My pressure cooker is hissing (or leaking steam). 5 reasons & solutions

  • By: Emma
  • Date: October 11, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

My pressure cooker is hissing and I’m worried! This used to be my case when I started using a pressure cooker in my kitchen. Why does a pressure cooker hiss and what should be done about it?

Based on my research and experience, I found interesting answers and I have jotted them down for you today!

Let’s find out!

Why my pressure cooker is hissing?

The hissing sound from a pressure cooker is normal and expected. While cooking, the pressure inside a pressure cooker reaches around 6 – 15 psi. When the pressure inside builds up to a very high level, safety release valves on the top of the pressure cooker open to release the steam. This lowers the pressure and results in a hissing sound. 

Pressure (PSI)TemperaturePeriod (minutes)Within safe levels?
Table 1. The pressure inside a pressure cooker at various temperatures, pressures, and time periods and whether those pressure levels are within safety limits. 

Five other reasons why your pressure cooker is hissing

Other than the technical reason mentioned above, sometimes it could be due to one of the following reasons why your pressure cooker is hissing.

  1. The valve is open
  2. The gasket needs to be replaced
  3. There’s too much liquid
  4. The stove burner isn’t set properly
  5. The pot is too old

Read more: Can you put raw onions in the slow cooker?

You’ll often hear a loud popping sound when the valve opens, and the hissing will stop once pressure is released. This can happen if the heat is turned off and the food inside is still boiling.

It can also happen if the heat source is removed entirely, such as when you remove the pot from the stove or unplug it. If the valve releases pressure on its own while you’re cooking, just turn the heat back on and replace the lid until the pot reaches pressure again.

What do I do if my pressure cooker is leaking steam?

Pressure cookers leak steam when the pressure inside the cooker reaches up to 4 – 6 psi. Prolonged steam leakage could be due to a damaged or dirty gasket or improperly placed lid. Due to excessive steam leakage, the cooker does not reach the optimum pressures (9-12 psi) needed to cook food.

Steam leakingTime (mins)CausesFixes
Under the lid10 to 20Gasket problemClean the gasket
Under the lid10 to 20 Seal problemCheck the seals
Under the lid10 to 20 Ring problemCheck the seals
Under the lid10 to 20 Ring problemInstall the ring
Under the lid10 to 20Handles problemInstall the ring
Under the lid10 to 20Handles problemFix the handles properly
Valves20 to 30Valve seal problemCheck the seal of the valve and replace it
Bottom10 to 15Overfilling of the liquidFill only 2/3 of the pot
Table 2: Types of leaking its causes and potential fixes

If your pressure cooker is leaking steam, there are a few things you can do to try and fix the issue.

First, check to see if the gasket or sealing ring is properly in place. If not, try replacing it and see if that stops the leaking. If the gasket or sealing ring is in place and tight, then the next step is to check the pressure cooker for any cracks or damage.

If you find any, it’s best to replace the pressure cooker as continuing to use it could be dangerous.

If your pressure cooker is still leaking steam after taking these steps, it’s best to contact the manufacturer for further assistance. They may be able to help you troubleshoot the issue or tell you if there are any recalls on your particular model of the pressure cooker.

How does a pressure cooker work?

A pressure cooker is a kitchen appliance that cooks food quickly using steam pressure. The steam pressure builds up inside the pot, which raises the boiling point of water and cooks the food faster.

The physics behind a pressure cooker is relatively simple. When water boils, it turns into steam. The steam is made up of tiny bubbles that rise to the surface of the water and escape into the air. In a sealed pot, like a pressure cooker, those bubbles have nowhere to go.

The only way for them to escape is by increasing the pressure inside the pot. As the steam pressure builds, it raises the boiling point of water from 212 degrees Fahrenheit to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. That higher temperature cooks food faster.

Is it normal for a pressure cooker to release steam while cooking?

Yes, it is normal for a pressure cooker to release steam while cooking. This is because the pressure cooker is designed to cook food at a high temperature by using steam. The steam helps to cook the food evenly and quickly.

When the steam escapes from the pressure cooker, it helps to regulate the pressure and prevent the food from burning.

How long should the pressure cooker hiss?

A pressure cooker should hiss for about 10 minutes. This may seem like a long time, but it’s necessary to ensure that the food is cooked evenly.

If the pressure cooker doesn’t hiss for at least 10 minutes, it means that the pressure isn’t high enough and the food won’t be cooked properly.

So, if you hear your pressure cooker hissing, don’t be alarmed. It’s just doing its job!

Read more: Will sauté on instant pot boil?

How do you know when a pressure cooker has reached pressure?

When using a pressure cooker, it is important to know when the pot has reached pressure. This ensures that food is cooked evenly and at the correct temperature. There are three main ways to tell when a pressure cooker has reached pressure:

  1. The lid of the pressure cooker will start to rattle as the steam builds up inside.
  2. A small valve on the side of the pot will hiss as the steam escapes.
  3. The gauge on top of the pot will rise to indicate the level of pressure inside.

Why is my pressure cooker leaking?

If your pressure cooker is leaking, it’s most likely due to a faulty or damaged gasket. The gasket is the rubber seal that sits between the lid and the pot, and its job is to create an airtight seal. Without this seal, the pressure inside the cooker can escape, which can cause the cooker to leak.

In some cases, the gasket may simply need to be replaced. However, if the leaking persists, it could be a sign of a more serious problem, such as a cracked pot. If you’re not sure what’s causing your pressure cooker to leak, it’s best to consult a professional.


If your pressure cooker is hissing, it’s likely because of one of these five reasons: the valve is open, the gasket needs to be replaced, there’s too much liquid, the stove burner isn’t set properly, or the pot is too old. Luckily, all of these problems have relatively simple solutions. We hope this post helped you understand your cooker better. Happy cooking!


A model of heat and mass transfer inside a pressure cooker

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