I was trying to cook on my instant pot, and that’s when I noticed it’d been more than thirty minutes, and steam was still escaping from the pot.

Should steam come out of Instant Pot while cooking? To add to my worry, the pot wasn’t pressurizing at all. As an instant pot user, I’ve faced this situation many times.

Sometimes during preheating, pressurizing, and even in the sealing position, my instant pot kept leaking steam. And every time, there was a different issue behind that.

I thought, why not write down my experience on how I determine and solve the issues of steam escaping from my instant pot to help you out?

So, I’ve made a list of problems, solutions, and tips you need to avoid the steam leaking problem. Continue reading to know more.

Should Steam Come Out of Instant Pot While Pressurizing?

I have talked about how you’ll run a water test, but what if the water test fails? If the water test fails and the instant pot doesn’t come under pressure, it has issues.

Now, how will you determine what’s the problem? That’s what I’m here to tell you. Remember, when explaining the water test, how I talked about a small amount of steam escaping while the instant pot comes to pressure or during the time of pre-heating?

Yes, steam coming out during pressurizing or preheating is normal only if it’s a small amount because the pot turns liquid into steam to come to pressure. And then pressurization is completed.

But if you see steam escaping through the edges of the lid in a large amount, and later on you see the pressure isn’t built, that means your instant pot is facing a steam leaking problem.

Also, the waiting time for the instant pot to come to pressure is thirty minutes. A minute more than that, and you notice steam still escaping even in small quantities; that also implies the problem of steam escaping.

Another point is after the pressurizing is completed, your instant pot will automatically seal. If you see steam escaping in the sealing position, it also indicates that the instant pot has issues with steam leaking.

If you experience any of these issues, you will need to find the reasons quickly to resolve the problems.

instant pot leaking steam while cooking

Why Is My Instant Pot Leaking Steam?

People using instant pots keep complaining about how steam leaks from their instant pots while trying to cook. As an instant pot user, I have faced this situation so often that I’m certain you’ve also gone through this.

Now, I’m here with all the reasons that might be responsible for your instant pot leaking steam so that you can address and fix them quickly.

1. The Pressure Valve is Wrong Position

When you’re pressure cooking, the pressure release valve must be in the sealing position. Sometimes unknowingly or accidentally, we put the valve in the venting position, and the steam starts to leak.

Also, if you turn your steam release button anti-clockwise instead of counterclockwise, the steam release valve will go down, which is the vent position. So, the steam will leak.

2. The Sealing Ring or the Gasket Issue

The pressure valve is in the right position, and you notice your instant pot is still leaking steam after or before building pressurizing. Do you know what that means if steam comes from an instant pot in a sealing position?

That means it has something to do with the sealing ring. There are five possible causes behind your sealing ring or the gasket acting up-

  1. First, your sealing ring is missing. Maybe after washing it, you forgot to put it back.
  2. Second, your sealing ring is not seated properly inside the lid.
  3. Third, your sealing is broken, warped, or cracked.
  4. Fourth, your sealing ring has expanded because of using it for many years or washing it the wrong way.
  5. Fifth, the sealing ring is not washed properly and is filled with food debris.

3. The Lid isn’t Clean or Broken:

As an instant pot is used frequently, debris or food subsidies may remain around the lid area. And these small particles of food can stop the lid from sealing, creating steam leaking.

Sometimes, without us noticing, the lid might be damaged because of dropping or stored in the wrong place. If a lid is broken, steam will not stop leaking from the instant pot.

4. Insufficient Liquid

People often make mistakes even after knowing the instructions for the quantity of liquid we ought to use.

And, without the right amount of liquid required for cooking, an instant pot doesn’t build enough pressure. Which means steam keeps escaping without building pressure.

5. The Inner Pot is Not the Right One:

The Instant Pot is designed to work with its specific inner pot. Using a pot from a different model or brand could prevent the lid from sealing properly and cause steam to escape.

I’ve made this mistake so many times that I’m sure you’ve done the same as me. You may have used the incorrect inner pot size if you have two different instant pots.

If you mistakenly grab the small inner pot, steam will leak.

6. The Valve or Metal Ring is Damaged:

The pressure valve is the one that determines whether your instant pot will build pressure by keeping the steam or release it by venting. If the valve is damaged, this might be another reason.

Inside the steam release valve of your instant pot, there is a metal safety clip. The metal ring of the valve can be damaged or bent over time or while shipping, which will make your instant pot release steam at an unusual rate.

7. Burnt food at the bottom of the inner pot:

As you already know, the liquid needs to make contact with the inner pot to build pressure and steam. If the liquid doesn’t get in touch with the bottom of the inner pot because of scorched food, the instant pot won’t build steam.

However, there are reasons why burnt or scorched food, can stay at the bottom of the inner pot.

  • If, after sauteing, brown bits stick to the bottom.
  • If the liquid you’re using is thick such as tomato, mole, or pasta sauce.
  • If you put starchy food like pasta or rice on the bottom of the pot instead of putting them on top of other food ingredients without mixing them up.
  • If you’ve filled your instant pot with so much food, there isn’t any space for the liquid to circulate.
steam coming out of instant pot in sealing position

8. The Liquid Quantity Is Too Much:

If you put more water or any other liquid than it’s necessary for the recipe, your instant pot won’t be sealed. And that will result in steam escaping from your instant pot.

To solve this problem, you must ensure you’re not overfilling your Instant Pot. Generally, the instant pot should never be filled more than two-thirds full.

9. The Steam Release Handle is Missing

The steam release handle is critical to the Instant Pot’s pressure regulation system. If it’s missing, the Instant Pot won’t be able to maintain pressure, and steam will continuously escape.

