Is your pressure cooker leaking steam & water? A good cleaning session might be all it needs. Here’s 5 possible fixes.

It’s a normal day, just like any other. You’re busy in the kitchen preparing food for yourself and yours, and all of a sudden, your pressure cooker starts leaking water and steam. What is going on?

At this point, all you want and need are answers. Yes, pressure cookers are life-savers, and I’m sure yours has been of tremendous help when you have needed it most.

But now that it’s giving you trouble, all you want is to find the reason why this is happening, and the solutions you can implement. Right?

Being pressure cookers so seemingly simple, you’d think that finding the culprit would be quick and easy, but sometimes, it might not be so. Remember, every troubleshooting process benefits greatly from attention to detail and order of execution.

This is why I prepared the list below. In it, you’ll find the most likely explanations to your unfortunate situation, and the steps you can take to address it. Rest assured that you will be back to cooking delicious meals in your pressure cooker or instant pot in no time.

Without further ado, let’s get to work!

Fixing a Leaky Pressure Cooker

You’d be surprised at how many times people think there’s something wrong with their pressure cooker, only to find that all it needed was a good cleaning, and a slight modification in the way it was used.

I am an optimist, and I know you are too, so I’m sure your issue is much simpler than it looks! Still, I want us to leave no stone unturned. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Your pressure cooker could be leaking steam and water due to:

  • An improperly placed lid
  • A dirty whistle
  • Overfilling
  • A broken or dirty gasket
  • A damaged lid or pot

#1 An Improperly Placed Lid

Double-check that everything is sealed tightly

You wouldn’t believe how many times an improperly closed lid was to blame for this situation. I know it sounds like something obvious that would probably never happen to you, but everyday life can get hectic. Forgetting small things like this is normal.

Using your pressure cooker or instant pot while the lid is not closed all the way is not only dangerous, but also bad for your meals, as they will take longer than normal to be ready, and the consistency could be off.

Solution: A post-it or a checklist near your pressure cooker can work wonders. I know you might think this is unnecessary, but I promise you, it has been a life-saver for me.

Pressure cooker leaking steam
Forgetting to close the lid properly is also bad for your meals, because they will take longer to cook and their consistency could be off.

#2 A Dirty Whistle

Clean your pressure cooker’s whistle regularly

If your pressure cooker’s lid was positioned properly and sealed tightly, the next thing you want to look at, is the whistle.

As you know, this small component is solely responsible for regulating the amount of steam that’s coming out of your pot. This means that, if your pressure cooker is leaking steam and water, there’s a big chance that the part is either broken or not sitting tightly due to food buildup.

You might be tempted to think that there is no possible way that food could get into your whistle, and I don’t blame you, as I used to think that too. But remember, cooking releases food particles into the air, so as time goes by, residue can, in fact, form in that area.

Solution: As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to clean your pressure cooker’s whistle at least once every day. Provided that this is not possible, at least try to do it every other day.

This will not only guarantee that you will be cooking under the most hygienic conditions, but also extend the part’s lifespan significantly. A good method is to use water, a little vinegar, and a brush with baking soda to scrub off any impurities.

Alternatively, if the part is broken, a quick Google search on your pressure cooker’s make and model will help you find the right replacement. Once you know the part number, you should be able to get a new one at any online marketplace.

#3 Overfilling

Always follow your manufacturer’s instructions

Just as it happens with any other household appliance, following your manufacturer’s instructions will always provide you with the best results.

If your pressure cooker or instant pot is leaking steam & water, you’re probably overfilling it. Most manufacturers will advise against filling the pot beyond 2/3 of its maximum capacity, and there’s good reason for that.

As you know, a lot of foods can increase in volume or release foam and starch when cooked. If you exceed your pot’s maximum recommended capacity, there will be very little space for this expansion to happen without making a mess.

Solution: Although the 2/3 rule is a good place to start, some models might vary and be more or less forgiving. If you’re not sure which one applies to your particular appliance, you can always go through your user manual again.

Alternatively, if you find yourself constantly in the need to prepare large batches for both friends and family, looking into getting a bigger pressure cooker or instant pot, is not a bad idea.

#4 A Broken or Dirty Gasket

Protect your gasket at all costs

It could safely be said, that in most instances, leaky pressure cookers or instant pots are symptoms of a broken or dirty gasket.

This little part is solely responsible for creating that airtight seal inside your appliance that allows for fast cooking and safe operation. And while in most cases it’s made from the highest quality rubber, eventually, it will wear out, and cause leaking.

While you cannot prevent this from happening, you can control the rate at which it happens. Giving your gasket proper maintenance will extend its lifespan significantly, and protect you from leaking, and other inconveniences.

Pressure Cooker Gasket
The pressure cooker gasket is the one that prevents the steam from scaping.

Who knew such a small part could be so important?

Solution: In order to clean or replace your gasket, please follow these steps:

  1. Wait for your appliance to cool down, or unplug it if you have an instant pot
  • Carefully remove the lid 
  • Identify a big rubber ring inside it
  • Pry it apart carefully
  • Look for damage, and clean it if there’s none
  • Reassemble

Doing this regularly will help your appliance operate more efficiently.

In case your gasket is not dirty but broken altogether, all you have to do is look at the capacity in quarts of your pressure cooker or instant pot. This will be enough to help you find the right replacement at any only marketplace

And the best part is, that since it’s only a piece of rubber, it will not be expensive!

#5 A Damaged Por or Lid

Small cracks can cause a big mess

If none of the solutions above worked for you, it’s time to start looking at damage in the actual body of the appliance.

Pressure cookers and instant pots are built to last, there’s no denying that, but they’re not indestructible either. If your appliance has been around the block a few times or dropped accidentally now and then, chances are, over the years it has sustained some damage.

Metal, like any other material, will contract or expand depending on the temperature it’s experiencing, which means that small cracks in your pot or lid could become microscopically larger when you’re cooking, allowing for liquid to seep through.

If your pressure cooker is leaking steam and water, this could be a very feasible explanation as to why.

Solution: Try to store your pressure cooker or instant pot in a safe spot away from possible falls, and check for small bubbles coming out from the top or the side of the pot or lid, as this is the best way to identify a small crack in your appliance.

You can try to fix the damage with some food-grade epoxy, as the material is both moisture and temperature-resistant, but this is not a permanent solution, and you’ll eventually have to replace the appliance’s body.

If your trusty pressure cooker or instant pot have been around for a while, it might be a good idea to replace it with a newer model, as this will provide the best long-term solution, and save you some headaches.

Conclusion

Pressure cookers and instant pots are amazing at preparing delicious meals and saving us time in the process, but they are not perfect. As time passes by, their components become too dirty to function properly or break altogether. It’s a normal, but unwanted consequence of using them.

And while this is a very feasible explanation as to why your pressure cooker or instant pot might be leaking steam and water, it’s important not to forget to also take your personal habits into consideration, as they can greatly contribute to the issue.

Fixing your pressure cooker or instant pot should not be too difficult, but remember to always keep safety as a priority. Doing your own repairs is commendable, but never when it’s at wellbeing’s expense. Please call a professional if you ever feel doubtful.

Thank you for reading, if you found this article useful, why not check out our other wonderful resources below?

Happy cooking!