Instant pot not coming to pressure? Did it give you a burn notice? Is it not cooking correctly? Let me help you solve and prevent the common Instant Pot Issues so that you can get back to pressure cooking with success.
There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to prepare one of your favorite Instant Pot Recipes. If you are struggling with making perfect Instant Pot Baked Potatoes or Instant Pot Pot roast, or you are getting repeated burn notices, there is probably an easy fix.
If you have been frustrated because your Instant Pot is not coming to pressure, you are not alone.
If you have had a recent burn warning following an Instant Pot recipe, again, you are not alone.
Once people have mastered how to use their Instant Pot, they often struggle with issues occurring when trying to follow a recipe, like the Instant Pot not coming to pressure or a burn notice occurring.
Instant Pot Not Working
9 times out of 10 the reason why your Instant Pot won't come to pressure is that it is not sealed correctly. There are plenty of reasons this occurs and thankfully, this is easily remedied.
There are TWO ways to determine if your Instant Pot is not sealing.
- Depending on your recipe, it can take anywhere from 5 to even 30 minutes for pressure to be reached and cook time to begin on a pressure cooker. If that time has elapsed and the float valve has not popped up and cook time has not begun, chances are high your pressure cooker is not able to seal. Please note that if you have large quantities of a frozen food or lots of liquid in your instant pot, it may take up to 45 minutes to fully reach pressure.
- If cook time begins on the Instant Pot begins but the float valve has NOT popped up, the Instant Pot is not sealed.
Another reason the Instant Pot does not function correctly is that it gets a burn notice. Often times this occurs as the instant pot is trying to come to pressure and occurs when a recipe is not followed correctly. You will see burn or ovrht, which indicates your instant pot has overheated and something is burned to the bottom of your inner pot.
Reasons and Solutions
Once you have determined that your instant pot is not working, it is time to figure out WHY and how to fix it.
Not Enough Liquid
The instant pot needs THIN liquid in order for pressure to be reached AND to not get a burn notice. Not having enough liquid, can result in either your instant pot not sealing or a burn notice.
For a 3-quart instant pot, you need at least ¾ cup of thin liquid, for a 6-quart instant pot, you need at least 1 cup of thin liquid, and for an 8-quart quart instant pot, you need at least 1-½ cups of thin liquid.
What is thin liquid?? Stock, water, or juice, NOT things like tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, or salsa.
Vent Knob Not Sealed
If your pressure vent knob is turned to "venting" instead of "sealing," clearly the instant pot will not seal. The instant pot will heat up and the thin liquid and heat will be evaporated through the vent knob, instead of trapped inside the instant pot.
This one happens to me ALL the time! It is a simple mistake that can ruin dinner quickly.
Don't be tempted to simply knock your vent knob from venting to sealed, unless you catch it IMMEDIATELY after setting cook time. Instead, hit cancel and carefully open the instant pot.
An Issue with the Sealing Ring
The silicone sealing ring is one of the most important parts of the Instant Pot. If it is not placed on the lid tightly, the lid won't seal. If the ring is torn or dirty, it won't seal either.
Whenever you notice your pressure cooker is struggling to come to pressure and the vent knob was in the right position, the next thing you want to investigate is the sealing ring.
The sealing ring expands to seal in pressure in the Instant Pot. If you just used your Instant Pot for another recipe or did a quick release to add an ingredient with a shorter cook time, your sealing ring may be already too expanded to be able to achieve a proper seal. Either place the seal in the freezer for 5 minutes to let it cool and return to normal size or insert a spare sealing ring.
If you have not recently used your instant pot, the sealing ring may be dirty. Take it off, give it a good clean and dry well. Inspect for tears or breaks and then install the ring carefully back on the lid on the instant pot and then proceed with the recipe---after checking to be sure there is still enough thin liquid in the Instant Pot!
Something Burned on the Bottom of Inner Pot
The number one reason for a burn notice after not having enough thin liquid is that something is burned on the inner pot.
This is super common if you don’t deglaze your inner pot after sauteing foods, like when making Instant Pot Chili or Instant Pot Beef Stew.
After sauteeing anything, turn the Instant Pot OFF. If you have a large cut of meat, like for a roast for pot roast, remove the roast to a separate plate. Add in the thin liquid and scrape up ALL the browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot.
If you get a burn notice and you used the saute feature, remove everything from the inner pot. Clean and dry it well and return the ingredients back to the inner pot and proceed with the recipe.
It is crucial that you do not use flour or cornstarch in your inner pot until AFTER pressure cooking, as the flour or cornstarch will thicken the thin liquid which results in the Instant Pot not being able to come to pressure or having a burn notice.
Remember how I stated that tomato-based products do NOT count toward your thin liquid? Does this mean they should not be used in the Instant Pot? Not at all, just be sure to not count them towards the needed liquid in a recipe and to never place them on the bottom of the inner pot. Instead, layer the tomato-based products or thick sauces over the thin liquid.
Think about how easily milk scorches on the stove-top. Walk away for a second and you are left with burnt milk on the bottom of your pan. The same applies true with the Instant pot. Adding milk, cream, butter, yogurt, will likely result in a burn notice.
This is another issue that can not be easily overcome. You either need to use the pot-in-pot cooking method or prepare the recipe using the oven or stove.
An 8-Quart Instant Pot
The 8-quart models are much more prone to overheating and getting a burn notice, as it is a bit more finicky and the saute function reaches higher temperatures.
To combat this, when using the saute, adjust to medium heat instead of high heat. Also, it is best to wait 5 minutes after you turn the saute function off to let the machine cool before proceeding to cook under pressure.
Problem Not Solved?
If these tips did not solve your issue, contact Instant Pot Customer service who will be able to direct you accordingly.
