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Burn on Instant Pot Message

This is what burn on Instant Pot machines means when it appears on your screen. What do I do if Instant Pot says burn? We will show you how to avoid it the next time you cook so everything goes smoothly!

burn on instant pot

Whether you’re new to cooking in your Instant Pot or you’ve been using it a long time like I have, there’s nothing worse than seeing the dreaded BURN on Instant Pot! Well let me share what I’ve learned over the almost 2 years and 101+ Instant Pot recipes too. (originally published 6/18, affiliate links present)

Instant Pot Burn

First, Watch this Video where I show you exactly how I prevent the Instant Pot burn message. This can happen with a Ninja Foodi too when using the pressure cooker function. The main reason is that you have stuck on food left on the bottom of your inner pot, that’s a no no.

Once you get the hang of this you won’t even think about it, it will just become second nature after that. It only takes a minute or two after sauteeing especially meat.

Let’s start with a few basic tips:

For reference, this is the pressure cooker I have and use for all recipe creations.

star wars instant pot

What does it mean when Instant Pot says burn

When it first happens you will or probably already have freaked out and not know what to do or how it even happened.

Especially if you open it up and nothing is in fact burning….what does it even mean?? I can say it hasn’t happened to me very often, but it has happened on occasion.

The first thing you need to wrap your head around when you are learning how to use your Instant Pot is that you need liquid inside your pot or the burn warning will turn on for sure.

For more resources check out my Easy Instant Pot Recipes Facebook page too!

instant pot burn

Instant Pot Burn Message

A pressure cooker works with well….pressure, and liquid is necessary for the pot to reach the pressure it needs to cook your meal.

So….that is tip #1, if there isn’t enough liquid the Instant Pot burn message will surely appear on your Instant Pot screen for sure.

  • Tip #2, many times this is a false alarm and nothing is in fact burning so don’t worry….we can fix it!
  • Tip #3 you need to deglaze your Instant Pot after cooking meat, here’s how to do that.

Can I ignore burn message on Instant Pot?

No, it will turn off and stop cooking when this alert pop up on the screen. You have to do something or it will stop and just sit there. You can save the meal still but of course it is better to avoid it to begin with. A bit of extra liquid and scraping the bottom of the pot usually does the trick but it will have to reach pressure all over again after.

how to deglaze pot

Let me start with the pot and utensils I use on a regular basis:

  • This is my 6 qt. Instant Pot – I have the first and most basic one and it works great (you don’t need the fancy expensive one to do the trick y’all)
  • I use wooden utensils so I don’t scratch the inside – and they last forever

The only inserts I use and would recommend really are these:

Burn on Instant Pot

  1. You don’t have enough liquid in your pot – as stated above
    1. Solution – open the lid then:
      1. ensure there isn’t burnt food inside
      2. another 1/2 cup of liquid 
      3. make sure sealing ring is in place
      4. close lid and steam valve again
      5. press off/cancel
      6. set your pressure high/low again
      7. set your time again

hopefully this will solve your problem and cooking will resume successfully

burn message on instant pot

What Does Burn Mean on my Instant Pot

  1. Something is in fact burning
    1. Solution – open your pot and remove your food, salvage what you can
    2. Next time:
      1. make sure to deglaze your pot (<—-instructions in this post) after searing/cooking meat
      2. leave meat on the bottom and do not stir contents when setting pressure, see how I explain it with my Instant Pot spaghetti

You haven’t deglazed your Instant Pot – after cooking, and especially after searing meat on the saute function you need to do this

  1. Solution – remove meat, turn pot off/cancel & scrape the bottom to remove food stuck to bottom of the pot
      1. allow pot to cool
      2. return meat (and other ingredients) to pot
      3. put lid on and close pressure valve again
      4. set to pressure high/low again
      5. resume cooking and that should solve the problem
  2. You’ve used thick sauces – this isn’t recommended when pressure cooking, thick tomato sauce or honey bbq sauce are often culprits

There’s something stuck on your heating element – lift pot up and check underneath for this

burn on instant pot 2

I will say that in the years I have been using my Instant Pot I have only maybe had the burn notice come on a handful of times, and I use it almost every day. Once I understood that liquid was key it helped a lot.

Also, most of the time burn came on there was nothing in fact burning so don’t freak out.

If you read and understand the reasons why your Instant Pot says burn you will have a lot better chance avoiding burn on Instant Pot machines in the future and enjoying your pressure cooker on a daily basis like we do.

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Monday 19th of February 2024

After a few burn notices - I use a separate pan for sautéing then transfer to IP. Have never rec'd burn notice once I started doing this. I clean the sauté pan while IP is heating up and it's never a problem.

Cindy Cote

Friday 3rd of September 2021

That’s why I only use the low pressure. Seems to work better for me. No worries. I have had burn come up on the high pressure. I just allow more time to cook and use the low pressure. Less stress. And yes a lot of liquid in the t on high and it was a total nightmare in that category. Never again I just use low pressure. Solves it all


Saturday 20th of February 2021

That burn feature is a pain. Made stew used more water than recommended and got the Burn Message. Took everything out of the pot Then I cleaned the pot And I added a little more water and try it again. Same thing happened all over again. I’ve used it with a lot of other recipes and it seem to work fine. I am not giving up on it but it is quite frustrating. In general it has been very good for many recipes but making stew is not a good one.

Jean-Marie Hendricks

Saturday 2nd of January 2021

Oh, and I finished my Chili on the slow cooker setting and it was amazing!

Jean-Marie Hendricks

Saturday 2nd of January 2021

I just got my 6 quart Instant Pot Max this week. My first use was to make chili, and I repeatedly got the burn message, yet nothing was burned. I realized I had forgotten to scrap the bottom after sautéing my onions and ground beef in it. In addition, I forgot to layer my ingredients, I instead stirred them together. And finally, I make a thicker chili by adding a can of refried beans, and I'm figuring that is another reason I got the burn message. So clearly, I made some newby boo-boo's. And clearly, that's not the instant pot's's user error. Lesson learned, and next time, I'll be sure to remove my meat and onions, add my broth, scrap the bottom good, layer my ingredients and add the refried beans after the rest is done pressure cooking. But I'm sure as heck not throwing out my Instant Pot because I made a mistake. I dont give up that easily. ; )

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