What Does It Mean When Your Instant Pot Says Burn

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What Is Quick Release

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

Quick pressure release is a way to let all the pressure in the Instant Pot escape as fast as possible. To release pressure quickly, move the valve from sealing to venting and allow the pot to release steam and pressure. Ensure that the pot is not directly under cabinets that may get damaged by steam, and be sure to keep hands and face away from the steam.

How long does the Instant Pot take to Naturally Release?

The time it will take to release all the pressure depends on the ingredients and the amount of liquid in the pressure cooker. For a very full pot it can take up to 30 minutes to release all the pressure. For a less full pot with little liquid it can be as quick as 5 minutes. For roasts youll definitely want to use a natural pressure release. Give yourself enough time to let the pot release the pressure naturally or else youll end up with a door stop of a roast instead of meat that is fork tender.

Related: 7 Common Instant Pot Mistakes

How long does the Instant Pot take to Quick Release?

Most of the time quick release is, well, fairly quick. But again it depends on how full the pot is and how much liquid is inside. If there is a lot of liquid it can take up to 5 minutes of steam escaping before its all released. Most of the time when I perform a quick release I try to see how many drawers I can organize or how many cupboards I can wipe down before the pressure is all released. This way it doesnt drive me crazy that its taking so long.


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.

Instant Pot Saute Setting

The Sauté is another non-pressure cooking program that can be used in place of a frying pan or flat-top grill. For recipes that call for browned onions or garlic, its important to sauté them before adding liquid to the pot as you will release a lot of flavor this way. Another reason to sauté first is for browning meat. Lastly, sautéeing before cooking is a great way to increase heat and reduce the amount of time your pot will take to come to pressure.

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What Does The Instant Pot Burn Message Actually Mean

Well, if youve just encountered the burn code on your pot, it doesnt necessarily mean that your food is burnt and that now youll have to prepare dinner all over again.

The message means that there is an overheat error and is triggered when the pot detects higher temperature than normal at the bottom of the inner pot.

The instant pot burn message is actually a safety feature which is very important as it helps avoid the pressure cooker from burning your food when the inner pot becomes too hot.

So how does this error occur? Simply explained, Instant Pot has this built-in advanced burn-protection safety mechanism that prevents your delicious meals from getting burnt.

This safety mechanism is designed to detect high temperatures at the bottom of the inner pot . The mechanism instantly triggers the warning and immediately stops the instant pot from heating anymore.

Like I stated earlier, if the instant pot says burn, dont freak out. Your food is perfectly safe! Usually, the food at the bottom layer of the inner pot may be getting a little bit dry or overcooked. Obviously, when this happens, the temperature may end up rising, thus triggering the warning.

If you have an older Instant Pot model, you might see an Ovht warning message on the display screen. For newer models, youll see a Burn message on the screen.

Now lets move on to the next burning question:

How To Recover From A Burn Notice

Instant Pot Burn Message

If the problem was one of your machine’s components, then fix the issue, reseal the pot, and set it to cook for the time you had left. You can set a separate timer when you start your Instant Pot to keep track of this, or do what I do if I dont have a clue how much time is left: guess. I subtract a minute or two to account for the pot heating the contents as it comes back up to pressure. Then, hope for the best. Luckily the environment inside an Instant Pot is so moist that food will not dry out as readily.

If it was a food issue, stir everything to recombine, scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, and add a small amount of water a half cup worked for me, though you might need a little more, depending on how dry it is inside the pot. Seal the pot and try again.

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How To Avoid A Food Burn Instant Pot Message

  • Add enough liquid pressure cookers work by creating steam inside the pot. If there is not sufficient water , the steam wont build and the food will stick to the bottom and dry up.
  • Vent positions if the recipe calls for the vent to be in sealed position and you accidentally left it on venting, this will cause all the water to escape out again leave the food dry which will stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Sealing ring if the sealing ring is not properly installed, this will cause the steam to escape out again causing the food to stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Deglaze pot before pressure cooking some recipes call for a quick sauté before pressure cooking. It’s important to scrape off the bottom of the pot gently to remove any food particles stuck to the bottom.
  • Layering ingredients Adding liquids to the inner pot first is always a good ideas. Then add the other ingredients and do not stir or mix, this keeps things from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Pot in Pot if you are making sauces etc, using an oven safe container and place it on a steam rack to make your food.
  • Grease the bottom of inner pot Spraying oil or butter may help prevent the food from sticking.

Burnt Vermicelli Noodles in Instant Pot

Instant Pot Food Burn

The instant pot, whilst it is amazing and I love it, can create a lot of stress when you first get one. You are this instant pot beginner not knowing its ups and downs and getting really frustrated when things go wrong.

I know that because I have been there.

Long before being instant pot experts and sharing 300+ instant pot beginner recipes and having a best selling instant pot ebook, we were new too.

We had this brand new instant pot and like many others experienced the now famous instant pot burn message.

This instant pot burn message came up in the middle of making our first ever attempt at instant pot mac and cheese. We were following a recipe and obviously the recipe owner hadnt properly tested it and there was not enough liquid, dairy that shouldnt have been used, the bottom of the instant pot burnt and that burn notice buzzed at us before the instant pot shut off.

That was back in 2016 and there was not much information about the instant pot burn error, why it happens or what to do to prevent it, so we had a steep learning curve and now we have not had the instant pot food burn message for at least 2 years and can count on our hand all the times it has happened.

Today on the podcast, I want to run through the instant pot keeps saying burn warning, so that it doesnt happen to you.

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Mistake #: Steam Is Leaking From Silicone Sealing Ring

When steam is leaking like below photo, it means the Instant Pot isnt properly sealed.

