Getting an Instant Pot Burn Message? Here’s What to Do.

Worried about that Instant Pot burn message? These tips will help keep your pressure cooker from overheating.

What is the burn message?

If you’ve received a “burn” message on your Instant Pot, don’t panic! The machine has a total of 13 safety mechanisms to keep you and your food safe. (Here’s what all of those buttons on your Instant Pot actually mean.)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. There’s still time to fix it!

What causes the burn message?

When you see a burn message, it means that the internal pot is reaching a super high temperature. Instant Pots are designed with the mantra “set it and forget it” in mind. (Here are some secrets you won’t find in the manual.) The overheat protection setting is there to put you at ease and help prevent burning. So if you see one, you should still be in good shape. Although there are a ton of reasons this could happen, the most common is a simple one. The Instant Pot runs on steam, and steam comes from two things: heat and water. If there isn’t enough liquid in your inner pot, the machine won’t pressurize properly and will start to burn.

How to save a dish that gets a burn message

Once the overheat protection setting is triggered, the machine will shut off, cool itself down and start up again. The good news is no matter what you’re making, you can fix it. Your best bet is to cancel the program, quickly release the steam, then remove the inner pot. Take a look at your food and remove anything that looks scorched or burnt. Check to make sure there isn’t anything on the heating element and that the machine is working properly, then add some extra liquid and get cooking again. Here are other Instant Pot mistakes you can avoid, too.

How to prevent a burn message in the future

There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you never have this issue again. First, make sure there is enough liquid in the pot. Instant Pots rely on water-based liquid to pressurize properly and if the food is too dry it will begin to overheat. Next, make sure the steam release is sealed. The machine will not be able to reach proper pressure if the release isn’t sealed. Another helpful step is to layer the ingredients within the pot. Make sure liquids are on the bottom, then layer in the rest—without mixing. This will help to prevent scorching. Finally, make sure that the sealing ring and float valve are working properly.

The more familiar you get with your Instant Pot, the more confident you’ll become cooking with it.

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Laura Denby
Laura is a New York-based freelance food writer with a degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education and a degree in Journalism from Penn State. Her work has appeared in Taste of Home, Chowhound, the Culture Trip and Patch.