How to Safely Purée Soups & Other Hot Liquids in a Blender

Today let's address kitchen safety when puréeing hot liquids (especially soups) in a blender or food processor. To prevent big messes and bad burns, here are some recommended safety precautions.

How to Safely Purée Soups & Other Hot Liquids in a Blender ♥, preventing big messes and bad burns.

How To "Take Care with Hot Liquids in a Blender"?

Arrgh. Call me frustrated! Too many recipes remind cooks to "take care" and "use safety precautions" when blending hot liquids in a blender or food processor.

BUT! What do those words even mean?

  • What, exactly, is the safety hazard?
  • What safety tips, exactly, are recommended?

Worse, some recipes offer no warning at all!

This safety lapse occurs especially in soup recipes but also any time a dish is cooked and then, while still hot, is moved to a blender to be puréed until smooth.

The Safety Hazard: An Explosion of Hot Liquid

If you fill a blender with a hot liquid and turn it on, WATCH OUT!

The pressure from inside will blow the lid off, spewing that hot liquid allllllll over the place, onto counters, under cupboards, onto the floor, up on the ceiling. BIG MESS.

But mess can be cleaned up.

That same hot liquid can spew out to burn your hands, your face, anything skin that's exposed. If there's a pet nearby? (My dog is so curious about my cooking. And I don't even feed him scraps!) If there's a child nearby? :-( BIG BURN RISK.

The Safety Tips

Below are the techniques I use to prevent both mess and burns.

Safety Precautions for Blenders & Hot Liquids

Hot liquids can expand and explode when you blend them in a blender, creating pressure from inside that blows off the lid. The best case is that the liquid spurts all over your kitchen, a real mess to clean up. The worst case is that you or others nearby are burned by the hot liquid.

This is why extra care must be taken. Here's how to blend hot liquids safely. Even if you've done this many times, this is one time to pay particular attention, to take special care.

Frankly, the easiest solution is to let whatever you're cooking cool off before blending it at all. If it's still in the cooking pot, stir it occasionally to speed the process along, this re-distributes and releases the heat. If it's in the blender, put the blender right into the refrigerator to cool off. Now go walk the dog. Check Facebook. Take a nap. Chill-ax, as they say.

But okay, let's say you don't want to wait, here's what to do.

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, DON'T FILL THE BLENDER ALL THE WAY If you do only one thing, make this it! This is the very most important step. Fill the blender no more than half full, even a third full. Depending on the size of your blender, this may well mean working in batches which is a pain, yes, but so be it.

  • COVER THE BLENDER Put the lid firmly in place. Now drape a clean towel over the lid, one big enough to hang down the sides of the blender.

  • START SLOWLY Place one hand on top of the towel, firmly holding the lid tight onto the blender. With the other hand, select the lowest power setting. Turn the blender on, just for a second of two. If your hand feels pressure from inside the blender, turn the blender off and lift the lid to release the heat and pressure. Then start over. Re-seal the lid, put one hand back on top and start the blender, again on the lowest setting.

  • CAREFULLY CONTINUE As the blender starts up, use both hands to hold the top of the blender on tightly. If you feel light pressure, it's actually possible to "burp" the blender a bit, that is, to lift the lid just a crack while the blender is running but remains covered by the towel in case the burp gets away from you.

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How to Safely Purée Soups & Other Hot Liquids in a Blender ♥, preventing big messes and bad burns.

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

  • Should the same precautions be taken with cold foods? No. Cold foods won't explode like hot foods in a blender. Still, it's always a good practice to avoid overfilling a blender, even with cold foods, because the blender will indeed do its work, pulling the foods down into the blades, pushing the blended foods up. This up and down action temporarily inflates the food, causing the blender to overflow. Big mess? You bet.

  • What about a food processor? Does it create the same risk? Yes, absolutely. Hot liquids definitely explode in a food processor. There are slight changes to preventing an explosion with a food processor but the same principles apply.

  • What about a Vitamix? a NutriBullet? Many cooks have invested in high-performance blenders. The same safety techniques apply to these as well.

  • What about an immersion blender? a stick blender? If you insert an immersion blender/stick blender into a pot of hot liquid, be sure that the blades are fully submerged in the food. This prevents them from spewing hot liquid all over the place. If there's not enough liquid to submerge the blades, wait until the contents cools down before proceeding. The liquid may still plop out but at least the risk is for a mess not a burn.

  • What about other hot foods, not just soup? Hot liquids are especially risky but some level of risk occurs whenever any hot food is blended. It might be a sauce, a custard, a pudding.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.