How do pressure cookers explode

Pressure cookers are a great way to make delicious and nutritious meals. However, they can also be ‘dangerous’ if not used correctly (just like any other kitchen appliance). This blog post will answer the top questions about pressure cooker safety, why pressure cookers have been known to explode, and how to prevent accidents.

Pressure cookers have been around for over 100 years, and over that time, they have changed enormously. We all remember the tales our grandmothers would tell of exploding pressure cookers; however, today, it is rare to hear of a pressure cooker exploding. As the technology improved, so did the safety features on these cookers.

Before continuing with this blog post, I would like to state that I have personally found Pressure Cookers an extremely safe kitchen appliance and have no reservations about recommending them to friends and family. I have never had any accidents while using one and have had no issues regarding their safety.

However, I appreciate there is a concern for many about the safety of pressure cookers, so I will do my best to address the question How do pressure cookers explode? in this blog post.

It’s essential to treat all kitchen appliances with respect, and safety should be the number one priority.

How Likely Is It For A Pressure Cooker To Explode?

When people talk about their pressure cooker exploding, they are not talking about a combustion explosion like some bomb. They are talking about the hot liquid expanding and then being released quickly from the pressure cooker.

A pressurized pot will only explode if there is a build-up of excess steam or hot liquid, and it cannot escape through the release valves, which are usually at the top of a stovetop unit. It doesn’t happen very often (I’ve never known it to happen), especially as most modern pressure cookers have several safety features built-in.

Pressure cookers are designed to release steam when the pressure inside exceeds a safe limit. As long as no defects exist, there is minimal risk of an explosion. Some things that have been known to cause explosions in the past are things like:

  • The cooker has been overfilled with food and liquid
  • Food is not entirely submerged
  • The cooker’s lid is damaged in some way
  • It has been forced open before all the pressure has been released
exploding pressure cooker

How Do You Stop A Pressure Cooker From Exploding?

You must take steps to minimize these risks before using your pressure cooker. There are simple safety precautions that can be taken, such as filling your pot only two-thirds full, so it doesn’t boil over and cleaning out any debris under vents.

The key is to ensure that the cooker and all its parts are in good working order before you begin cooking. If there’s a problem with your cooker, it’s crucial to ensure that you get it fixed and refrain from using it until you do.

Modern-day pressure cookers are designed much better than they used to, and therefore, the risk of them exploding is relatively low, but it’s not entirely impossible. For example, if you use a pressure cooker that doesn’t have safety features such as automatic valves and vents, then there’s more of a chance that your pot will explode when cooking at high heat levels or boiling dry (despite precautions).

Electric pressure cookers have a lot of safety features built-in. They’re designed only to allow the pot to get up to pressure, which again reduces the chance even further of it exploding. They also have safety features to let you know when it is safe to open the pot and also when it’s not.

If you are using a pressure cooker, make sure to use one with safety features if available or follow the manufacturer’s instructions that come with your cooker model.

Why A Pressure Cooker Can Explode If You Open It While It Is Working?

The pressure cooking pot is sealed, so that heat and steam build up inside, which means there’s a lot of pressure when you open the lid. The sudden loss in pressure can cause the liquid (usually water) to boil over or even explode out of it.

It is important to ensure that you never try and open your pressure cooker’s lid when working or the pressure is still high inside. It would be best to either wait for the pressure to release naturally once cooking has finished, which will take about 15 minutes, or use the quick-release valve to do it for you.

How Do You Know When To Open A Pressure Cooker?

You know it is time to open your pressure cooker when it has finished cooking, and the pressure is low. Visual indicators are common on many pressure cookers these days and usually in the form of a red pressure indicator or pressure regulator.

You must check your instruction manual to determine your pressure cooker’s indication, as this is the most reliable method of knowing when your pot is finished cooking and safe to open.

It’s best for those who don’t have a manual to wait for 15 minutes after you’ve turned off your stove and then open the lid if there isn’t any sign that the pressure inside had been released or if it takes longer than this to release pressure, it’s best not to open the lid and instead give the pot a little more time.

Do Instant Pots Ever Explode?

Instant Pots are the most common pressure cooker on the market, so, naturally, there are many questions around this brand, particularly. Like with all pressure cookers, there is a chance that one will explode, but it is rare.

This is because the pressure regulator on an Instant Pot has a whole host of safety features to prevent accidents.

It is worth noting that the chances of an explosion are higher with older models as these don’t have all of the safety features built into them from newer Instant Pot designs, but even then, the chance of an explosion is slim.

