Help?! Why Does My Instant Pot Say Burn?

When I got my Instant Pot I was so excited to get started….

I mean, it’s this magical appliance where I put all my ingredients in, press a button, and in like 10 minutes, I have a delicious meal, right?


I put all my ingredients in, I pushed the button, and then a few minutes later, my Instant Pot said: “burn”.

What the heck? That’s not how this thing is supposed to work!

So I started investigating…

And I found the four major reasons that an Instant Pot says “burn”.

Spoiler alert… It doesn’t always mean your food is burning!

Help! Why Does My Instant Pot Say Burn!?

Instant Pot Says Burn

1. Food is Stuck to the Bottom of Your Instant Pot

This is the first thing that made my Instant Pot say burn.

I had put my ingredients in, and the chicken got stuck to the bottom of my Instant Pot.

So my Instant Pot said “burn” but clearly nothing was burning…

Thankfully I found a super simple fix that you can use if there’s food stuck to the bottom of your Instant Pot.

First, you’re going to cancel cooking and release pressure.

Then you use a wooden spatula to scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot.

(Emphasis on wooden, friends… You’ll thank me!)

Then you restart cooking.

Simple as that!

2. Not Enough Liquid In Your Instant Pot

The next time my Instant Pot said burn, it was because there wasn’t enough liquid in my Instant Pot.

See, you need liquid to make sure that your Instant Pot has enough to come to pressure.

And even if you add liquid, you may not have enough.

Especially if you are cooking foods that typically absorb liquid!

Thankfully, there’s a super easy fix for this one too.

First, you cancel cooking and release pressure.

Then you add more liquid.

Then you can start cooking again.

And that’s it. I told you it’s super easy!

3. The Food You’re Cooking is Too Thick.

Your Instant Pot can also say burn when the food you’re cooking is too thick…

Think like, a roast or something similar.

It’s actually best to use a different setting on foods that are thick.

So here’s the solution for when your Instant Pot says burn because your food is too thick…

First, cancel pressure cooking and release pressure.

Then, you can cook on saute or slow cook.

Those settings are designed to handle thicker foods to make sure everything gets cooked thoroughly!

4. The Food in Your Instant Pot is Actually Burning…

Okay, this is the last reason your Instant Pot says burn…

Because the food in it is actually burning.

What a bummer.

Sometimes it happens to the best of us.

And really, there isn’t a super simple way to fix a meal that’s been burned.

So order up a pizza and remember that this will be a super funny story further down the road…

And try one of these tried and true easy instant recipes next time to avoid a burnt meal!

Find all of our super easy Instant Pot dinner recipes here!

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Instant Pot Says Burn


  1. Well my burn notice was for the dumbest reason. I had forgotten to put the water in. The food wa in a dish inside the pot and I had measured out 2 cups of water and forgot to add it everything was ok once I added the water and restarted it

  2. I have checked the bottom of my pot and food is not stuck on it ,,,I deglazed it anyway ,and I have plenty of water in it ,,,but it still says “burn” every 5 mins or so ,,,, ??????

  3. Yep, I am baking potatoes and forgot to add the water. Took me 2 tries (and help from your site) to solve the problem. *forehead smack*

  4. Ok, so none of those applies to what happened! I was boiling eggs! There was still plenty of water on the bottom on the pot, the eggs weren’t burning, eggs are definitely not too thick, and I obviously remembered to add water. This has happened twice, and each time was when I used the “manual” setting. I really don’t have a clue why it does this. Anyone have a suggestion on how to fix this? I have an 8 qt, if that helps. Most recipes I find online are for 6 qt, so I always add a little more water, but I don’t think it’s too much.

  5. Liam the same thing happened to me last night! It happened 3 times and I scrapped the bottom and pressure cooked again, and the same thing happened.
    Lucky my food was done (curry chicken) and it had fluid inside so I do not know what happened.
    I hope this does not happen again.

  6. I have the 8 Qt IP Duo & an older 6 Qt… Loved the 6 Qt & wanted one with larger capacity but after literally getting “burned” last fall (the 8 Qt burnt 4# worth of grass fed beef chili)… I dont have much confidence in it. I was using the “Chili/Bean” Setting

    Now Super Bowl Sunday and I need another big batch of chili… getting burn message again. Luckily I started it yesterday & slow cooked it but it didnt cook the small cubes of sweet potato & carrot that I added. So I’m attempting to slow cook for another 8 hours. I just feel that there is a flaw on this model

  7. I was making Chicken Taco Soup, followed the recipe, and got the burn notice. Food was burned on the bottom. And it never came to pressure. It has happened two times in a row now. I dumped the pot into another pan, washed the instant pot, dumped it back in and reset it. Again, it never got to pressure, and said burn after about 20 minutes. And it was burned on the bottom again. So I put it back in the regular pot and finished cooking it over the stove. Any suggestions?

  8. this has happened 3 times cooking chicken and rice,,,and I have scraped the bottom. Nothing is helping…Im ready to trow it in the oven…the rice is already mush

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