One of the biggest question on people’s minds before they use the Instant Pot for the first time is can an Instant Pot explode. I’ve heard from a quite a few people that this is what makes them hesitant to use one in the first place. What if disaster strikes and steam goes everywhere? Is this even possible?
Just like with any appliance – really any situation in life – if it is misused, it can malfunction. However, pressure cooker explosions are not as common in an Instant Pot as as they might be in a traditional pressure cooker. Modern Instant Pots do not typically produce large explosions because there are so many safety features that keep this type of accident from occurring.
Can an Instant Pot Explode?
That being said, yes it can happen. Instant Pots can explode if the conditions are right. An “explosion” in an Instant Pot can occur when there are faults in the manufacturing or design, such as if the lid is opened too quickly, if the steam release valve is blocked, or if the water level is too high or low.
In this article, we will go over all the reasons that could cause an Instant Pot to explode, and we’ll ease your mind with all the safety measures that are built into the pot to keep this from occurring, so you can feel safe using one.
What Might Cause an Instant Pot to Explode?
You can rest assured, that an Instant Pot would only possibly explode if there is human error, meaning you’ve done something wrong, or if there is a faulty part or mechanism that causes it to malfunction.
Not to point fingers, but one of the top reasons for an explosion if due to human error. You need to read the manual and be aware of all the best practices for using the Instant Pot.
That includes how much water you need to add, how to properly release the pressure, how and when to seal and unseal the lid, and how to care for the pot, including how to clean the steam release valve.
Let’s assume the error isn’t on your part, though. You’ve done everything right. You’ve followed all the directions and kept the machine clean.
Just as with any appliance, there are occasionally manufacturing issues that can cause problems. There’s no way to 100% eliminate these issues. They are just part of life and a risk you must be willing to assume with any consumer product you buy.
» Check out our Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet so you never have to look up times again for your favorite foods you make in the pressure cooker. Print or bookmark it so you always have it handy!
Instant Pot Safety Features
It’s impossible to eliminate all of the risk associated with human error and manufacturing defects. But that doesn’t mean you have to worry every time you use your pot that it might explode and take your hand off with it. The likelihood of an accident is very slim.
The reason for that is the safety features that have been built into the machine to protect you.
Here are all the safety measures of an Instant Pot to help prevent any accidents that may cause your pressure cooker to explode.
1. The Lid Locks Under Pressure
You’ve probably noticed that there is a really sturdy lid on your Instant Pot that has a steel locking edge. When you put the lid on and it’s properly locked into place, and then when the pressure builds in the pot, the lid locks into place and it has a 10-minute timer that goes into effect if it senses that pressure has not been released, so you cannot open the lid, no matter how hard you try, why the pot is under pressure.
After 10 minutes, the pressure in the pot will have naturally released if it’s no longer on, so you can then safely remove the lid.
2. Automatic Pressure Control
The Instant Pot will automatically select the pressure level needed for your recipe. You can also manually control the pressure if you want to produce more or less steam.
Pressure control will prevent the risk of an instant pot accident or explosion. Your Instant Pot has a special button that releases any excess pressure which prevents an instant pot blowout and serious injury caused by high pressure and steam.
3. Safety Valves
The safety valve is a sort of final fail safe on the Instant Pot that will keep it from having an explosion. It helps keeps the pot from reaching levels of pressure that it cannot handle. When the correct amount of pressure is exceeded, the valve lifts and opens up an outlet for the excess pressure to escape.
The Instant Pot has three safety valves. The first valve you’ll find on the lid and it helps to release excess steam if too much builds up inside the pot. A second valve is located under the handle, which you really never notice. A third is at the bottom of the unit.
4. Anti-Blocking Vent
When food gets caught in the vent, excess pressure can build. This is caused by not cleaning your Instant Pot properly. However, the Instant Pot is built with an anti-blocking vent that prevents food from entering the vent and causing a blockage that won’t allow steam to escape.
5. Lid Position Detection
There’s a mechanism built in to determine if the lid is in an unsafe position. It’s possible to close the lid, but not really get it fully closed. As the pressure builds, this could cause the lid to dislodge and become unsafe, but the lid detection will notice that and automatically turn off the machine.
6. Pressure Controller
This feature keeps the pressure within a safe range so there’s no chance of it becoming overpressurized and exploding.
7. Temperature Monitoring
The temperature of the machine is a major factor in how the pressure builds and to what level. The Instant Pot has built in temperature monitoring to make sure that nothing burns inside the machine. You will get the burn notice and the machine will automatically stop.
8. Fuse Cut Off
The electrical current and temperature fuse cuts off power if the current or internal temperature exceeds safety limits. If for any reason the temperature monitoring detects too high of a temperature, the fuse will automatically cut off.
9. Pressure Protection
This might sound similar to pressure control, but the pressure protection features is meant to release excess pressure into the internal chamber if there is ever a dangerous situation.
10. Leaky Lid Detection
There is a featured that will detection if there is a leak in the lid, for example the steam
release valve is open or there is a fault in the seal that allows pressure to escape through the lid.
11. Quick Release Button
On some Instant Pots, there is a quick release button that automatically resets the position to sealing if it is in the venting position. I love this featured because it makes is so you don’t have to remember to move the valve to sealing once you’ve locked the lid. It happens automatically.
Here are some tips for you to easily keep any Instant Pot accidents from happening. If you ensure that all of these steps are followed, then the Instant Pot itself will kick in and prevent any unforeseeable things from occuring.
1. Check the Pot Before Cooking
Ensure that all the pieces of the pot are accounted for, properly installed, and cleaned well. The most mistakes occur when you don’t properly care for the part or put them back properly.
- The lid should have a silicone rubber seal that is clean and has no cracks.
- Make sure the heating element inside the pot is clean and dry before you insert the inner pot.
- Make sure the lid and the base seal correctly. The arrow on the lid should lining up with the indicator on the base.
- If you hear air escaping from the pot after it should have already sealed, you should turn it off, wait for it to cool, and investigate what the problem is.
An Instant Pot should never be opened while under pressure. Never open the lid before the pressure is fully released. If you are allowing the pot to naturally release, it can take up to 30 minutes depending on the food. Don’t rush it. If the recipe requires it or if you are in a rush, the quick-release is an option to fully vent out the pressure. Always wait for the float value to return to the resting position.
When you open the pressure cooker lid, face the lid away from you and wear gloves to protect your hands from steam and condensation. It is always possible that some pressure and steam is still in the pot. When you open the lid it can rush out and burn you. So take steps to keep this from happening, just to be safe.
Why Use An Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Pro Plus
Now you can control your pot wirelessly through an app. Cool-touch handles on the pot itself, and an automatic locking pressure release valve for greater safety. This one does it all.
The Instant Pot is a very safe appliance and there are very very few instances of a malfunction that has caused an explosion. If you follow the steps above you shouldn’t be worried about using it.
Laura spends a lot of her time cooking and creating recipes to share. She loves traveling and learning about new foods around the world to bring into her own recipes at home.