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Taking the Pulse of Your Food Processor

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2011

Recipes using a food processor to chop or grind ingredients often call for “one-second pulses.” But what exactly does this mean? Should you hold down the button for a full second and then release it? Or just press it for a microsecond, release it, and wait a full second before pressing down again? The answer depends on your machine. We tried different brands and observed what happened when we depressed their pulse buttons. Some, like our favorite, KitchenAid KFP750, instantly spun and continued to rotate a second after we lifted our finger off the button. Others, like the Viking Food Processor and Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup, came to a halt as soon as we lifted up, requiring us to keep the button depressed to complete a “pulse.” To ensure that you get the right results when a recipe calls for a certain number of pulses, check your processor and find out what exactly happens to the blade—so you’ll know whether to release the pulse button right away or keep it depressed to get a full one-second spin.