What To Do When Instant Pot Says Burn [Reasons + Fixes]

Ever been excited to cook a delicious meal in your Instant Pot, only to see the dreaded “burn” message appear on display? You’re not alone! Instant Pot says burn quite often. So, what does it mean?

It means some sediment from the food you cooked earlier remains in the bottom of the pot. The remnant food particles are triggering the cooker to think some food is burnt in the bottom.

Now, the “burn” message can also appear for other reasons. But how to fix this issue? Keep reading to learn!

Instant Pot Burn Message: What It Means

What does it mean when Instant Pot says burn? To understand the answer behind this, you must first learn why this mechanism is there in the first place.

Have you ever wondered why your Instant Pot has a burn protection feature? Simply put, it’s a smart mechanism designed to prevent your food from burning (and your pot from getting damaged).

The Instant Pot detects when the temperature is too high and might cause your food to burn. The cooker displays the “burn” message to alert you if detected.

Isn’t having a cooking appliance that looks out for your meals excellent? We know it is. But what exactly triggers the “burn” message on your Instant Pot?

It’s usually activated when the temperature at the bottom of the pot exceeds 284°F (140°C) before reaching adequate pressure for cooking the meal.

why does my instant pot say burn

Instant Pot Food Burn No Pressure: 5 Reasons

Is your Instant Pot keeps saying burn? Check out the probable causes responsible for the “burn” message below.

1. Insufficient Liquid

Why does insufficient liquid cause the “burn” message on your Instant Pot? When there’s not enough liquid, the pot cannot generate enough steam to create pressure.

The temperature can then rise rapidly, leading to the burn message. Always follow the recipe guidelines and add the minimum amount of liquid to your Instant Pot.

2. Food Stuck to the Bottom

The food stuck to the bottom of your Instant Pot can also trigger the “burn” message. It happens because food particles on the pot’s base can cause uneven heating and higher temperatures.

This often leads to the dreaded “burn” warning. To avoid this, be sure to deglaze the pot after sautéing and also give it a good stir before pressure cooking.

3. Thick Sauces or Heavy Ingredients

You might sometimes experience the “burn” message while cooking with thick or heavy ingredients.

These substances can sometimes cause the Instant Pot to struggle to reach pressure. It results in increased temperatures and the “burn” message.

To solve this issue, try thinning your sauces and layering heavy ingredients over more liquid ingredients.

4. Overfilling the Pot

When you overfill your Instant Pot, the excess food and liquid can interfere with the pressure valve. This can make it harder for the pot to reach pressure.

As a result, the temperature increases, and the burn message appears. Always pay attention to the “max fill” line and never go beyond it.

5. A faulty Sealing Ring or Pressure Valve

If the sealing ring is damaged or not properly seated, it can prevent the pot from sealing and reaching adequate pressure. It will lead to increased temperatures.

Similarly, a blocked or malfunctioning pressure valve can cause the same issue. So, regularly inspect and clean these components to avoid any problems.

Common Mistakes Leading to the Burn Message

There are a few pretty common mistakes that can lead to a frustrating “burn” message.

what to do when instant pot says burn

So, let’s dive into each one and see how to avoid these.

1. Ignoring the Minimum Liquid Requirement

Your Instant Pot needs some liquid to create enough steam for pressure cooking. Without it, you’ll get that dreaded “burn” message.

So, follow your recipe’s instructions and always meet the minimum liquid requirement. But how can you be sure? Check your Instant Pot’s user manual for guidance.

2. Layering Ingredients Incorrectly

Are you just throwing everything into the pot without any thought? That could be the problem!

Certain ingredients, like tomatoes or heavy sauces, can cause scorching if placed directly on the bottom. Instead, try layering ingredients strategically.

For example, place veggies and meat at the bottom, add your liquid, and finally, put any thick or heavy sauces on top. See the difference?

3. Failing to Deglaze the Pot After Sautéing

Let’s first explain, “What’s deglazing?”. It’s simply loosening any stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pot using liquid.

If you skip this step, those bits can cause the Instant Pot to think there’s a risk of burning. So, after sautéing, add a small amount of liquid, and give the pot a good scrape. Easy, isn’t it?

4. Using Thick or Starchy Ingredients Without Thinning

Adding ingredients like tomato paste, cream, or even potatoes without diluting them can cause the Instant Pot to heat unevenly. It will undoubtedly result in the “burn” message.

Try thinning out thick sauces with some broth or water to fix this. For starchy ingredients, like rice or pasta, ensure they are fully submerged in liquid.

5. Not Checking the Sealing Ring and Pressure Valve Regularly

These two components are essential for your Instant Pot to function correctly. If they’re damaged or dirty, the pressure won’t build up.

Consequently, you’ll be left with food that’s not cooked and the “burn” message on your display.

To avoid this, inspect your sealing ring and pressure valve often. Then, clean or replace them as needed.

