What Does It Mean When The Instant Pot Says Burn

Must Try

Mistake #4: Did Not Deglaze Inner Pot Bottom

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

Instant Pot is awesome for allowing users to saute directly in the inner pot.

Take note that after sauteing, there will be some brown bits stuck to the the bottom of the pot.;Dont worry! These are not burnt food debris.

However, when users dont fully scrub these flavorful brown bits off the pot before pressure cooking, itll trigger Instant Pot to think the food content inside is burnt.

Food Or Liquid In Pot Is Too Thick

This is yet another common problem that often triggers the instant pot burn message.

Starchy foods like rice, oats, and pasta can become too thick when they come to a boil. This problem actually happens while using regular pots as well.

Likewise, Some thick sauces or tomato products may trigger a burn warning in the highly sensitive pressure cooking instant pot.

If the liquid is too thick, excessive heat ends up building at the bottom of the inner pot. Therefore, the cooker may not be able to generate enough steam, thus triggering the burn notice.


Make Sure There is Enough Thin Liquid in the Pot- Avoid adding thick cooking liquid or thick sauces especially when cooking high starch foods in this pressure cooker. If necessary, always add more thin liquid to the instant pot to avoid problematic thickness.

Layer Thick Sauces at the Top of Ingredients- Thick sauces and tomato products like tomato paste or tomato sauce tend to stick to the bottom of the instant pot. This obviously causes heat to build up at the bottom and your food may end up not cooking properly especially now that there isnt enough steam being generated. The general rule of thumb when using instant pot is to always layer sauces and tomato products above the rest of the ingredients. Do not mix these with the other ingredients whatsoever.

Help Why Does My Instant Pot Say Burn

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!

You May Like: How To Cook Hoppin John In Instant Pot

Why Does My Instant Pot Smell Like Burning Plastic

Another possible reason for your Instant Pot smelling like burnt plastic is an unburnt protective layer. The smell normally goes away when the additional covering burns with the first use. The company puts in a protective layer to ensure that you know you are buying a brand-new Instant Pot.

Ever Got The Instant Pot Burn Message

Why Does My Instant Pot Say Burn from 30daysblog

Newbie or not, dread the Burn message? Yes, we understand how frustrating it is when you are cooking a meal and your get the burn message. You have a hungry family waiting or you were cooking for a party or may be just used up the last set of ingredients you had for the recipe. We know, exactly how it feels, its happened to us too. Mind you its not uncommon and it happens to every Instant Pot use at some point or the other.

Guess what, you dont need to panic!!!

You May Like: How To Steam Corn In Instant Pot

Not Enough Liquid In The Pot

This is perhaps the biggest cause of a burn message on instant pot.

A pressure cooker needs an adequate amount of liquid in order to generate enough steam and come to pressure.

When the amount of liquid in the pot is not enough, the pressure cooker is therefore unable to generate steam and thus causes the bottom temperature at the bottom of the instant pot to rise instantly.

When the bottom of the instant pot becomes too hot, the burn warning on the pot is instantly triggered.

Typically, Instant Pot requires a 1 cup of liquid. This is usually enough to generate enough steam for cooking various recipes. However, there are certain recipes or ingredients that may require more liquid- otherwise, a burn message is triggered.

For example, food recipes containing high amounts of starch can trigger the instant pot burn message. These may include rice and pasta. These foods typically absorb liquids fast and are generally sticky so youre bound to get the warning if your recipe contains these two ingredients.


I recommend using proven instant pot recipes to ensure that 1 cup is

Another problem is that most recipes are created using the most popular instant pot size- the 6-quart port. So if youre still going to add the same amount of liquid in a 6 quart port as you would an 8-quart port, you might end up getting the burn message.

You Overfill The Instant Pot

If you add to much liquid, you may get the burn message.

If you add too much food, you may get the burn message.

I really like the Jasmine rice recipe, since its easy and works every time. But after a while I wanted to diversify, so I added bell pepper. And it was great!

So next time I added bell pepper and broccoli. AndI got the burn message. It turned out it was too much for the Instant Pot to handle this amount of food at once.

Make sure you dont overfill the pressure cooker and that the liquid and the ingredients do not;exceed the;MAX PC 2/3;line on the Pot.;

Make sure you add more water if you are adding more food.

Recommended Reading: How To Cook Tuna Steak In Instant Pot

What Should I Do When I Get An Instant Pot Burn Notice

You may notice at some point that your Instant Pot is trying to warn you that your food is about to burn. This is a good thing! It doesnt mean your food is burnt. The burn notice is your friend and is there to prevent your meal from tasting like charcoal!

Once your pressure cooker reaches the Burn notice temperature, the Burn sign will display and your Instant pot burn message will let you know that something needs to be done. This is a good thing!

Instant Pot Burn Notice Step One:

You need to turn your Instant Pot off right away and release the steam. Any further cooking and your food will burn inside the Instant Pot.

Pay attention to how many minutes your food has been cooking so you know how long to reprogram your recipe once you restart the cooking process.

You should pay close attention to your Instant Pot display as it cooks. Error messages and the Burn Notice can help you.

Its easy to set it and forget it but you do need to check in every few minutes just incase you get that dreaded Instant Pot burn notification.

Instant Pot Burn Notice Step Two:

Once the steam has dissipated, you will need to investigate your meal. This may mean checking to see if any food has stuck to the bottom of your pot and giving the food in your recipe a good stir.

Also check you have enough water or liquid in the pot for your Instant Pot recipe to continue cooking without a further burn notice.

