Are Pressure Cookers Supposed to Make Noise? Ticking Time Bomb?

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I love my Instant-Pot, which is the best-known brand of pressure cooker. But with all the sputtering, clicking, and steam that comes out of it when I’m using it, I’ve wondered are pressure cookers supposed to make noise?

I decided to investigate and here’s what I learned:

The lids of pressure cookers are securely fastened, so no pressure or steam gets released from the edge of the lid. But as a safety measure, they come with a safety release valve that automatically adjusts the pressure as needed. When it releases pressure, it is often in the form of a noisy, whistling stream of steam.

But there’s a lot more to know about Instant Pot and pressure cooker noise, safety, and when you should be concerned. So let’s review what noises pressure cookers should and should not be making.

Here we go!

Make sure and check out my Top 11 Recommended Small Kitchen Appliances Ultimate Guide.

I take all the guesswork and leg work out of it for you by only listing the best of the best, conveniently broken down by category, including pressure cookers.

These are items I either own, have used, or in some cases just researched thoroughly so I know they are the highest-rated and will get you exactly what you need.

Does a pressure cooker make noise when cooking?

The short answer is maybe, but when, or if it makes noise, depends on a few factors.

First, there are stove-top pressure cookers and electric pressure cookers like the Instant-Pot. The electric ones tend to be safer, less prone to operator error, and generally speaking, easier to use.

Just put your ingredients in, seal the lid well, and press a few buttons and wait.

Stove-top pressure cookers, by comparison, are counting on you to correctly set the heat level on the burner. They also rely on you to know when to turn off the heat (or reduce it).

Either way, your pressure cooker will come with a safety release valve. It is this value that makes noise in a pressure cooker.

The way a pressure release value works is that when the internal pressure in your pressure cooker starts to get too high, the release value will open automatically and vent some of the pressure out. Usually, this will just be warm steam that shoots straight up.

However, stove-top pressure cookers can also make noise in 1 additional way.

Because they are sitting on a burner which is providing the heat source, just like a pot of boiling water on your stove, the pressure cooker can start to make a boiling sound. If the pressure gets really high, and especially if your stove-top pressure cooker is made of thinner material like aluminum, it can even shake a little bit.

The other, more dangerous way a pressure cooker of any kind can make noise is if the lid isn’t seated all the way, or if the silicone ring inside the lid is worn and no longer working as it’s supposed to.

If you ever see steam coming from the edge of the lid instead of the release valve, you should immediately open the release valve and unplug the unit and step away in case the lid explodes.

But modern pressure cookers don’t really explode the way our grandmother’s pressure cookers sometimes did. But we’ll get more into that below.

Do Pressure cookers explode?

The short answer is maybe.

Modern pressure cookers like the Instant Pot have a LOT of safety features built-in to prevent mishaps like your soup ending up on your ceiling.

In fact, the Instant Pot, certainly the most popular pressure cooker today, has 10 different safety features:

  1. Lid close detection
  2. Leaky lid detection
  3. Auto-locking lid when under pressure
  4. A shield to prevent the vent from getting blocked by food
  5. Auto temp control
  6. High-temp warning
  7. Auto disconnect if the temps get too high
  8. Automatic pressure control 
  9. Pressure regulator release
  10. Excess pressure drop (if the release value doesn’t work)

But back in our grandmother’s day when the old-school pressure cooker was percolating on the stovetop, explosions were much more common.

However, there are some things to know and watch out for that go beyond what I’ve just described. So if you own an Instant Pot or other types of pressure cooker, you’ll want to check out this recent article of mine where I go over all the scenarios that could make a pressure cooker explode.

Just click the link to read it now. What really surprised me was how common pressure cooker explosions really are.

Are pressure cookers loud?

If we’re talking my Instant Pot, the answer is not really.

The Instant Pot doesn’t move, bounce around, or make any noise really other than when it occasionally releases steam from the release valve.

Even if your pressure cooker never releases steam during the cooking, it will at the end when you are done. There are 2 ways to release the pressure when you’re done cooking, and 1 makes a lot more noise than the other.

Here is a breakdown of the 2 release methods and why you might want to do one or the other:

QUICK RELEASE

  • Why – To quickly stop the cooking process to avoid overcooking the food. Don’t do this with foods that sputter like soups. This only takes a couple of minutes, but will loudly (but quickly) release all the pressure and steam inside the pressure cooker
  • How – Just turn the pressure release valve from center to the left or right

NATURAL RELEASE

  • Why – This is a gradual (and quiet) release of the pressure inside your pressure cooker. If you aren’t in a hurry or are cooking something delicate, this is the way to go.
  • How – You leave it alone. The pressure naturally goes down until it’s neutral. You know it’s done when the float valve drops down. This takes about 30 minutes to complete

If you’re going to consider an Instant Pot or any pressure cooker, or even if you already have one, check out another recent article of mine where I cover all the Advantages and Disadvantages of Pressure Cooking.

Why does my pressure cooker make noise, whistle, or release steam?

In short, your pressure cooker is releasing steam and pressure inside the cooker.

Usually, this is a normal process when pressures inside start to get too high. Most pressure cookers, especially modern electric ones, have a ton of safety features to automatically control the pressure by releasing it when it starts to get too high.

As the pressure gets released out of the cooker, it’s in the form of steam which comes out of the safety release valve.  The higher the pressure when the valve gets opened, the faster the steam and the more it will whistle and make noise.

Think of it like this. If you are boiling water in a pot of the stove and you place a lid tightly on top of the pot, eventually it starts to boil. When the water in the pot starts boiling, the lid starts to rattle and bounce around.

That’s due to the pressure inside the pot created by the steam being generated from the heat.

But unlike a pot of the stove, your pressure cooker’s lid is clamped down tightly so it can’t let any pressure out. That’s how it can cook food so quickly.

Just like that pot on the stove, the more rollicking the boil, the more pressure, and steam get created. And for your safety, if it reaches too high of a level, your pressure cooker automatically opens the safety release valve.

That gently, but somewhat quickly, releases the steam and pressure, resulting in a noisy, whistling, steam shooting up from the valve.

Did I cover everything you wanted to know about whether pressure cookers are supposed to make noise?

In this article, we took a look at pressure cookers and whether or not they are supposed to make noise.

In truth, pressure cookers and Instant Pots do make some noise while cooking. They can also sometimes release steam. If you don’t know what to expect sometimes those things seem concerning.

So we reviewed everything there is to know about whether pressure cookers are supposed to make noise. And that included knowing what noises to actually be concerned about and be on the lookout for.

What brand of pressure cooker do you have and does it make noise?

Also, make sure and check out my Best Fast and Slow Cookers Buyer’s Guide.

I take all the guesswork and leg work out of it for you by only listing the best of the best, conveniently broken down by category, including pressure cookers.

These are items I either own, have used, or in some cases just researched thoroughly so I know they are the highest-rated and will get you exactly what you need. Just click that link to see it on my site.


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Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, blogging on his main blog over at newmiddleclassdad.com or, of course, in the kitchen.

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