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Common Instant Pot Problems and How to Fix Them

This has quickly become one of my must have kitchen appliances.

What happened to my Instant Pot?

Why isn’t it working? Why didn’t it count down? Why isn’t it sealing? What can I do about the bad smell of the seal? Have you ever had these common Instant Pot problems? Well I have! And it’s nice to know it isn’t just me! Here are some common Instant Pot problems and how to fix them. I’ll be adding to these as time goes on.

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Sealing Issues:

The button won’t pop up and the counter doesn’t start

I love my Instant Pot so it really troubles me when it isn’t working.  The first time it quit sealing, I wasn’t too worried, but then it began to happen a lot. Yes I should have tried to return it, however I use it so much that I decided to buy a bigger one, an 8 qt. Instant Pot and figure out what was wrong with the 6 qt. Instant Pot later when I had time.

  1.  First of all, did you set the knob to “sealing?” That sounds like a “duh,” question but often times this is my problem. I forget to turn the knob.
  2. If you did set the knob correctly, then it may be the seal itself. Here’s what I learned:  the seal really needs to go in the lid a certain way. After you put it in, be sure and “spin” it around. It should turn fairly freely. If you’re having issues with that, you may need a new seal. But if you’re in the middle of cooking and it’s hot, try the tip below.

Another trick to try

If you don’t want to buy a new seal, or are in the middle of cooking and it won’t seal, try holding down on the handles (just grip the handles and hold) until the button pops up. Sometimes there is too much play between the seal and the lid and it just needs a little help. When the button pops up, you can let go. The downside is that you have to be around and grip the handles after the mixture starts to build pressure. Eventually you get good at figuring out the perfect time to hold the handles but try buying a new seal and installing it correctly if you don’t want to have to be around.

The seal smells bad

It’s probably time for a new seal. You can buy a new seal and it’s a good idea to have an extra one on hand. I use one for spicy meat dishes and a different one for desserts and rice. It’s hard to get the spice smell out and easy to just switch between the two seals.

I don’t put my seals in the dishwasher. I feel like they last longer if I hand wash them.

I get a “BURN,” message

This has happened to my aunt so many times, for different reasons.  The burn message means that your Instant Pot is overheating.

First make sure (if you’re using the Instant Pot as a pressure cooker), the knob is set to, “Sealing.”  If not, the liquid in the pot escapes through the top of the lid (because it’s not sealed) and burns the food.

Also if the lid isn’t sealed properly you may also get this message for the same reason above. Check your seal.

If the liquid is too thick, you may get a burn message. Don’t add thickener until after the recipe is down and the lid is off. You can add it when you’re using the Saute button, that’s fine but not with the lid off.

Update on the Burn Message

So many people have asked me about the “Burn Message,” and to tell you the truth I had never had it on my previous Instant Pots. I actually purchased a new one recently so I could help diagnose some of the issues. My new one does get the, “burn message,” on occasion.

Here are a few ways to fix the “burn” message:

  1. Make sure you put enough liquid in the pot. On these newer models you probably need at least 1 cup of liquid. On my old model, 1/2 c. was fine.
  2. If you know you have enough liquid in there, then ignore the message and see if it goes away. Often times it does.
  3. If it doesn’t, place both hands on the Instant Pot and gently tilt the pot to one side, then the other. This helps the liquid redistribute.
  4. If all else fails, release the steam, open it up and add more liquid.

Also check out my post on: How to Use the Instant Pot – I’m Scared to Death and Need Help!

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