What Happens If A Pressure Cooker Runs Out Of Water?

When you figure out how to work a pressure cooker, you know more about to get through cooking so many complicated dishes much faster, and that’s a big win. But just like several kitchen utensils and appliances, you need to ensure that your pressure cooker is always properly operated and well taken care of.

One of the things that could cause accidents in a kitchen is your pressure cooker running out of water while it’s being used, but what exactly happens when your pressure cooker runs out of water? 

When your pressure cooker runs out of water and there are no safety settings put in place to stop the pressure cooker from working, the pressure builds at an alarming rate and an explosion might occur for the pressure to be released.

Finding out easier ways to cook meals always means a great deal to a lot of us, especially when you’re always up for a new challenge in the kitchen and trying out new dishes. A pressure pot takes a lot of worry off your shoulder about duration while making a slow dish.

While that’s a reason to get a pressure cooker, let’s focus on what happens when a pressure cooker runs out of water.

Pressure Cookers Explained

A Pressure Cooker is an airtight type of pot or cooking device that is used to cook food faster than is normally achievable using a normal pot on your gas or electric cooker.

A pressure cooker works by trapping the steam generated while the food cooks and using this trapped team to speed up the cooking process. A pressure cooker can be electrical or powered by heat from a gas cooker, either way, it does the job and saves gas as well as power.

By using them, cooking time can be reduced up to 50%, more nutrients are retained because it cooks faster, and you can enjoy much healthier meals.

What Happens If Your Pressure Cooker Runs Out Of Water? 

Once you purchase your first pressure cooker, you’ve got a new best friend in your home, a pressure cooker makes each meal a breeze to cook.

Closeup of illuminated pressure cook function button on stainless steel electric pressure cooker pot
Image: Envato Elements

After making a ton of preparations for a complicated or slow meal, being able to have your meal ready in half the time it should normally take definitely takes a lot off of your shoulders. It’s hard not to fall in love with pressure cookers and how effective they are.

Pressure cookers are powered by water, it is with water that they generate all the steam that is trapped to speed up the cooking process. So it is normal to ask questions wondering what exactly happens when a pressure cooker runs out of water midway while cooking a meal. Let’s give you all the answers you’ve been looking for.

When your pressure cooker runs out of water, it will keep working but there is the risk of an explosion being caused in the kitchen, and it’s definitely dangerous as a person close by that gets hit by it would get hurt. 

A pressure cooker needs water to build the pressure that is needed to cook your food, if it runs out of water, it will no longer be able to create and keep up with the pressure that was fueling the cooking process.

If you have a pressure cooker from a manufacturer that included safety settings when the water runs out while the pressure cooker is working, the safety settings will alert you to put off the pressure cooker, or in some cases, it would go off by itself. 

When water dries up in a pressure cooker, a lot of pressure that has already built up is trapped and even more, pressure builds up. This leaves your pressure pot with a desperate need to release the built-up pressure, at this point you might start to hear a hissing sound coming from the pressure pot.

That hissing sound is your sign to go and check on your pressure pot, if you get to it in time and open it up, you have averted an explosion. 

However, if you’re not close to your pressure pot or the kitchen when this happens, the hissing would eventually result in an explosion, your food would likely spill all over your kitchen and cause quite a mess. Cleaning your kitchen would be a hectic chore as well as washing the pressure pot completely clean.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I know if my pressure cooker runs out of water? 

There are definitely signs when your pressure cooker runs out of water, it doesn’t just happen silently under your nose. You should know that your pressure cooker has run out of water when you begin to hear loud hissing sounds, this means that you should turn it off and add more water for it to keep cooking your meal.

What happens when a pressure cooker explodes? 

When a pressure cooker explodes, its contents will spill and make a huge mess in your kitchen, and if there is a person nearby when it explodes they could get severe burns or scales. It’s usually an unpleasant experience that is also hard to clean up.

How likely is it for a pressure cooker to explode? 

The chances of a modern-day designed pressure cooker exploding are really low because there are safety settings put in place to prevent explosions. However, improper usage of your pressure cooker could still trigger an explosion.


Whenever you think of kitchen appliances or utensils that could make your food-making process more enjoyable and seamless, you should think of a pressure cooker. They have been proven to make food cook faster while it retains most of its nutritional value after being done. 

However, paying inadequate attention to your meal by adding less water than your pressure cooker needs to properly cook the food could result in the water drying up midway through the cooking process. This could in turn result in an explosion to release the pressure if you’re not aware that the water has already dried up.

To avoid accidents such as this in the kitchen, add adequate water to your meals being cooked with a pressure pot and ensure that you purchase a pressure cooker that comes with a safety setting that ensures that an explosion is averted.