Instant Pot Natural Release Not Working? – Here’s How To Fix It

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Instant pots are popular among many households and are great for cooking tasty meals in half the time.

An instant pot natural release can be broken and not work due to a mechanism that is stuck or a smaller piece of food such as rice or grains is stuck and causing the natural release to stick. This can be fixed by replacing the valve or cleaning the valve after each use.

In this article, we are going to talk about what can cause an instant pot natural release to stop working, how to fix and what you should be doing to care for your instant pot.

Why Is The Natural Release On My Instant Pot Not Working?

The process of natural release on an instant pot is a fairly simple one – pressure builds during the cooking period due to steam forming within the pot. The instant pot is a sealed environment, which means that the steam cannot escape, and pressure builds.

To cut a long story short, the natural release on your instant pot won’t be working because a component that causes pressure to be kept within the pot will be broken. This could be several different components within the pot, including the steam release value or the sealing ring which sits inside the lid of your instant pot.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to fix anything that may be wrong with your instant pot – these appliances are designed to last.

What Causes It To Break?

It’s likely that you might not know that the natural release mechanism of your instant pot is broken until you’re already cooking something inside it. In that case, you’ll have an instant pot that’s very high pressure, which can be a dangerous thing indeed.

When cooking with an instant pot, you first add some liquid to the cooking ingredients. This liquid turns to steam, increasing the internal pressure of the instant pot. Natural release just means that you allow the internal pressure of the instant pot to slowly release through the steam vent which is included in the lid of the pot.

Over the course of fifteen minutes, the pressure will equalize, making it safe to open the instant pot.

The Steam Handle Is In The Venting Position

If your instant pot will not release pressure naturally, then it’s likely that the steam handle is already in the venting position. This would mean that pressure hasn’t built within the pot, leading to your pot simply being unable to vent pressure that isn’t there.

Alternatively, you may have knocked or otherwise accidentally triggered the steam release handle, leading to the pressure venting very quickly. If the pressure of the pot has equalized, you will not be able to naturally release any pressure.

Steam Vent Is Blocked

When the cooking time that you programmed into the pot finishes, steam will automatically start to naturally vent from the steam value on top of your instant pot. You can, at that point, choose to rapidly vent the steam if you want.

If you cannot naturally release steam into the room that you’re in, and the steam release valve will not release steam manually either, then the steam release valve itself may be blocked.

This is a fairly common problem due to the fact that a lot of people use their instant pots to cook fine foods like rice or quinoa – the small grains can sometimes get caught in the steam valve, leading to a clog which can impair the overall function of the machine.

Sealing Ring Isn’t Properly Seated

The final thing that could be wrong with the pressure system of your instant pot is the sealing ring. In order to generate and maintain a reliable seal, any appliance will need to use a rubber sealing ring. In the case of your instant pot, the sealing ring can be found within the lid and is designed to be removed and replaced after a while of use.

If your sealing ring isn’t properly seated, is missing, or has hardened due to time and use, then it will not be able to create a proper seal. This means that while your instant pot may have been supplying heat to the inner chamber, you will not have been effectively cooking your food.

How To Fix Natural Release On An Instant Pot

Fixing the natural release mechanism is typically very simple as it’s a very straightforward problem. Here, we’re going to quickly run through fixing some of the most common problems.

The Steam Handle Is In The Venting Position

This is a very simple problem with a very simple solution. To make sure that your instant pot is retaining steam and pressure as it should be, simply make sure at the start of every cooking process that your steam release handle is in the appropriate position.

Before and during cooking, it should not be venting steam. Instead, you should be retaining steam to maintain pressure.

Steam Vent Is Blocked

This is another simple problem with a simple solution, though it can get a little trickier. To check if your steam vent is blocked, first remove the lid of your instant pot and check the inside hole of the steam vent. If the hole is blocked at all, simply remove the offending substance, and try again to maintain a seal and build pressure.

If that first attempt doesn’t work, then there may be a blockage within the steam valve itself. This is a much more involved procedure that may involve replacing the steam valve entirely. We’d recommend getting in touch with Instant Pot’s customer support in order to seek their advice on how to solve this problem safely and efficiently.

Sealing Ring Isn’t Properly Seated

This is a problem that has been designed to be easy to solve. A rubber seal in any piece of equipment is a serviceable part, meaning that it will need to be replaced after a given number of uses.

You can find a number of step-by-step guides online, but the process itself is fairly intuitive. After you’ve sourced another sealing ring, remove the lid of your instant pot and place it on the countertop upside down. The sealing ring should be very easy to simply pull and remove, before sliding the new one into place.

You may find that the new seal is a little stiff, making it difficult to completely install. To avoid this, ensure that the seal is at room temperature, rather than any colder. Cold rubber is much less pliable than warm rubber and can crack in poor circumstances.

How To Release An Instant Pot Without The Natural Release?

This is a bit of a tricky one. While the pressure within the instant pot is particularly high, the lid will be locked in place. This is done for safety, as rapid decompression done in a non-controlled manner can be very dangerous indeed.

Without a natural release, you’ll have to use the quick-release function of the instant pot to release the pressure. Therefore, simply press the button or twist the handle of your release valve in order to release steam.

Make sure you’re careful not to touch the steam that comes out of the instant pot – it will be exceptionally hot, and likely to burn you.