What To Do When Instant Pot Says Burn?

Has your Instant Pot displayed the “burn” message? Don’t panic! Instead, calmly follow the below steps.

Step 1. Safely Release Pressure and Open the Pot

First, ensure you release the pressure safely. Turn the pressure release valve to the “venting” position. Keep your hands and face away from the steam.

Once the pressure pin drops, carefully open the pot.

instant pot food burn no pressure

Step 2. Assess the Situation and Identify the Cause

Now, it’s time to examine your Instant Pot. What caused the burn message? Is there burnt food stuck at the bottom? Is the liquid level too low?

Try figuring out the cause. Try employing the techniques mentioned in the following subsection to prevent this.

Creative Solutions and Recipes to Avoid the Burn Message

Sometimes, you must be innovative and use conventional techniques to prevent the “burn” message. Let us help you with that:

Solution 1: Instant Pot Recipes Designed to Prevent Burning

Do you worry about burning your Instant Pot food? With the right techniques and Instant Pot recipes, you can minimize the risk and enjoy perfectly cooked meals.

Fortunately, there are numerous recipes specifically designed for the Instant Pot. So, check out some recipe techniques that might be helpful.

Solution 2: Thin, Liquid-Based Recipes

A straightforward way is to try thin, liquid-based recipes. Why? They naturally have more liquid, which helps prevent scorching.

Consider making soups, stews, or braised dishes with a higher liquid content.

Solution 3: Pot-in-Pot Cooking Methods

The pot-in-pot method helps avoid the burn message and provides more versatility in your cooking.

How does it work? Place a trivet inside your Instant Pot, then put a separate, heat-proof container with your ingredients on top.

With this method, your food doesn’t directly contact the pot’s bottom. So, scorching is less likely.

Solution 4: Adapting Your Favorite Recipes for the Instant Pot

Some minor tinkering with your recipes can also prevent the “burn” message when adapting your favorite recipes for the Instant Pot.

You can ensure a smooth cooking process without encountering the burn message by making a few adjustments, such as increasing liquid amounts or adjusting cooking times.

Solution 5: Adjusting Ingredients and Cooking Times

Start by adjusting ingredients and cooking times. For thick sauces, try thinning them with water or broth. Are you worried about diluting flavors? Add extra herbs and spices.

When it comes to cooking times, remember that pressure cooking is faster. So, reduce the time to avoid overcooking.

Solution 6: Embracing the Instant Pot’s Versatility:

Use different cooking functions, like sauté or slow cook, for dishes that might cause burning. For example, instead of pressure cooking a thick tomato sauce.

This way, you can still make the most of your Instant Pot while preventing burns.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

Here are some common queries that might come to mind.

Will the “Burn” message damage my Instant Pot?

The “Burn” message is a safety feature to prevent damage to your Instant Pot. However, the overheating will eventually damage the device if you consistently experience the “Burn” message and ignore it.

How to cook high-sugar food without getting a “Burn” message?

Cooking food with a high sugar content can be tricky in the Instant Pot because sugar can caramelize and stick to the pot. Consequently, it can cause the “Burn” message to appear.

To avoid this, use the pot-in-pot method (as mentioned in the above sections). Or, cook high-sugar dishes using a slow cooker or stove-top method.

What is the minimum amount of liquid required to avoid the “Burn” message?

Generally, it is recommended to use at least 1 to 1.5 cups (250 to 375 ml) of liquid in a 6-quart Instant Pot and 1.5 to 2 cups (375 to 500 ml) in an 8-quart Instant Pot.

Can I use the “Keep Warm” function without getting a “Burn” message?

The “Keep Warm” function is designed to maintain the temperature of cooked food without causing it to burn. However, if the food is already sticking to the bottom of the pot, ensure enough liquid before using the Keep Warm function.

Can I use the Instant Pot’s “Steam” function without getting a “Burn” message?

The “Steam” function can be used without triggering the “Burn” message. It’s as long as there is enough liquid in the pot and the food is not in direct contact with the bottom of the inner pot.

So, use a steam rack or basket to elevate the food. And also, ensure that there is at least 1 to 1.5 cups of water in the pot for proper steaming.

Do specific recipes trigger the “Burn” message more frequently?

Yes, foods with a high sugar or starch content and thick sauces or gravies cause the “Burn” message more frequently. Use the pot-in-pot method or adapt the recipe to include more liquid in these cases.

Final Words

In conclusion, the Instant Pot “burn” message protects your meals and appliance. So, rather than being an issue, this message is a safety mechanism.

Just remember that the key is to pay attention to minimum liquid requirements. Additionally, make use of alternative cooking methods like pot-in-pot when necessary.

Now that you’ve got the burn message under control, don’t hesitate to explore our website for more Instant Pot tips and tricks! Happy cooking!

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