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The Case of the Missing Inner Pot

Pressure Cooker Red Pepper Hummus | DadCooksDinner.com

Don’t forget the inner pot!

The cook at our house cooked rice in the instant pot, but since the stainless container was soaking in the sink from the previous use, the cook didn’t remember there was a container to put it in first! So it went directly into the bottom of the InstantPot.

I’ve managed to get most of the burned and uncooked rice out of the InstantPot, but there are a few rice kernels inside. I removed the bottom of the InstantPot and was able to get more of them out this way also. Oil was used along with the water in the cooking process.

Commenter Treva

Oh, Treva, I know exactly how this feels.

Years ago, I was teaching Tim how to pressure cook his favorite side dish – black beans. This was a while ago – I think we were still using my Instant Pot Lux, or maybe my Cuisinart Electric Pressure cooker. Anyway, I showed Tim how to sort beans, and had him set up on the counter next to the kitchen sink. The pressure cooker itself was plugged in on our kitchen island. When Tim finished sorting, I had a great idea – I’ll bring the inner pot to him, and set it in the sink next to him. That way, he can pour the beans into the pot, any beans that miss will wind up in the sink, and we can fill it up with water right there. This all worked great – Tim was ready to go, with the pot full of dried beans and water in his hands.

I told him “Put it in the pressure cooker”, then checked how the other kids were doing (we were all working on Taco Night.) I saw Tim cross the kitchen with the inner pot, lift it…and pour the contents into the pressure cooker base.

I felt like I was moving in slow motion – “Noooo! Stop!” – and most of the beans and water were poured into the pressure cooker base before he realized that something was wrong. Water was streaming out of the pressure cooker base – I found out there are a lot of holes in there. I quickly unplugged the base, then we started mopping up the counter with towels.

Not having any better ideas (like contacting InstantPot.com/support to find out what I should have done), I dumped the beans out and dried the pressure cooker base with paper towels, reaching under the heating element with the edges of towels to try to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. I left the cooker base sitting upside down in our dish drain for a handful of days, until it looked completely dry, then crossed my fingers and plugged it in. And…everything worked! The control panel lit up, all the buttons responded when I pushed them, and a “2 cups of water” pressure test was a success.

That pressure cooker was still chugging along when I upgraded to the Instant Pot Duo a few years later. If it’s the Lux, I passed it on to my sister-in-law, where it is still working.

They must build electric pressure cookers knowing mistakes will be made – liquid will wind up in the base of the cooker – and drain properly. That said, after writing this post, I sent an email off to Instant Pot, asking what I should have done. I’ll update my Instant Pot FAQ with their answer.

Any Instant Pot mistakes you’d like to share?

How about you? Any kitchen disaster stories you’d like to share? (They seem much funnier in hindsight.) Tell us about them in the comments section below.


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Filed under: Ramblings


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Pam says

    In case someone is still looking for an answer to the unfortunate circumstance of pouring dry rice into the IP without the liner.

    Shake it till it all falls out of the bottom vents.

    It didn’t even take that long. I did remove the bottom vent/cover (1 tiny screw). Did not help anything and man is there is a lot of wiring in there!

    Of course if you pour water it will come out directly but I’ve seen reasonable advice to let it dry out for a couple of days before using again.

    I like the idea suggested of putting a spoon/something in the pot when you are cleaning the liner.

    May it never happen again.

  2. Donna says

    I guess there is hope for us!!! I’m hoping my instant pot will work when I turn it on in a couple of days. I feel like such an idiot.
    2 days later!!!
    Yay! It works

  3. Donna says

    I guess there is hope for us!!! I’m hoping my instant pot will work when I turn it on in a couple of days. I feel like such an idiot.

  4. I just did the same think with shredded chicken. Letting it dry out. What a horrible mess, I also feel like an idiot even though I see there are others it doesn’t make me feel much better

  5. Ruthie M. Stamper says

    I accidentally poured 2 cups of dry rice in without the inner liner pot. I found a youtube on how to take it apart but it was too scary for me – have to disconnect all the inside computer parts – so I just shook the shirt out of it – for days and days – until I don’t hear any rice rattling around in there, anymore. I’m about to go use it … fingers crossed.

  6. Chris Netzel says

    My daughter used our rice cookers inner pot in our instant pot. Rice turned out good but the display hasn’t come on since….


    Sunday, I pour 20ozs. of water in with out the liner. Tried taking off the outer plate which had one screw. Turn it upside down. Water wont come out. Still trying. ITS A POWER COOKER PLUS 8 QT.
    I AM ALMOST 68. Can not affort to buy another one. Need help!

  8. Stephanie says

    I just did this. I got a new instant pot as a gift and (cocky cook that I am) followed an online recipe from a favorite food blogger. Well, the recipe didn’t mention using the liner (note to self: read instructions first) and I poured water into the base. It seems to be working OK, but I took the bottom off, held a blow dryer on it for a while, too.

  9. DAVE Reno says

    Did the same with garbanzo beans (cooked) but some went under the heating element. Not sure how to get them out. I tried shaking but they just spin around. is it Toast??

    I did take the bottom off, see all the electronics but no food is not n there. Any thoughts?

  10. Wendy Hon says

    Hi, just did this as well =(
    Any updates regarding FAQs from Instant Pot’s customer service on what they would have done?
    Thanks a million.

  11. Donna Foltz says

    Just did it myself!!!! Dried it out and continued with my recipe. It just came to pressure and I am staying in the other room to be safe!! Fingers crossed!

    • Chumbe Salinas says

      Same here, Alfred! A friend brought me some “menudo” yesterday and I was going to warm it up in my Instant Pot. I put it in a bowl and slipped the bowl into the Instant Pot minus the inner container. I put a cup of water in it and put in on for 10 minutes. When it beeped, I went in to eat some and saw water on the counter. The menudo was still cold (hahaha). I came to the net to see what I needed to do. Right now I have it sitting upside down on a microfiber towel and will try the suggestion of putting a bowl of rice in it for 24 hours. Keeping my fingers crossed! It’s one of those “forehead slapping” mistakes! I hate it when that happens. I’ll update tomorrow or the next day when I turn back on and test it!

      • Any word on this? I just did the same thing to mine and I’m SO concerned it will never work again.

  12. Greybeard says

    I’ve almost done this with my rice cooker. I’ve started putting the paddle in the machine when I take the bowl out, so I can’t make this mistake. Works so far.

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