Pressure cookers moisturize the food while cooking much faster for slow-cook foods. The advantage of this is how it tenderizes tough cuts of meat and adds more flavor. You may have heard the noise from a pressure cooker and wondered if it was safe or normal.
Do pressure cookers make noise? The first pressure cooker noise you will hear is a wet hissing noise as the pressure cooker is building up steam. The valve will close once the cooker reaches the correct pressure. The second pressure cooker noise you will hear is at the end of cooking if you want to release the steam quickly to retrieve your meal.
Some pressure cookers make less noise than others, but you can expect most to make noise that sounds like hissing. Electric pressure cookers, make less noise than stovetop pressure cookers.
If you’d like to learn more about pressure cookers, keep reading. We will cover why they make noise and how to reduce the noise. The hissing noise from a pressure cooker can feel unnerving, especially knowing their infamous reputation.
Understanding How Pressure Cookers Make Noise
Pressure cookers make noise because of the safety release valve. It must release steam to keep the pressure from dangerous levels. How much noise it makes depends on the safety release valve and how the steam releases. Whistling, rattling or jiggling means that the steam has reached the right level.
You have some pressure cookers that don’t make much noise. They designed them to simply release the steam. Electric pressure cookers make less noise because they have programmed safety features within them. If the steam builds too much, it shuts off automatically. Some models let you program them to have a set timer.
The models that make the most noise come from stovetop models. Electric cookers have taken over much of the market because of greater safety features, and many people find the noise of regular pressure cookers unnerving.
Having a spring release valve was designed to make as little noise as possible. Manufacturers made the computer chip technology to open the release valve once it reaches a designated pressure to prevent it from dangerous pressure levels.
Is Food Ready When It Makes Noises?
As the steam gets trapped in the pot, the heat begins to build. This cooks the food much faster. At the same time, it minimizes and controls how much time it needs to cook the food. With a teapot, once it starts to whistle, you know that it has finished.
When a pressure cooker starts to whistle, it doesn’t mean that you have food ready. Once it begins to hiss, you can trust that the pressure cooker has reached full steam for cooking. Never assume that your food has been fully cooked, however.
While the whistle or sound of the pressure cooker serves as one indication, the other signal comes from the smell of the food. When you can smell the food, it means it’s cooked. Pay attention to how long the recipe says to cook it. That serves as the only other indication of when to remove the food from the pressure cooker. Food in the pressure cooker usually cooks 30 percent faster than with conventional cooking methods.
How to Lower Pressure in the Pot
Explosions happen when the pressure builds to dangerous levels. Modern pressure cookers have more safety features, but that doesn’t mean to take it for granted. Understanding how to lower the pressure can save you from a trip to the emergency room.
First, turn down the knob for the heat. It lowers the pressure. It should have an almost immediate effect that lowers the pressure and quiets it down. Consider it a good practice to first raise the pressure through high heat and lower the heat after.
Electric pressure cookers lower the pressure automatically for you. Especially if new to using pressure cookers, you may find them easier to use because of the safety features and they don’t make as much noise.
How Do You Reduce the Noise?
Because of its design, you can’t eliminate noise from a pressure cooker completely. They made it like that as a warning. The noise warns you that the pressure has built up enough and to lower the heat. Still, if it makes an annoyingly loud noise, you may want to clean the pressure release vent. It could have leftover food in the vent making a higher-pitched noise than usual. Keeping it clean also lowers the risk of explosion from blocking the safety release valve.
Warning: Don’t block the vent to stop the noise. Pressure cookers must release steam to relieve the pressure. Also, don’t make the vent larger because it won’t build the necessary pressure to cook your food.
If you don’t like the noise, buy an electric pressure cooker because they don’t make as much noise, and they have built-in safety features.
Electric Pressure Cookers vs Traditional Pressure Cookers
Electric pressure cookers differ in built-in safety features. Most modern pressure cookers will have 10 or more safety features. They don’t rattle, hiss or whistle because it doesn’t need the warning.
Instead, the computer chip regulates the pressure inside the cooker. They might hiss a little, but they don’t make as much noise as a traditional pressure cooker.
The programming may release steam faster than a natural release because as the pressure builds, it releases a measured amount of pressure. Electric pressure cookers don’t have as many dangers. The biggest danger comes with the release toward the end of the cooking cycle. You have two types of releases: quick release and natural release.
Quick-release poses more danger because it lets out the steam faster, and that could involve sputtering and spattering. The quick-release works best for things that you don’t want to overcook. Most people only use it when the recipe calls for it.
On the other hand, you have natural release. This lets the pressure in the pot release naturally on its own. You don’t have to do much with natural release except for waiting for it to lower the pressure inside. That usually takes anywhere from five to 30 minutes. The lid remains firmly locked until the pressure releases and the steam subsides.
Warning: Never force the lid of a pressure cooker open. This could lead to an explosion on the same level as a dry ice bomb.
On the other hand, traditional pressure cookers have a real danger of operator error. They’re not as easy to use as the electric, and they depend on you knowing when to turn down the heat. Today, they have more safety features, but that doesn’t make them entirely safe.
Conventional pressure cookers build up steam and heat faster, and as a result, they may cook your food faster than an electric pressure cooker. That is what draws people to the more conventional pressure cooker, and they have become safer than in the past.
Back in the 1940s, you heard many stories of them exploding and food flying on the ceiling and surrounding surfaces. Nowadays, the modern pressure cooker doesn’t explode in the same way. They have become safer, but most people prefer the electric to the conventional.
Most of the stories of pressure cooker explosions nowadays happen from stovetop pressure cookers and because of human error.
The Noise on a Pressure Cooker: When to Be Concerned
Generally speaking, pressure cookers make noise, but they shouldn’t make a lot of noise. If it sounds as loud as a blender or a vacuum, be concerned. The more steam built up in the pressure cooker, the louder it becomes. That becomes a sign that the pressure cooker has a real danger of exploding.
Modern-day pressure cookers will automatically release the steam before it reaches this point, which has made them much safer. An exploding pressure cooker will spray scalding hot water in every direction and turn the stove into a C-shaped unusable hunk of metal – not fun.
Price Makes a Difference
When it comes to pressure cookers, you don’t want the cheaper models if you can afford better. Poor quality materials and fewer safety features can make them prone to accidents. Not only that, but the cheaper models often make more noise. With higher-end pressure cookers, the spring release makes less noise.
How Dangerous is an Explosion?
We’ve talked a lot about the dangers, but don’t be too alarmed. If you wanted to compare the explosion of a pressure cooker, you might say that it has the same pressure as the inside of a can of soda. While that amount of pressure still poses some danger, as does the scalding hot water, it doesn’t reach a high enough pressure to violently rupture the metal.
To Finish – Why Do Pressure Cookers Make Noise?
The modern pressure cooker does make noise and even the electric version does. However, they make less noise in comparison to pressure cookers from the 1940s and 1950s with safety features that make explosions less common.
You can’t eliminate the noise because the steam needs to release. In the past, this also served as a warning that the pressure had reached fullness for cooking. Electric pressure cookers, however, make less noise and don’t rattle like the conventional ones. I would advise beginners to start with an electric pressure cooker. Better safety features make them feel less intimidating.
My Pressure Cooker Explosion Story
Yes that’s right I have my very pressure cooker explosion story – it happened when I was 12 years old – read about it here.
One-Pot Cooking Rocks
Thanks for the video music – Ben Sound