Some of us have this ingrained fear of pressure cookers and gas cylinders; I am no exception. The first time I used an instant pot, I left my kitchen until its steam completely evaporated and there was no hissing sound – safety first, after all. But my later experiences with the instant pot have been doubtlessly great!
If you’re also afraid of cooking in an instant pot because of safety concerns, here’s what you should know:
Instant Pots are not like your everyday pressure cooker; they have multiple pre-built safety features to keep your food and you safe. If you follow your instant pot’s instructions manual and don’t leave it on for hours at end, it’s safe. Instant pot malfunctioning incidents are negligible, and they shouldn’t keep you from enjoying this convenient cooker.
But that’s not all! If you want to be 100% sure of an instant pot’s reliability and safety, keep on reading, and let’s dissect this smart appliance!
Is an Instant Pot Safe Or Dangerous For Everyday Use?
Besides the exploding and malfunctioning concerns, we often hear about instant pots whether they are safe for our food or not. The good news is, most nutritionists and dieticians agree that instant pot meals are as healthy as our other meals.
The major difference between instant pot and stovetop (or crockpot) cooking is that the former uses considerably less time to prepare the food. You add all raw ingredients, spices, cooking liquid, and punch in the required settings through the instant pot’s menu – it takes care of the rest.
Instant pot meals are always healthy if your raw ingredients are nutritious and safe. In fact, short cooking duration helps preserve some vital nutrients, i.e., vitamins and minerals, that get affected during prolonged, high-heat cooking.
However, sometimes the safety worries arise because of a pot’s build and construction. Since instant pots use extreme pressure for quick cooking, they are often considered dangerous for everyday use.
But if your instant pot is from a reliable manufacturer that complies with CPSC (consumer product safety commission), you can relax about its safety features. Instant pots come with several safety and emergency features that keep things in your favor during everyday cooking.
Can An Instant Pot Explode or Catch Fire?
This question arises because we have seen those pressure cookers with lids and clamps infamous for exploding and overflowing. Luckily, instant pots don’t follow the same pattern. Instant pots are designed for convenient and safe cooking where your well-being is never compromised.
Firstly, if an insane amount of pressure or temperature builds inside an instant pot, its sensors and detectors become active. There’s a quick temperature and pressure drop inside the instant pot when it crosses the safe limit, so an explosion is hardly possible.
Secondly, if you set the instant pot at an extremely high temperature, the worst that could happen is your food overflowing or burning inside it. But with all advanced sensors, locks, and safety measures, the chances of an instant pot explosion are almost zero.
Since instant pots operate on electricity, their sensors can quickly cut off the power source if something goes wrong (unlike pressure cookers, where you have no control over heat unless you turn it off). Once heat and pressure levels inside the instant pot return to normal, its cooking pressure resumes.
Instant pots have pre-set temperature and pressure levels for different cooking types. So even if you forget to command a particular temperature/pressure that you consider safe, the instant pot will do just fine.
What Are the Safety Features Of an Instant Pot?
The best thing about instant pots is the safety features they come with. Apart from quick and convenient cooking, your instant pot is perfectly capable of remaining safe throughout its stay in your kitchen.
Instant pots use electricity to pressure cook your food, and maintaining a safe heat level is the most crucial part for them. Whether you’re planning to get an instant pot or already have one, here are the features it certainly has:
Automatic Temperature Control
An instant pot’s automatic temperature control feature regulates the heat inside it depending upon the cooking mode you choose. For instance, the temperature needed for sauteing is considerably lower than cooking beans, and your instant pot knows that already.
When you put the uncooked ingredients in and choose the required cooking mode, the instant pot will decide the safe level of heat needed according to the cooking mode. There’s also manual temperature control, but this one doubles the security if you choose higher than needed heat.
Your instant pot comes with a built-in pressure controller to ensure the pot never crosses the safe pressure limit.
The average pressure needed inside an instant pot is 10.2 to 11.6 psi for most cooking types. If the pressure crosses this limit and reaches up to 15 psi, an instant pot quickly releases some hot steam through the vents until it gets back to normal.
The pressure inside an instant pot surpasses the safe limit when adding too much cooking liquid and setting it at high heat. This pressure-controlling feature keeps your food from getting soggy and prevents overflowing incidents as well.
Instant pots are fully equipped to deal with everyday cooking challenges and unpleasant situations – a pressure regulator proves that.
Besides the pressure controller that releases hot steam when things get unpleasant inside an instant pot, there’s also a pressure regulator to oversee your meal.
When the pressure inside an instant pot rises above the bearable limit, this regulator notifies the pressure controlling sensors to release steam and balance things.
While the automatic temperature controller selects the correct heat level, this temperature monitoring feature keeps your food from burning. This feature mainly works with the instant pot’s liner and prevents your food from charring/overcooking.
Excess Pressure Release
If you notice a sudden hissing sound while your instant pot is on, that’s because of its pressure release feature.
Sometimes we add extra cooking liquid or fill the pot above its specified limit, eventually creating a pressure vacuum inside. But that’s not a problem in smart instant pots that come with pre-built pressure release valves.
