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Instant Pot Burn Message - What, Why and How to avoid it?

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Instant Pot Burn Message - Did you get the BURN message while cooking in your Instant Pot? Don’t panic, it doesn’t mean your food is burning. In this post learn everything you need to know about the burn message. What it means? Why you get it? How to avoid it? What to do when you get the burn message?

Ever got the Instant Pot Burn Message?

Newbie or not, dread the Burn message? Yes, we understand how frustrating it is when you are cooking a meal and your get the burn message. You have a hungry family waiting or you were cooking for a party or may be just used up the last set of ingredients you had for the recipe. We know, exactly how it feels, it’s happened to us too. Mind you it’s not uncommon and it happens to every Instant Pot use at some point or the other.

Guess what, you don’t need to panic!!!

What is the Instant Pot Burn message?

If you have encountered the Burn message on the display screen, it certainly doesn’t mean that your food is burnt or ruined or you need to make something else now.

It simply means that the Instant Pot has detected that a very high temperate at the bottom of the pot and thus the burn warning.

The Instant Pot comes with a lot of safety mechanisms. The burn warning is one of them. The Instant Pot’s thermal sensors are automatically monitored and controlled. Thus when the inner pot reaches temperatures that are very high, the sensors sense the high temperature and shut off the heat displaying a burn message.

Once things cool down, the heating element turns back on and tries to complete the cooking program however, this burn warning is displayed 5 mines max before the cooker shuts down and returns to standby.

burnt rice in instant pot

Burnt Rice in Instant Pot

Why do we get the Instant Pot Food Burn Message?

Wondering what am I doing wrong that I keep getting the burn message.

Well, when the temperatures are very hot at the bottom of the pot, and there is loss of moisture, the food starts to stick on the pot, especially when it’s being pressure cooked when you can’t stir or deglaze (scraping off the bottom) the pot. Thus the burn display.

How to Avoid a Food Burn Instant Pot Message - Tips and Tricks

  • Add enough liquid – pressure cookers work by creating steam inside the pot. If there is not sufficient water , the steam won’t build and the food will stick to the bottom and dry up.
  • Vent positions – if the recipe calls for the vent to be in sealed position and you accidentally left it on venting, this will cause all the water to escape out again leave the food dry which will stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Sealing ring – if the sealing ring is not properly installed, this will cause the steam to escape out again causing the food to stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Deglaze pot before pressure cooking – some recipes call for a quick sauté before pressure cooking. It's important to scrape off the bottom of the pot gently to remove any food particles stuck to the bottom. 
  • Layering ingredients – Adding liquids to the inner pot first is always a good ideas. Then add the other ingredients and do not stir or mix, this keeps things from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Pot in Pot – if you are making sauces etc, using an oven safe container and place it on a steam rack to make your food.
  • Grease the bottom of inner pot – Spraying oil or butter may help prevent the food from sticking.

Burnt Vermicelli Noodles in Instant Pot

 What to do when the Instant Pot says burn?

 We remember the first few times we panicked only to realize that our food actually didn’t burn. Here is what we recommend doing.

  1. Cancel the program
  2. Release the pressure manually
  3. Open the lid and scrape of the food particles stuck at the bottom of the pot
  4. Remove food in another container
  5. Clean the pot thoroughly
  6. Put the food back into the container with extra liquid this time and cook it again.
  7. Use tested recipes. We can't emphasize enough how many times we test our recipes before we share the final recipe on the blog with you. We make our mistakes, learn from then and fix the mistakes so that you don't have to make those mistakes.

What kind of recipes can cause an Instant Pot Burn Message?

  • Starchy foods – pasta , noodles
  • Sautéed food – sometimes sticks to the bottom of the pot
  • Thick foods – corn starch
  • Sugary recipes – that caramelize

Tired of Getting the Instant Pot Food Burn Message?

Don't be afraid of using you instant pot. Trust us, the instant pot is going to be your most important gadget once you get used to working with it. We present to you 15+ EASY Instant Pot recipes for Beginners that you should try today to get used to your instant pot.

Tried and Tested - No "Burn" Recipes!!!

Here are some tricky recipes that most folks struggle with but we have mastered the art of making them without a burn notice (of course the hard way, by making mistakes). If you are following the exact same recipe and ingredients then you can be rest assured you won't get a burn notice either.  

instant pot thai peaunt noodles

For a list of 100+ tried and tested Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipes click here.

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Monday 20th of January 2020

Awesome and really helpful guide! I recently got my new instant pot and see that burn message quite often when I make my Italian pasta. Odd thing is sometimes the message appears and then disappears. What could be the cause for that?

I wish they made these instant pots more clever or at least the messages more descriptive.

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