Instant Pot Ultra sitting on kitchen counter with soup ladle

Best Answer: As great as the Instant Pot is, it's still another kitchen appliance and there are several rules to ensure proper and safe handling. One should always consult the instruction manual that came with the Instant Pot for general safety guidelines, but there are also some safety tips that the Instant Pot community has developed.

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Safety tips before you start

First thing's first, you should always double check to make sure that the inner cooking pot is inside of the Instant Pot. There have been numerous times where liquid or oil was poured into the Instant Pot without the inner liner, resulting in the electric wiring getting doused in liquid. When this happens, you'll need to remove the bottom base (you'll need a screwdriver), let it dry out, and not use the Instant Pot for at least 24 hours.

You should also never have the Instant Pot power cord dangling off of the counter because it's entirely possible for someone to trip over the cord, pulling down the entire Instant Pot with it. The power cord is purposely made to be short for this reason.

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It's also not a good idea to set your Instant Pot on top of the stove. Even if you're tight on kitchen counter space, never do this! But if you must, you should remove the knobs for the stovetop burners, and also use something in between the burner and the Instant Pot, such as a cutting board. If a burner gets turned on somehow, it can melt the bottom of your Instant Pot, and that's never good!

The Instant Pot is also not a pressure fryer, so do not attempt to pressure fry any foods.

Safety tips during the cooking process

1/2 and 2/3 max lines inside Instant Pot inner pot

It's important to understand how to fill the inner cooking pot, not just for proper cooking, but for general safety. If you are cooking any foods that expand, such as grains, beans, or dried vegetables, you should only fill it up to the halfway mark. Liquids should never go higher than the two-thirds mark. If the pot is properly filled, then you don't risk hot liquid or starch spewing out from the pressure release valve. Also, the more liquid there is, the longer it will take to come to pressure.

Before you put that lid on, you should double check to make sure that the silicone sealing ring is properly seated, the anti-block shield is in place, and the pressure release valve is on top and set to the Sealing position. All of these elements ensure that the Instant Pot will come to pressure. Otherwise, if it's not sealing, then the liquid inside eventually evaporates and the food gets burned to the bottom of the pot.

Showing off the silicone sealing ring, anti-block shield, and float valveInstant Pot DUO80 pressure release knob and floating pin up

The lid should also always be closed properly and locked before you start the cooking cycle. To properly close it, have the pressure release valve at around the 10 o'clock position, and then turn it clockwise until it locks in to place. When the food is done cooking, it's impossible to open the Instant Pot until it has depressurized. It's a safety mechanism, so it's impossible for it to do something like blow up.

Stay safe after the food's cooked

When it comes to releasing the pressure, you should always be cautious and do it carefully. You should not release the pressure directly underneath kitchen cabinets, as the hot steam can create breeding grounds for bacteria and also warp wood.

It's advised to not use your hands, but use a kitchen utensil (the rice paddle that comes with the Instant Pot works perfectly with the hole in the handle) to nudge the knob and release pressure in controlled spurts if necessary. Don't cover the knob either, because it may obstruct the release process. And never ever put your face or other body parts near the hot steam that comes out, because it can cause burns if you are not careful.

Safely releasing pressure by using rice paddle handle to turn pressure release knob

If you'd prefer to get that hot steam away from you, there are silicone steam diverters made specifically for Instant Pot. Or, you can go the cheap route with a PVC pipe elbow from a hardware store.

If you are planning on moving the Instant Pot full of food, you should let it depressurize first, either naturally (NPR) or through a Quick Release (manual release). It's pretty dangerous to move it while it's under pressure, and it should definitely NOT be done. Make sure to check out our other tips for safely traveling with a full Instant Pot.

Our pick

Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Cooker

The ever-popular Instant Pot

The Instant Pot DUO60 is a popular model of the Instant Pot, though it's also available in 3- and 8-quart sizes. The Duo model is capable of seven programs and can reduce the number of kitchen appliances you need, such as rice cooker and slow cooker. The 6-quart size is popular because it feeds up to four people with plenty of leftovers.

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