Instant Pot Not Sealing? How to Fix It!

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Is your Instant Pot not sealing? I have seen so many people in my Facebook group who are struggling to get their Instant Pot to Seal. There are several reasons why your Instant Pot may not be sealing, so to better help everyone, I have created this informational post for you!

instant pot coconut curry soup

Why Won’t My Instant Pot Seal? 

One of the most common problems Instant Pot users face is that their Instant Pot won’t create a proper seal or come to pressure properly. So, here are 8 reasons for why my Instant Pot won’t seal.

Learn all the reasons why your Instant Pot May Not Be Sealing and building pressure.

#1 Instant Pot Not Sealing Due to Sealing Ring Issues

Your sealing ring plays a big role in making sure your pressure cooker seals and builds to the correct pressure while Instant Pot cooking. If your sealing ring is damaged, misshapen or not properly in place it can cause a small gap between the lid of your Instant Pot and the bottom which will prevent it from building pressure.

The Instant Pot Not Sealing could be due to any of the following reasons:

No Sealing Ring

Make sure the sealing ring is there. Many times, the sealing ring is removed for cleaning. So, if your pot isn’t sealing, check the Instant pot lid and make sure you put the silicone ring back in place.

Silicone Ring Not Secure

Is the seal properly seated? 

If your sealing ring cannot be rotated around the rack, it is not properly seated in your lid. Make sure the sealing ring is in its place. 

Check Seal Has Not Expanded

Has the sealing ring expanded too much?

The silicone ring expands when it is heated. If you have just used your electric pressure cooker, you will need to wait for it to cool down a little for it to seal again. 

Is the Sealing Ring Dirty

The sealing ring may need to be cleaned.

You should take your silicone ring out each time you use your pot and clean it. Food and debris can prevent your pressure cooker from sealing. If you’re Instant pot is not sealing then give it a quick wash or pop it in the dishwasher as the seal is dishwasher safe.

Check Silicone Ring for Damage

You need to change your silicone sealing ring.

If the ring gets torn or damaged it won’t work. Additionally, if you use your Instant Pot often, you should change the sealing ring every 6 to 12 months. 

You can get a new sealing ring for your Instant Pot from Instant Brands or amazon. I love this three-pack of Instant Pot Sealing rings! This triple pack has one transparent white sealing ring, one cherry red sealing ring and one blue ring.

I use our white sealing ring for everyday day recipes such as Instant Pot Eggs and pressure cooking vegetables. like cauliflower and broccoli.

I use the blue sealing ring for spicy dishes such as Instant Pot curry or heavily seasoned recipes like Instant Pot black beans.

I then use the red sealing ring for desserts. My favorite dessert is chocolate Lava cake. I just can’t get enough of it!

Remember to Have a Spare Sealing Ring

It’s always a good idea to keep a spare sealing ring in your kitchen as this is most likely the cause of your sealing issue.

Instant Pot Sealing Ring

All About the Seal

As stated above, the seal can be a major issue when it comes to your Instant Pot sealing and building adequate pressure.

I’ve also seen many Instant Pot owners curious about getting the smell out of their seals. There are several things you can do to get the smell out:

  • Use different seals for different things. For example, use a red one for meats, a blue one for desserts, and a clear one for soups. 
  • Clean your seal in white vinegar and water. Let it soak for 15-30 minutes. You could also just pressure cook your Instant Pot for 2 min with vinegar in it. 
  • Try baking your seal. Bake it at 350 degrees in 15 min increments until the smell is gone. It typically takes about 30-45 min to get the smell out. 
  • Get a New Instant Pot Sealing Ring on Amazon

#2 Your Pressure Release Handle Is Not Sealed

The little knob on top of your Instant Pot lid (pressure release valve) needs to be in the sealing position to allow Instant Pots to build pressure and seal properly.

Make sure you check that your pressure valve is turned to sealing. 

#3 Instant Pot Not Sealing Due to Scorched Food

If you saute food before pressure cooking, you will need to deglaze the Instant Pot insert before pressure cooking. This means gently scraping the bottom of the pot so there is no food debris on the bottom of the inner pot.

If you try using electric pressure cookers with food stuck to the bottom, you are likely to get a burn message. The burn notice will not allow your electric pressure cooker to build enough pressure.

If you are getting the burn notice when using your Instant Pot, perform a quick release and try removing any stuck food from the bottom of the pot.

Also, try deglazing the inner pot after sauteing any foods and add water and/or broth to prevent burning food on the bottom of the pot. 

To learn more about the Instant Pot Burn message read this article: What Does the Instant Pot Burn Notice Mean?

Can You Put An Instant Pot Lid In The Dishwasher?

#4 the Water Evaporated

If your Instant Pot was incorrectly sealed and you fixed the issue, you will need to check the liquid levels and add more liquid if required.

Once you fix the ring or the sealing valve (if your Instant Pot is not sealing) you will need to make sure there is still enough liquid in the pot so that your recipe can build and maintain pressure.

You may need to add an extra cup or two of cold water if it has evaporated. This will allow your Instant Pot Duo to create pressure once again.

#5 the Inner Pot Is the Wrong Size

I have both an 8-quart and a 6-quart Instant Pot, and I have put the wrong inner pot in each one of them on occasion.

