The Instant Pot is a cultural phenomenon in the United States, declared an “entire economy and religion” by Slate Magazine. On amazon.com, Instant Pots have been a top-selling product since Amazon Prime Day in 2016, when over 215,000 were sold in one day.
Millions of Instant Pots have been sold and there are no reports of it causing explosions or burn injuries to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) — likely because the Instant Pot has some of the most advanced safety features of any pressure cooker on the market.
Even so, accidents do happen. All types of pressure cookers pose potential safety hazards, but stovetop pressure cookers are the most dangerous.
They can explode if there are manufacturing defects, if the vent gets clogged, if the lid is opened before the pressure is released, or if safety features fail.
Exploding pressure cookers are extremely dangerous. The temperature inside an Instant Pot can reach 250ºF, which is 40º hotter than the boiling water. This helps cook food faster than a slow-cooker, but if the lid is opened too soon, there will be an explosion of food.
In recent years, dozens of people have been severely injured when they were scalded by hot steam or burned by sticky food and liquid.
There are a few ways to avoid explosions of hot food and liquid. Here are a few tips:
- Don’t “set it and forget it” because your Instant Pot could overheat if it runs out of water
- Use enough water — 1 cup of liquid at minimum
- Don’t risk your Instant Pot overflowing by filling it over half-way
- Be very careful when cooking foods that expand (rice, lentils, beans, cornmeal, etc.)
- Never deep-fry in your Instant-Pot
Anyone who bought an “Instant-Pot Smart-60” may also be at risk of electrical burns. On July 15, 2015, a recall was issued for about 1,000 of the Bluetooth-enabled pressure cookers after 3 reports of consumers who were electrocuted. The Instant Pots were sold between November 2014 and May 2015 for about $250.