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an instant pot with the display showing the burn error message

Instant Pot Burn Message

Here are some tips for proceeding when you see “burn” on the Instant Pot screen.


  • Stay Calm – When dinner and dollars are on the line, it can be difficult not to panic. Staying calm will help you to focus on remedying the problem so you can get dinner served.
  • Cancel and Quick Release – Cancel the cooking process and quick release the pressure. This will allow the unit to cool down a bit and allow you to open the lid to check for problems.
  • Check For Stuck On Food – Give everything a stir to check for stuck food. If nothing is stuck, proceed to the next step. If there is stuck-on food, carefully remove the remaining food to a clean bowl and thoroughly clean the insert, removing all of the food debris. Return the food to the clean instant pot, adding liquid if needed to maintain the 1 cup of liquid requirement.
  • Check For Mechanical Issues – Closely inspect the sealing ring, sealing valve and float valve. Remove any food and make sure the valve is set to sealing.
  • Clean The Instant Pot – Remove any food that may be stuck to the outside of the insert or may have fallen inside the heating element.
  • Finish Cooking – Once you have followed these steps you should proceed with cooking according to the recipe. The Instant Pot should seal much quicker and you may be able to shorten your cooking time if a portion of time passed before you got the Instant Pot burn message.
  • Reduce Excess Liquid – If you added additional liquid you may find that there is too much liquid once cooking is complete. In this case, open the lid and set the unit to saute. Cook for several minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid has reduced.