Can Pressure Cookers Explode? How To Prevent It?

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Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by Share My Kitchen

A pressure cooker is a sealed vessel for cooking that uses high pressure to raise the boiling point of liquids. These allow food to cook faster, and require less energy and water than traditional cooking methods. However, pressure cookers can prove to be dangerous.

Pressure Cookers May Explore From Design Defects

Design defects and manufacturing defects are usually the reason for pressure cooker explosions. These are the common injuries from using a pressure cooker: steam burns, contact burns, splashed/spilled hot liquids, as well as explosions. But, correct use of a pressure cooker can reduce the chance of getting these types of injuries.

Common Defects in Pressure Cookers That Can 

  1. Poor Lid Seals: an inadequate lid seal can lead to spillage and expulsion of the contents of the pressure cooker.
  2. Faulty Gaskets That Allow Early Opening: a defective gasket permits a premature opening of the cooker while on high pressure which can lead to steam and contact burns.
  3. Inadequate Venting: poor venting can cause a pressure cooker explosion.

Safety Tips for Using Pressure Cookers:

  1. Check the Pressure Cooker Before Cooking: a pressure cooker’s rubber gasket between the pot and the lid is crucial for proper operation. Therefore, make sure the gasket is clean and not cracked or dried out before you start cooking. Moreover, some manufacturers recommend replacing the rubber gasket every year, depending on how often you use your pressure cooker.
  2. Don’t Overfill Your Pressure Cooker: a pressure cooker should not be filled more than two-thirds of its size. This prevents food from blocking the vents on the cooker’s lid. Also, for foods that swell, froth or foam (i.e. beans, rice, pasta), only fill the cooker to halfway.
  3. Make Sure You Use Enough Liquid: pressure cookers use steam under extreme pressure to cook food. Steam cannot form without liquid. You will need at least half a cup of liquid to make sufficient steam for the cooker to function properly.
  4. Pay attention to the Type of Food Being Cooked: certain foods (i.e. pasta, split peas, oatmeal, applesauce, and cranberries) produce froth while cooking can block steam valves and vents of the cooker. Therefore, make sure that your recipe needs the same size cooker as the one you have before cooking these foods. Remember that you cannot overfill the cooker. Moreover, do not fry food in a standard pressure cooker.  There are, however, pressure cookers designed specifically for frying. Although a small amount of oil may be used in a recipe, frying in a non-frying cooker can cause the gasket to melt and other parts.
  5. Release Pressure Safely: there are three options to release the pressure cooker: natural release, which involves removing the cooker from the heat, and allowing it to sit to reduce the pressure; cold water release by placing cold water on the lid of the closed cooker; quick release via the steam release valve to expel the steam. When releasing pressure, protect your face, hands and body. Also, remember that steam may escape when you open the pressure cooker even if you think you have released it completely.
  6. Clean the Pressure Cooker Properly: after using the pressure cooker, first remove the gasket, and clean it separately from the other parts. Then, use a toothpick to clean the release valve. Store the cooker with the lid upside down over the pot rather than locking it in place.

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