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Burn on Instant Pot Message

This is what burn on Instant Pot machines means when it appears on your screen and 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)

First, Watch this Video where I show you exactly how I do this.

What does it mean when Instant Pot says burn

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

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!

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.

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
  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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