If you are experiencing Instant Pot Problems such as your Instant Pot not sealing properly (and therefore not pressurizing), these 20 simple yet effective solutions will help you get to the bottom of the issue and get back to cooking in no time.
Why am I having problems like my Instant Pot not sealing properly?
Sometimes Instant Pot’s can be finicky and issues can arise but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. There are several sections to this post including a host of reasons why your Instant Pot is not sealing correctly, solutions to fix the problem and various other helpful resources. Feel free to skip around and bookmark this page so you can get back here anytime you have an Instant Pot problem.
Before getting started, we wanted to include some resources for those of you who are not 100% familiar with your new Instant Pot.
How to use your Instant Pot
To avoid Instant Pot problems and learn how to use your Instant Pot, you can read the manual which you will find here:
We also recommend watching the video below:
Now that you’ve made yourself familiar with proper usage, if you are still experiencing problems such as your Instant Pot not sealing, please review the possible reasons and solutions below.
Common Instant Pot Problems and Solutions
If your Instant Pot is not sealing properly:
Based on many hours of research, we’ve gone through the process of tracking down all of the possible reasons for this issue and compiled them into a single place to make things easier for Instant Pot users everywhere. When you’re Instant Pot is being stubborn and not sealing properly, go through these items until you’ve found the solution.
The power cord is loose.
Believe it or not, this happens quite often and can be incredibly frustrating when you’ve gone through everything else and the entire time, the cord was just not firmly pushed in. For this reason, we’ve put this as #1 because frankly, it’s the easiest thing to check first. (Don’t feel silly if this is your quick fix, it’s easy to knock it loose by moving the Instant Pot)
The Fix: Push the cord in firmly and make sure it is not loose.
The lid is not locked correctly.
Sometimes, when putting the lid onto your Instant Pot, it is possible to turn it without it locking correctly. This itself can happen for a number of reasons.
The Fix: A solution that has worked for some people is to push down firmly on the lid while turning it until you hear a melody indicating that it’s closed.
The lid is jammed.
In some instances, it’s possible to jam the lid causing the Instant Pot not to seal correctly. This can happen by having debris in the track or something else stuck between the lid and the pot.
The Fixes: Give the lid a shake or rattle it back and forth. Also try pushing down on the lid. Once you’ve got it loose, make sure to clean the track on the pot and the lid thoroughly before trying again.
There is oil or debris along the rim of the Instant Pot.
It is possible for oil or debris to build up or get on the rim of the Instant Pot, causing the lid not to seal correctly and therefore, not pressurize properly.
The Fix: Clean the rim of the Instant Pot and ensure no oil or debris is present.
The seal within the lid is still stretched from previous use.
If you’ve just used the Instant Pot and are now prepping to use it once more, it may not have had time to cool down properly which means the seal within the lid (pictured below) is still expanded from the heat.
The Fixes: Wait for the Instant Pot to cool before attempting to use it again, allowing the seal to cool and shrink back to it’s normal size. If you need to use it right away, you can do one of two things to help the process along; remove the seal and either run it under cold water to cool it or place it in the freezer for a few minutes.
The sealing ring is loose or not seated correctly within the lid.
Sometimes when cleaning the Instant Pot or removing the lid, the sealing ring can come loose or become incorrectly seated.
The Fix: Check to ensure the sealing ring is properly installed. Use the pictures below as reference:
There is not enough liquid within the Instant Pot.
In order to work correctly, the Instant Pot requires liquid in the bottom in order to properly pressurize.
The Fix: The Instant Pot requires a minimum of 1 cup of water in order to work properly. We’ve included the manual above, which indicates the requirements.
Your sealing ring is damaged or needs replacement.
Just as with everything, with plenty of use things can become worn out and damaged. It is possible that the sealing ring found within the lid of your Instant Pot has reached end of life. The sealing ring should look as follows (note: you can click on the picture to order a new one if desired):
The Fix: If your sealing ring looks ripped or torn you will need to replace it. You can order replacements online.
The Pressure Release Valve is Not Closed.
It is possible that the pressure valve on the lid of the Instant Pot is in the incorrect position.
The Fix: If you are not getting pressure in your Instant Pot, check to make sure the pressure release valve is in the Sealing position (pointed towards the back of the Instant Pot, towards the word “sealing” on the lid) as opposed to in the Venting position (pointed towards the front of the Instant Pot, towards the word “venting” on the lid).
The liquid in the Instant Pot is too dense.
As mentioned earlier, the Instant Pot requires a minimum of 1 cup of water (or at the very least, similar density liquid) in order to work properly. If you have a thick sauce or something similar, it may not be able to pressurize correctly.
The Fix: Thin out any thick liquids to ensure the Instant Pot can properly pressurize and cook the food without scorching it.
The Lid is dirty causing obstruction to the valves.
If the lid (or the valves within the lid) are dirty, this can cause the Instant Pot to work incorrectly.
The Fix: Thoroughly clean the lid and all components to ensure no debris is present.
The Float Valve is in the popped up position.
If the float valve is in the popped up position as opposed to being down, the Instant Pot lid will not close correctly and won’t pressurize.
The Fix: Gently push the float valve down so that it looks as follows. It is the circular steel rod shown below:
The sealing ring is missing.
In some cases, the sealing ring can fall out of the lid when washing or removing it.
The Fix: Make sure the seal is in the lid.
Frozen Food is preventing it from pressurizing quickly.
If the food you’ve placed into the Instant Pot is frozen (straight from the freezer), it can sometimes take longer for the Instant Pot to pressurize and work properly.
The Fix: Keep an eye on things and wait a bit longer than normal to see if the Instant Pot begins to pressurize.
Burnt food is on the bottom of the Instant Pot.
One of the most annoying Instant Pot problems is burnt or scorched food on the bottom of the Instant Pot. This will cause it not to pressurize properly. The reason for this is due to the liquid being unable to touch the bottom of the pot, meaning the pot will not be able to convert it to steam (and therefore pressurize).
The Fix: There are numerous ways to get scorched food off of the bottom. You can soak it until it loosens, scrape the bottom of the pot or use this quick and easy method:
Put 2 cups of water into the Instant Pot, add 2 tbsp of baking soda and put it back in the Instant Pot. Hit the sauté button and let it come to a boil. This should loosen everything and allow you to clean it more easily.
The sealing ring is dirty.
If the sealing ring is dirty, it will be unable to properly form a seal.
The Fix: Clean the sealing ring thoroughly.
The Timer button was accidentally pushed.
If the timer button is pushed, it will not begin pressurizing.
The Fix: Hit cancel and carefully select the proper functions and watch the screen. When you see the words “On”, the Instant Pot is beginning the process and should pressurize normally shortly.
The wire ring around the lid of the Instant Pot is bent or damaged.
If the wire ring shown in the picture below is damaged or bent, this can cause the seal not to work properly.
The Fix: Contact Instant Pot support as you may need to get your Instant Pot repaired.
Other Possible Instant Pot Problems
Flashing LED’s and a code is showing on the Instant Pot screen
You can check the support section of the official Instant Pot website to see the possible meanings for each of these codes and to contact Instant Pot support if needed.
A Burn message is displayed on the Instant Pot display
This message comes on when something has burned to the bottom of the pot. You will need to remove it by either scraping it or using the tip in item #15 above.
There you have it folks!
We hope this list of Instant Pot problems and their solutions makes your life with the Instant Pot that much better. If you are looking for some great new recipes to try in your Instant Pot, try out our Instant Pot Calico Beans or Instant Pot Beef and Barley Stew recipes!
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