What Does Burn Mean On Instant Pot

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Help Why Does My Instant Pot Say Burn

What to Do When You Get the BURN NOTICE! Instant Pot Tips

When I got my;Instant Pot I was so excited to get started.

I mean, its this magical appliance where I put all my ingredients in, press a button, and in like 10 minutes, I have a delicious meal, right?


I put all my ingredients in, I pushed the button, and then a few minutes later, my Instant Pot said: burn.

What the heck? Thats not how this thing is supposed to work!

So I started investigating

And I found the four major reasons that an Instant Pot says burn.

Spoiler alert It doesnt always mean your food is burning!

Steam Escaping Via Sealing Ring

When the silicone sealing ring on the instant pot lid is not properly installed, steam may escape when the pressure cooking mode is on.

To function properly, a pressure cooker must be properly sealed to prevent steam from escaping.

Any issue with the sealing ring will cause a lot of cooking steam to escape so basically, there wont be enough liquid in the pot. Without any liquid, the food inside may start to get dry and this might trigger the burn warning.

Common causes of steam escaping through the sealing ring include a broken or damaged ring, lid not properly closed, food debris stuck on the sealing ring, thus preventing the ring from closing properly, and you might have forgotten to install the sealing ring back after cleaning.


  • If the sealing ring is old, damaged, or broken, consider getting a replacement
  • Always ensure that the sealing ring is properly installed before cooking
  • Make sure that all the components of the instant pot are present, including the sealing ring
  • Clean the lid properly and remove any food debris stuck on around the ring
  • How To Clean The Burnt Inner Pot On Your Instant Pot

    If you do get the Instant Pot burn error message, chances are that there is burning on the bottom of your inner pot. Now, you can wash and clean this using water but there is another method you can use. This will get it clean easily and quickly.

    This method actually utilizes the remains of the inner pot. The first thing we will do is to press the Saute button on the front panel. This will start to heat up the base of the Instant Pot.

    We will then add some hot water to the inner pot. Using a silicone or wooden spoonideally one with a flat bottom, we will scrape the bottom of the pan.

    The heat from the bottom as well as the hot water should make removing the residue at the bottom very easy.

    Essentially, this process is called deglazing and is something that is referred to a lot on Instant Pot cooking. Under normal circumstances, you would use the deglazing process to add to the flavor of the dish. In this case, the food is burnt so we need to remove it out of the inner pot.

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    What To Do When You Get A Burn Message On Instant Pot

    In some cases, its enough to just let the pot be for a few minutes. If it cools down, it may re-start on its own and continue the process where its left off.

    If this doesnt happen, heres what to do:

  • Turn the pot off & quick-release the steam . If the pot was not under pressure, the lid can be removed without releasing the steam.
  • Inspect the bottom of the pot and make sure there is no food stuck to it. If there is, scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon. If the burnt area is large, remove the food from the pot, clean it, and re-start the cooking process.
  • Inspect the sealing ring, steam release valve, and heating element underneath the inner pot.
  • Check the level of thin liquid in the pot and adjust it if necessary.
  • If everything checks out, close the lid, set the vent in the Sealing position, and restart the cooking process.
  • If the error message keeps showing up even after youve done all these several times, then it is the time to call for a specialist.

    What Are The Mistakes Im Making And How Can I Troubleshoot Them

    Instant Pot Burn Message. What Does It Mean? What Are The ...

    If you are making any of these mistakes or want to avoid them, read on. Youll save yourself the inconvenience of going through the above drill. All of these mistakes lead back to the same thing: not enough liquid and steam to create the ideal conditions for pressure cooking.

    Mistake #1: Not adding enough thin liquid to the pot

    Weve gone over this. But allow me to give you a few more details. Sometimes we think there is enough liquid in the pot. However, after sautéing at high temps, the liquid you added originally can thicken or dry up. Result? Burn message!

    Solution: A good rule of thumb is to always have one to two cups of total liquid in the pot just before pressure cooking, especially when cooking meats for a longer time. You can always cook down the excess liquid after the pressure cooking cycle is over.

    Mistake #2:The liquid youve added is too thick

    Thick liquids like tomato sauce, cheese, heavy cream and thickening agents like cornflour can be a problem.

    Solution: Heres what you can do to avoid the burn message with thick liquids.

    Mistake #3: The food you are cooking has a lot of starch

    ;Rice is the obvious example here. It not only absorbs water pretty quickly, but also has a lot of starch that can make the rice stick to the bottom, triggering the burn notice. Some people have a lot of difficulty cooking rice because of these two problems. Never fear, I have some tips to get those perfectly cooked and fluffy grains of rice!

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    Why Am I Getting The Instant Pot Burn Error

    To know why the burn on instant pot is triggered, we need to understand the principle behind pressure cooking food. It is the same principle whether you are using a electric pressure cooker like an instant pot or your regular stovetop pressure cooker. The liquid added to the food creates steam when it is heated to a high temperature. Since the steam has nowhere to go in a sealed pot, pressure builds up quickly which cooks the food faster.