The most important thing to remember when using any pressure cooker is to follow your specific model’s instructions.

Your specific model’s instructions are always available on their website and should be followed to avoid trouble.

Pressure cooker steam coming out of safety valve

Should A Pressure Cooker Hiss?

Yes, a pressure cooker should hiss when cooking.
Hissing is the sound of your pot releasing steam as it cooks food.
This release can be heard and seen through bubbles coming up from your pot’s surface or whistling noise that originates inside the pot.

The steam will also cause condensation to form on any cold surfaces, such as a window or counter.
If the pot doesn’t hiss, then this is often an indication that there’s not enough water inside it to form steam and cook food properly.

People who are not used to using pressure cookers find the hissing noise to be alarming.
The hissing sound is a sign that your pot is functioning as it should, and the water inside is boiling rapidly like it’s supposed to do to cook food quickly.

What Happens If A Pressure Cooker Runs Out of Water?

If your pressure cooker runs out of water, there will be no steam to build up the pressure inside of it. This will result in the food inside your pressure cooker burning and could cause a fire.

Following a recipe is a good way of determining how much water is needed for your particular recipe. Pressure cookers also come with a handy chart of how much water you need for different foods.

It would be best if you always made sure that there is at least one inch of water inside the pressure cooker before cooking your food, so it doesn’t burn and cause a fire.

Is It Safe To Leave The Pressure Cooker Unattended?

This all depends on the type of pressure cooker you are using (stovetop or electric), cooking, and how long you are cooking.

Electric pressure cookers tend to have several safety features that allow them to cook unattended. They can be set to a specific temperature and have a thermal fuse inside them, which will cut off the power if it reaches unsafe levels.

On the other hand, stovetop pressure cookers should never be left unattended for long periods as the pressure cooker will not shut itself off if something were to go wrong. While modern stovetop pressure cookers have many safety features built-in, they do not have a thermal fuse.

This is why it’s essential never to leave your stovetop pressure cooker unattended for more than 20 minutes or so.

How Dangerous Are Instant Pots?

As Instant Pots continue to grow in popularity and with horror stories of exploding pressure cookers doing the rounds on the internet (many of them unjustified), it is only natural that people looking to buy a pressure cooker want to know if they are dangerous.

In my opinion, Instant Pots and many other modern brands of pressure cookers are incredibly safe to use. The safety features of modern pressure cookers are amazing. The Instant Pot comes with a safety protocol that takes care of the over-pressure function, electric current protection (so you can’t get electrocuted), and even has an anti-blockage vent!

The reality is no pressure cooker will be 100% safe. But this doesn’t mean we should all go back to using old-fashioned stovetop methods for cooking food. Pressure cookers are convenient, easy to clean and save us time preparing meals making them well worth it. All you need to do is follow instructions carefully and take some simple precautions when handling your appliance – just like any other item around your home.

If you ensure you read the owner’s manual and adhere to the instructions, cook in a well-ventilated space, keep your hands away from any valves on the appliance – you will not encounter any issues.

I have been using my Instant Pot for a very long time and have encountered no safety issues whatsoever. Even though I am used to using the Instant Pot, I am never complacent, minimizing the chance of any accidents occurring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, many electric pressure cookers have the option to turn off automatically after cooking. This helps to save energy and reduce the need for cooking maintenance.

If you are using a stovetop pressure cooker, it will let out steam and then release its built-up pressure, but it will not be able to switch itself off because it has not been removed from the heat source.

Standard food handling rules apply with a pressure cooker just like they would with any other cooking appliance. You should not leave food in a pressure cooker overnight, as bacteria can grow inside the unit and cause illness or spoil your food.

Once your food has cooked, treat it as you would any other food and refrigerate it or freeze it once it has cooled down.

Pressure cookers turn off when the heat is too high or low. If you cook something that needs to be cooked at a lower temperature, try reducing the stove's setting and monitoring it for another 15 minutes.

You could also try checking the electrical outlet you have the pressure cooker plugged into to make sure it is working appropriately.

Also, if your pressure cooker has an automatic timer on it, there might be an issue with the device's clock or power cord, so check those before continuing.

6 Great Pressure Cookers

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Instant Pot Duo

4.8/5
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Yedi 9-in-1 Cooker

5/5
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Ninja Foodi 8-Quart

5/5
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All American 921

5/5
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Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus

5/5
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Breville Fast Slow Pro

5/5