The inner pots are different sizes too, so if it’s not coming to pressure, make sure you have put the right quart Instant Pot insert into the correct electric pressure cooker.

#6 The Lid Locking Pin Is Stuck

There is a spring-loaded pin on the rim at the back of the Instant Pot lid. This is called the float valve or steam release valve.

If the steam release valve is stuck in the retracted position, your Instant Pot will not seal. Push on this float valve from the inside and outside of the lid or jiggle it to reset the pin. 

#7 Instant Pot Not Sealing Due to the Cord

Maybe your power cord isn’t plugged into the Instant Pot all the way. The cord can come loose from time to time. Check and make sure your cords are fully plugged into the Instant Pot and the outlet correctly.

#8 Try to Be Patient

The Instant Pot will not come to pressure in the same amount of time for everything. It depends on how much food and the type of food you are cooking as well as the amount of cold or warm water you have used.

Recipes like Instant Pot soup and frozen food will take much longer to come under pressure than a pot with plain vegetables such as green beans or asparagus. If your Instant Pot isn’t counting down, wait 20-30 minutes before you start worrying. 

#9 Thick Sauces

If you are cooking a recipe with a thick sauce, it may cause a problem with the Instant Pot coming to pressure.

If your sauce is too thick then you may not have enough liquid. You can add an extra cup of liquid or another ingredient that will thin it out so that the Instant Pot can build enough pressure.

#10 Pot Is Over Filled

If you have too much food in your cooker or too much water then your Instant Pot will not come to pressure. Make sure your cooker is not more than 2/3rds full.

There is also a maximum line on the inside or the inner pot which can guide you in how much food you can add when making your Instant Pot recipes.

#11 Excessive Liquid In Pressure Cooker

Sometimes when you are cooking, especially when you are cooking something that is not frozen, there will be too much liquid. This can cause it to splash out of the steam release handle when you release the cooker.

There are a couple of things you can do so avoid liquid spewing out of the steam release handle.

Use the natural release method. Allow the pot to sit for 10-15 minutes until the pressure is completely released and then you can open the pot.

Turn the steam release handle to “venting” for a few minutes at a time. This will allow some of the extra liquid to evaporate and thicken your sauce. If you are cooking something that is very soupy or there is a lot of water in the pot, use less water next time.

So Why Is My Instant Pot Not Sealing?

Chances are nothing serious is wrong with your Instant Pot even if it won’t seal. Just check your pot if you are having an issue and restart! 

If you find that these tips don’t seem to help and your Instant Pot is still not sealing properly, try troubleshooting the pressure cooker by performing a manual release of steam or contacting the manufacturer for more information and support. With patience and practice, you should be able to figure it out and enjoy cooking with your electric pressure cooker!

angela milnes the instant pot table cartoon image

Try These Instant Pot Recipes

Now you know how to trouble shoot the Instant Pot sealing ring, why not try one of these delicious Instant Pot recipes. Whether you have the Instant Pot Duo, the Duo Evo or the Instant Pot Lux, you’ll find these recipes are sure to be a hit!

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  1. I have an Instant Pot but haven’t come across this issue yet but it’s good to be aware of so thanks for sharing!

  2. These are very good tips to remember. When I first starting using my pressure cooker, I had the problem of not being paitient.

  3. I haven’t had this happen yet, but I’m sure it will at some point. It’s nice to see what you can do if it does happen. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. This guide is great for instant pot owners. I’ve forgotten to replace the seal before on something else whilst cleaning, ops.

  5. I’ve been trying for weeks to troubleshoot my Instant Pot DUO 8 qt.
    Steam continually escapes from the release valve and I read all kinds of remedies on every site EXCEPT a faulty steam release handle! Inside these handles is a tiny silicone nub that seals the hole on the top of the valve stem. Mine was missing! I replaced the steam release handle and that remedied the issue! I’m sure I am not the only one. You should mention this.

  6. I tried different sealing ring and even replace the lid parts to no avail. For some reason my Instant pot just won’t seal anymore.

    1. That’s strange. We often switch our rings over and it works just fine.. Maybe contact instant pot and trouble shoot.. it should seal fine.

  7. I’m having consistent problems with sealing – so frustrating! I’m about to throw it out. Mine is clean, plenty of water but not too much, don’t see damage to gasket and it has hardly been used and I’ve been soooo patient. My last attempt to fix this is to purchase all new pieces – gasket seal, knobs on top etc.

    1. Is the sealing ring actually on the ring properly. There will be some pressure leak before it initially seals and the pin pops up. We have had to replace the pin and that pin gasket once or twice in the life of the IP. Having to constantly problem solve the issues, I can see would be highly stressful. Keep at it. You will get there in the end.

  8. I have a new 6 qt RIO. It seals (pop up seal) properly with water for the intial test run, but not when attempting to cook a meal. The pop up spins then falls down without sealing. I gently pressed to top down and it immediately sealed, i.e. the pop up sealed. The sealing ring is properly installed…what’s going on?

    1. It sounds like you are having issues with the sealing valve not the sealing ring. The sealing valve should prevent steam leaving the pot when pressed and turned correctly. I have had issues with my own valve as the pot has aged with time and find I sometimes need to press it into place and move it around until the steam is locked in… If this is the case with a new pot I’d request a replacement valve.

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