Instant Pot Pressure Cookers
Instant Pot® pressure cookers were in the Top 5 best-selling products on Amazon.com during the 2017 Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping weekend. Millions have been sold worldwide. Unfortunately, there are reports of Instant Pots exploding and causing burn injuries.
Instant Pot Explosions
Buyer beware — Instant Pots, like all pressure cookers, can potentially explode and cause severe scalds and burns if they are used improperly.
Unlike traditional stovetop pressure cookers, Instant Pots have a number of advanced safety features to help reduce the risk of explosions. Even so, Instant Pots can explode in a few ways.
Why Do Pressure Cookers Explode?
Explosions can occur if there are manufacturing defects, if the lid is opened too soon, if the vent gets clogged, or if safety features like the blowout preventer fail to work properly. Users can also suffer burns if they overfill their Instant Pot or fail to put in enough water.
What is the Problem?
The problem is that exploding pressure cookers are extremely dangerous. Pressure cookers reach temperatures up to 250ºF, which is 40º hotter than the boiling water. This cooks food faster, but it also makes explosions far more dangerous than most kitchen accidents.
Tips to Avoid Instant Pot Explosions
Here are a few tips to avoid explosions involving Instant Pots:
- Make sure you use enough water — 1 cup at minimum, but more water may be necessary
- Avoid leaving your Instant Pot unattended — don’t “set it and forget it” because it could run out of water and overheat, or overflow
- Do not over-fill your Instant Pot more than half-way because it could overflow
- Be extremely careful when cooking foods that get bigger when they cook (rice, lentils, beans, cornmeal, etc.)
- Do not try to deep-fry foods in your Instant Pot
Electrical Burns from Instant Pots
Your Instant Pot may also pose a risk of electrical burn injuries. In June 2015, over 1,000 of the “Instant Pot Smart 60” Bluetooth-enabled pressure cookers were recalled after 3 consumers were electrocuted. They were sold for $250 between November 2014 and May 2015.
Instant Pot Models & Features
Since the Instant Pot was introduced in 2010, the manufacturer Double Insight has added a number of different models and features. The most popular models include:
- Instant Pot Lux – The 1st Instant Pot in the U.S. and the cheapest model
- Instant Pot Duo – Has features like slow cookers, steamers, sauté pans, yogurt makers, warmers and rice cookers.
- Instant Pot Duo Plus – Has the same features as the Duo, plus 3 new features to make cakes, eggs, or sterilize.
- Instant Pot Ultra – Pressure cooker with 10 different features
- Instant Pot Smart – Bluetooth-enabled pressure cooker that can be programmed from your smartphone
- Instant Pot Gem – Larger sized pressure cooker that remembers user preferences
- Instant Pot Nova
- Instant Pot Nova Plus
What are the Safety Features of the Instant Pot?
Instant Pots have at least 10 different safety features to help prevent explosions. The pressure regulators helps prevent the pressure from reaching dangerously high levels that might cause an explosion.
- Pressure Control: The automatic pressure controller keeps pressure in the safe range.
- Anti-Blockage Vent: The anti-blockage vent prevents food and debris from blocking the vent, which could trap steam and cause pressure to get too high.
- Safety Lock Lid: The “safety lock” lid prevents accidentally opening the pressure cooker when it is still pressurized. There is also a sensor on the lid that monitors when the lid is leaking, or it is in an unsafe position for cooking.
- Temperature Control: The automatic temperature control regulates the temperature depending on what type of food is being cooked. There is also a “high temperature sensor” that helps avoid burning food. If the internal temperature exceeds safety limits, there is a fuse cut-off that turns off the electrical current.
Utah Woman Files Instant Pot Lawsuit for Burn Injuries
Instant Pot Lawsuit Filed in Louisiana
In March 2020, a lawsuit (PDF) was filed by Latoya K., a woman from Louisiana who suffered 2nd-degree burns to her abdomen when she was burned by an Instant Pot that exploded hot food when she opened the lid. Click here to read more.
Instant Pot Lawsuit Filed in California
In February 2020, a lawsuit (PDF) was filed against Instant Brands Inc. by a woman from California who was severely burned by an exploding Instant Pot pressure cooker.
The lawsuit claims the Instant Pot is defective because the safety features failed and she was able to open the lid when it still contained a dangerous amount of pressure, resulting in an explosion of hot food. Click here to read more.
Instant Pot Lawsuit Filed for Girl Burned by Explosion
In April 2019, a lawsuit was filed by the family of a 9 year-old girl who suffered 3rd-degree burns on her face and body after an Instant Pot exploded hot soup and steam. Click here to read more.
Texas Woman Burned by Instant Pot Explosion
In March 2018, ABC News reported that a mom from Katy, Texas was severely burned when her Instant Pot exploded in her kitchen. Click here to read more.