Photo of a kitchen damaged by a pressure cooker explosion

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I’ve been hemming and hawing about whether to get a pressure cooker or pressure canner, because I’d heard they have more safety features to prevent explosions compared to 20 or 30 years ago. The “hawing” side has one. I can’t imagine the benefit outweighing the risk, even if extraordinarily rare.

Yeesh. Did they leave it on the stove too long? I did that once with a pot of boiling water and melted a cheap pot. I smelled it in the other room and my idiot roomate was right there on the couch. I was like, “WTF, didn’t you smell that?”

“It was your pot you were cooking…”

“Yeah obviously I screwed up. Were you going to just let it burn down the place to teach me a lesson?”

In my defense, my girlfriend distracted me.


We have two pressure cookers. We use them for canning vegetables. They both have a relief valve and a way to monitor internal pressure. They’re generally not very dangerous unless the relief valve gets damaged or you ignore it for too long while the heat is up too high.


It does and these numbskulls who let their pressure cookers explode are of the same ilk as these people:

My father and I have the same type, with the small weight that acts as the pressure valve on the top central part of the lid and a tab in the handle that prevents the cooker from being opened while under pressure, and after using it a few times, the shake and rattle of that device will be enough to know if the temp is too high or not high enough.

When done cooking, take the whole thing, pressure valve included, and sit under a faucet of lukewarm or cool, but not cold, water to drop the pressure, and once it’s cool enough (the cooker is no longer outgassing steam at a violent pace) the lid can be removed. If you can bake something without setting your house on fire, you should be just fine.

Since I was a baby that noise was the signal that boiled peanuts were on their merry way, so I guess I’ve got a lot of good associations thereof.


Homemade stock is SO much easier with a pressure cooker. Even just using the carcass from a rotisserie chicken. Fraction of the time it takes in just a regular stockpot. And, it uses a fraction of the energy.


“Worst Airbnb experience ever.”


Hrm. I thought the point of that was to focus the blast into a lateral shockwave (as the cooker will fail first at the seam)… but this image doesn’t show evidence of that. Heck, the flimsy coffee maker looks untouched…

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I just got a 30 quart/7.5 gallon canner the other day. Are you saying I shouldn’t leave it on high?

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Ya, it looks like it was probably a failure of the latching mechanism.

Reconsider! While accidents can happen they are incredibly useful - most food is cooked in a fraction of the time (as someone mentioned below, throw a chicken carcass, water, and a few veggies in and you have top quality stock in 30 mins), they save tons of energy, and you’re cooking with physics! Mashed potatoes in 4 minutes. Beef stew in 20. Think of your pressure cooker as a replacement for your crock pot, except the pressure cooker won’t break the bank on the electric bill.

After all, you have a frying pan and accept the rick of a grease fire in the kitchen.

Get a high quality cooker with a permanent safety valve rather than a wobbling weight. Here’s a nice example:

I’ve never had a pressure cooker, so I’m having a bit of a visualization failure here. The more I look at the picture, the more I’m inclined to think it might have been staged - or at least “enhanced” after the fact. I’m happy to be convinced otherwise, though…

My main issue is that the vessel apparently was driven downward with enough force to destroy the cooktop, and the lid was driven upward through the range hood and into the ceiling… yet the vessel and lid don’t show any deformation. At the very least, I would have expected the lid to be a little warped because one side held on longer than the other - but I’m not seeing that. (Could be just that the resolution is too low, of course.) Also, the contents of the cooker seem to have gone straight up (and most of them come straight down); I would have expected to see food all over the place.

How would a latch failure produce results like this without deformation, and how would the spray of food be so directional? I’m very willing to be convinced; I’m just having a hard time visualizing it.


On a side note, the usual overpressure inside is about 1 atmosphere (15 psi), about 1 kg/cm2, which pushes the boiling point of water to 120 'C. The explosion of such relatively low pressure, of a vessel with relatively small volume, is rather feeble. A lid with 20 cm diameter is pushed against the seal with mere 314 kilograms.

Yes, you can get the kitchen painted with goulash. You can get a large fragment or three. But there will be no shrapnels, no fragmentation inherent to real explosions. Seems that even if you’d be present at the time of the “spontaneous disassembly”, all you’d get is some scalding, assuming the lid misses you.

Thought… Could a good pressure cooker be rigged from a length of flanged pipe, and industrial safety valve (pair of them, one for pressure maintenance, one for safety)? Possibly with a MODBUS pressure sensor providing feedback for the heater controller? Such arrangement could go quite past the flimsy 100 kPa of commercial cookers…

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Don’t use your parents pressure cooker.
Modern ones are safe and usually have multiple safety features.

The ones with the wobbly bit on top are dangerous. They only have one exit point for pressure which can become clogged.


What? Not one “Thanks Obama” anywhere?

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I had a pressure cooker blow up once (the rocker got clogged). The safety relief (basically a plastic plug) worked, so it wasn’t a catastrophic failure (I had to repaint the kitchen, but nothing was destroyed).

But I’ll tell you: standing next to a metal container venting, say, two gallons of boiling liquid in a second or less is freaking scary. I’m pretty sure my daughter (who was in the room at the time) will never own or use one! And even though this happened perhaps five years ago, I could probably count on a finger or two the number of times I’ve used one since…


HOMER: How do I use the pressure cooker?
MARGE: Don’t!

Looks like someone tried to open it without releasing the pressure first. Look at all those fixin’s on the counter!


Even if a clog doesn’t cause a cooker to blow, guess what happens when a clogged cooker cools down.

Depressurization, as the steam condenses?

Cheap and easy super hot vacuum chamber–dont open without eye protection and welding gloves :slight_smile:

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