Nobody wants to get burned or even worse, have their instant pot explode. With that in mind, we have written this article about is an instant pot safe?
It seems to me that most peoples' problems with the instant pot, stems from their memories of their parents or grandparents stovetop pressure cookers.
The instant pot is a world away from these old-fashioned gadgets, but even so, you should still follow our safety tips.
After reading our article, you should be good to go and feeling much more confident and safe.
Stay away from the steam
Just like you would stay away from the steam with stovetop pressure cookers, the same would apply with the instant pot. The only time you are likely to come into contact with steam is when you do a quick release after cooking or when opening the lid (don't worry - the lid won't open when under pressure).
To reduce the risk, we would suggest keeping your face as far away from the valve as possible, tilt the instant pot away from you and if your still worried, use silicon gloves. Do not use force to open the instant pot. Be sure to keep your Instant Pot out of the reach of children as well.
Fill your Instant Pot correctly
Too much food or liquid in your Instant Pot while pressure-cooking may lead to dangerous pressure levels.
We would generally recommend not letting the total amount of food and liquid in the inner pot go over the two-thirds line. Allow some extra space for foods that will expand like dried pasta or rice - our suggestion would be to only fill the instant pot half-way with these foods.
It is recommended to add around 500ml (2 cups) of liquid in order to build up enough pressure during cooking. Some meats will release water and this can be taken into account to reduce this amount
Some foods will foam more than others which increases the chance of spitting out of the valve. Some examples are noodles, split peas, cranberries and cereals like pearl barley. This can cause the steam valve to become clogged and thus creating too much pressure. Instant Pot recommends only using these ingredients when an Instant Pot recipe states it's OK. I have cooked with noodles many times and never had a problem.
Be careful with the lid
Locking the lid properly is important before any pressure-cooking. Make sure it is fitted correctly with the pressure valve closed whilst cooking.
It is also important to always double-check that the sealing ring is properly in position under the lid and clean with no debris before cooking. If you don't do this your lid may not seal.
Lastly, twist the lid clockwise and align the arrow with the locked icon to get the pot to lock properly. Your display should flash "Lid" if it isn't placed correctly. Your lid will beep when it is placed in position to help with this.
Programs will start cooking 10 seconds after you press the button. So, be sure you have your lid sealed and the steam release handle where it needs to be before you press Saute, Slow Cook, Pressure Cook, Yogurt or any of the other program buttons.
Let the Instant Pot do its job
With old-fashioned manual pressure cookers, you had to time the pressure build and when to take off the lid. Things are a lot easier with an Instant Pot because it can time everything for you, so let it do its job.
The Instant Pot can take from a few minutes to around 40 or more to do what it needs to do. Do not open the cooker until it has depressurized completely to avoid explosions, even if you just want a quick peek.
Pro tip: If the float valve is still up or the lid is difficult to turn, the cooker is most likely still pressurized. Give it time and follow the recipe instructions for releasing pressure.
Other safety concerns
Less scary perhaps than an explosion, but still worrying is the possibility of mould occurring on the silicone sealing ring.
Although the ring is known for the build-up of odours, we would suggest that provided that the ring is removed and cleaned correctly, this should not be a problem. It is also important to make sure it is thoroughly dry before you put it away. If the silicone seal has been left dirty and damp for a long time we would suggest that it may be prudent to replace it with a new one.
If you happen to own one of the older Instant Pot models, then you should check to see if yours was recalled. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) reported the "Instant Pot 'Smart' and 'Smart-60' electric pressure cookers recalled due to shock hazard." In these particular models, the USCPSC also noted, "the thermal probe in the base can conduct electricity throughout the cooker, posing a risk of electric shock." To put this in context, though, there were only three people who made this complaint. That's a relatively low number when it comes to safety recalls. So, in the end, it comes down to doing your research, staying informed, and being mindful when using a cooker, like Instant Pot, with such high pressure.
For those of you still worried about is an instant pot safe, please read the following information which was taken from Instant Pots own website
In the past, most pressure cooker problems could usually be attributed to user error. Instant Pot was carefully designed to eliminate and avoid most of the potential problems. UL Logo Safety Features Instant Pot is made by the No.1 electric pressure cooker manufacturer with over 10 million units already in household use worldwide. Instant Pot products are certified by UL/ULC in the US and now carries the CE mark providing unprecedented peace of mind in safety.
