My Instant Pot Won’t Come to Pressure, Why?

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Instant Pot Won’t Come to Pressure

I have heard so many times, “My Instant Pot is not coming to pressure.” It seems everything is done right, the valve is in sealing position and the instant pot just says on but the Instant Pot is just blowing out steam. What in the world is going on? Why won’t my Instant Pot come to pressure?

Instant Pot Won’t Come to Pressure

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My Instant Pot Won’t Come to Pressure, Why? 

Remember, your Instant Pot will not immediately come to pressure. It can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes for your Instant Pot to come to pressure before it shows the cooking time. How long it takes depends on how full your Instant Pot is and how much liquid you have in the pot. 

If you have waited the full 30-minutes and the time has not started to count down on your Instant Pot, or you see steam coming out, keep reading…

Sometimes your pressure cooker won’t build pressure and here are the reasons why!

10 Reasons Why Your Instant Pot Won’t Come to Pressure

Your electric pressure cooker is all the rage right now, but you may be wondering what it’s all about if you haven’t gotten it to come to pressure. Trust me, even though I am writing this, I have experienced the many reasons why it won’t, so before you toss it out the window in anger, let me help you figure out what the problem is. 

Here are 10 reasons why your Instant Pot won’t come to pressure:

#1 You Need to Add More Liquid

Instant pot not building pressure because of lack of liquid.

The very first thing you need to do is make sure you put enough liquid in your pressure cooker. Instant Pots use steam to cook your food, and steam is created from liquid. As the liquid circulates in your Instant Pot and steam is created, it begins to create pressure. Thus, if there is not enough liquid, you will not have pressure. 

As a rule of thumb, you should always put at least 1-cup of water into your pressure cooker. However, I have found that after putting in at least 2-cups of water, I rarely have a pressure problem or burn notice. So, if your pot won’t pressurize, try adding ½ to 1 cups of water.

If you are using a recipe that does not call for a lot of liquid, then you will need to add more water so that your instant pot has the required amount to pressurize. If you find this makes your recipe too watery or thin – near the end of cooking, try saute mode to see if the dish has thickened up.

If you are still having trouble, getting your Instant Pot to pressurize after adding more liquid, then move on to the next solution.

#2 You Need to Clean the Bottom of the Pot

Instant pot not pressurizing because the pot is unclean.

Another reason why your Instant Pot may not pressurize is because there might be some bits of food on the bottom of the crock pot. When this happens, steam cannot escape and you will end up with a burn message.

If you were sauteing meat or veggies in your inner pot, you may have food stuck to the bottom. If there is food stuck to the bottom, it may make your pressure cooker think that the food is already burnt and as a result, it will not come to pressure. Additionally, the ingredients stuck to the bottom restrict the circulation of liquid. 

To fix this issue, you will want to open your Instant Pot, stir your food, and make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom. If you do notice food is stuck to the bottom, add ½ cup more liquid and use a spatula to break the food off the bottom. Then, begin to again. 

#3 Instant Pot Won’t Come to Pressure If Your Liquid is too Thick

In order for your liquid to produce steam, it has to be thin enough to produce steam. Many times you will get a burn error before your Instant Pot even begins when sauce is too thick. This has happened to me with spaghetti sauces and even stews and soups

If you have a thicker liquid in your pot, you are going to want to thin it down. You can do this by adding 1 cup of broth or water to the sauce. Then, try to cook it again. 

If you have added too much thickener or a high starch ingredient to your recipe, then it can prevent the Instant Pot from coming up to pressure. Because of this, if your pot won’t pressurize. You will need to add more cold water to thin down your liquid.

Example of starchy foods are brown rice and legumes. If you wish to cook your black beans or chickpeas in the Instant Pot, you will need to thin down their cooking liquid before adding them to the pressure cooker. This can be done simply by adding more water until it has reached desired consistency.