    The important thing to note here is that pressure cookers require a certain amount of thin liquid like water or stock to come to pressure. If there is less liquid or no liquid, the food at the bottom of the pot will get scorched because there isnt enough steam and you cant stir it once the pot has been sealed.

    Lack of sufficient liquid is the number one underlying reason why you might get the burn message. Your instant pot is warning you that theres something wrong. Cool, no?

    Causes Why Food Burn Happens

  • Add at least 1 cup of liquid: In order for pressure to build up inside the pot, it has to be created. From what? From steam. From water or broth. There is a minimum amount of thin liquid that has to be added even when roasting a whole chicken. Rule of thumb is 1 cup.
  • Always add tomatoes on top: Because Instant Pots heating element is located at the bottom and may cause sugars in tomato products caramelize and burn. Therefore, we add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste on top and do not stir.
  • After you add tomatoes, do not stir: Again, you dont want to push tomatoes to the bottom. Generally it is completely unnecessary and better not to stir anything in Instant Pot.
  • If sauteing, make sure to deglaze: Little black bits that are left from sauteing stick to the pot. If they arent removed, pressure cooker will make them more hot and think they are burning. If you deglaze with water and incorporate them into the recipe like I advise, you wont get the burn notice, promise.
  • Always pre-cook ground meat: Adding pieces of meat are fine. But if you add a blob of ground meat without pre-browning it first, it will stick to the bottom and start burning.
  • Forgot to turn venting valve to Sealing: If you dont turn venting valve to Sealing position, steam will keep coming out from it. Eventually causing complete loss of water and Burn message. Create a rule to turn valve to Sealing before setting cooking time.
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    Objects Stuck Under Inner Pot Above The Pots Heating Element

    Objects getting stuck in the heating element of Instant Pots is more common than you think.

    We are talking about food crumbs, liquids, and other foreign objects finding their way into the heating element below the inner pot without your knowledge.

    When you start cooking, these objects will obviously start to burn especially since they are right at the main heat source.

    Immediately the pressure cooker detects an increase in temperature, it will trigger the burn notice.


    While its hard to prevent food, liquids, and other objects from finding their way to the heating element, I highly recommend checking out that area and wiping off any food particles with a dry cloth before you start to cook. Ensure the pot is not turned on and gently remove the inner pot for cleaning.

    Instant Pot Burn Message Fix

    How to Deglaze Your Instant Pot – What to do When it Says Burn

    When you see the burn message on your Instant Pot:

    • Press the cancel/off button.
    • Switch the valve to venting position to quickly release the pressure.
    • Carefully open the lid away from your face.
    • Check if there is any food stuck to the bottom of the inner pot. If so, remove the food onto a plate or bowl and add water or stock to the pot. Using a wooden spoon, scrape any food bits from the bottom of the pot. If there is no food stuck, add more thin liquid to your dish. Stir to make sure the liquid is at the bottom.
    • Let the Instant;Pot cool down and proceed with cooking.

    To ensure the best final result, always follow my 4 Steps each time you use your Instant Pot. Print the image below and place on the fridge for easy access.

    Read Also: How To Instant Pot Chicken Breast

    What To Do When The Instant Pot Says Burn

    ;We remember the first few times we panicked only to realize that our food actually didnt burn. Here is what we recommend doing.

    • Cancel the program
    • Release the pressure manually
    • Open the lid and scrape of the food particles stuck at the bottom of the pot
    • Remove food in another container
    • Clean the pot thoroughly
    • Put the food back into the container with extra liquid this time and cook it again.
    • Use tested recipes. We can’t emphasize enough how many times we test our recipes before we share the final recipe on the blog with you. We make our mistakes, learn from then and fix the mistakes so that you don’t have to make those mistakes.

    Best Budget Instant Pot

    Instant Pot Lux

    The most basic Instant Pot available on the market, this pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté machine, steamer, and warmer is available in 3, 6 and 8 quart versions. It can handle most basic recipes, and is a great budget option. The main downside is that the Instant Pot Lux doesnt have a yoghurt function or a low-pressure setting

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    If Your Instant Pot Says Food Burn Don’t Stress Here’s What It Actually Means

    If you use an Instant Pot, you know it can cook delicious meals in record time. While Instant Pots can make cooking easier, they also have special safety features that, while helpful, can be confusing at first. One example of this is when the pot reads “food burn,” which is what happened to me recently. But does that mean your food is actually burning? Turns out, no! It just means that the pot is too hot. The food could potentially burn, but the Instant Pot has the Overheat Protection feature in place, which can help stop that from happening.

