How To Stop A Pressure Cooker Burning On Bottom

A pressure cooker helps you get healthy, delicious meals on the table much faster than conventional stovetop or oven cooking methods.

And with the excellent safety features and high-function options found in modern pressure cookers, more people are quickly becoming fans of using pressure cookers at home.

But like with every appliance, you may end up facing some issues when using your pressure cooker.

One common problem seems to be the burning of food on the bottom of the pot. As convenient as pressure cookers can be, it is frustrating to open a pot of food, ready to serve, to find out you’ve lost two-thirds of it because of burning.

But what do you do when the bottom of your pressure cooker starts burning? If this is happening to you and you are not sure how to stop it from happening again, then keep reading!

In this blog post, we will go over some of the best ways to prevent a burned pot on the bottom of your pressure cooker.

Why Does Food Burn On The Bottom Of My Pressure Cooker?

There are many reasons why food is burning on the bottom of your cooker. Many of the reasons are linked to:

  • Not using the pressure cooker according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Other causes involve some malfunctioning of the cooker, like not sealing correctly.
  • The last reason is related to the actual design of the cooker.

Why does improper use of your cooker cause burnt foods?

As with any appliance, you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Although pressure cookers are simple to use, there is still special guidance you should pay attention to.

Plus, it can be dangerous not to use appliances the way they were designed. Below are the most common reasons why foods burn at the bottom of pressure cookers.

You are overfilling the cooker. If you are in a rush to get food on the table or you have extra guests around for dinner, you may be tempted to overfill the cooker. 

However, you’ll end up with too much food in the pot and therefore not enough room for the steam and pressure to build.

The result is more of the food remaining drier, and while touching the bottom of the inner pot, it will then more than likely burn.

You are not using enough liquid. The liquid (such as water, stick, etc.) will boil away very quickly if you don’t add enough of it to the pot.

The pressure and temperature will both rise too high, too fast, causing the food to start burning before the recommended cooking times.

You are cooking with the heat too high. Pressure cooker users are often tempted to use very high heat when cooking.

The idea is to raise the temperature and pressure to ideal levels quickly. However, if not done carefully, you will end up overheating the cooker and burning your food.

You are cooking beyond the recommended cooking times. If you’re accustomed to stovetop cooking, you may overestimate the time it will take to cook food in a pressure cooker.

Leaving food in the pressure cooker beyond the ideal cooking time is a primary culprit of burnt food.

How do cooker maintenance issues lead to burnt food?

Sometimes issues with your cooker are not due to user error but instead defective or malfunctioning cooker parts.

This is why it is essential to check your pressure cooker before and after each use to ensure all of its critical components are in working condition.

Here are key things to look out for that could be why your cooker is burning your food.

Your cooker has a poor seal. Pressure cookers need an excellent seal to reach the elevated temperatures and pressures required to cook food fast. The pressure in the pot raises due to trapping the steam released from the boiling water.

If you have a poor seal, the water rapidly boils away as steam escapes the pot. This leads, again, to food in direct contact with a much hotter surface, causing burning.

Your cooker has malfunctioning safety valves. Pressure cookers have two valves, a safety valve and a pressure regulating valve. The safety valve kicks in to reduce pressure when the pressure regulating valve malfunctions.

If these valves are not working correctly, cookers can reach much higher pressures and temperatures than they are designed to use. Not only does this burn food, but it can also cause the pressure cooker to explode.

Our article called How Do Pressure Cookers Explode looks at this in more detail.

How does cooker design contribute to burnt food?

The last possible reason food is burning at the bottom of your pot is due to the inability to stir. In a regular stovetop pot, or even with cooking in the oven, you typically access the food to adjust ingredients.

The pressure cooker design makes the food it is cooking inaccessible until the end of the cooking time. This means food is more likely to stick to the pot, overheat, and eventually burn as you cannot check on it and stir if needed.

6 Ways to stop a pressure cooker burning on bottom

At this point, you may have an idea why your cooker is burning your meals. It may be because of improper use of the pressure cooker, malfunctioning cooker parts, or just based on how the pressure cooker is designed.

Whatever the reason your food is burning inside your pressure cooker, check out these tips to help you stop it.

Once you’ve figured out your problem, check below to see how you can stop your pressure cooker from burning your food again.

#1 Pay attention to cooking times.

