Pressure cookers are most commonly used gadgets for cooking in Indian kitchens and come in handy for cooking meats, beans faster.
While they are commonly used, using them correctly is key to ensuring safety and efficiency as you cook.
The same pressure cooker can turn into a pain if it keeps on leaking steam.
If a pressure cooker is leaking steam then that means that there isn’t enough pressure inside it to cook the food fast and it can also cause food to get burnt.
- 1. Lid is not closed correctly
- 2. Gasket is missing
- 3. Gasket is bent or misaligned with the lid.
- 4. Gasket is installed incorrectly
- 5. Gasket has bumps on it due to food particles stuck on it.
- 6. Gasket has expanded over time and is now too loose
- 7. Safety valve has been blown and needs to be replaced.
- 8. Handles are not locked together when closing the pressure cooker.
- 9. The pressure cooker lid is bent or out of shape.
- 10. The whistle or weight that is placed on the steam vent is not placed right.
- 11. Too much liquid in the pressure cooker.
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Here are some tips on what might be causing it and how to fix it:-
1. Lid is not closed correctly
90% of my leaks are fixed by simply opening the pressure cooker and then closing it back again making sure that the bottom and the lid align well with each other.
The leak is most commonly caused if the pressure cooker has not been closed correctly and thus a vacuum cannot be formed in it.
Open the pressure cooker and then close the lid back again. The pressure cooker’s lid and bottom usually have grooves in them that need to align and close together. If they are not then the vacuum will not be created and steam with find space to escape.
When you close it back make sure that you align the top and bottom well and snug with each other.
2. Gasket is missing
The rubber gasket fits in snuggly and helps create a vacuum in the pressure cooker so that it can cook at high pressure and temperature.
This is very fundamental and you might already have the gasket placed but there have been times when I have missed it myself and realized it only after seeing the steam leak.
The rubber gasket fits between the cooker base and lid and stops any steam from escaping.
If the gasket has not been placed in the lid then it will cause the steam to escape.
Look for the right gasket that came with the pressure cooker and place it in the grooves to ensure that there are no leaks.
3. Gasket is bent or misaligned with the lid.
If the gasket is not aligned right or if there is a bend in it then the seal will not work and the cooker will leak steam.
This is the most common reason that we find that the cooker leaks steam.
The rubber gasket helps in creating a seal to get the high pressure going and a bent one can’t do that.
Open the pressure cooker and take out the gasket and put it back in again.
Make sure that it fits snug into the pressure cooker rim’s lid.
There are no bends or spaces in between that the steam can escape from.
4. Gasket is installed incorrectly
The gasket needs to be installed such that the pointed side is inside and the lips are towards the outside.
If installed the other way it will cause the pressure cooker to leak.
Check the gasket installation guide and make sure that you have the right side facing the lid.
5. Gasket has bumps on it due to food particles stuck on it.
Sometimes the food cooked in the cooker tends to stick on the gasket.
When the gasket is placed in the cooker it leads to a bump and it does not let the gasket fit in snug on the rim of the cooker.
This will cause the steam to escape from the spot.
Clean the gasket and make sure there are no food particles stuck to it that can interfere with its correct placement on the lid.
6. Gasket has expanded over time and is now too loose
The gaskets are made from rubber and over time they expand with the constant exposure to heat.
As the gaskets lose their original size and expand they do not seal the edges of the pressure cooker as well as they used to.
This is a very common issue and you should be able to buy a replacement one for your specific pressure cooker model.
Usually gaskets need to be replaced in around 2 years of use as they tend to expand in size.
Replace the gasket with a newer one that fits well around the edges of the pressure cooker lid.
7. Safety valve has been blown and needs to be replaced.
All pressure cookers have a safety valve in them that stops too much pressure from building the cooker.
If the pressure is too high the safety valve blows and creates a space for the steam to escape.
The safety valve keeps us safe and prevents the pressure cook from blasting.
If the safety valve has blown then the steam will keep escaping from its vent unless it has been replaced.
Replace the safety valve on the pressure cooker lid. These should be available as spares for your pressure cooker model.
8. Handles are not locked together when closing the pressure cooker.
When closing the pressure cooker the handles have grooves in each other that are supposed to lock together to get the best seal.
If the handles are not placed as expected then it may create pockets for steam to leak.
Open the pressure cooker and close it back again making sure that the handles get locked as per the manual.
9. The pressure cooker lid is bent or out of shape.
The pressure created in the cooker is due to the vacuum that is created by the snug placement of the pressure cooker base with gasket and the lid.
Sometimes if the lid is dropped by accident it can cause a bend.
This bend will give space for the steam to escape and the cooker will not work.
You can try fixing the bend but in most of the cases the pressure cooker needs to be replaced.
10. The whistle or weight that is placed on the steam vent is not placed right.
The steam vent is meant for steam release when high cooking pressure is reached in the cooker.
If the steam vent weight also known as the whistle is not placed right then it will not close the steam vent right.
This will cause the steam to escape and leak from the pressure cooker.
If the steam is leaking from the steam valve then remove the weight and place it back again.
Make sure that it fits well and is placed as per the manual.
11. Too much liquid in the pressure cooker.
As pressure cookers have a maximum cooking capacity and they should not be filled beyond that.
I never fill my pressure cooker more than half of its capacity but it may vary for your pressure cooker.
Make sure you check the manual and only fill it as per the instructions.
Check the manual for the pressure cooker and make sure that you have not filled it beyond its recommended capacity.
Should pressure cookers leak steam while cooking?
Yes, pressure cookers do leak some steam while cooking as the liquid inside boils in and the pressure is built.
However, this leak should be very minimal and once the pressure has been reached the cookers automatically release steam through the vent once by pushing the weight up.
Can I leave my pressure cooker unattended?
No, never leave your pressure cooker unattended.
You do not need to be right next to the cook top but make sure that you are around to catch any warning signs.
Accidents and incidents can be prevented by paying close attention to the pressure cooker like
if it’s leaking too much steam, or hasn’t come to pressure in the expected time.