Can A Pressure Cooker Explode? How to Avoid Them

A pressure cooker is one of the most common cooking appliances not only for chefs but the homemakers as well. It can cook food faster and with less water and energy. However, there are risks associated with pressure cookers. Can a pressure cooker explode?

A pressure cooker can explode due to pressure imbalance inside the bucket. Then, a faulty gasket, an improperly installed seal, or a blocked safety valve can be the reason. Also, excessive oil or dried-out water inside can lead to pressure cooker explosions.

In order to give you a more detailed understanding of how pressure cookers cause explosions, I will provide some additional details. Stay tuned to the article to find out all the details.

Can A Pressure Cooker Really Explode?

Yes, a pressure cooker can be exploded. It has long been known that pressure cookers cause accidents and damage. Even though modern pressure cookers are much better, improper handling can still lead to danger.

Several factors can cause pressure cookers to explode, such as overfilling, misusing oil, and blocking vents. It is entirely preventable for the user wanting to be responsible.

Nevertheless, a  malfunctioning or defective part can also cause a pressure cooker to explode. The pressure cooker could have cracks in any area that, if not detected before use, could cause an explosion.

when can a pressure cooker explode

Why Would A Pressure Cooker Explode? 7 Reasons

Pressure imbalance inside the cooker is mainly responsible for explosions. Cooking food in a pressure cooker is faster because hot steam is trapped inside a lid that has been locked.

As the water boils, steam builds within the cooker. The increasing rate of steam in the cooker increases pressure and temperature. An explosion occurs when high-temperature steam that is under pressure is suddenly released.

The valves and lids are designed to open only when the pressure drops as part of the protective measures. However, a pressure cooker can explode in any situation.

Also Read: Cuisinart Pressure Cooker Timer Not Working: 4 Fixes Ways

There are several possible reasons why a pressure cooker could explode and ruin your kitchen. Without further ado, let’s shed light on the possible reasons for the pressure cooker explosion.

A broader look at each reason will help you better understand them.

1. Seals Attached Incorrectly

By sealing the lid of your pressure cooker, you lock steam, heat, and food inside. In order to speed up the cooking process, a pressure cooker removes all of the air from the space.

Nevertheless, if you don’t seal your lid correctly, you will release more than just air from your pressure cooker.

If your pressure cooker’s seals are not installed properly, your food may leak out of its bowl. Pressure cookers can explode as a result of food hitting their lids with such force.

Hence, it’s possible that you could suffer serious burns if you were nearby at the time of this explosion. There is also a possibility that your countertop or stove will be severely damaged.

2. Faulty Gaskets

A faulty gasket is also a great reason for cooker explosions. Usually, the gaskets on pressure cookers guide the steam apart from the bucket safely. You must periodically expel the steam inside the unit to avoid it from exploding as pressure builds within it.

So, if your gasket does not open properly or release pressure regularly, it can cause severe problems like an explosion.

3. Ineffective Vents

When pressure cookers are not vented properly, they can explode. All the excess air in your pressure cooker is forced out of its bucket. You can redistribute air through the vents in your unit without harming your pressure cooker.

In fact, a clogged or poorly constructed vent may be the reason for creating excess air pressure inside the bucket.

4. Blocked Safety Valves

Sometimes, safety valves get blocked due to food fragments. So, when grease and old food fragments get stuck in your pressure cooker’s primary and safety valves, it can cause high pressure and explodes.

5. Overstuffed Pressure Cooker Pots

If pressure cookers are stuffed way above their recommended capacities, it can lead to an explosion. Usually, it’s recommended to keep 1/3rd of the cooker bucket empty.

Any exception to that might end up throwing the food around. Because most of the cooking processes tend to enlarge the items to be cooked, resulting in a sudden burst out of the cooker lid.

6. Dried Out Water

In a pressure cooker, the gas and steam build up extremely fast when the water evaporates. When the water is completely dried, this burns and damages the cooker. There is a risk of explosion if this happens.

7. Loose Lid Latches

Pressure cookers can explode if the valves malfunction and the steam does not escape when the sidewalls are licked by flames. Moreover, conventional cookers may explode if their lid latches lose due to improper adjustment.

8. Using Excessive Oil

Typical pressure cookers are generally unsuitable for excessive oil usage. They are typically designed for a maximum temperature of around 121 °C (250 °F), whereas oil can reach temperatures well above 160 °C (320 °F).

This temp will melt the gasket and remove its safety features. So, as a result, the cooker will explode.

how can a pressure cooker explode

How to Prevent Pressure Cooker Explosions?

Pressure cooker explosions often occur due to manufacturing defects and design flaws. To lower the risk of hazardous events, you should always opt for high-end ones, not local knock-offs.

Also, you need to take care of some things to minimize risks. Let’s get to know them.

