Unsteady flow phenomena like rotating stall frequently occur in centrifugal pumps under off-design conditions. Rotating stall could lead to flow instabilities and pressure pulsation, which affect the normal operation of pumps. The mechanism of rotating stall has not been sufficiently understood in previous researches. In this study, the impact of rotating stall in the impeller on centrifugal pump stability and pressure pulsation is numerically investigated. This paper aims to detect the unsteady flow characteristics inside the centrifugal pump by computational fluid dynamics technology, to analyze pressure pulsations caused by rotating stall and to explore the propagation mechanism of rotating stall. Unsteady numerical simulations are performed by ANSYS 16.0 to model the unsteady flow within the entire flow passage of a centrifugal pump under 0.4Q BEP and 0.6Q BEP working conditions. Through flow characteristics research, the generation and propagation of rotating stall are discovered. Flow separation appears near the leading edge of the pressure side and transforms into vortices, which move along the passage. Meanwhile, the stall cells rotate circumferentially in the impeller. Additionally, frequencies and amplitudes of pressure pulsations related to rotating stall are investigated by spectrum analysis. The results detect a possible characteristic frequency of rotating stall and show that the interaction between stall cells and the volute tongue could have an influence on rotor–stator interaction (RSI).