Emergency Temperature and Current Protection
Don’t worry if you forget to fulfill the instant pot’s prerequisites and things head toward a disaster because you still have a backup. An instant pot’s emergency temperature and current protection feature cut its power supply to ensure things remain under control.
No cutting power off doesn’t mean your instant pot shuts off altogether, and you have to cook again. It actually means that the instant pot’s sensors switch its heat mode from cooking to warm settings until the situation is good again.
Once an instant pot’s pressure and temperature are within safe limits, it starts working on your selected mode again.
This emergency feature comes in handy when your recipe requires prolonged cooking, and you cannot risk having an insanely high temperature inside the pot.
Reliable pressure and temperature controls aside, instant pots also have ergonomic designs to make your cooking ventures secure and hassle-free.
our instant pot will come with a lid lock that snugs the lid in place and ensures it doesn’t come off until it’s safe to do so.
If you try to open an instant pot’s lid when its steam hasn’t thoroughly released, it won’t come off because of the lock. This feature helps new cooks familiarize themselves with the instant pot and be confident while cooking with it.
If you fill the instant pot beyond the recommended level, it releases steam when your food is being cooked. When this happens, your food burns and sticks to the pot’s liner, leaving a mess for you to clean.
Therefore, instant pots come with leak detection sensors that activate if steam comes out of them and keeps your food intact.
Lid Positioning Sensors
If you hastily close an instant pot’s lid and it doesn’t fit right, it can malfunction big time. But that’s not a problem with advanced instant pots.
These pots have lid positioning sensors that determine whether or not the lid is safely locked in. When your instant pot’s lid is not secure, it doesn’t start pressure cooking unless you fix it.
All of these safety features make instant pots practical and reliable for everyday use. Sure, some features can vary depending upon the model you select; most of them remain the same.
So if you’re afraid of using an instant pot because of bad experiences with stovetop pressure cookers, stop worrying because these are smart ones!
How Often Does An Instant Pot Explode?
Instant pots do not explode if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and don’t recklessly experiment with them. And since most reliable instant pot manufacturers provide you with easy-to-follow user manuals, there’s hardly any ambiguity left for you.
There have been a few reports of instant pots malfunctioning, but they mainly associate with faulty models and mediocre-level brands. If your instant pot is from a high-end brand and you have thoroughly read its instructions manual, there’s nothing for you to worry about.
Even when temperature and pressure go insane inside an instant pot (which is highly unlikely), they only overflow and don’t explode.
How Do I Keep My Instant Pot Safe From Exploding?
If you’re going to use an instant pot for the first time, devour its user manual before proceeding. This manual will include safe temperature limits, recommended pressure settings, and several precautionary measures to keep your instant pot from exploding.
One solid rule for instant pots is using the optimum amount of cooking liquid and adding a practical amount of uncooked ingredients.
If you overfill an instant pot with food, its vents can get blocked, and your meal will come out mushy. And when you add a more than needed quantity of water, you’ll notice several rounds of steam release instead of one.
Ensure the wall outlet your instant pot connects to is safe, the pot’s vents are clean, and you choose the correct heat level depending on the amount of food – the rest is all good.
Have Any Instant Pots Exploded?
Yes, there have been reports of instant pot explosions in different regions. Some incidents occurred because the pot malfunctioned, while users’ careless handling caused others. Some severe injuries and burns have also been reported in these instant pot explosions.
Is It True That Instant Pots Been Recalled For Safety Reasons?
After a few users complained of faulty instant pots, the brand investigated the matter and recalled its Gem 65 8-in-1 multicookers from several batches. The faulty batches were 1728, 1730, 1731, 1734, and 1746, which faced occasional meltdowns and abrupt temperature changes.
Thanks to their safety standards, we haven’t seen any filed reports or complaints about instant pots malfunctioning other than this model.
Since instant pot explosions are dangerous, manufacturers always comply with public safety standards and provide you with cookers that don’t compromise your well-being.
Does Snopes Say The Instant Pot Explosion Is True Or Is It A Myth?
According to Snopes, there have been 140 reports of faulty instant pots across the country. Once several users registered complaints of their instant pots melting down or overflowing, the brand started looking into the matter and recalled its Gem 65 8-in-1 multicookers and offered free replacements. Apart from these faulty multicookers, Snopes doesn’t report anything about instant pot explosions.
When Instant Pot® received complaints of its multicookers melting down and overflowing, it instructed the customers to stop using them right away and avail free replacements. At the same time, it started investigating the causes behind such incidents.
Instant pots are becoming increasingly popular and reliable cookers worldwide, thanks to their time-smart operations. When in a hurry, take your instant pot out and make a quick meal without impacting its nutritious value; easy peasy!
However, instant pots’ safety is always an ongoing debate. People doubt these pots’ reliability and are concerned if their instant pot will explode if something goes south.
Today I answered everything I knew about instant pots and their safety features so that you make an informed decision. So, weigh the pros and cons of an instant pot and buy one from a trusted seller to get the best value for your money!