1. Examine Your Pressure Cooker Regularly

There are many safety measures in today’s pressure cookers, but if they are defective, they will not serve their intended purpose. So, inspect your pressure cooker’s vents, detectors, locks, and lids before each use.

A pressure cooker’s lid and pot need a rubber gasket to function properly. Ensure the gasket is not broken or dry, as the dry ones can melt early. Cleaning the gasket is also important. You should replace the rubber gasket once a year, no matter how many times you use your pressure cooker.

2. Clean And Open the Pressure Cooker Gently

A blockage in the valve or a buildup of food and other particles are common causes of pressure cooker explosions. It is important to keep your pressure cooker clean to prevent explosions.

You should clean your pressure cooker’s gasket independently from other parts after using it.  Use a toothpick to clean out the exhaust valve. Rather than locking the lid on your cooker, store it upside down to reduce wear on the gasket.

Moreover, to avoid any unwanted circumstances, venting steam and opening the cooker carefully is a must. Both should be done slowly and carefully according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Stop Overstuffing the Pressure Cooker

Stop filling your pressure cooker more than two-thirds full.  It prevents food from blocking the vents in the lid.  You should only fill the cooker halfway with foods that swell or foam, like rice & pasta.

4. Liquid Should Be Sufficient Inside the Cooker

The purpose of pressure cookers is to cook food by applying heat under much pressure.  A liquid is necessary for the creation of steam.

For the cooker to work properly, you must ensure that at least half a cup of liquid exists inside the cooker, regardless of the pot size.

5. Safely Relieve Pressure

You can use three wonderful ways to release the pressure.

  • Firstly, you can allow the pressure to vent naturally by taking off the cooker from the stove.
  • Or you can use the cold water method, where a cold water stream is run over the lid.
  • Nonetheless, you can expel the steam by opening the vent valve.

Moreover, even after those steps, steam may still escape when opening the pressure cooker. So, remain protective of your face and hands while performing this job.

6. Select Cooking Food with Awareness

Pressure cookers are not recommended for deep frying since hot oil can explode if handled improperly.

Also, foam-producing foods like rice pasta need to be carefully cooked in a cooker. Ever go for overfilling your pressure cooker.

7. Stop Buying Used Pressure Cookers

There are safety features on modern pressure cookers that make them safer than older models. However, these features become less efficient over time.

So, it is never a good idea to buy an old pressure cooker with an unknown usage period. Also, old cookers lose their actual capability and can cause an accident.

Also See: Power Pressure Cooker XL Not Heating Up (Troubleshooting)

What Happens When A Pressure Cooker Explodes?

There is a tremendous force behind the release of steam, which can cause severe second and third-degree burns. Also, the skin can be scalded painfully.

In addition, steam damage caused by excessive pressure causes glass and metal pieces to fly around the kitchen. A piece of metal hitting the eye causes swelling, cuts, and even loss of sight.

Moreover, Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and brain damage happen when a lid or cooker strikes the victim’s head. It is possible that the patient will lose consciousness as a result of falling as well as fractured bones.

The pressure of a cooker explosion is so strong that it can damage walls, glass, cabinets, cooktops, and even the roof.

Frequently Some Asked Questions [FAQ]

How do I know if my pressure cooker is safe?

Before using a pressure cooker, ensure that it’s UL Certified. This certification means that the product has been tested for safety by Underwriters Laboratories and meets certain safety requirements.

Also, you can check the manufacturer’s website for safety information. If any strange noises or smells coming from your pressure cooker while cooking, immediately turn it off and call customer service for assistance.

What happens if too much water in a pressure cooker?

If too much water is put into a pressure cooker, the food may not cook properly,  be overcooked, or burn. Also, putting too much water can cause it to overheat, leading to potential safety hazards. The excess steam from the additional water can cause the lid to pop off, resulting in boiling liquid spraying out of the pot.

Can pressure cookers cause fires?

Yes, a pressure cooker can cause fires if it explodes. Recent reports have shown that pressure cookers can potentially cause fires due to their high-temperature and pressurized cooking capabilities. Taking some precautions and the manufacturer’s instructions will help ensure your pressure cooker does not cause a fire.

What should I do if my pressure cooker starts to overheat?

If you are using a gas stove (unplug the pressure cooker if it is electric), turn the heat off and open the lid carefully away from your face, as the steam and pressure can cause burns.

Then, remove the inner pot safely and place it in a sink filled with cold water. It will help cool the pot down and release any remaining pressure. After that, please check the seals, gaskets, and valves for any signs of damage.


Hopefully, you get enough information about can a pressure cooker explode or not in detailed manner. Cooking in a pressure cooker might seem easy, but it comes with numerous risk factors.

You should remember that pressure cookers can be harmful if you don’t use them properly, and children should never be allowed to use them.

I wish you a delicious cooking experience and a safe journey.

Leave a Reply