5 Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Food Processor

published Mar 17, 2016
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

I don’t have a whole lot of fancy appliances in my kitchen, but one I find absolutely essential is a food processor. I use it to help me make everything from hummus to pasta dough. But to really get the most out of the machine, you need to learn how to treat it right.

Keeping it in the best working order and using it the way it was intended to be used ensures that your food processor will have a long and happy life. Here are five things to watch out for.

1. Forgetting about the pulse button.

The pulse button is there for a reason. It gets the ingredients inside the food processor moving and incorporates everything evenly before processing for a steady amount of time. The pulse button results in chopping; hold it down and whatever you’re processing turns into a purée.

2. Using it instead of a blender.

Yes, a food processor can do a lot of things a blender can do, but it can’t do everything. Both can churn out nut butter and make a mean pesto, but leave jobs that involve extra liquid — like soups and runny sauces — to the blender. The bowl of the food processor has a fill line, and if liquids go beyond that, you risk it leaking out the sides or the top. (Trust me, I have done this more times than I really care to admit.)

3. Adding ingredients that are too large.

While a food processor is powerful, it does need a little assistance, so cut that pepper or onion up into a few equal-sized pieces before throwing it in. The same thing applies if you’re making breadcrumbs: Tear the bread up into pieces before tossing it in.

4. Running the machine too long.

If you’re preparing a recipe that requires quite a bit of processing, factor in break times to allow the machine to cool down. Nut butters and some doughs made in the processor will begin to degrade if the machine’s motor begins to overheat.

5. Putting the parts in the wrong place in you dishwasher.

While the bowl, blade, and lid are usually dishwasher-safe (you’ll just want to check your machine’s user manual to make sure), they are meant to be washed in the top rack of the dishwasher. Since the heat of a dishwasher comes from the bottom, the bottom rack can be too hot for the parts, and can potentially wear them down.