How to use a food processor: a step-by-step guide

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  • A food processor can be a godsend in the kitchen, especially when working your way through fiddly jobs, such as grating, pureeing or slicing. We should know; having used, trialled and tested a number of these machines in our kitchen over the years, we’re pretty confident that we’ve nailed the how-to on making good use of this particular piece of kitchenware. Much like the tech itself, the best food processor advice is simple and straightforward.

    You don’t need fancy tricks or twists to get great results, but whatever mode you’re looking to use, we’ve listed the processes that we put into practice most frequently. We hope the following advice means you can get started straight away using your food processor to create everything from dinner-party-worthy dishes to quick-and-easy desserts.

    Note: Food processor models do vary, so while we’ve taken every care to make the below comprehensive for the most common models, there could be some variations in your machine. Please always check with your manufacturer’s instructions if you’re unsure of anything. 

    Step-by-step guide to using your food processor

    Step 1: Plug it in

    Perhaps obvious, but legitimately the first step to getting your food processor going – plug it into the mains. Fully unwind the cable, whatever model you have, and plug it in, making sure first that both the plug and socket are clean and dry.

    Step 2: Attach the jug to the base

    Next up, attach your jug to the base. With most models, this typically fits over the central mechanism and locks into place with a twist anti-clockwise, starting with the handle to the left of centre. If you’re using the large main base that’s all there is to it. If you’re using a smaller subsidiary bowl, this is the point when you can slot that in on top of the main stand.

    Step 3: Choose your blade or attachment

    The attachment you choose to use depends on the results you want to achieve. If you’re looking to mix, mince, mash, puree or chop, you’ll probably opt for the main blade – also known as the knife blade. This is attached by clicking it in over the central mechanism, but it can take a little wiggling, either way, to get it locked in, and a small anti-clockwise twist. Other frequently used options include the slicing and grating discs, which need to be attached to the disc support. Fix the tubular support fitting onto the main motor shaft, then slot your metal disc of choice on top, twisting anti-clockwise to secure in place. There are lots of other variations you might want to try – dough hook or whisk, for instance. For anything we haven’t covered, refer to your manufacturer’s instructions. 

    Step 4: Fix the lid in place

    Once you’ve fixed your attachment in place it’s time to place the lid. If you’re planning to use the main blade, you’ll need to add your ingredients before clipping the lid onto the top of the mixer’s bowl. With the funnel to the left of the handle, slide the lid round anti-clockwise to click into place. 

    NOTE: If you’re using one of the discs for slicing, grating etc, don’t place ingredients in the bowl and fix the lid – you’ll never achieve the desired result!

    Step 5: Switch it on

    Start the motor, and with it the movement of the blades or discs, by pressing the power button on your model. If you need to use a pulse function, rather than have the motor running continuously, use the pulse button if your model has one. If not, you can try pressing the on-and-off button repeatedly until you achieve the desired texture for what you’re making. 

    Step 6: Add your ingredients

    If you’re using a slicing disc now’s the time to process your ingredients. Keep in mind, some larger items may need to be cut down to size to fit through the funnel (which leads to the disc). Once the motor is running, use the funnel cover to push through your chosen ingredients to the grating or slicing disc – as well as adding pressure to move the ingredients through the funnel and disc, and on into the bowl, this also helps to protect your hand from potential accidents. 

    Step 7: Watch the magic happen

    If you’re blitzing things into a puree, for example, you can simply watch for a few seconds while your machine does its work. If you’re using a disc attachment, then you can watch the bowl fill up with neatly processed ingredients as you work everything through the funnel.

    Step 8: Clean the elements

    The key to keeping your food processor in good condition is to make sure you wash everything straight away. Carefully remove any blades or attachment and wash with warm soapy water. Scrape any leftover ingredients out of the bowl and off the lid and funnel cover, then repeat the process; wash with warm soapy water, using a soft cloth. Leave to air dry or use a tea towel if you prefer. 

    Step 9: Stack it together, tidy away

    Before storing it away in a cupboard or on your kitchen worktop, reassemble your food processor so it’s ready to go the next time you want to use it. 

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