Cooking With Confidence: 10 Most Common Instant Pot Problems Explained and Solved

The Instant Pot has gained immense popularity in recent years, revolutionizing the way many people cook by combining the functions of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, and more in a single appliance. However, like any kitchen gadget, it’s not immune to occasional hiccups. In this article, we will explore 10 common Instant Pot problems users may encounter and provide solutions to overcome them, ensuring a seamless cooking experience.

10 Most Common Instant Pot Problems

Here are 10 examples of Instant Pot problems demystified and solved:

  1. Lid Sealing: Solving lid sealing issues for effective cooking.
  2. Burn Message: Overcoming the “Burn” message and preventing food from sticking.
  3. Steam Leakage: Tackling steam leakage and ensuring proper pressure cooking.
  4. Overcooking: Avoiding overcooked meals with proper cooking time adjustment.
  5. Lid Stuck: Safely opening a stuck lid by releasing pressure correctly.
  6. Error Codes: Troubleshooting and resolving common error codes.
  7. Slow Heating: Addressing slow heating issues for efficient cooking.
  8. Unresponsive Control Panel: Fixing an unresponsive control panel for seamless operation.
  9. Overflowing Liquid: Preventing liquid overflow by following fill guidelines.
  10. Malfunctioning Pressure Release Valve: Resolving issues with the pressure release valve for optimal performance.

Lid Sealing

Proper sealing of the Instant Pot lid is crucial for effective cooking. If the lid is not properly sealed, it can lead to loss of pressure and difficulties in achieving the desired cooking results. This can result in undercooked food or longer cooking times. A weak seal can be caused by a misaligned sealing ring, debris on the sealing surfaces, or a damaged sealing ring.

Solution: Ensure the sealing ring is properly seated, free from debris, and check for cracks or damage. Clean the lid and sealing components regularly to maintain a good seal.

Instant Pot problems
Instant Pot problems

Burn Message

The “Burn” message on the Instant Pot indicates that food has stuck to the bottom of the inner pot, triggering a high-temperature alert. This error message is a safety feature that prevents the food from burning and protects the appliance from damage. It commonly occurs when the pot is insufficiently deglazed after sautéing or when thick ingredients like tomato paste settle at the bottom without sufficient liquid.

Solution: Cancel the cooking process, release the pressure, carefully remove the food, clean the inner pot thoroughly, and ensure enough liquid in the recipe before attempting to cook again.

Steam Leakage

Steam leakage can occur due to improper positioning of the sealing ring or blockages in the steam release valve. If steam is escaping from around the lid, it can result in a loss of pressure and affect the cooking process. Blockages in the steam release valve can prevent proper pressure release, causing the steam to leak from other areas.

Solution: Ensure the sealing ring is correctly installed, double-check the steam release valve’s position, and inspect for any blockages.

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Overcooking is a common issue that can happen when cooking times are not properly adjusted. The Instant Pot cooks food under pressure, which can significantly reduce cooking times compared to traditional methods. Overcooking can result in overly soft or mushy food, particularly vegetables and proteins that are sensitive to prolonged cooking.

Solution: Follow recommended cooking times, adjust as needed for personal preference, and refer to the Instant Pot’s user manual for guidance.

Lid Stuck

A stuck lid can occur when pressure buildup inside the Instant Pot prevents easy opening. This can happen if the pressure has not been fully released or if food residue has caused the sealing surfaces to stick together. Forcing the lid open can be dangerous and should be avoided.

Solution: Do not force the lid open, wait for pressure to naturally release or perform a quick pressure release, then the lid should open easily.

Error Codes

The Instant Pot may display various error codes, such as “Lid,” “C6,” or “C5,” which indicate specific problems with the appliance. These error codes can be triggered by sensor malfunctions, electrical issues, or other internal Instant Pot problems.

Solution: Consult the Instant Pot manual or the manufacturer’s website for specific troubleshooting steps or perform a simple reset or power cycle.

Slow Heating

Delayed heating in the Instant Pot can result from incorrect setup or blockages in the heating elements. This can lead to longer cooking times and frustration.

Solution: Ensure proper installation, cleanliness of components, and inspect for any blockages in the steam release valve.

Gear Instant Pot Pro Plus 1

Unresponsive Control Panel

An unresponsive control panel can occur due to electrical issues or other malfunctions. This can prevent the user from operating the Instant Pot effectively and adjusting cooking settings as needed.

Solution: Try unplugging and plugging back in the Instant Pot to reset the control panel or contact customer support for further assistance.

Overflowing Liquid

Overfilling the Instant Pot can cause liquid to overflow during cooking, resulting in a mess and potentially affecting the appliance’s performance. This can occur when ingredients expand or release liquid during the cooking process, exceeding the maximum fill capacity of the inner pot.

Solution: Follow recommended fill guidelines and adjust recipe quantities accordingly.

Malfunctioning Pressure Release Valve

The pressure release valve is a critical component of the Instant Pot that regulates pressure and allows for safe pressure release. If the valve malfunctions, it can affect the cooking process, causing problems with pressure regulation and release.

Solution: Clean the valve thoroughly, remove any blockages, and ensure correct positioning during cooking.


By addressing these common Instant Pot problems and implementing the provided solutions, you can overcome challenges while using your Instant Pot and enjoy a seamless cooking experience. Always refer to the Instant Pot’s user manual and reach out to customer support if problems persist, maximizing the potential of your Instant Pot.