Pre-steady-state kinetic analyses of the catalytic subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase showed that the rate constant for phosphoryl transfer is fast and either the release of one or both of the products or a conformational change controls turnover [Grant, B., & Adams, J. A. (1996) Biochemistry 35, 2022-2029]. To determine which step or steps control turnover in the wild-type enzyme, we used a catalytic trapping technique to measure directly the dissociation rate constant for ADP. The phosphorylation of two peptide substrates, LRRASLG and GRTGRRNSI, was monitored using a rapid quench flow technique under conditions where saturating concentrations of ADP were preequilibrated with the enzyme before excess ATP and one of the substrates were added to trap the free enzyme and to start the phosphorylation reaction. Under ADP preequilibration conditions, no 'burst' phase was observed, and although the rate of linear, steady-state turnover was unaffected, the net production of phosphopeptide lagged behind the non-preequilibrated control. This phenomenon occurs due to the slow release of the product, and kinetic modeling suggests that this effect can be explained if the dissociation rate constant for ADP is 24 s-1 and solely limits turnover (kcat = 23 s-1) for the phosphorylation of LRRASLG. Using GRTGRRNSI, the dissociation rate constant for ADP is 35 s-1 and limits turnover (kcat = 29 s-1) if the reaction is initiated by the addition of enzyme. Under preequilibration conditions with either ATP or GRTGRRNSI, turnover is approximately 50% lower, suggesting that ADP release may partially control this parameter. This preequilibration effect can be explained by slowly interconverting enzyme forms with specific peptide-induced turnover properties. These studies indicate that ADP release is an essential rate-limiting component for turnover but also suggests that other factors contribute subtly when the structure of the substrate is altered.