Final Tip: Get to know your Instant Pot. They are like people. All are unique, and some are a bit more temperamental than others, if your pressure cooker is more apt to overheat and get a burn notice you need to be a bit more cautious and follow these tips closely. If your pot seems laid-back and easy-going, you can get away with a lot more.
Thanks for posting! I cleaned my ring and put it in the freezer for a few minutes. It worked! Thanks again!!
I have 3 instant pots. My newest one is the duo crisp which I bought mostly because of the air fryer capability. However, tonight I tried to use it as a pressure cooker but the lid absolutely will not close! I tried everything I could think of. I don’t know what to do. As an afterthought, I tried the lid on from my other IP and it does close, so it’s something about the lid that came with the duo crisp. Any ideas? Thank you!
Hi Ella! This is a common issue that people have reported. I do not have the model myself to troubleshoot myself, but I have heard many people have this issue when trying to use the lid for just pressure cooking. It sounds like BOTH lids must be connected to each other for the Instant Pot to recognize the lid is on.
Thanks for responding. However, the lids are used individually. I will try to contact customer service today. Would you me to get back to you? Ella
Called the manufacturer today. Will try and let you know what happens.
Hi, I have not heard back yet from the manufacturer so today I decided to troubleshoot on my own and this is what I discovered— all I needed to do was to push the sealing ring further into the wire casing. For some reason it was not fully engaged. I had to use a utensil to shove it in there but now I think I am good! Very happy!
I am experiencing the same lid issue with my brand new instant pot duo crisp. Could you describe more how you fixed it with the sealing ring? I am having trouble figuring out where that is exactly. Thanks!
About the sealing rings - The one that came with my Instant Pot is actually a little bit larger than the replacements that I bought on line. When inserting after washing, it actually bunches a little so I have to take my finger tips and stroke it around a bit until it evens out. This ring has only been used around a half dozen times. Sometimes with this ring it doesn't seal perfectly and I have to press on the handles to get the pressure button to pop up. I haven't had this problem with the third-party rings that I bought online. They fit nice and snug.
Thanks for sharing that! Just to clarify, the instant pot brand replacement rings give you an issue, but not off-brand? I just want to make sure others understand fully. I personally have off-brand replacements that work perfectly.
Thank you for the little picture that shows where the knob needs to be!!! I thought it had to be turned all the way over to the word sealed. This pops the knob up some, and I knew that couldn't be right either. Luckily I did a water test and found this picture to show me what I was doing wrong.
I am so glad that the image helped you Candace. Pictures are worth more than words most often 😉
I have an 8qt, 6qt and a 3 qt. The 8qt does not seal even if I turn the knob. Steam keeps escaping and the liquid inside evaporates. I don’t know how this is happening .
Hi Veronica. This has to be so frustrating. First, be sure your seal has no tears and is on correctly. And then I would try the water test and be sure your Instant Pot works well. It is normal for a little bit of steam to escape right before it comes to pressure. If these don't resolve the issue, I would call Instant Pot customer service to see if they can give you a new one.
I have a 6 qt instant . Seems like nothing gets done . On pressure and slow cook .
Hi Miriam! I am sorry you are having issues. The slow cook function does not work the way a normal slow cooker does and timing and temperature needs to be adjusted to account for that. I have a chart that breaks down how to use your instant pot as a slow cooker that should help. As for recipes not turning out under pressure if you give me an example of one you used, and the time you cooked it for, that would help me further troubleshoot for you.
I've never had this problem but it's nice to have to reasons I can turn to, if and, when it does. Thanks!
Glad you know where to turn Renee. But hopefully, you will never have these issues.
Lots of great info here!! Perfect instructions, so helpful!
So glad this helped you out Noelle!
I bought a package of new sealing rings but I can't fit them into the ring on the lid - each of them (I've tried 2) gets hung up at the same spot on the inside of the ring. I checked, there's no obstruction and the old ring goes back on fine, so I'm guessing it's just too tight? Any suggestions how to loosen the new ring up enough to get it installed? Thank you in advance.
That is frustrating for sure! I would say to place in hot water to see if that helps. It may have been the rings you purchased are not for your brand of instant pot.
How often do I need to replace sealing ring with new one?
Hi Linda! You need to replace your sealing ring when it tears or when it becomes really loose on your lid. I have had several for years, but I do not put in dishwasher (even though you can) and I use often. It really just depends on how you treat it and how often you use it 🙂
Hi...I am trying to use the slow cooker on my InstaPot. I am making chili. There is plenty of liquid the problem is when I lock the lid and push the slow cooker button LID comes on and beeping. I reseat it and the same thing happens. I checked the ring, turned it over and put lid back on and the same thing happened. So what do I do? Thank you
Hi Cindy! What model do you have? You should not need to lock your lid for this function to work.
It's a Mega Chef from QVC. It has a slow cooker button. I looked up a video how to use the slow cooker option and it said to put on lid and lock. When I sauteed the meat first I didn't need the lid and had no problems. Even when I hit the 'warm' button that dang LID started flashing again LOL...
I am sorry, I am not very familiar with that model. But it sounds like you need to have lid on and lock. Maybe try unplugging and plugging back in to reset? If that does not work, I am not sure how to advise, other than to take off sealing ring and place back on to see it that helps.
Actually, just a thought, Cindi--It may be that your pot is too hot to lock the lid (from sauteing) give it a minute. I hope that helps
Thank you! I'm getting ready to dig out my old crock pot LOL. I love the InstaPot I use it for so many different meals but that dang lid really tries my patience! LOL...Have a great day!
Oh I can imagine! I wish I knew the answer, but it sounds like that model is really frustrating! Enjoy your meal!