Is it OK to leave pellets in Traeger?

Imagine this: the sun is shining, and you’re ready to cook up a storm on your Traeger grill. With guests on their way, you’re busy prepping everything, when suddenly it hits you – you left your pellets in the grill. Panic sets in as you wonder if leaving them there for too long will ruin your barbecue plans.

If you’re a Traeger owner, this scenario might sound all too familiar. But fear not, because we’re here to answer the burning question: is it okay to leave pellets in Traeger? Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to the game, it’s a common question that many people have.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of leaving pellets in the grill and provide tips on how to store them properly for optimal shelf life. So let’s get started and put those worries to rest.


What is a Traeger Grill?

A Traeger grill is not your average grill. It’s a wood pellet grill that uses hardwood pellets to cook food and infuse it with a rich, smoky flavor. Imagine taking a bite of a juicy steak that has been cooked to perfection and has a hint of smoky goodness in every bite. That’s what a Traeger grill can do for you.

What sets Traeger grills apart from other grills is their unique design. The grill uses an auger to feed wood pellets into a firepot, which then heats up and creates smoke that infuses the food with flavor. This design allows for even cooking and precise temperature control, so you can cook your food to perfection without the need for constant monitoring.

Traeger grills also come in various sizes and models, making them suitable for any outdoor cooking needs. Whether you’re grilling burgers and steaks or smoking brisket and ribs, there’s a Traeger grill that can do it all.

But what about the ease of use? Traeger grills have an automated pellet feeding system that allows for easy set-it-and-forget-it cooking. Simply set your desired temperature and let the grill do the rest. You won’t have to worry about constantly adjusting the temperature or checking on the food.

It’s important to note that leaving pellets in your Traeger grill can lead to moisture buildup and mold growth. However, as long as you monitor the hopper and clean it out regularly, you shouldn’t have any issues.

What are Pellets and How Do They Work?

Pellets are small, cylindrical pieces of compressed sawdust or wood shavings that serve as fuel for these grills. Made from hardwoods like oak, hickory, and mesquite, they provide a distinct smoky flavor when burned.

But what’s the secret behind these little powerhouses? The answer lies in their feeding mechanism. Pellets are fed into the hopper of the grill and transported into the fire pot by an auger. Once in the fire pot, they ignite and produce heat and smoke that cook the food inside the grill. The temperature of the grill can be easily controlled by adjusting the amount of pellets fed into the fire pot and the speed of the auger.

One of the biggest advantages of using pellets as a fuel source is their minimal ash production compared to other types of fuel like charcoal or wood chunks. This means less time spent cleaning out your grill and more time enjoying your food.

Is it OK to leave pellets in Traeger-2

However, not all pellets are created equal. Some brands may contain harmful fillers or additives that affect the taste of your food or even damage your grill. It’s important to choose high-quality pellets made from 100% hardwoods and avoid those containing binders, oils, or additives.

The Pros and Cons of Leaving Pellets in a Traeger Grill

That’s why leaving pellets in your grill can seem like a convenient solution. But, before you jump in, let’s examine the pros and cons of this approach.


  • Time-saver: By leaving pellets in the grill, you’ll save time and effort as they can be easily accessed whenever needed. This can be especially helpful when cooking for extended periods or hosting large gatherings.
  • Is it OK to leave pellets in Traeger-3

  • Consistent temperature: With the pellets already loaded in the hopper, there’s no need to worry about temperature fluctuations caused by refilling pellets mid-cook. This ensures that your food is cooked evenly and to perfection.


  • Moisture buildup: Leaving pellets in the grill can cause moisture buildup, leading to pellet swelling and breakage. This can clog the auger and create issues with temperature control, resulting in uneven cooking and damage to your grill.
  • Pest attraction: The smell of wood pellets can attract pests such as rats or mice. These creatures may chew through bags or even make their way into the hopper, causing damage to your grill.

To summarize, leaving pellets in your Traeger grill has its advantages and disadvantages. While it can save time and effort and help maintain a consistent temperature, it can also lead to moisture buildup and attract pests. Consider these factors carefully before deciding whether to leave pellets in your grill or not.

To avoid moisture buildup, store your pellets in a cool, dry place away from humidity. And to prevent pest attraction, keep your grill clean and don’t leave food or pellets out for extended periods.

Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether or Not to Leave Pellets in a Traeger Grill

The answer is not a simple one, as there are several critical factors to consider before making a decision that can impact the quality of your food.

One of the most important factors to consider is moisture buildup. High humidity levels can cause the pellets to become clumpy and challenging to ignite, resulting in poor performance and inconsistent heat distribution. To avoid this, it’s best to remove your pellets from the grill after each use if you live in an area with high humidity levels.

The type of pellet you’re using is also a crucial factor to consider. Softwood pellets tend to produce more ash than hardwood pellets, resulting in ash buildup in the firepot if left in the grill for too long. On the other hand, hardwood pellets produce less ash and can be left in the grill for longer periods without any issues.

Your usage frequency is another essential consideration. If you use your grill regularly, leaving pellets inside may not be a problem as they will be used up quickly. However, if you only use your grill occasionally, leaving pellets inside for an extended period can cause them to absorb moisture from the air and become unusable.

Lastly, it’s crucial to pay attention to the storage conditions of your Traeger grill. Leaving pellets inside can increase the risk of moisture buildup and damage to your grill’s components if stored in a damp or humid area. It’s best to store your grill in a dry and well-ventilated area and remove pellets after each use.

