Instant Pots are a result of advanced technology. These electric pressure cookers are quite popular in the United States.
Personally owning one, I admire the versatility and speed it offers in my kitchen.
However, it is an electronic gadget and I am worried about safety.
I sometimes wonder if the instant pot can explode? I have heard of pressure cookers exploding, and an instant pot is also an electric pressure cooker.
Can Instant Pot Explode? Is it Safe?
Yes, the instant pot can explode. But if you follow the way as specified in the manual, the chances are quite less.
As long as you follow the guidelines mentioned by the manufacturer, your instant pot is safe. You need to know how to operate it safely.
Allow me to go into details regarding the instant pot, causes of the explosion, and safety features. I will also tell you how to use it correctly and prevent accidents.
Is the Instant Pot Safe?
Yes, an instant pot is quite safe and user-friendly.
Compared to traditional pressure cookers, instant pot has more safety features.
However, you need to know how to operate it correctly. For that, you need to follow safety guidelines as mentioned by the manufacturer in your manual.
The instant pot becomes dangerous only when not used correctly by the user.
Here are some safety tips to follow when cooking in your instant pot
- The first step to safety is to read your appliance manual. I can’t stress enough the importance of doing so. Human error is the biggest flaw while operating the electric appliance
- Use mitts or gloves for hot liquids and solid foods. Gloves will ensure your hand does not burn accidentally.
- Do not go beyond the maximum safe water level when using liquids. It is better to fill the cooker half rather than going all the way to the maximum level. This will prevent spilling and protect you from scalds. I go just a little above the minimum level.
- While using the pressure cooking option, set the valve to the sealing position. Open only when a safe time interval has lapsed according to instructions
- Stay at a safe distance from the pressure-releasing valve. Use a long wooden spoon to lift for quick-release recipes. Direct exposure to steam can cause burns.
- Do not leave your instant pot alone. Make sure you switch it off or unplug it while going outdoors. Although an instant pot has safety features, a double caution will go a long way to prevent fires and explosions.
What Makes an Instant Pot Dangerous?
Two incidences recently in the United States made many feel unsafe about their instant pots.
Mr. Riggs’ reported that his instant pot pressure cooker exploded while under pressure.
Due to the explosion, he suffered severe thermal burns. He opened the lid, unaware that the cooker is still under pressure.
This caused scalding as hot liquid and steam projected out from the appliance.
According to the lawyer, it was a defective instant pot piece that allowed Mr. Riggs to open the lid while still being under pressure inside.
The same thing happened in the other case where Ms. Durham’s instant pot exploded causing severe burn injuries to her.
According to Ms. Durhams, the seller marketed the instant pot as having safety mechanisms that prevent the opening of the lid until all pressure has been released.
But in her case, the pot allowed her to remove the lid while still having pressure inside. As a result, hot steam and liquid came out causing burns.
The danger lies in its pressure cooker feature. However, pressure cooking has been around for ages. If we follow the manual instructions carefully, it becomes quite safe to use.
Another important aspect is not to overfill the instant pot. There should be a sufficient gap so the steam gets space to escape out.
The last important part is to not leave it alone while in use. Also, do not forget to switch it off before leaving your home.
What Can Cause an Instant Pot to Explode? Possible Reasons!
Following are some important reasons that can be the possible causes of the instant pot explosions
Overfilling Your Instant Pot
Some space is required inside the pot for the steam to escape. This space is marked as the maximum filling line by the manufacturer.
If you fill the pot beyond this threshold, the lack of space creates intense pressure inside the pot, causing an explosion.
A good rule is to fill the pot halfway with liquid. If you are unsure about the max line, fill only half of your pot with food.
Some foods like rice create more pressure inside the instant pot. Make sure to check for complete pressure release before opening the lid.
A Blocked Valve
An instant pot can explode when the steam release valve is blocked. This valve is needed by the pot to release the built-up pressure.
If you don’t notice any release of steam, switch off. Let the pot cool down and check the valve to make sure it is not blocked.
Also read: Pressure Cooker Steam Coming Out of Safety Valve – Reasons & Solutions
Loose Sealing in the Lid
The silicone sealing ring inside the lid becomes loose over time. You need to replace it as soon as you notice it turning loose.
A good seal prevents pressure release. Without the seal fitting properly, a high amount of pressure can be built up resulting in an explosion.
Make sure your sealing ring is in fine shape. A good rule to follow is to change it every six months.
Using Your Instant Pot for Pressure Canning
The Canning procedure requires particular pressures and temperatures. Your instant pot is not built for that kind of cooking.
Never use your instant pot for pressure canning. It is extremely risky and can cause your instant pot to explode.
Not Reading the Manual
If you haven’t read the manual of your instant pot and are following your experiments with the instant pot, there are high chances of explosion.
You need to know your model and its workings, do’s and don’ts inside out before you start cooking in it.
