Although rare and unlikely, instant pots can explode. It may explode due to wrong usage, overfilling the pot, a blocked valve, or defective products. However, they come with features that reduce the likelihood of explosions, such as automatic pressure and temperature control, power surge control, etc.
You may have seen news chronicling how multiple users of instant pots got various degrees of burns from the pots exploding. The first time I saw this broadcast, I was terrified because I owned one. I wondered how catastrophic it would have been if children were involved in these accidents.
Instant pots help save time in the kitchen. They do not require frequent check-ins like regular cookers, and many people have resulted in it as their number one cooker of choice.
But I, for one, now had my fears about it. Many other people also started boycotting them, ignoring the ones they already have and not buying new ones.
In this post, we will examine if these fears are exaggerated. We also discuss the likelihood of instant pots blowing up, the pattern of usage that causes explosions, and how to prevent it altogether.
Can Instant Pots Blow Up?
Yes. Instant pots can blow up due to built-up pressure. It is, however, unlikely that they will. Unlike traditional pressure pots, instant pots come with advanced safety features, making the possibility of explosion very low.
When used properly according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, they are safe and pose no risk of exploding. Their safety features switch the appliance off once any malfunction is detected.
Safety Features That Reduce The Likelihood Of Instant Pots Explosions
Instant pots come in different models, such as Instant Pot Duo, Instant Pot Lux, Instant Pot Wi-Fi, Instant Pot Ultra, and, and Instant Pot Dup Plus. Each model comes with unique functions and different levels of safety features. However, every instant pot comes with specific features that reduce the risk of malfunction or explosion. Such features include:
- Automatic Pressure Control
Instant pots have an automated pressure control that keeps the internal pressure within a safe range. It regulates the pressure level according to your needs. Although you can manually set the pressure, the control acts as a check and balance to avoid excess pressure.
Instant pots have a button that instantly releases excess pressure that may have built up. This ensures that the pressure within never gets out of hand or results in an explosion through the lid.
- Anti-Blockage Valve
When cooking certain foods with pressure cookers, they can block the steam release valves. The clogging of the valve poses a risk because it keeps steam trapped within the pot, making the pressure too high. Even when you try to release the valve, getting it out from the top is impossible.
This is why instant pots have a shield feature that protects the steam release valve. This ensures that steam can escape, but food particles never block them.
- Lid Lock
Most explosion incidents with pressure cookers or instant pots occur when the lid is opened while the pot is still pressurized. This is why instant pots come with a lid lock that ensures you cannot open them while pressurized. This is an important feature for people who tend to rush or open instant pots absentmindedly.
The lids come with a sensor that monitors if the pot is properly closed, leaking, or other leakage-related issues. This feature turns off the appliance to avoid explosion and is called leaky lid protection.
- Automatic Temperature Control
The temperature control feature in instant pots operates at multiple levels. It regulates the temperature of the food being cooked and the temperature of the appliance itself and regulates against burning the food.
Excess temperature can be just as risky as excess pressure, so temperature control is important. When food begins to burn, it releases smoke which is a fire hazard. Instead of letting the food continue cooking, instant pots have a burn notice to alert you.
Once the internal temperature of the appliance exceeds the safe limit, it simply turns itself off. You can control the temperature of the food, but the pot self-regulates.
- Steam Release Handle
The steam release handle works as part of the pressure control for instant pots for controlling the steam coming out of the pot. If you notice that the internal temperature of the pot is too high for what you are cooking, you can manually release it using the handle. The steam handle can also keep steam trapped within the pot.
- Power Surge Protection
When there is a power surge, electrical appliances in the home are susceptible to explosion. Instant pots have a protective feature for such extreme situations. It turns off the appliance when the electrical supply gets too high. Once the pot heats up to about 336’F and 341’F, the fuse cuts the power supply off.
Major Causes Of Explosion In Instant Pots
Misusing instant pots increases the likelihood of them malfunctioning or exploding. Here are some of the reasons why instant pots may explode:
- Ignoring The Manual
Refusing to read and follow the user’s manual may put you at risk of a malfunctioning instant pot. Many instant pot-related accidents happen when consumers refuse to follow simple precautions in the manual. Instant pots come in different models; thus, the precautions may not work for another model.
It is important to always read the manual before use and refer to it every time an issue arises. If you cannot find the manual, refer to the manufacturer’s website.
- Overfilling The Pot
Filling up instant pots beyond their prescribed capacity is a major cause of malfunction and explosion. Many foods have the potential to expand, and when they do, they build up more pressure than the pot can handle.
Once instant pots are filled beyond its capacity, the steam has nowhere to go. This may lead to an explosion.
Another side effect of overfilling it is that the food gets closer to the steam release valve. Despite the anti-blockage vent, once the food is too close to the lid, it is easier for it to clog it up.
- Ignoring Blockage Of The Valves
Although the valves have anti-blockage shields, this valve may be blocked with food or other dirt particles over time and with use. Not cleaning out the valve regularly may cause a blockage that disrupts the pressure and steam control feature, leading to an explosion. It is therefore important to check before every use if the steam valve is free, so you can clean it out.
- Using Old Sealing Rings
Over time the rings on the lid of instant pots wear out and need to be replaced. If you don’t replace this ring when due, your pot is more likely to explode.
The rings of an instant post should be changed between 12 to 16 months. This ensures that it is always securely sealed. Any leakage from the seal will bring an incessant error alert which can be pretty annoying.
How To Avoid Explosions When Using Instant Pots
Avoid Overfilling Instant Pots
Always follow the ‘max’ indication line inside vvv. Any food that exceeds this line should be prepared in batches or cooked in another pot. If you notice food spilling out instant pots during cooking, switch off the appliance and allow it to cool off. Leave vvv to release the steam before reducing the food.
Use Sufficient Liquid In The Meal
The keyword when using instant pots is balance. Overfilling it leads to problems, likewise cooking with insufficient liquid. Ensure that the water added to the food is sufficient to prepare it. This would reduce the number of times you open the pot to add water and other spices.
Maintain A Clean Steam-Release Valve
Always ensure that the steam release valve of your pot is clean and clear. This check should be done before you prepare food using vvv. This check ensures that excess steam is released effectively.
Do Not Rush To Open vVV
Whether you want to add spices to the dish or check the texture of the food, always wait for vvv to release all of its steam. Trying to force open vvv for any reason while still pressurized may lead to an explosion.
Steps To Take If A Instant Pot Blows Up
Instant pot explosions are basically pressured steam forcing its way out and damaging the lid. It can cause burns as the content of the pot forces its way out. They rarely cause a major explosion that may damage life and properties.
In the rare and unfortunate situation that vvv explodes, you should:
- Unplug the appliance.
- Cool off any burns with cold water.
- Consult a doctor for severe burns.
FAQs About Instant Pots Blowing Up
Can I Use Instant Pots To Deep Fry?
vvv can steam and cook almost any type of meal, but avoid using it for deep frying. Frying produces a different level of heat that instant pots aren’t designed for. It also requires constant opening and turning, which puts you at more risk.
Can I Leave My Instant Pot Running Unattended?
It is not advisable to leave instant pots unattended. Unlike crock pots that are designed to work for long hours, instant pots can work pretty quickly. This also doesn’t mean you have to check it as often. You just need to monitor it a couple of times throughout the cooking process.