Potential Issues That Can Arise from Leaving Pellets in Your Traeger Grill

Is it OK to leave pellets in Traeger-4

While it may seem like a convenient way to prep for your next cookout, it can actually lead to a few potential issues that you should be aware of. Let’s take a closer look at the potential problems that can arise from leaving pellets in your grill.

Firstly, moisture buildup is a significant issue. When pellets are left in the hopper for an extended period, they can absorb moisture from the air, causing them to swell and break apart. This can lead to a clogged auger, which prevents the pellets from feeding properly into the firepot, resulting in a subpar grilling experience.

Another issue that can arise from leaving pellets in your Traeger grill is mold growth. If pellets are left in a moist environment for too long, they can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. This not only affects the flavor of your food but can also be harmful to your health. Nobody wants moldy or unsanitary food.

Additionally, leaving pellets in your Traeger grill can attract pests such as rodents and insects. These unwanted guests can cause damage to your grill by chewing through wires and insulation and even leave behind droppings that can contaminate your food. It’s essential to keep your grill clean and pest-free for healthy and safe grilling.

Is it OK to leave pellets in Traeger-5

Lastly, leaving pellets in your grill for an extended period can lead to a decrease in their quality. Pellets have a shelf life of about six months, after which they start to degrade and lose their flavor. Keeping them in the hopper for too long can speed up this process and result in a suboptimal grilling experience. Nobody wants bland-tasting BBQ.

To prevent these potential issues, it’s recommended that you empty the hopper after each use. This will prevent moisture buildup, mold growth, pest attraction, and decreased pellet quality. Plus, it ensures that you have a clean and efficient grilling experience every time you use your Traeger grill.

High-Quality Hardwood Pellets: A Better Option for Leaving in the Hopper?

As a grill master, you know that leaving pellets in the hopper can be tempting when you’re short on time or energy after a long day of grilling. However, before you make that decision, consider the quality of the pellets you’re using. High-quality hardwood pellets, made from 100% pure hardwood with no fillers or additives, are a better option for leaving in the hopper for several reasons.

Firstly, premium hardwood pellets have a lower moisture content than cheaper pellets. This means they won’t absorb as much moisture from the air when left in the hopper for an extended period, preventing clumping and mold growth. Moreover, moisture can affect the quality of your pellet smoke, so using dry, high-quality pellets can help ensure consistent, flavorful results every time you grill.

Secondly, top-quality hardwood pellets burn cleaner and produce less ash than cheaper pellets. When left in the hopper for an extended period, cheap pellets can produce more ash and cause clogs in your grill’s auger. This leads to maintenance issues and headaches down the road. By using high-quality hardwood pellets, you can reduce clogs and keep your grill running smoothly.

Finally, premium hardwood pellets are made from wood species such as oak, hickory, and maple – the best of the best. These woods produce a richer, more complex flavor profile than cheaper blends made from inferior woods or fillers like sawdust or paper. Even if you leave your pellets in the hopper for several days or weeks between grilling sessions, you can still enjoy delicious, smoky flavor without any stale or off-tasting smoke.

Tips for Preventing Moisture Buildup and Mold Growth

If you’re an avid griller who loves using your Traeger pellet grill, you know how important it is to keep your pellets dry. Leaving pellets in the grill for a long time can cause moisture buildup and mold growth, which can compromise the flavor and safety of your food. To prevent these issues and keep your pellets fresh, try these tips:

Store pellets in a dry, cool place

When it comes to pellet storage, moisture is the enemy. Keep your pellets in a dry and cool place like a garage or shed. Avoid storing them in areas that are prone to humidity or dampness, like basements or outdoor sheds.

Use airtight containers

To prevent moisture buildup, store your pellets in airtight containers. This will help keep out any moisture or humidity that could cause mold growth. You can find many different types of containers that fit your needs.

Keep your Traeger covered

Protect your grill from the elements by keeping it covered when not in use. This will prevent any rainwater from getting inside and potentially causing mold growth.

Clean your hopper regularly

Even with proper storage and fresh pellets, it’s important to clean your hopper regularly to prevent moisture buildup and mold growth. Empty out any remaining pellets after each use, and wipe down the inside of the hopper with a dry cloth.

Use fresh pellets

Old or stale pellets are more likely to attract moisture and promote mold growth. Make sure to use fresh pellets whenever possible, and avoid using pellets that have been sitting around for too long.


In conclusion, the convenience of leaving pellets in your Traeger grill cannot be denied. It saves time and ensures consistent temperature during grilling. However, this practice can also lead to potential problems such as moisture buildup, mold growth, and pest attraction. To avoid these issues, it is crucial to consider various factors such as the type of pellets used, frequency of usage, and storage conditions.

Opting for high-quality hardwood pellets made from 100% pure hardwood with no fillers or additives is a wise decision if you plan on leaving them in the hopper. These pellets have lower moisture content, burn cleaner, and offer a richer flavor profile. Moreover, storing pellets in a dry and cool place using airtight containers while keeping your Traeger covered can help prevent moisture buildup and mold growth.

Regular cleaning of the hopper is vital to ensure optimal performance while avoiding issues caused by leftover pellets. By following these tips and taking into account the factors mentioned above, you can enjoy delicious smoky flavors without compromising the quality or safety of your food.

Scroll to Top