Instant Pot Problems, Best Guide To Fix

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It’s no fun when you attempt to use your Instant Pot and discover some problems with it. Whether it is not sealing correctly, leaking, or you see error codes, this guide will help you troubleshoot and fix those issues to get you back to cooking.

Users of all levels can resolve their Instant Pot problems with my step-by-step guide such as fixing error codes, sealing issues, and more.

And if you want to learn some other skills such as how to maintain a coffee maker, clean a dishwasher, or just want some general maintenance guides, I’ve got you covered with my other articles.

Instant Pot Troubleshooting

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Why Is My Instant Pot Not Pressuring Up?

Several reasons can be the cause of your Instant Pot not pressuring up. I’ve listed 5 of the top reasons your Instant Pot is not coming to full pressure and how to resolve them. Find your Instant Pot troubleshooting issue and its solution below.

1) Not Using Enough Liquid To Create Pressure

As you probably know, pressure cookers need a certain amount of liquid to create steam, and thus pressure inside the unit, too little liquid results in not enough pressure. In this case, add more liquid or the food will burn.

So, how much liquid to add to a pressure cooker?

The answer is to initially add at least 1 cup of liquid or the amount listed in the recipe/directions, whichever is more. Some recipes will require enough liquid to cover the food, but the majority will not.

Do not attempt to just open the pressure cooker while it’s cooking, make sure to turn it off and release the pressure first.

Note: Don’t add too much liquid as this will create excess pressure and could be dangerous. Add just enough to get the job done, which is usually about 1 cup for a meal in a 6-quart pressure cooker.

See the section below on Burn Code if you receive a burn error code and want to know how to resolve it.

2) The Pressure Cooker Is Not Sealing Properly

If the pressure cooker is not sealing, you may see steam escaping from the sides around the lid. This escaping steam prevents enough pressure to build up, and your food won’t cook properly.

Note: During initial pressurizing, it is normal to see a little steam escaping from the valve or sides. If you have a manual valve, make sure it is set to ‘Sealing‘ and not venting.

How to get the pressure cooker to seal properly?

If the cooker won’t come to pressure, you will need to check the seal around the lid.

  • Is the seal ring in place? Make sure you didn’t forget to replace the silicone seal ring on the cooker.
  • Ensure the seal ring is seated properly, it should look even all the way around the cooker.
  • Dirty seal ring? This can cause pressure issues, use a clean seal ring.

Replace the seal ring every 12 months on average as they do wear out. Buy quality rings.

Note: Seal rings can transfer odors from food to food. Use multiple colors of seal rings to go with different types of food to prevent cross odors.

3) The Bottom Of The Inner Pot Dirty

As we said the Instant Pot needs adequate steam to function properly. Food that gets stuck or burns on the bottom of the inner pot can prevent the unit from coming to full pressure. Clean the inside of the pot so that steam can circulate all the way around the inside and around the food.

4) The Float Valve And/Or Anti-Block Shield Are Dirty

Clean the float valve and anti-block shield regularly. You can pop these out and clean them with soap and water, then replace them. Inspect the whole unit at this point and clean as needed.

The float valve has to rise in order to reach full pressure. It is common for this valve to stick, try to jiggle it to get it to rise and keep it clean.

Check you actually replaced the float valve and it is not missing.

5) Check The Instant Pot Is Plugged In And Clear From Obstructions

Simply double-check your unit is plugged in all the way and sitting on the counter away from other objects. You want to know it is receiving proper power.

If you still experience issues with your Instant Pot after following all these steps, you may have a defective Instant Pot and it is time to reach out to customer support for service.

Check out these other top products by the makers of Instant Pot:

How Do I Reset My Instant Pot?

You may wish to reset your Instant Pot back to factory settings to erase any programs you previously set up.

Resetting can be easily done and is the same for Instant Pot Duo, Duo Plus, Duo Evo Plus, Duo Nova, Duo Gourmet, Instant Pot Max, Duo Crisp, and Duo Pro Crisp.

Follow these steps to reset your Instant Pot:

With the Instant Pot in Standby mode, press and hold the Cancel button for 2~3 seconds until the unit beeps. This will completely reset or restore all your saved programs back to factory settings.

Standby mode is when the unit is off but plugged in and ready to go.