Instant Pot Burn Notice Step Three:

Causes Why Food Burn Happens

What to Do When You Get the BURN NOTICE! Instant Pot Tips
  • 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.
  • You May Like: How To Set Instant Pot On High Pressure

    You Didnt Add Enough Water

    As Ive specified time and time again, the Instant Pot doesnt work without liquid in the inner pot. It needs at least 1 cup of liquid to build pressure based on steam.

    Keep in mind that size does matter! In this case, an 8qt pot will need more starter liquid than a 6qt.

    Another factor that influences the way the IP reacts is the thickness of the liquid. While the specifications mention that the liquid doesnt need to be plain water, its important to know that it needs to be thin so it can get to a boil in the estimated time.

    Even more, the thin liquid needs to be at the bottom of the inner pot, so the food doesnt burn. If you mix thick sauces such as tomato paste or tomato sauce , they will settle at the bottom of the pot and may trigger the error. As such, if you work with thick sauces, its best to add them after the pressure cooking step.

    You should also avoid cooking milk or heavy cream directly in the inner pot. These liquids create a film on the wall of the container and that film scorches easily. You can still make recipes that involve creamy sauces by employing the pot-in-pot method.

    Whats the;minimum amount of water for Instant Pot?

    For 3-quart Instant Pot 1 cup of water or other liquid.

    For 6-quart Instant Pot 1 cup of water or other liquid.

    For 8-quart Instant Pot 2 cups of water or other liquid.

    Not Enough Liquid To Start With

    A common reason for the burn error message is that there was not enough liquid in there to begin with. You should always consult the manual for the minimum amount of liquid before you start.

    If you are new to pressure cooking, perhaps you should err on the safe side by starting your journey making dishes that have plenty of liquid in them. This can build up your confidence and help you gage the amount of liquid lost in the cooking process.

    Also Check: Which Instant Pot To Get

    Avoid The Burn Message

    There are things you can do to avoid the burn message.;

    • If you use the saute function, scrape food at the bottom before moving to the next step.;
    • Always check to see if there are food bits at the bottom this is a major issue for causing the burn message.;
    • When making recipes with thick sauce, add them after food is cooked using the saute function.;;
    • If you want to make something that contains tomatoes, dont add them until the end and put them in the middle of the pot.;;

    What Is The Burn Message

    Why Does My Instant Pot Say Burn?

    If youve received a burn message on your Instant Pot, dont panic! The machine has a total of 13 safety mechanisms to keep you and your food safe. The Instant Pot burn message is there to warn you when the bottom of your pot is getting too hot. Keep in mind that the warning is just that, a cautionary message to let you know that things are heating up, not a declaration that your meal is ruined. Theres still time to fix it!

    Don’t Miss: What Is L000 On Instant Pot

    How To Correct The Instant Pot Burn Message

    • Check out my comprehensive guide to using the Pot-in-Pot pressure cooking method.
    • This is a great alternative if you want to avoid any further hassles with the Instant Pot food burn error.
    • Just transfer all ingredients to a separate oven-proof dish that will fit in your inner pot and use PIP to finish pressure cooking.

    Solution: Get To Know Your Instant Pot And When In Doubt Add Extra Water/thin Liquid If You Feel Your Pot Is Going To Need It

    After being an Instant Pot owner for a few years now, this particular issue can be tricky, because what works in my pot might not work perfectly for yours. ;I want to be able to tell everyone EXACTLY how much liquid to use, but for a small percentage of you, it might need to be trial and error. So when in doubt, add the extra liquid the first time around and see how it goes.

    Also, looking for tried and true recipes that have good reviews or are shared in Instant Pot groups is always a good idea!

    Read Also: How To Cook Chicken Breast In An Instant Pot

    Nothing Works And You Keep Getting The Burn Warning No Matter What You Do

    If you are not cooking with problematic ingredients, you have enough liquid, and youre not making any of the mistakes detailed above and your Instant Pot keeps saying burn, the first thing I suggest is you read the article on why your Instant Pot is not sealing.

    If youre not making any of the mistakes detailed in that article, the next thing to do is a water test.

    More Instant Pot Tips

    Instant Pot Burn Message

    Did you know we have entire Youtube channel dedicated to healthy Instant Pot recipes and tips? My goal is to help you become confident with your Instant Pot by demonstrating each delicious foolproof recipe in step-by-step videos.

    Make sure to subscribe and hit the Bell icon not to miss new videos.

    The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. You assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.

    This page may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy. ifoodreal.com is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps keep iFOODreal recipes free. Thanks for your support!

    Don’t Miss: How To Instant Pot Chicken Breast

    How To Prevent A Burn Notice In The Future

    • Scrape before you seal: Scrape up all the browned bits left in the pot after sautéing food and before closing the lid.;
    • Double-check your parts before you close up the pot for cooking. An improperly sealed lid can cause the Instant Pot to just cook and cook your contents as it attempts to reach pressure. This will lead to scorching and then a burn notice.;
    • Make sure that youre using enough liquid.;Our recipes take the amount of liquid necessary for the machine to function into account, but someone else’s recipe might not.;

    Adding The Thickening Agents Before The Pressure Cooking Cycle

    Thickening agents like cornstarch, potato starch, arrowroot, and others are meant to make your soups or stews a little bit thicker and delicious of course. However, since they significantly reduce the amount of thin liquid in the instant pot, there is a likelihood that youll get a burn message after adding the thickener before the pressure cooking cycle.


    Unless youre using a really small amount of thickener, I recommend adding it after the set cooking time to prevent your food from possibly getting burnt.

    Read Also: How To Cook Frozen Tamales In Instant Pot

    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.

    Latest Recipes

    More Recipes Like This