

Blenders can liquify food by chopping and then pulverizing the food with a fast and sharp blade. Adding liquid helps food move around the blender vessel and keeps things flowing around the blade. This helps the blade further blend and pulverize the foods to as fine (or chunky) a texture as desired.

As the super fast blade continues spinning, it creates a vortex in the jug that pulls food to the bottom of the bowl through the blade. So, to ensure that you get the perfect texture you desire, you need the right balance of food-to-liquid ratio. This includes the size and sometimes shape of the foods.

Use these tips to prepare your food for machine blending:

● Pre-chop large ingredients, especially hard ones – A powerful blender can reduce nearly any food to a smooth puree, but it still needs a little help. Make sure to chop any large or dense ingredients (kale stalks, apples, carrots) into smaller pieces so that everything blends seamlessly. You want the food to be able to fall to the bottom of the jug and reach the fast spinning blades. If they are too large, the blade cannot catch the foods and pulverize them.

● Add liquids first – It’s the golden rule of blending. This is especially true if you are blending liquid foods like smoothies or soups. You should always add liquids to your blending vessel before any solids. Additionally, you should always try to incorporate a liquid-like element into your blender. These techniques will help the blades turn easily, avoiding any clogs or unblendable mixtures. 

For milling flours and spices, when you do not want to add any liquid, make sure the grains/spices you are using are smaller in size, preferably not larger than the size of a grape. For items like cinnamon sticks, you may need to break them in half so that the blender can properly chop and then mill them (or else they will just bounce around the fast spinning blade).

● For safety, be careful when adding hot foods – Most blenders have a high heat tolerance. However, to avoid unwanted splashing and burns, do not boil or use very hot ingredients (particularly hot liquid) while blending. A hot mixture can create steam or pressure, possibly pushing up and removing the top of a blender—creating potential for a mess or even burns.

For soups and other hot foods, be sure to carefully allow steam to escape the blender jug by cracking the lid slightly ajar after blending. During blending, you can crack the inner lid (where you can add ingredients during blending) while running so that steam can escape.

Make sure the lid is on tight. If a lid falls off while blending, hot food may go everywhere. Always check the lid while the blender is running and make sure it’s on tight!

Refer to the manufacturer’s instruction booklet for additional tips on how to safely blend hot foods with your blender.

● Measure your ingredients – Different blenders find certain textures far more blendable than others, and that comes down to the proper liquid-to-solid ratio. Measure out your wet and dry ingredients so that your blades can properly blend and finely pulverize the mixture.

#3 Set up your blender

With your ingredients ready, it’s time for your blender to take the spotlight. If you have a countertop blender, you can get ready to blend by following these steps, as well as any other specific instructions that came with the model you own:

1. Set your blender on a clean, level, and dry area, making sure there’s enough space to keep your ingredients nearby. 

2. Assemble your blender by placing the blender jug onto the base of the appliance. Have the lid and a spatula handy for stirring later. 

3. Power your blender by unraveling any cable and plugging it into a nearby socket that’s clean and dry.

4. Remove the lid of your blender.

5. Add any initial ingredients, making sure to add liquids first and layering the rest of your ingredients on top.

6. Replace the blender top and secure it tightly shut.

If you’re using an immersion blender, your setup process will be even easier. You simply need to attach the blades (if they’re removable), plug it in, and immerse the blades in the vessel containing foods or liquids you wish to blend. 

Lastly, make sure that you have enough volume for the immersion blender blade to be fully immersed. If there is not enough food or liquid in the container, you may get splattered. When the container is full enough, it allows the immersion blender to create a vortex so that the food will flow around the container and through the blades for a smooth and even blending experience.

#4 Explore different settings

While some basic blenders may simply have an “on” and “off” button, some premium blenders may have multiple speed settings or presets for types of beverages/recipes. Presets will have specific settings that use different power levels so that you can precisely control the texture of your recipe. This is especially useful if you are looking to get the perfect texture for a type of drink. For example, in a green smoothie you’ll want the leafy greens to get fully pureed for a smooth green drink.

Tap into the full power of your blender by getting to know some common settings and their functions:

● Stir – The lowest power setting, stirring is best for simply combining ingredients without pureeing or frothing them. Some machines will run at a low speed, while others may combine low speeds with intermittent pulsing of the blade to give your food a good stir, without overly blending the food. Recipes for milkshakes or herb mixtures can usually be made on a stir setting.