The stove-top pressure cookers use the weight of pressure regulator on the lid to limit the cooking pressure. Instant Pot’s patented pressure sensor technology regulates the pressure in the inner pot in a much more precise and automatic fashion. When the pressure builds up in the inner pot, the Flat Flexible Board (see diagram on right) shifts downwards to trigger the pressure sensor. Conversely, when the pressure is reduced the Flat Flexible Board moves upwards and again triggers the pressure sensor.
Image above: InstantPot’s pressure sensor mechanism
The pressure sensor controls the power of the heating element to maintain the pressure within a preset range. The photo of the actual pressure sensor is shown on the left.
This technology revolutionised the safety of pressure-cooking. Apart from this unique innovation, Instant Pot has 10 levels of safety protections.
Image left: Pressure control mechanism in the base
1. Lid Close Detection
If the lid is missing or not closed properly, Instant Pot will not activate pressurised cooking. Only the keep-warm and sauté functions work with the lid being open.
2. Leaky Lid Protection
In the case that the cooker lid has a leak (e.g. the steam release not closed properly or the sealing ring is missing), the cooker will not reach the pre-set pressure level. Allowing this to continue would risk burning the food. Instant Pot detects this by measuring the pre-heating time. If the pre-heating is unusually long, the programming will be switched to Keep-warm to avoid burning the food.
3. Lid Lock under Pressure
If the cooker is still pressurised the lid will be locked to prevent accidental opening.
4. Anti-blockage Vent
During cooking, food particles could block the steam release vent. Instant Pot has specially structured vent shield (see picture on right) to prevent blocking of the steam release.
Image left: Anti-jam shield prevents blocking of the steam release
5. Automatic Temperature Control
The thermostat under the inner pot regulates the temperature of the inner pot to be within a safe range, based on the type of food being cooked.
Image right: Thermostat under the inner pot
6. High Temperature Warning
If the cooker is operating without water or moisture, pressure will not be built up in the pot. Over heating of the base will become the most likely outcome. Excessive temperature may also build up due to situations such as missing the inner pot, inner pot not in proper contact with heating element, or inner pot having heat dissipation problem (e.g. burnt starch / flour at the bottom of the inner pot blocking heat dissipation). Under such conditions, Instant Pot will stop heating when the temperature is over a certain limit.
7. Extreme Temperature & Power Protection
Instant Pot is equipped with a special fuse which disconnects power at excessively high temperature, i.e. 169°C ~ 172°C or 336°F ~ 341.6°F, and extremely high electrical current. A extremely high electrical current drawn by the cooker indicates an unsafe situation.
8. Automatic Pressure Control
The patented pressure sensor mechanism (shown in diagram at the top) keeps the operating pressure between 70kPa-80kPa, or 10.12psi ~ 11.6 psi.
9. Pressure Regulator Protection
If the pressure exceeds 105kPa (15.23 psi), the steam release (comparable to the pressure regulator in stove-top pressure cookers) will be pushed up to allow the steam being released to bring down the pressure inside the pot.
10. Excess Pressure Protection
If the pressure becomes too high and the pressure regulator protection malfunctions, Instant Pot’s internal protection mechanism will activate, shifting the inner pot downwards to create a gap between the lid and the inner pot. Steam will be released from the gap into the internal chamber and the heating stopped.
Image right: Over-pressure leaking mechanism between the lid and inner pot
We checked the internet for instances of the Instant pot exploding and found the following information:According to the official site for The Schmidt Law Firm, "the risk of an Instant Pot exploding is far lower than a traditional stove top pressure cooker because Instant Pots have more safety features, but explosions are not impossible." If the health hazard ranks towards the bottom, then how does an Instant Pot explode? "Any pressure cooker can blow up if the vent gets clogged, if the lid is opened too soon, or if safety features like the blowout preventer do not work," as The Schmidt Law Firm further explained. The causes of these explosions seem to be split between user error and faulty products. Fortunately, if you follow your Instant Pot user manual and check for broken parts, you should be
Its easy to read all the information above and be so worried that you stop using or don't buy an Instant Pot, but we have been using ours as have millions of other people with absolutely no worries. Everything we use carries risk, but it is the way we deal with this and reduce the risk that counts.
Follow the tips and enjoy using the greatest kitchen helper of the 21st century
I hope you have enjoyed our article about is an instant pot safe. If you have any further questions or comments, or even have some tips or advice of your own, please leave them in the box below