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Instant Pot

6 Ways to Troubleshoot Instant Pot Cooking

Our Instant Pot expert covers the most common issues you can encounter with this multi-cooking wonder, and how to troubleshoot them.

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The course of true love never did run smoothly, and that goes for your love affair with your Instant Pot, too. All is not lost, though. Here’s a guide to some of the most common issues you may encounter with your Instant Pot and how to remedy the situation to save dinner. 

  1. The “Burn” Notice

Instant Pots are programmed to reduce the heat (and thereby the pressure) and display “burn” on the screen if the bottom of the pot overheats. Be sure to deglaze the bottom of the pot and scrape up browned bits after using the Sauté function. Also measure carefully and follow recipes to make sure the pot has enough liquid. To fix the issue when it happens, release remaining pressure and check the food. If it’s not done, add a bit more liquid, scrape the bottom of the pot, lock on lid, and return to pressure. 

  1. Lid Won’t Lock

Check the sealing ring, it may not be seated in the lid properly. The sealing ring expands as it heats, so if you stopped pressurized cooking to add ingredients, the lid might not re-seal. To remedy this, rinse the lid and sealing ring under cool running water, shake off excess liquid, replace the lid and it will reseal easily.  

  1. Stew or Sauce Is Too Thin

Because the Instant Pot is a sealed cooking environment, there is no evaporation like stove top cooking. To thicken stews/sauces, add the thickener at the end of cooking after you’ve released the pressure, otherwise it could sink to the bottom of the pot and cause the “burn” notice. Take your pick of starches – flour, tapioca, potato starch and arrowroot (not recommended for sauces with dairy) all work. Mix with equal parts starch-to-water,  add to the pot after the pressure is released, and use the Sauté function to simmer uncovered until desired consistency. For more information on when to add key ingredients and troubleshooting tips, check out Your Instant Pot Cheat Sheet.

  1. Food Is Underdone 

If your food is close to done, but needs just a little more time, it’s best to simmer it uncovered using the Sauté function instead of repressurizing it. It’s easier to fine tune the cooking this way. Don’t forget you can toggle between low, medium and high heat on Sauté by pressing the button. If you are cooking a tougher cut of meat or harder vegetable/bean/grain and it needs much more cooking, reseal the lid and add pressurized cooking time in small (1 to 5 minute) increments. 

  1. Appliance Won’t Come Up To Pressure

If the silver pin refuses to rise, open the lid and check to see if you’ve put the sealing ring in the lid. It’s easy to forget to do this, so store the sealing ring with the lid when not in use. Also check to see that the steam valve is seated correctly in the lid, as it can sit askew and let steam out. Make sure you’ve also got enough liquid in the pot to create steam to bring up the pressure. 

  1. All Those Beeps Freak Out My Dog

To make your Instant Pot quiet, press the “-“ button for 3 seconds to turn off the sound. Press the “+” button for 3 seconds to turn the sound back on.  

Try a meal from our collection of Instant Pot recipes. Or, learn to make marinara, dried beans and more with 5 Staples You Can Make in an Instant Pot.