Read your manual to figure out what the recommended cooking times are for different types of foods. Make sure you do this before cooking new meals in your pot.

#2 Bring cooker to pressure on low heat. 

There’s no need to rush the process – pressure cookers are already almost twice as fast as other processes.

Bringing the cooker to pressure on a low heat will only take an additional minute or two, and you won’t end up with a black tarry mess at the bottom of your pot.

#3 Bring food to a boil and stir before you seal.

If you don’t want to raise the pressure on low heat, consider bringing the food to a boil first and stirring the food before you seal. This will keep solids from sitting, sticking, and burning at the bottom of your pressure cooker pot.

#4 Avoid overfilling the cooker.

Every cooker has a fill limit, so make sure you know the recommended levels for your pressure cooker. Overfilling can be very dangerous, leading to over-pressurization of the pot.

Plus, you’ll likely end up with a tough cleanup job with foods burning at the base of the pot. You can read more about this in our article What Happens If You Overfill A Pressure Cooker

And be extra mindful of foods that expand when cooking, like oats and rice.

#5 Avoid underfilling with liquid.

At the opposite end is underfilling your cooker – in this case, not adding enough liquid. Not only can this lead to over-pressurizing the pot, but also the burning of your food.

Always know the recommended amount of liquid to add for each type of food or meal.

#6 Be mindful of particular foods. 

Certain foods are prone to burning much easier than others. You want to pay close attention when preparing them in your pressure cooker. Here are some examples:

Foods that are very high in starch contentFoods like rice, beans, and oats burn easier than other types of food.

Be extra mindful of having enough liquid in your pressure cooker when preparing them. Also, you should add about two-thirds of these types of foods (rather than the typical one half for other foods) to avoid overfilling your pot.

Milk or Cream. Milk-based dishes are sometimes tricky to cook in a pressure cooker. And if cooked directly, they will overheat and end up burning at the bottom of the pot.

Make the milk and cream-based ingredients the last thing you add to your pot.


Knowing the various reasons for food getting burnt on the bottom of a pressure cooker can help you avoid this problem in the future.

Consider how you’ve been using your pressure cooker, and see which is the most likely reason for your burnt meals.

Then take a look at those six tips to fix your problem, as well as improve how you’re maintaining and using your pressure cooker.

Remember, you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to use your cooker.

Following the proper guidance will extend the life of your pressure cooker, and keep meal preparation efficient and straightforward, just like the pressure cooker was designed to do for you.

Trying to cut corners with pressure cookers can be dangerous and will just lead to issues further down the road.

It is great how pressure cookers can help you get meals on the table much faster than traditional cooking methods.

Getting to know and understand how to take care of a pressure cooker will help stop your pressure cooker burning on bottom. 

Use the tips above to help stop your cooker from burning your food, so you can get back to enjoying a quick, easy meal.

I hope you found the information above helpful and know how to stop a pressure cooker burning on bottom. I am here to help you with all of your pressure cooker needs!

If you are looking for more stuff to read, why not check out our:
Pressure Cooker Articles
Pressure Cooker Reviews
Pressure Cooker Recipes

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a few different reasons for food sticking to the bottom of your pressure cooker. One example is when there isn't enough liquid in the pot. Ensure to add enough liquid for each type of food or meal, and remember to account for how much that particular food expands when boiling (such as pasta or rice). Another way that food can stick at the bottom is when you're low on cooking time, and things are cooking quickly. Try lowering the heat and adding more liquid before sealing the cooker at this point.

The most common reason for a burned message on an Instant Pot is when there isn't enough liquid in the pot. Be sure to add enough liquid for each type of food or meal so that nothing sears at the bottom, especially with foods high in starch like rice, beans, and oats.

The first thing to do is soak the inner pot in hot water and dish soap for at least an hour. Then use a scrubbing pad to try and remove the baked-on food. If that fails, try using baking soda to remove the remaining stains.

There are many ways to avoid this problem in future cooking sessions: be mindful of particular foods, make sure there is enough liquid in the pot, and cook at the correct temperature. Remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific pressure cooker before trying anything else.

You should always use a proper pressure cooking technique, or you may end up with burnt food on the bottom of your stovetop!

6 Great Pressure Cookers

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Instant Pot Duo

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Yedi 9-in-1 Cooker

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Ninja Foodi 8-Quart

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All American 921

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Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus

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Breville Fast Slow Pro