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Blender Disaster

Blender Disaster | DadCooksDinner.com

Blender Disaster – the aftermath.

Sometimes your purpose in life is to be a warning to others.
[Paraphrasing a demotivational poster from Despair.com]

Every blender I own comes with a statement like this in the manual:

Starting blend cycles with boiling or very hot liquids may result in burns or cause the lid to blow off (emphasis mine)
[From the BlendTec instruction manual]

I know this. I have known this for years. From my Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe, back in 2010:

If you use a traditional blender, watch out! Hot liquid plus blender equals lid shooting off and hot chocolate spraying all over the place. Why? Hot air expands in volume by about a quarter. When you put hot liquid in a blender, you have room temperature air above it in the blender. Turn the blender on, and that air gets mixed into the hot liquid and heats up. This causes two things to happen: first, the air in the top of the blender, heated by the liquid, increases in size by a quarter. This causes a blast of air pressure, which will shoot the lid off the top of the blender if it can’t escape. Second, the air mixed into the liquid causes the liquid to expand as well, and climb up the sides of the blender. If you have a tight seal on the lid, or too much liquid in the blender…kablooey.
Safe blending tips are: don’t fill the blender more than half full, leave the feed tube cap off the lid to let the expanding gases escape, and hold the lid on tight with a kitchen towel to force the expanding gases out through the hole in the feed tube.
[Mexican Hot Chocolate, DadCooksDinner.com]


Blender Disaster [YouTube.com]

Some day I will follow my own advice.

I am shooting a time lapse video of my Pressure Cooker Short Ribs Tacos recipe, and everything looks good. The meat is done and shredded; all that’s left is blending the sauce. And…I didn’t follow ANY of those directions I list above. My feeble excuse? I’m hungry, and want to eat faster. So, I:

  • Use hot liquid
  • Use a small blender jar (when I have a much larger one available), so I…
  • Fill the blender all the way to the top
  • Don’t remove the plug
  • Don’t hold down the lid with a towel

I hit the “Sauce” button on my blender. It slowly ramps up to speed, and I relax…too soon. When it kicks into super-blend overdrive, the force of the expanding liquid and air in the blender pops the lid open – even with my hand resting on it – and sprays an arc of partially blended pepper sauce across my kitchen. I fumble for the “Off” button. Then I look around. From my coffee maker, across the dish drain, across the windows…everything within a 6 foot arc is dripping sauce. It is in a narrow band, about one foot wide, and about a 270° arc – I was standing close to the blender, and my body blocked everything behind me. Keeping my hand on top of the lid forced the spray out in a narrow band, at about chest height. Thank goodness, because my good blogging camera was mounted about a foot directly above the blender. If the sauce had fountained straight up, I’d be in the market for a new camera and lens.

I look around, and the mess oozes down the walls for a few seconds. I sigh, then call the kids in from the back yard. After a lot of paper towels and mopping, the kitchen is mostly back to normal. (Everything in the dish drain goes back in the dishwasher…including the dish drain itself). The only casualty is the blender itself – the oozing liquid gets into the control panel, and it has to dry out overnight to get working again. I pour the dregs of the sauce from the blender jar into a Pyrex measuring cup, and use my stick blender to finish blending the sauce.

Once again, let me serve as an example – a negative example. This isn’t the blender’s fault – it was entirely user error. Don’t do what I did: fill a blender with hot liquid and hit the “make it blend!” button. Or, if you do, have lots of paper towels handy…

What do you think?

Questions? Leave them in the comments section below.


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Filed under: Ramblings


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Rathna says

    Thank you for this! I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong when making my bulletproof coffee in my blender each morning!

  2. Glad I found this site – great explanation. I have been trying (albeit unsuccessfully) to make bullet proof coffee (essentially coffee + butter). The liquid shoots through the top of the blender all the time. I was thinking it was a defective lid and/or blender. I tried blending some cold ingredients and had no issues. Hmm? Why does the hot coffee ALWAYS come out the lid, but the cold liquids don’t? I did a quick google search and was directed here. I’ll try the stick blender. Thanks for the write-up.

  3. Soenke says

    Oh Mike, how well I know this scenario! Only difference – I do this fountain thing not by using hot liquid but not fixing the lid of my Vitamix properly. After that the same: relaxing, lid shooting off, contents all over the densely packed counter, calling the kids for help, mopping fervently around using lots of paper towels and swearing to pay attention next time.
    Good that you didn’t get burned! ????

    • Thanks – but don’t feel too sorry for me, this was entirely my own fault. Yes, that’s the EFC blender – it wasn’t working for a day, but seems fine now.

  4. Hey Mike, I had to laugh, sorry! This has happened to me a few times. Fortunately each time I was able to clean up the huge mess before my wife saw what happened. Thanks for sharing!

    • I was good, me and the kids had the kitchen cleaned up…but then I put this post out on the internet. I’m hoping my wife doesn’t notice… 🙂

    • No. I’ve tried – a food processor doesn’t chop up the dried peppers enough. It needs a blender. (Or a stick blender.) Oh, and the food processor leaks the sauce out through the central tube, too…not as big of a mess as I made here, but still a mess.

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