Six Instant Pot Burn Mistakes To Avoid

Info & Tips

Instant Pot Burns are very common among new Instant Pot users. We’re here to help save your future meal prep with some guidelines to prevent future burns. Also, we have some tips on what to do when you do face an IP burn.

A. What Does The Instant Pot Burn Message Mean?

Don’t worry! It doesn’t mean your Instant Pot is on fire. It’s when you see the “Burn” Message or “Ovht” Error on the screen display.
The Burn Code on the Instant Pot simply means there’s an Instant Pot Overheat Error.
Instant Pot has a built-in “burn-protection” mechanism that prevents users from burning food inside the Instant Pot.
When it detects a high temperature (140°C or 284°F) at the bottom of the inner pot, the “burn-protection” mechanism suspends the heating process. It usually means the bottom layer of the food is overcooked and dried up.

B. Why Does My Instant Pot Says Burn?

Now that you know what “Burn” means, you’re probably wondering, “What am I doing wrong?” The biggest challenge with pressure cooking is that the food sits at the bottom of the pot, and you can’t stir it as it builds up the pressure. We’re here to help you prevent the pot’s overheating.

6 Common Mistakes Causing Instant Pot Burn Error

1: “There Isn’t Enough Liquid in the Instant Pot”

When there isn’t enough light cooking liquid in the Instant Pot, it may not generate enough steam to come up to pressure. The bottom of the pot will overheat and will trigger the “Burn” code.
*Pro Tip: This issue usually happens when you’re cooking a very starchy content like beans and rice.


Use Minimum 1 Cup of Total Liquid
Unless the tested recipe stated otherwise, we recommend new users to use only one cup of liquid until they get comfortable cooking with the pressure cooker.

2: “The Liquid in Instant Pot is Too Thick”

If your cooking liquid is too thick and can’t come up to a boil, the heat will build up at the bottom of the pot before the top starts to boil. Your pot may not be able to lift the pressure to the top of the pot. That’ll trigger the burn message.


1. Have Enough Thin Cooking Liquid
Make sure you have a thin liquid at the bottom of the inner pot.

2. Do Not Mix Thick Sauces
Do NOT mix in the thick, saucy ingredients such as tomato paste or tomato sauce with the other ingredients. Layer the thick sauce on top of the other components.

3. Add Thickener After Pressure Cooking Cycle
Always add thickeners like cornstarch, flour, arrowroot, or potato starch after the pressure cooking cycle ends. Keep in mind there will be some exceptions when you use only a tiny amount.

3: “I Forgot to Turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position!”

Forgetting to seal the pot is a common beginner’s mistake.
When the Instant Pot hasn’t sealed appropriately, a lot of liquid will escape the pot as steam. This way, there won’t be enough liquid in the pot – to could result in the same situation as Mistake #1 above.


Make it a habit to turn the Venting Knob to Sealing Position every time you start the pressure cooking process. Don’t walk away until you’ve made sure the Floating Valve has popped up.

4: “Steam is Leaking From Silicone Sealing Ring”

Here are 4 Common Causes for Leaking Steam From Sealing Ring:

  • Forgetting to place the sealing ring back into the lid
  • The sealing ring is damaged or cracked
  • Food debris attached to the sealing ring
  • You didn’t close the lid properly

*Pro Tip: the 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 placed correctly.


Make it a habit to ensure to install the sealing ring correctly, check for damages or debris every time before you close the lid for pressure cooking.

5: “Objects Stuck Under Inner Pot Above Heating Element”

Things can become chaotic in the kitchen. Sometimes unwanted food, liquid, or things can end up on the heating element without you knowing.


Always make sure the heating element is completely clean. Also, wipe dry the inner pot’s surface before placing it inside the Instant Pot Housing.

C. What to do when I have the Instant Pot Burn Error?

First, don’t panic!

The Instant Pot is safe. It just stopped heating up.

  1. Release the pressure in the pot, and NEVER force open the lid.
  2. Open the lid and the bottom of the pot – when the pin has dropped, open the lid. Then, carefully and check if there’s anything that’s stuck to the bottom part of the inner pot. If you’re cooking a very thick sauce, wait several minutes before opening the lid.
  3. Remove the burnt pieces of food: if there’s a bit of food stuck to the bottom of the pot use a wooden spoon to scrub all of it off. If you find black bits of food to the bottom of the pot, remove them and then soak the inner pot with soapy water. Then, scrub the pot.
  4. If there’s nothing stuck to the pot’s bottom, check to see there’s nothing stuck between the inner pot and the Instant Pot housing. 
  5. Check that all the pot’s parts are in place. Also, check if they’re all in good shape, or if anything is obstructed.