Here I am highlighting three points that are there in almost all instant pot model manuals :
- Do not use an Instant Pot for deep frying.
- It should not be used for pressure canning.
- Keep your hands away while it is building up pressure
Not following the above points may lead to an instant pot explosion. It can also cause burns, scalds, and injuries.
Follow your manual booklet instructions for cooking.
Safety Features Installed Inside the Instant Pot
According to the official website of instant pots, they have installed safety features inside their product to prevent operational errors and make it safe for usage.
These are :
A Lid Lock
The lid lock is another safety feature that holds the lid in position. While the pressure builds, the lid does not move.
This lock opens when all pressure is released.
Once the instant pot detects abnormally high temperatures in the range of 336 degrees, it will switch off the electricity supply with the help of an in-built fuse.
Likewise, the fuse will also stop a high quantity of electric currents from reaching it.
Valve for Pressure Releasing
The instant pot has pressure or a steam releasing valve on top that helps to release all pressure.
Once the pressure is released safely, you can open up the lid.
A Detector for Leakage in Lid
The instant pot will stop building pressure if it finds any leakage in the lid.
If the customized pressure required for food is not achieved in the first forty minutes, it will automatically lower the heat to prevent food from burning.
The leakage could be due to the wrong positioning of the valve.
Instead of sealing, the valve might be placed in a venting position. The second reason could be a loose sealing ring.
The instant pot has embedded temperature control.
This control is automatic and keeps the temperature in a safe zone. It also prevents overcooking.
Anti Block Shield
Anti block shield is located below the steam release valve. It prevents food from blocking the pressure-releasing pipe.
The stainless steel layer safely releases pressure making it safe to open the lid.
Automatic Overheating Protection
If your instant pot starts overheating, the pot will automatically off the timer and a “Burn” message will get displayed on the control panel.
Some common causes are food sticking to the base, displaced inner pot, insufficient water, etc.
Position Detector for Lid
The instant pot is equipped with smart technology.
This IP does not allow the instant pot to begin unless the lid is positioned in place.
A Fuse for Electrical BackUp
If the instant pot detects an unusual fluctuation in voltage, the electrical fuse gets activated.
It prevents electrical currents to cross the safety limits.
Pressure Control System
There is an embedded pressure system inside the instant pot that controls the pressure levels during cooking.
If the control detects abnormal pressures, it stops the pressure process.
An Embedded Thermal Fuse
The instant pot has a thermal fuse inside. This fuse switches off the electricity when the temperature reaches abnormally high levels.
How Does an Instant Pot Operate?
Instant pots are electric pressure cookers that serve as multipurpose pots. The programmable functions allow us to make food quickly.
Its pressure cooking feature is faster compared to the traditional pressure cooker. The best part is that food gets to retain most of the nutrients and flavors inside.
Here is a quick gist summarizing the working of the instant pot
- Open the lid and add your raw food and water
- Make sure you seal the lid properly and close the lid. The pressure valve should be free from any blockage
- Place on the stovetop or plug into an electronic socket depending on your model.
- Select your settings and cook under pressure.
- Once the food is done, wait for the pressure to release. Open it up and serve.
Why Use an Instant Pot?
Instant Pots are multifunctional cookers. This means you can use it for a variety of food recipes.
- You can make noodles, rice, stews, slow-cooked delicacies, meats, veggies, yogurt, etc. An instant pot takes less time compared to traditional appliances.
- The different cooking techniques include steaming, sauteing, slow cooking, and pressure cooking.
- There are fewer hassles when cooking in the instant pot. It gets the food done fast, giving you plenty of ‘me time’ or ‘multi-tasking time’ while it takes care of your food.
- The smart technology just needs to be set to a particular setting. Operating an instant pot is pretty easy on the learning curve.
- An instant pot is a boon when it comes to bulk cooking. If you need to feed a couple of people, opt for an instant pot.
- It can replace and saves you the headache of buying separate appliances. This way the all-in-one pot saves you a lot of money.
- An instant pot offers different functions and features. You also have the freedom of entering your temperature and time setting.
Summing up, yes the instant pot can explode. An important cause is a blocked vent that does not allow pressure to escape.
Another cause is the improper position of the lid or a loose ring. If the lid is not positioned well, the escaped steam can cause the instant pot to explode.
The third common reason is filling the instant pot beyond the maximum safety limits. Overfilling can cause intense high pressures to build up, leading to an explosion.
Regarding your second query, yes instant pots are quite safe. In the last few years, there have been fewer explosions.
If you follow the manual and cook according to instructions, you are in safe hands. The company also has installed many safety features inside the instant pot.
Make sure to go through the safety tips mentioned above. Happy cooking!
Other articles you may also like:
- Why do Pressure Cookers Explode? Possible Reasons + How to Avoid it?
- Instant Pot vs Pressure Cooker – What’s the Difference?
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