What To Do If Your Traeger Runs Out Of Pellets?

Imagine this – you’re having a great time barbecuing in your backyard. Suddenly, you realize that you have no more pellets in Traeger.

What do you do? Can you keep grilling, or are your plans for a cookout foiled?

What To Do If Your Traeger Runs Out Of Pellets?

There could be more than meets the eye if you get the notification from your Traeger saying there are no more pellets left. 

This notification should mean that there aren’t any more pellets to burn, right? That isn’t necessarily always the case.

There might be times when you get this notification, but there are plenty of pellets left to burn. If this has happened to you, and you don’t know what to do, stick around.

We’ll be going through everything you need to do about your Traeger running out of pellets – both when it has and when it hasn’t.   

How To Determine What The Issue Is

This post might sound straightforward, but, as we already mentioned, it might not be. If you own a Traeger, you probably already know that they have a screen that will notify you when there’s an issue.

The thing is – sometimes the wires get fried and something goes wrong. When this happens, you might get notifications that are not an accurate reflection of the state of your grill.

Simply put, you might be notified of an issue that isn’t actually real. This can happen even with pellets.

You might get notified that there are no pellets left, but there’s plenty. It’s all about determining what the problem is, and figuring out how to fix it.

Let’s take a look at why you might get notified that you have run out of pellets, or are running low. Remember – things might not be as simple as you originally think! 

You’ve Actually Run Out of Pellets

This might be obvious, but there’s a good chance that you have no more pellets left in the grill to use.

Of course, you should always keep an eye on the amount of pellets left in the grill, but this can happen to anyone. 

This shouldn’t be something that happens very often, but on the off chance that it does, don’t sweat it. 

If you have run out of pellets, you have two options, depending on the temperature in the grill. Let’s take a look at both options:

1. If you Check your Grill, and it is still at the Set Temperature

If this is the case, you can simply refill the hopper with pellets.

When you do this, you might notice that the temperature drops for a few minutes after refilling, but should come back up in a couple of minutes.

This happens because there is likely to be an empty area in the auger, which brings the temperature down. If you act quickly, you can get back to grilling in no time.

2. If you Check your Grill, and the Temperature has already Started to Drop Below the Set Temperature

If this happens, the best options would be to turn off the grill and wait for it to cool before doing anything else. Take the food out of the grill and put it in an oven to keep warm while you fix the issue.

When the grill has cooled, you will need to pull the gate, heat baffle, and drip tray out. Check the fire pot. If it’s full of burnt pellets and ash, empty it out.

Once you do this, you can refill the hopper, put everything back, turn the grill on, and wait for it to reach the preferred temperature again.

The Pellets Are Tunneling

Funneling Pellets

A common reason for someone to get the “running out of pellets” error is because of tunneling. Tunneling is when the pellets fall down into the hopper, creating a funnel.

When this happens, a void is created where the pellets are supposed to be getting fed to the grill. When this happens, the pellets collect on the sides of the hopper instead of being fed downwards.

Newer models have features in them to reduce this from occurring, but it might still happen.

This is especially the case when you’re dealing with small cavity grills, and can be a very annoying problem to deal with. 

To prevent this from happening to you during your grill session, you should always check on the pellets while cooking.

When you take a moment to make sure your food is not burning, make a point to take a look at the pellets to ensure they’re moving as they should.

You can get something to stir the pellets around, so they don’t get stuck anywhere.

Just make sure you use something that’s long enough to prevent you from getting burned, and something that won’t melt. 

Damage could cause tunneling to happen more often than it should. If this is the case, you should take a moment to look inside the hopper to see if there is any kind of noticeable damage to it.

Not only that, but a buildup of debris like sawdust can also lead to tunneling. Clean out the hopper when it’s cool, and this should reduce the frequency of tunneling. 

If you looked in the hopper and noticed that there is some kind of damage to it, you found your problem!

Get it repaired (or repair it yourself), and you should be able to enjoy a stress-free grill again. 

After doing all this, you shouldn’t be facing a tunneling problem. However, if you find that it still happens frequently, the best thing you can do is get in touch with Customer Service.

They should have an idea of what to do, and you should hopefully be able to get your grill in working order again.

A Wiring Issue

As we mentioned earlier, sometimes the wiring is simply faulty. If this is the case, you might want to get your grill checked out for any more faults and a repair.

You can get any number of false alarms if something has happened to the wiring. These include issues with the temperature probe, issues starting, and anything else you can imagine. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you really ran out of pellets while grilling, or it’s another issue – it’s usually an easy fix. In the case that you did run out, just add more pellets.

If you still have pellets to burn, make sure they haven’t gotten stuck to the sides of the auger. If neither seem to be the issue, there’s a good chance that there is a wiring issue that you will need to deal with. 


I’m Glen, an ordinary guy with an extraordinary passion for grilling. I was recently gifted a Traeger wood pellet grill for my birthday. I knew little about setting up, operating, cooking with, or maintaining a Traeger grill. I started this website to document my findings as I learn to "master the flames".

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