Why Does My Instapot Say Burn?

A very common error code many people see is ‘burn‘. As the table below shows, the burn error means the temperature at the bottom of the inner pot was detected to be too hot. This is commonly caused by food getting stuck and burning at the bottom. See your Instapot troubleshooting solutions below.

To resolve the burn error code, do the following:

  • Turn off the Instant Pot.
  • Switch valve handle to Venting.
  • Once pressure has been released, open and remove the lid.
  • Check the amount of liquid still inside the pot and add more if needed.
  • Check if food is stuck to the bottom, if so, use a spatula to loosen the stuck items. Allow the liquid to get underneath the food to prevent sticking again.
  • Replace the lid and resume cooking.

Note: If the food has severely burned, the best course of action is to remove it from the pot. Either get rid of the burned parts and scrape down the inner pot or start over.

Also, know that using thick liquids can cause some overheating since they may not steam as well as water. So, a paste or soup may cause a burn error code.

Instant Pot Error Codes

An error code might display at some point on your Instant Pot. The table below lists and explains the various error codes and how to resolve the issues.

Error CodeError MeaningHow To Resolve
C1Faulty SensorContact Support
C2Faulty SensorContact Support
C6, C6H, C6LFaulty SensorContact Support
C5Temp. Too HighPress Cancel, wait to cool
C7, NoPrNot Enough LiquidAdd additional liquid
C7, NoPrHandle In Venting Pos.Turn handle to Sealing
C8Wrong Inner PotUse correct inner pot
C9Sensor ConnectorsEnsure lid is completely down
LidNot In Correct PositionAdjust the lid
burnBottom Of Inner Pot BurningCheck for food at bottom of pot
PrSEPressure DetectedTurn valve to Venting
PotInner Pot Is MissingInsert Inner Pot

How To Quick Release Instant Pot

If you need to release the pressure quickly, you can perform a quick release function on the Instant Pot.

To perform a quick-release on the Instant Pot, switch the valve handle located on the top of the unit to ‘Venting‘. Be careful when doing this as the built-up steam will immediately shoot out the top. Just stay clear of the lid.

Normally, you will allow the pressure cooker to cool on its own, but there may be some reasons for you to do a quick release. Either you want the cooking to quickly stop or the recipe calls for the quick release to be performed.

Using the quick release is safe but be sure to stand away from the lid as the steam is scalding and will burn if it is in contact with your skin.

Find useful Instant Pot accessories:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Instant Pots safe to leave unattended?

Instant Pots have several safety mechanisms built-in to prevent serious issues, but it is recommended to not leave them unattended. You can walk out of the room and do other tasks, just don’t leave the house for hours on end.

Why does the Instant Pot lid or sealing ring smell?

Cooking with steam can infuse the sealing ring with odors from the food. Clean the ring and the lid after every use. Use separate rings for different types of food to ensure odors don’t cross-contaminate.

Can you restart Instant Pot if food not done?

Yes, it is okay to restart your Instant Pot if you want the food to cook longer to make sure it is done. Keep an eye on it to make sure you do not overcook it.

The Instant Pot sealing ring is torn or damaged.

The ring can get damaged and should be replaced at least yearly under normal conditions. Inspect the sealing ring before each use and ensure it is seated properly on the lid.

Instant Pot meat is tough and dry

Use the Saute setting to start with, then try cooking for about 20 minutes per pound of meat, do not open the lid to check on the cook, and at the end, let it naturally cool. Do not do a quick release as this will dry out the meat.
Larger cuts of meat might require over an hour to cook.

Instant Pot damaging upper kitchen cabinets.

Remember steam escapes from the pot at certain times. Place the Instant Pot on the counter in an open area away from overhead cabinets.

How to remove stains from Instant Pot?

Try soaking the pot in a vinegar solution to dissolve and remove stains. Alternatively, just use warm soapy water and a sponge for everyday stains.

Instant Pot handle broken

You may still be able to use your Instant Pot if the handle is broken and the lid still seals properly. However, contact support to inform them of the issue and how to get a new handle.

Summary

This article covered common Instant Pot problems and how to resolve them. I hope you enjoy using your pressure cooker, but if you do experience issues, follow the steps shown in this article to get back up and running again.