#4 Something is Wrong with Your Sealing Ring

If you notice steam coming out from around the sides of the pot and around the lid, you may have an issue with your sealing ring. The rubber ring that fits snugly around your Instant Pot lid is called the sealing ring. When the sealing ring is not fitted around the edge of your lid correctly or it has been used too much it loses its shape, your Instant Pot will not pressurize. 

Examine your lid and make sure that the sealing ring is fitting around the edge snugly. If you notice that the sealing ring has a yellowed color and shapes into an oval instead of a round circle, you will need to buy a replacement sealing ring

#5 Your PRESSURE RELEASE Valve is Letting Steam Escape

Sometimes, even when the sealing valve is in the “sealing” position, it can still need a little adjusting. If you see steam coming from your steam release valve, you may need to just adjust the valve a little. Just give it a little wiggle up and down and push it more into the sealing position. Sometimes it just doesn’t go into the right place when we turn it. 

I was asked, “Should steam come out of instant pot while pressurizing” and the answer is no. It should not.

#6 Your Instant Pot is Too Full

Another reason why your Instant Pot may not pressurize is because you might have filled it too much. If there isn’t enough space for the steam to circulate, then the pot won’t create pressure and burn notice will be displayed on your display screen. You can avoid this problem by following the “max line” on your pot.

The max line is located on the inner pot and it tells you how much liquid to put in your pressure cooker. When you are using a recipe, make sure to measure the ingredients and only fill your Instant Pot to the max line. If you have already filled it too full, try taking out some liquid to make more space.

The rule of thumb is to never fill your inner pot over ⅔ full. There is a silver line that is hard to see in your inner pot. That line tells you how full you can fill it. If your pot is two full, it can either make sure your Instant Pot won’t come to pressure, or it will end up spewing your food all over the place when you do a quick release. Always make sure you don’t overfill your Instant Pot. 

#7 You Cleaned Your Instant Pot with an Abrasive Substance

If you have recently cleaned your Instant Pot with an abrasive substance, such as a brillo pad or steel wool, it might be the reason why your pot is not pressurized. When you clean your Instant Pot, you should only use a soft cloth and non-abrasive cleaner.

#8 You Are Cooking Foods From Frozen

Frozen foods take longer to cook in an Instant Pot, and the device must be pressurized more slowly. If you are cooking frozen meat or mixed vegetables, wait a little longer or be sure to defrost them first. When cooking frozen foods, be prepared to extend the cook time.

#9 Your Instant Pot Won’t Come to Pressure If It Needs Cleaned Better

Sometimes food particles can get stuck in places we just didn’t notice. You may need to clean your silicone sealing ring, as it may have debris on the inside. You may need to clean the Instant Pot lid area so the lid can lock into place. Or you may need to clean the float valve or anti-block shield. If you have any debris where it shouldn’t be, your Instant Pot will not come to pressure. This is a safety feature to ensure that your Instant Pot will not blow upClean your slow cooker with soapy water, and dry it well before using.

#10 Pot Won’t Come To Pressure If You Have Not Followed The Instructions

This is probably one of the most common reasons an Instant Pot won’t come to pressure. People often think that because their Instant Pot is electric, there are no rules to follow. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, because your Instant Pot is electric, it’s even more important that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to a tee.

The first thing you need to do is read your Instant Pot’s manual. It will specifically state the amount of liquid, and what type of accessories are needed for pressure cooking in a specific model. Then follow these rules accordingly while using that pot.

If you have not followed the instructions, then your Instant Pot will not come to pressure. Therefore, it is so important to read your manual and to follow the specific guidelines for your pot.

If you have tried all of these solutions and nothing seems to work, you may need to contact Instant Pot Customer Care. They are extremely helpful and will be able to help you troubleshoot your problem.  

Check out some amazing Instant Pot Recipes Here:

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About Angela Milnes

Angela Milnes is a Qualified Early Years Teacher who has specialised in teaching. She has a wealth of experience teaching young children and adults. Angela has also taught cooking classes and loves to share both family recipes and easy instant pot recipes here on The Instant Pot Table. Follow her on Pinterest!

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