As every part of an instant pot is cleaned, it’s common for you to forget to put the handle in its place as it’s not that noticeable. This may result in steam leaking as well.

10. The Locking Pin of the Lid is Stuck

The locking pin, also known as the safety pin, is a part of the Instant Pot’s lid-locking mechanism. If it’s stuck or not functioning properly, the lid may not seal correctly, allowing steam to escape.

So, steam will keep escaping if the lid-locking pin at the back of the lid gets stuck in a retracted position.

How to Fix Instant Pot Steam Escaping Problem?

If you’re still here reading this article, I’m sure you are facing the same problem as me; steam is leaking from your instant pot.

As I’ve already mentioned the reasons behind steam leaking, let’s jump in with all the solutions you need without delay.

Inspect the Pressure Valve:

If you’re cooking on your instant pot, you need to make sure the pressure valve is in the seal position. So, always double-check and put the valve in the sealing position, not the vent.

Always be mindful of steam that might escape rapidly when adjusting the pressure valve. If your instant pot pressure valve is damaged or not working properly, you may need to replace it.

Set Sealing Ring Properly & Tighten Exhaust Valve:

Open your instant pot and push down the sealing ring around the ring rack. After putting the sealing ring, rotate it around the rack. If you can do that, then you’re good to go.

While using your instant pot, always watch whether your exhaust valve is locked or not. If it is loose, Carefully tighten the exhaust valve by rotating it anti-clockwise but make sure it’s not too tight.

Replace the Sealing Ring If It’s Damaged:

If the sealing ring is damaged, expanded, or cracked, you must replace it. I know there are no instructions to remove and reinstall the silicone ring of an instant pot in the manual.

So I thought I would just walk through the steps so you can change the sealing ring on your own next time.

  • First, buy a sealing ring for your instant pot. You will find it in online and offline stores.
  • Second, you’ll just pull up the sealing ring with your hand.
  • Third, the part where you fit your sealing ring that’s foolproof. So that you can’t see what goes in or out, take a little spoon and keep pushing the new sealing ring from where you pulled up the last one.
  • Fourth, you’ll find a middle ring, keep pushing the sealing ring until it locks into place and hug the middle ring. Just by following these easy steps, you can replace your sealing ring.

Wash Sealing Ring, Pot, and Lid:

After every use, wash every part of your instant pot and lid. To clean the lid and pot, take warm soapy water and clean it thoroughly.

With cold and soapy water, wash the sealing ring. However, as there are many small parts of the lid, take a toothpick and brush and soak them in soapy water.

Then wash the lid and look for any food residues. And then wipe off the parts with cotton material.

Replace the Pressure Valve, the Lid, and the Metal Ring:

If you find out that the lid or pressure valve is damaged, you must replace them immediately.

In the case of the lid, many options are available according to the instant pot you’re using. So, you just need to find a replacement from a local or online store.

But, the scenario is different for the valve and the metal ring. More than finding a replacement is required, you have to consult a professional because it is not easy to put on a valve on the instant pot on your own.

Wash Away the Scorched Food:

Open your instant pot, and remove every ingredient. Then, soak the pot with warm water and dish detergent for 5-10mins.

Then, remove everything that’s inside using a plastic or wooden scraper. Finally, just wash it with a towel.

Unlock the Lid Locking Pin:

The spring-loaded pin of your instant pot might get stuck, resulting in steam leaking. You need to push on the pin from inside and outside and keep jiggling it.

The pin will reset automatically. Also, you must clean the lid locking pin regularly.

Precautions to Avoid Instant Pot Steam Leaking:

To stop your instant pot from leaking steam, only fixing the problems is not enough. You must take some precautionary measures to end the problem before it arrives.

  • Never exceed the “Pressure Max” level of the inner pot when you’re pressure cooking.
  • Never fill the inner pot with liquid. Follow the maximum and minimum quantity according to the recipe and manual.
  • Always remember to put back on the sealing ring and the steam-releasing handle after washing.
  • Always clean your sealing ring with cold water.
  • Always double-check before using the instant pot; so you never pick the wrong one.
  • Check your instant pot and its parts every month to ensure all the parts are intact and not damaged in any way.
  • After every use, make sure to wash your instant pot thoroughly.
  • Never use a liquid that’s too thick to cook. When cooking starchy food, do not mix them; just place them on top of other ingredients.
  • Never obstruct the steam release handle while pressure is being released.
  • Always open the lid after the float valve is down.
  • Never fill the pot more than half while cooking foods that expand.

If you follow the solutions along with the precautionary measures I mentioned, without any problem, you will be able to cook on your instant pot without it throwing tantrums.

Final Verdict

Finally, you’ll no longer be confused about whether should steam come out of Instant Pot while pressurizing or not. You’ll know exactly how to look for problems and solve them quickly.

However, if your instant pot escapes steam while cooking, you must follow these solutions to fix it. Please leave a comment if the solutions and tips I provided make it easier for you to use your instant pot.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

How much time is standard for an instant pot to leak steam?

It takes up to thirty minutes for pressure to build, so wait up to thirty minutes. If steam keeps escaping even after that and pressure doesn’t build, it means there is a problem with your instant pot.

Should steam come out of the instant pot once it’s sealed?

No, steam shouldn’t come from the instant pot once the float valve is in the sealing position (upper side). If steam comes out of the instant pot once it’s sealed, the sealing ring or valve may be damaged.

Why is my instant pot making a “hiss” sound while preheating?

When steam escapes from an instant pot, it makes a “hiss” sound. And it’s normal if it’s during preheating. So, you should not worry about the “hissing” sound while Steam releases.

Is the instant pot safe to use?

Yes, it’s safe to use. The instant pot has a lot of safety measures that detect any threat you might face. So you can use it without any worries. However, you should follow the user manual while using an Instant Pot.

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