Similar situation as Mistake #5 above more liquid than necessary escaped from the pot as steam, so there was not enough liquid in the pot.

4 Common Causes for Leaking Steam From Sealing Ring:

  • Forgot to place sealing ring back into the lid
  • Sealing ring is damaged, cracked
  • Food debris attached to the sealing ring
  • Lid was not closed properly

*Pro Tip: Same issue can happen with the Floating Valve if steam leaks for over 2 mins, check the Floating Valve & its silicone seal for food debris, damages, or if the silicone seal is seated properly.

You Overfill The Instant Pot

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

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.

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If Theres Significant Burning

If the bottom of the pot turned black or there was significant burning, your food may have absorbed that burnt flavor.

Unfortunately, theres not much to be done to save a burnt-tasting meal.

Just be sure to check that your pot is well cleaned, properly positioned, and contains enough liquid next time.

You Added Ingredients At The Wrong Time Or In The Wrong Order

Have you ever wondered why Instant Pot recipes start with liquid ingredients first? The less starchy an ingredient is, the less likely it is to stick to the pot and burn. Don’t add starchy ingredients until the recipe tells you to, and don’t stir them unless it’s instructed. Additionally, ingredients like dairy and cornstarch will thicken up your food , so it’s best not to add them until after the pressure cooking is finished.

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How To Clean Burnt Instant Pot

The best solution you have with your burnt instant pot is some hot soapy water and doing it the old school way, like you would do if you were cleaning your roasting pan after a Sunday roast.

Start first by running some soapy water and adding it to the instant pot and then use your silicone spatula to scrape off any burnt bits that come away freely without a deep soak.

Then allow it to soak for a couple of hours and then scrape again and remove anything you can.

Now inspect your instant pot. It might be okay now with just a wipe clean or it might need to soak overnight like you would with a roasting pan.

This is also why I recommend that you have a 2nd inner pot. Then if you dont burn something or want to cook instant pot recipes straight after each other it makes the process much quicker and effortless.

And that is what I recommend you do next time you get the instant pot burn message and how you can deal with it and then prevent it from happening in the future. Of course, use some common sense, follow instant pot recipes to the letter and be cautious when adding in thick liquids to the instant pot.

My Instant Pot Says Burn On The Display What Do I Do Now

How to Deglaze Your Instant Pot

First off dont panic. Most likely your dinner can be salvaged.

What are you cooking and how long does it take? If its something that cooks quickly, like oatmeal, you can ignore the message and let the Instant Pot finish cooking.

If youre cooking something that takes longer like chili or roast then youll need to fix the problem on why you got the burn message in the first place.

  • Turn off the Instant Pot and move the valve to venting. When you can, open the lid.
  • Use hot pads to remove the inner pot from the base. Check to see if anything is stuck to the heating element or on the bottom of the inner pot.
  • Inspect the sealing ring. It should be firmly in place. Look to see if the steam release and float valve are working properly. (You might also want to read > > How to deep clean your Instant Pot
  • Check your food to see if there is scorching. Stir carefully and remove anything that is overcooked. Scrape any scorched ingredients off the bottom of the pot and discard.
  • Add more cooking liquid. You dont need to add a lot, just add enough to thin things out .
  • Place the inner pot into the base and cover the pot. Secure the lid and make sure the valve is set to sealing. Then start the program again. Your food is already hot, so it wont take very long to come back up to pressure. After stirring and adding water it should be able to finish cooking without overheating again. If it does, repeat these steps.
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    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.

    Does The L Symbol Mean The Same On All Instant Pot Models

    Even though all instant pot models are not programmed to have the same features, some features remain the same in all the models.

    Having used two different models , and researched thoroughly how the other 7 different models work. Here is what we discovered:

    All instant pot models display the L symbol and they all have the same related meaning.

    However, the L symbol means different things for different users. Some of the meanings are not stated in their manual, but the shared knowledge can be useful to you.

    The three meanings stated above are the basic shared meanings of the L symbol, but the common one known to all is that the L symbol means the instant pot is on low heat. This low heat feature applies to all the instant pot models.

    On all instant pot models, whenever the L symbol comes up, it means the food is ready and switched to keep warm mode. It displays automatically near the timer. For some models, you have to set a timer for the keep-warm timeframe.

    Instant pot manufacturers use similar and same symbols across all their models, but new programming features for the newer models.

    While some symbols differ among other models, the L symbol shares the same meaning.

    This is because when any cooking cycle has finished on the instant pot, it automatically enters the low heat mode. If you cancel it, it goes off, but when its left on, it can be on that mode for up to 10 hours when not adjusted.

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    What Is The Burn Error

    The Instant Pot has over a dozen safety features to protect you and the food youre cooking. These safety mechanisms also protect the Instant Pot from being damaged. One of these safety features is a burn-protection sensor that monitors the temperature.

    The Instant Pot gets very hot under pressure and this heat needs to be regulated and controlled during the pressure cooking process.

    According to the Instant Pot company, when a high temperature is detected at the bottom of the inner pot, the burn-protection sensor suspends heating. On older Instant Pot models, the warning ovHt is displayed. This message was changed to the burn message on later models and more recent Instant Pots sayfood burn.

    Seeing burn or food burn doesnt mean that theres something wrong with your Instant Pot. It just means that your Instant Pot works differently from previous models and so recipes written for older models may not work as written, and youll need to make a few modifications and follow some tried and tested pressure cooking techniques.

    If youre seeing the food burn error, the following sections tell you why this may be happening, how to avoid it in the future, and how to fix it when it happens to you.

    NOTE: Some Instant Pot users notice that their Instant Pot is burning food at certain hot spots on the bottom of the inner pot. Although this is rare, if you encounter this, you should file a ticket with Instant Pot customer support.

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