● Puree/Smoothie – If you hope to turn solid food into a creamy or non-solid texture, then puree is the best setting. Most puree settings will blend foods at a high speed to give a smooth texture. To get the best and most even texture, some machines will have a preset that changes between speeds and pulse the food in between pureeing so that any chunk of food not caught in the vortex will be tossed to the center/bottom of the jug and get fully pureed. Use this setting to puree nuts into a nut butter or create super-smooth sauces, dressings, dips, or smoothies from fruits and vegetables.

● Chop – Transform vegetables, fruits, or meat into bite-size pieces or smaller with a chop setting. The machine will chop food with intermittent pulsing at a low speed. This helps to throw food around in the jug and lightly chop food without blending to a fine texture.  This setting is perfect for chunky textures like salsas or preparing stew ingredients. 

● Liquefy – Love a fresh glass of OJ? If you want to learn how to use a blender to juice, then get to know the liquefy setting. This high-speed setting can turn soft fruits into a thin and pulpy liquid, which you can then strain for juice. However, it may be worth understanding whether a juicer vs. blender is best for your kitchen.

● Ice crush – This is great when you want evenly crushed ice for cocktails and or just to get your large ice cubes to an even size. This preset is usually designed with a moderately high speed pulsing action. This helps to break the frozen-hard ice while preventing the ice from being fully blended into an icy slush.

● Pulse – Sometimes, you only need a little push of power to get the right texture. A pulse button gives you the ultimate control, turning on the blades for only as long as you push the button down.

● Green Smoothie – This preset is for the green smoothie fanatic who uses lots of leafy greens in their smoothies and wants a beautifully smooth and velvety texture (meaning no bits of lettuce stuck between your teeth!). This setting is specially designed to use a combination of high speed profiles that break down tough fibers into very fine particles.

● Frozen Dessert – Blenders are great for creating healthy frozen desserts from pre-frozen fruits, vegetables, and ice. This type of program is designed to break down the frozen food/ice and finely puree to a smooth texture.

#5 Serve in style (and safely)

Once you’ve achieved that perfect texture, it’s time to serve it up—and ensure you do so safely.

Blenders are electronic appliances, which means they must be handled with care. Otherwise, you may risk injury or other dangerous situations. After blending, power off your blender and serve your delicious meal.

#6 Clean and store

A durable, quality blender should help you to prep and serve many delicious recipes. Showing your blender love and care will keep it in good condition for years to come—and that comes down to cleaning and storage.

To start, check if any parts of your blender are machine-washable. Certain blades, vessels, or vessel tops can be tossed (gently) into your dishwasher for an easy clean. If labeled “Not Dishwasher Safe” or if you’re uncertain, then carefully handwash your machine.

The best way to clean the blades is to fill the blender with warm water and add a pump of dish soap. Whirl the blender on high speed for 30 seconds to a minute. Some blenders will have a prest ‘clean’ button that will take care of this for you. Once done whirling, you'll get a soapy liquid that you can empty out. Rinse the blender and let dry.

Once you’ve cleaned your blender thoroughly, then it’s time to give it a home. If you keep your blender out for consistent use, then make sure it’s in a safe area—i.e., not near any counter edges, wet areas, or unstable surfaces. Otherwise, find a dry and spacious area to keep it, such as a cupboard or top of a refrigerator. 

Blend it your way with Breville

From creamy tomato soup to a rich acai bowl, blenders are the key to an incredible array of flavors and textures. Once you’ve mastered your blender, you can tap into this delicious world to make the chopped, pureed, or liquefied treats you desire—and that starts with having a blender that suits your lifestyle.

Our versatile blenders are built to transform your food in style, complete with powerful blades, noise reduction technology, and one-touch settings to create your favorite go-to dishes (hello, instant green smoothie). Once you’ve got your blending down, explore our juicers, smart toaster ovens, and more kitchen appliances to bring your entire kitchen the quality tools it deserves.

Discover your tastiest possibilities right at home with Breville.

Sources: 

Big Time Kitchen. A List of All Blender Settings. ​​https://bigtimekitchen.com/blender-settings-list/

CNET. Clean Your Blender With This One Easy Trick. https://www.cnet.com/home/smart-home/best-way-to-clean-a-blender/

Gadget Review. Types Of Blenders | Guide To Different Blenders. https://www.gadgetreview.com/types-of-blenders

Tasting Table. The Reason You Shouldn't Put Hot Liquid In A Blender. https://www.tastingtable.com/835657/the-reason-you-shouldnt-put-hot-liquid-in-a-blender/


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How to use a blender: 6 tips