The most common question I get about Instant Pot cooking is the Instant Pot Burn Message. In this quick article I will outline what you should do when you get an Instant Pot burn reading, and how to avoid it in the future.
To ease your concerns, I first want to tell you that even I have received the Instant Pot burn message, and I wrote a best-selling Instant Pot Cookbook! You are not doing anything “wrong” your pot just needs a little extra love, here’s what you do:
What to do when you get an Instant Pot Burn Message
Steps to take when you get an Instant Pot burn message or reading:
- Press “Cancel” to turn off your Instant Pot.
- Do a quick release to release the pressure.
- After the pressure has released, open the lid.
- Assess the problem:
-If there is food stuck to the bottom of the inner pot, move the contents of the Instant Pot to a heat safe bowl. Let the Instant Pot cool and then clean the inner pot well. Add the food back to the pot, if after doing this you still receive an Instant Pot burn message, add ½ to 1 cup more liquid.
-If there is no food stuck to the bottom of the inner pot, you may not have enough liquid in the pot. Add ½ cup to 1 cup more liquid.
– If your Sealing Ring is missing or loose, you could get a burn notice. Inspect your sealing ring and adjust as needed.
- Resume cooking.
Why did I get an Instant Pot Burn Message?
There are a few reasons you may have received an Instant Pot burn message and knowing why you had an Instant Pot burn message will help you in your future Instant Pot cooking endeavors.
Food stuck to the bottom of your Instant Pot
Many Instant Pot recipes will call for the sauté function prior to bringing to pressure. Often small bits of food can get stuck to the bottom of the inner pot, this can cause an Instant Pot burn message.
How to fix it: Deglaze after every sauté. Simply add some liquid to the pot while still on sauté function, use a wooden spoon to scrape the food off the bottom of the inner pot. This will lift any food off the bottom and will better infuse the meal with flavor, it’s a win-win!
Not enough liquid in the Instant Pot
This could happen for many reasons, most often it’s that the recipe was originally tested in a different size pot or different model than you own. Instant Pots are versatile, but unlike the universal oven, not always 100% consistent. The good thing here though, is that once you know you often need more liquid, it’s an easy fix.
How to fix it: Simple… add more liquid (1/2 to 1 cup)! You can also add the liquid first, then the remaining ingredients and do not stir together. Allowing all the liquid to sit at the bottom of the pan will elevate the Instant Pot burn message.
The Instant Pot recipe has thick sauce (tomato, milk, etc.) or starchy ingredients (pasta and rice)
Often a recipe containing thick liquids or starchy ingredients will cause an Instant Pot burn message . Milk, tomato sauce and prepared sauces can cause a burn message as can layering starchy ingredients on the bottom of the Instant Pot.
How to fix it: Add the liquid to the pot first, then add ingredients and do not stir. If you can, add the starchy ingredients last, and again… do not stir. Just cover and cook according to the recipe.
The sealing ring is missing or loose on your Instant Pot
If your sealing ring is loose or missing, your Instant Pot will leak steam, and this will burn the food at the bottom of the pot. The more steam you lose the more it will burn.
How to fix it: Check your sealing ring and make sure it is in place and not loose. Often people clean the sealing ring in the dishwasher, and this can stretch it out. You can purchase a new Instant Pot Sealing Ring HERE.
The steam release on your Instant Pot is venting
If you’re losing steam, than you will get a burn message. Just as above in the sealing ring issue, you need a good seal to avoid an Instant Pot burn message.
How to fix it: Check that your steam release handle is set to sealing and not venting.
Your Instant Pot was too hot after sautéing
This is a less common issue, however it can happen. When sautéing, often the pot heats up a lot, this happens more often in smaller Instant Pots.
How to fix it: It’s as easy as waiting a few minutes. Shut off the Instant pot, and use oven mitts to remove the inner pot and place it on a heat safe surface. Allow the pot to cool for 5 minutes and then resume your recipe.
The Instant Pot recipe was tested in a different size
I tried to test all the recipes in my cookbook LOSE WEIGHT WITH YOUR INSTANT POT in two different sizes, a 3 quart and a 6 quart as different size Instant Pots may need more liquid. This is a less common issue, however it is important enough to note here.
How to fix it: This is another easy fix, just add more liquid. ½ to 1 cup more liquid will work, you can also layer the liquid first, then heavier ingredients on top without stirring to avoid the Instant Pot burn message.
Even the most experienced cook can get an Instant Pot burn message, so don’t let it phase you! Simply follow my five tips above and move on.
If you liked this article, you’ll love my Instant Pot cookbook LOSE WEIGHT WITH YOUR INSTANT POT, check it out! And while you’re at it, check out my Skinny Crack Chicken recipe, another Instant Pot favorite.