What to Do When Your Instant Pot Explodes

Instant Pot Exploded: Causes, Safety, and Precautions

Instant pots have gained immense popularity in recent years due to their convenience and versatility in the kitchen. These multi-functional appliances combine the features of a pressure cooker and a slow cooker, allowing users to prepare a variety of dishes quickly and easily. However, concerns have been raised about the safety of instant pots, particularly the possibility of explosions. In this article, we will examine the causes of instant pot explosions, discuss the safety features incorporated into modern instant pots, and provide precautions to ensure safe use.

Understanding Instant Pots

The original Instant Pot is a multi-cooker brand that has become a household name. In addition to its flagship Instant Pot models, the brand makes other kitchen appliances such as toasters, slow cookers, and air fryers. Instant Pots are programmable pressure cookers that offer different cooking modes, giving users flexibility and convenience in the kitchen.
The primary cooking modes of an instant pot include high and low pressure cooking, slow cooking, and searing. By utilizing a sealed environment, instant pots create pressure and raise the boiling point of the liquid inside, resulting in faster cooking times. A pressure regulator keeps the pressure within a specific safe range, ensuring efficient and safe cooking.

The benefits of using an Instant Pot

Instant pots offer several benefits that make them a valuable addition to any kitchen:

  1. Versatility: Instant pots can cook a wide variety of foods, from eggs and rice to meat, fish and vegetables. They can even be used to bake bread, making them a versatile cooking tool.
  2. Time efficiency: Long-cooking dishes, such as stews and soups, require significant time to develop flavors and tenderize ingredients. Instant pots significantly reduce cooking times, allowing users to enjoy flavorful meals in a fraction of the time.
  3. Healthier cooking: Instant pots allow cooking with steam, eliminating the need for excessive oil or fat. This promotes healthier eating habits and reduces calorie intake.
  4. Convenient defrosting: Instant pots eliminate the need for time-consuming defrosting. Frozen ingredients can be placed directly in the pot and cooked without thawing, saving time and effort.
  5. Unattended cooking: Instant pots offer a hands-off cooking experience. Once ingredients are added and the appropriate cooking mode is selected, users can attend to other tasks while the pot operates independently.

Are instant pots dangerous?

The safety of instant pots has been a concern for some users, especially given the history of accidents associated with older models of pressure cookers. However, modern instant pots are designed with several safety features to minimize the risk of explosion and ensure safe operation.

Safety features of instant pots

Instant pots have a number of safety features designed to reduce the risk of accidents. These features include

  1. Lid closure detection: Instant pots are designed to detect whether the lid is properly closed before the cooking process begins. This feature prevents the pot from operating if the lid is not securely closed.
  2. Leak protection: To prevent messy leaks, instant pots are equipped with a safety feature that switches the pot to the warm setting and prevents further pressure build-up if liquid begins to leak.
  3. Automatic Lid Lock: Instant pots have a safety lid lock mechanism that prevents users from opening the pot if there is excess pressure inside.
  4. Anti-Block Shield: Steam vents in instant pots are protected by shields, reducing the risk of food particles or debris clogging the vents during cooking.
  5. Temperature Control: Instant pots feature a built-in thermostat that regulates pressure and maintains optimal temperature levels, ensuring safe cooking conditions.
  6. High Temperature Warning: If the temperature inside the pot exceeds the safe limit, instant pots automatically shut off the heat to prevent dangerous situations.
  7. Steam release handle: Instant pots feature a steam release handle that allows users to control the amount of steam released during cooking. This feature provides added safety and control.
  8. Overpressure protection: In the event of a pressure regulator malfunction, instant pots have a safety mechanism that releases excess pressure and returns the pressure inside the pot to a safe range.
  9. Automatic pressure control: Instant pots use automatic pressure control to maintain pressure within acceptable and safe levels. If the pressure exceeds the pre-set threshold, the pot will automatically lower the pressure.
  10. Extreme protection feature: In extreme situations, such as dangerously high temperatures or electrical surges, instant pots are designed to automatically shut off power to ensure user safety.

Causes of Instant Pot Explosions

Although instant pots are designed with numerous safety features, there is still a small chance that an explosion could occur. It is important to understand the causes that can lead to such incidents:

  1. Overfilling: Overfilling the instant pot beyond its maximum capacity is a common cause of explosions. As ingredients expand during cooking, excessive pressure can build up inside the pot, potentially causing it to explode.
  2. Blockage: Blockage of the steam release valve or other venting mechanism can prevent pressure from being released from the pot. This blockage can cause a dangerous buildup of pressure, increasing the risk of explosion.
  3. Improper sealing: Improper sealing of the cooker lid can result in inadequate pressure containment. If the lid is not securely closed or the gasket is damaged, pressure may escape and cause an explosion.
  4. User error: Improper use of the Instant Pot, such as opening the lid while pressure is still present or attempting to force open a locked lid, can result in an explosion. It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and exercise caution during operation.
  5. Manufacturing Defects: In rare cases, manufacturing defects or malfunctions in the safety features of the instant pot can contribute to explosions. It is important to purchase instant pots from reputable manufacturers and to inspect them regularly for signs of damage or malfunction.

Precautions for Safe Instant Pot Use

To ensure safe use of an Instant Pot and to minimize the risk of explosion, follow these precautions:

  1. Read the manual: Familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines in the Instant Pot manual. Understanding proper operation and safety protocols is essential for safe use.
  2. Avoid overfilling: Stay within the recommended maximum fill line marked on the inside of the pot. Overfilling can cause dangerous pressure build-up and increase the risk of explosion.
  3. Inspect the gasket: Periodically inspect the sealing ring in the lid of the cooker for signs of wear, damage, or deformation. Replace the O-ring as needed to ensure proper sealing and prevent pressure leaks.
  4. Cleaning and Maintenance: Keep the Instant Pot clean and free of food residue or blockages. Regularly clean the steam release valve and other venting mechanisms to ensure proper pressure release.
  5. Release pressure safely: Always follow the recommended methods for releasing pressure from the cooker. Avoid using excessive force or attempting to open the lid while pressure is still present in the pot.
  6. Use genuine parts: When replacing any parts or accessories of the Instant Pot, make sure they are genuine and compatible with the specific model. Using counterfeit or incompatible parts may compromise safety.
  7. Avoid extreme conditions: Do not expose the Instant Pot to extreme temperatures, such as placing it in a hot oven or exposing it to freezing temperatures. Extreme conditions can affect the integrity of the pot and its safety features.
  8. Supervise cooking: While instant pots allow for unattended cooking, it is advisable to be present in the kitchen during the cooking process, especially when preparing unfamiliar recipes or using high-pressure cooking modes.
  9. Keep children away: Instant pots generate heat and pressure during operation, making them potentially hazardous to children. Make sure that children are kept a safe distance from the cooker during use.
  10. Regular Maintenance: Periodically inspect the instant pot for any signs of damage, such as cracks or dents. If any problems are detected, discontinue use and contact the manufacturer for repair or replacement.


Instant pots are valuable kitchen appliances that offer convenience and versatility in cooking. While the possibility of an instant pot explosion exists, modern instant pots are equipped with several safety features to minimize such risks. By understanding the causes, observing safety precautions, and following proper usage guidelines, users can enjoy the benefits of instant pots while ensuring their safety in the kitchen.


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