Why Instant Pot Says Burn [Message Explained]

Is your instant pot displaying burnt? This doesn’t mean your whole meal is gone—no need to start ordering out. The burn sign is a safety mechanism that helps food from completely burning.

The instant pot detects when there is a lot of heat on the lower part of the pot. When it detects a lot of heat, it switches off to prevent burning the food.

In most cases, it’s only a few parts of the food that will be stuck on the pot’s base. The food will be okay to eat. In rare cases, the food completely burns to a point you can’t eat the food.

The instant pot “burn” message could mean several messages, which you will learn in this article. In this article, you will get to know why the burn is happening and how you can prevent it. Go through the article and get to learn all you need to know.

What the burn message means

The burn message is displayed in different ways depending on the model you are using. Some of the messages include “burn,” “OvHt,” and ” “food burn.” All these messages are safety measures by the instant pot to protect the food from overheating. The burn sign means the inner pot is exposed to too much heating. By this time, the instant pot has stopped the heating process to ensure the food doesn’t overheat.

The sign is a message to show the cooking process is over. At this point, you should check to see if the food is ready or it’s the liquid that has dried up, leaving the food to get stuck at the bottom of the pot.

If you leave the instant pot for a while without interfering with it, it will cool for a while and then lit itself again to continue with the cooking process. There are many causes of the “burn” signs. The causes are outlined below.

What causes the burn message

There are a few reasons your instant pot may giving you the burn message. Below are the reasons; all you have to do is rule out the reasons one by one to see what is causing your pot to give you the message.

One possibility is you forgot to lock the steam release valve when pressure cooking. This will lead to the pot leaking all the steam, and in that case, the liquid in the food will dry fast, and thus the burn message will appear to show you the food is sticking on the pot.

When cooking with the regular pot, there are dishes we don’t need to add liquids to get cooked. But when it comes to cooking with an instant pot, you need to add a liquid cup to the food. That could also be the reason.

When there is not enough liquid, the food liquid will get too thick and start sticking in the instant pot and hence the burn message. Also, for the food and the pot to get enough pressure required in the cooking process, the liquid is needed to help steam production.

When preparing dinner for your family, chances are you are using more than one recipe. If there is any point where you used the saute function, and the next step requires pressure cooking, there are things you need to do first.

Start by scraping the bits left after sauteeing. This helps to prevent the “burn” sign immediately you start pressure cooking. After scraping, pour little cooking oil, which will help prevent food from sticking to the pot.

Starchy food can be the cause of the “burn” sign. When using a recipe with starch ingredients, you need to put the starch ingredient as last and don’t stir the pot after that. Starch tends to get stuck at the bottom of the pot faster. Starch ingredients include pasta, potatoes, at times tomatoes, and cooked beans.

Foods that scald can cause the “burn” sign when added at the wrong time. Such foods include cream, milk, or any thickener such as cornstarch. Such food should be added after pressure cooking.

When the liquids are added to the pot in the pressure cooking process, they become too thick and stick to the pot. Instead, you can wait until the food is ready and use pot to pot to add the sauce and those that scald.

Ensure the silicone sealing ring is there and is fitted in the right way. Also, the ring should be clean. In case it contains food particles, it will cause leaking of steam, and hence the liquid in the pot will dry faster, causing the “burn” sign to appear.

If the ring is broken or stretched, it is not moving all around the pot. It should be replaced as it will affect your cooking process.

When the rim and other parts of the instant pot are not clean, they can cause the “burn” sign as well. When there are food particles, closing the lid completely will be an issue, and when the lid is not fully closed, the steam will leak and cause the food in the pot to dry causing the burning sign.

Ensure at all times, when using the pressure cooking function, the lid is completely closed. When you are closing the lid, it should produce a click sound, which confirms the lid is closed. If you notice the lid is not completely closing, check the lock pin as it could be the issue.

The float valve should be clean and properly fit as it could cause a “burn” message. This may happen when the float valve is not there or has debris, causing leakage of the steam. When steam leaks, food dries, causing the burning sign

What to do when you get the burn Noticeinstant pot burn

In most cases, this message will come up when your food is ready. But in case it is not ready, there is a way to fix the problem and go on with the cooking process.

Start by canceling the program and open the pressure cooking valve to release the steam from the instant pot. After all the steam is out, and it is safe to open the pot, open the lid carefully, and take out the inner pot.

Put the inner pot on a surface that is heat resistant. Confirm the sealing ring is there and if it is placed in the right way. Also, check on the float valve, make sure the two don’t have food particles in them as it could affect them.

Confirm if the meal is okay; if the food is scorched at the bottom, put it in another place and clean the inner pot. If you have an extra inner pot, put the food in the extra inner pot. Add water at least a cup and a half and insert the inner pot in the cooking base.

Close the lid and seal the steam release valve. The food is hot, and it won’t take long to build up the pressure responsible in the cooking process. The food will be ready in a few minutes. In case the burn message comes again before the food is ready, repeat the process.

How to ensure you don’t get the burn Notice

Always ensure you put the right amount of liquid in the food. The least amount you should put in food is at least one cup. Add liquid to all recipes. The liquid you add to the food is the one that helps in building up pressure that helps in the cooking process.

If you need to add a thick sauce to the food, do it later in the pot to pot method as the thick sauce will also cause the burn message.

Ensure there is no leakage of steam. When the steam leaks, the pot’s liquid reduces, causing the burn, and there is a reduction in pressure, and hence the food won’t cook fast. Make sure you fit the lid right. Ensure the sealing ring is fitted properly. Also, the float valve should be clean and well fitted.

Check all the leakage causes and ensure your pot is not experiencing any leakage and if there is, sort it and add liquid to the food to replace the leaked liquid.

The pot should be deglazed at all times. This will help to prevent the food from getting stuck at the bottom of the pot. Use thin liquid like wine or water. This should be done especially after sauteeing.

Use a trivet to raise the food, and it will help the food from getting burnt, especially when pressure cooking meat. Most models come with a trivet, and hence it shouldn’t be hard.

Avoid untested recipes with the instant pot, as they can mess you greatly. Unless the recipe is safe and you are sure it will work perfectly.


The burn message can be frustrating, especially for first-timers. You will probably think of how you need to start all over again but in most cases, it can be fixed.

The problem may come when you don’t act immediately, and the pot cools and heats up again as the food may get burnt at that point. But to ensure you don’t get the burn message use the above guide. And in case the burn message happens, it’s not too late to use the above information to rectify it.

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