    Instant Pots are impressively smart with 13 safety mechanisms, including the Overheat Protection feature. Not only does this feature allow the pot to detect when your food is about to burn from the heat, but it also shuts the heat off so your food won’t become ruined and so the pot itself is safe. After taking these precautions, it shows you the “food burn” message. Once the pot cools down, it will heat back up and finish cooking your meal. It can trigger this feature five times before shutting off completely.

    If you get a burn warning, don’t feel bad, it happens! If what you’re cooking doesn’t take long, like steel-cut oats, you can usually let the Instant Pot finish its job, knowing it has the overheating feature in place. However, if you’re cooking a recipe that takes longer, you can fix the problem in seven steps.

  • Cancel the cooking and Quick Release the steam.
  • Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts

    Not Enough Liquid In Your Instant Pot

    Why Does My Instant Pot Say Burn?

    The next time my Instant Pot said burn, it was because there wasnt enough liquid in my Instant Pot.

    See, you need liquid to make sure that your Instant Pot has enough to come to pressure.

    And even if you add liquid, you may not have enough.

    Especially if you are cooking foods that typically absorb liquid!

    Thankfully, theres a super easy fix for this one too.

    First, you cancel cooking and release pressure.

    Then you add more liquid.

    Then you can start cooking again.

    And thats it. I told you its super easy!

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    Why Do We Get The Instant Pot Says Burn

    Wondering what am I doing wrong that I keep getting the burn message.

    Well, when the temperatures are very hot at the bottom of the pot, and there is loss of moisture, the food starts to stick on the pot, especially when its being pressure cooked when you cant stir or deglaze the pot. Thus the burn display.

    Can You Override Burn On Instant Pot

    Usually, when the pot gives you a burn message, cooking stops immediately. During this time, the instant pot cools off for some minutes and then restarts the pressure cooking cycle again.

    This simply means that the pressure cooking cycle will still complete after the burn error. The burn message doesnt always mean your food is burning so there is nothing to worry about.

    So when the instant pot stops cooking after the burn error message and then turns on after a few minutes, just let it continue cooking. Youll probably have some food stuck at the bottom but everything should just be fine.

    In the worse scenario, you may need to restart the cooking process but this is rare.

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    What Causes A Burn On Instant Pot

    There are a number of culprits when it comes to diagnosing a burn warning on the Instant Pot screen. Thick sauces and food that can burn and stick to the bottom of the pot are two of the biggest problems.

    Some people also get the burn warning on Instant Pot when they cook rice and noodle dishes that run out of liquid and get stuck to the bottom of the inner pot. If you are cooking something that would normally burn fast to the pan if it isnt stirred, youll likely get a burn warning on the Instant Pot when cooking at high pressure.

    Reason #: Not Enough Liquid In The Pot

    Instant Pot Burn Message

    In order to create the pressure needed to cook your food in an electric pressure cooker, you need water. That water can be in the form of broth or stock or a mixture of water and other ingredients, but there has to be a true liquid present in order to create the steam. Not having enough liquid can happen for 2 reason, but there are ays to fix it.

    Problem Solution
    Not enough liquid in the recipe.
    Liquid evaporated out during cooking. Check that your vent is in the SEALED position. Check your sealing ring. If it is not inserted correctly the steam will escape all around the edge of the Instant Pot.

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    What Do I Do If My Instant Pot Says Burn

    Your Instant Pot automatically turns off once it detects a burn in the inner pot, immediately taking care of the most pressing issue. Sometimes, your Instant Pot will cool down quickly and resume cooking on its own. But in most cases, it’s good to have a plan with damage control. And remember, there’s no reason to panic.

    How To Avoid Burn Message On Instant Pot

    To avoid the burn message on your Instant Pot, always make sure there is no food stuck at the bottom of the inner pot . The best example is my recipe for the Instant Pot Chicken Thighs. You need to saute the thighs first, then remove them onto a plate, deglaze the bottom of the pot by adding required liquid and scraping it with a wooden spoon, then placing a trivet inside and arranging the meat on top.

    If you are making pasta dishes , always make sure you scrape any food bits from the bottom of your inner pot after sauteing onions and garlic. If adding tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, add them last and in the center of the dish, avoiding it touching the sides of the inner pot. Do not stir the dish. Pressure cook according to the instructions in the recipe.

    It is recommended by the Instant Pot brand to avoid thick cream sauces when pressure cooking, as it will prevent the IP from coming to pressure. Add cream cheese, heavy cream or thicken the sauce with cornstarch and half and half after your food is cooked. Use the saute mode to thicken the dish.

    It seems that 8qt Instant Pots;tend to get burn message more often, and my assumption is that while the 8 quart IP requires more liquid to come to pressure than the 6 quart IP, most recipes do not include the info to adjust that according to what IP you are using.

    To learn more about the Instant Pot and how to use it almost daily, make delicious dishes and love it, check out my Instant Pot Guide for Beginners.

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