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What Does Pulse Mean on a Blender + 3 Ways to Use it

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Blenders are one of the best kitchen products to level up your cooking and food prep! I use a blender at least a few times a week whether I’m making a smoothie, protein shake, curry base, or homemade salsa. 

But most people don’t know how to use their blender to its full potential. 

There’s a little button or function that most blenders come with called a pulse button or pulse switch. I’ll teach you what the pulse buttons means and how to make the most of it. 

The pulse button is one of the various speed options available on a blender. If you press the pulse button, then your blender will run at the highest speed setting for as long as you hold the button down. This gives you better control over the blending process as you make your food.

Keep reading to find more ways to use the pulse button on your blender!

Vitamix pulse button

What Does The Pulse Button Mean? 

The pulse function on a blender is a speed option that makes your blender immediately blend at full speed. It’s a helpful function to blitz food with a few “pulses” at high speed. This lets you chop the ingredients rather than fully blend or puree them. 

When you use a blender normally, the blades will cut through and pulverize the ingredients until they are perfectly smooth. The longer you run your blender, the more smooth the texture will be. 

For most blender tasks, you want a smooth texture, but occasionally you might want something with a different texture. That’s where the pulse button can be helpful. 

Vitamix pulse button zoomed in

On most blenders, when you press down on the pulse button labeled as “pulse” or sometimes just “P”, then it sets the blender speed to the maximum. Keeping the button pushed down will allow the machine to retain its speed consistently. But when you release the button, the speed drops dramatically, and the blender stops. 

The pulse button can also be pressed down and used when your blender is actively running. Certain blenders even allow you to switch up the speed of your pulse option to precisely what you require from the machine.


Why is the Pulse Button Useful? 

One of the most exhausting things to do when you’re cooking is to chop up the various ingredients that you will be using. The pulse button on your blender makes chopping 10x easier. 

Since you’re not hand-slicing your ingredients anymore, you don’t have to worry about cutting up the onions too thick or leaving the cabbage too thin. You can rely on the fact that the pulse will always chop consistently and accurately.

chopped onions comparison of Vitamix pulsed vs hand chopped

3 Ways to Use the Pulse Option on Your Blender

The pulse function is one of my favorite ways to save time cooking. I’ll show you a few ways to use the pulse option on your blender so that you can level up your blending and save time. 

Chopping vegetables

Nothing is worse than spending half an hour with your cutting board trying to finely chop up all the vegetables you need for a particular dish. And when the recipe requires you to have several done precisely, it’s even more of a hassle. But the pulse option on your blender will make things a lot easier. 

All you’ll have to do is put your vegetables in mid-size chunks into your blender, and then hold the pulse button 4-5x for a few seconds each.

Left side: large chopped onion. Right side: onion finely pulsed

Make your own breadcrumbs

If you’ve ever wanted to get rid of packaged breadcrumbs and make your own then the pulse lets you do just that so quickly that you’ll never want to return. Put chunks of toasted bread into the blender and pulse a few times to get the easiest crumbs you’ve ever used. 

Blend small amounts of food more easily

Are you cooking a soup and midway you realize you forgot a crucial ingredient? Or do you want to fix your Indian dish mid-way, but don’t know if you’ll be able to mix the new ingredients properly? 

It’s often these moments when the pulse option on your blender is most helpful. It’ll help you fix all those pesky mistakes on the fly and all you’ll have to do is hold the pulse button down a few times. 

The pulse button is how you can use a Vitamix as a food processor.

Create different textures in soups or stews

I absolutely love making soup in a Vitamix. A lot of recipes I make start by sauteing ingredients in a pan or pot and then transferring them into a blender to make a more smooth texture.

I love having some chunkier bites to my soup so I’ll often use the pulse button so that the ingredients only get partially blended. This creates different textures in the soup, stew, or curry.


Common Questions About Pulsing

What does the pulse button do on a Vitamix blender?

The pulse button on a Vitamix offers you to control your blend by turning the machine on or off at full speed instantly. This helps you get the perfect texture you desire.

Is pulse the same as puree?

Pulsing your food is not the same as pureeing it. The goal with the pulse button is to have different textures in your food and a puree is meant to be as smooth as possible.


Final Take Away

No one can deny that making food is an art. It’s not just about mixing things but being able to do so intelligently. 

Now that you know what the pulse button on your blender does you can use it to save time in the kitchen, chop small ingredients, and make great food even easier.

Photo of author

Richmond Howard

Richmond Howard started World of Blenders in 2022 to help people solve all their blender issues and buy the best blender for their kitchen! He's tested dozens of blenders and on his other site, Meal Prepify, he's helped over 3 million people learn how to meal prep.

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