Pressure cooker, Ramblings
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What to Do if I Dump Liquid Into My Instant Pot Without the Pot Liner

Wait! Stop! Don’t Do It!

Hi, just did this as well =(

Any updates from Instant Pot customer service on what they would have done? Thanks.

Commenter Wendy

This comment sat on The Case of the Missing Inner Pot for a while. (Sorry for the slow response Wendy!)

To summarize the original post: My son and I had a misunderstanding. I said “Put the pot liner full of beans and water into the Instant Pot.” He heard “Dump the contents of the pot liner into the Instant Pot base.” Time slowed down as I watched him pour the water and beans into the cooker base.

What to Do if You Dump Liquid in Your Instant Pot Without the Pot Liner

My solution is the same for all electronics:

  • Unplug it immediately
  • Dry it off as much as possible
  • Leave it to air dry for a few days before powering it back up again.

The danger is an electrical short – electronics burn out if water conducts electricity someplace it’s not meant to go.1 Once it’s dried out, it should be fine, as long as it didn’t short out before I unplugged it.

It worked! That Instant Pot is still chugging along – I’ve moved on, but it’s going strong for my Sister-In-Law.

That said, I was curious. “What would Instant Pot Support do?” Here’s what they had to say about…

Oil: Base needs to be replaced

If the liquid is oil of some kind, we can only safely recommend they replace the base entirely.

Oil won’t evaporate…sorry. Move on to “It’s Dead, Jim.”

Liquid: Wipe out as much as possible, let dry for 72 hours

When liquid gets into the electronics, it is very important to wait at least 72 hours before testing the unit.

The first thing to do is to wipe the inside of the cooker base and heating element with a dry cloth to remove as much of the substance as possible. Next, place the cooker base upside down to let all the liquid drain out of the pot. Additionally, to better dry the electronics, there is a plastic vent cover on the bottom of the base that you can take off (while the unit is unplugged) by removing one screw. [Update: Pics of vent cover below]

Once it is completely dry, you can use the “Saute” function for 3 minutes without the inner pot to see if the unit still heats. Please be sure to monitor your pot the whole time during the test. If the heating element is working properly, it would seem like the cooker base is functioning. If you notice any excessive smoking, please unplug your unit immediately.

The safest option would be to replace the entire cooker base.

Safety? Feh. I’ll go with my “air dry it and hope”. It’s worked for keyboards, cell phones, and an Instant Pot.

Dry: Shake it Out!

And we have an additional one for just dry foods,

The first thing you can do is to turn your Instant Pot over, and try to shake out any food from around the element.

Next, there is a plastic vent cover on the bottom of the base that you can take off (while the unit is unplugged) by removing one screw. [Update: Pics of vent cover below]. Any food you couldn’t get out from the top is likely trapped in there. While you have the cover off, please be gentle with the wires and circuitry, but feel free to reach up into the cooker housing to see if you can get the remaining food out.

I do remember a couple of rogue beans I had to fish out from under the heating element. Luckily, I didn’t have any work their way deep into the insides of my pot.

How to remove the Instant Pot Plastic Vent Cover

That’s the official name of the plastic on the base. My Instant Pot Duo Plus, Instant Pot Ultra, and Instant Pot Max all have the same type of cover on the underside of the base, held in place by a single screw. The screw is a standard Philips head on my Duo Plus and Max, but the Instant Pot Ultra has a Torx T15 screw, which made me dig deep in my toolbox to find a head that would fit.

To help the pot dry out, remove this base. Make sure the pot is unplugged before you remove the base! Water, electronics, and people with screwdrivers do not mix!

Unscrewing the vent cover on an Instant Pot Ultra
(You can see the tabs and notches along the edge of the cover)

Remove the screw, and the vent cover is held in place by tabs on the base. Rotate the vent cover, line up the holes with the tabs on the base, and the vent cover lifts right off.

Vent Cover removed from base of Instant Pot Ultra

When I dumped water in the pot, the vents in the vent cover held on to a lot of water, so I dried it off with a towel and set it next to the pot. There were also drops of water on the electronics board in the base, so I gently – oh so gently – patted it with the edge of a paper towel to lift the water off. Don’t get overly enthusiastic and damage the electronics.

And, AGAIN, please make sure the pot is unplugged before doing any of this!

It’s Dead, Jim.

Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that. If it didn’t work, and the cooker is permanently damaged, you’re not completely out of luck. User damage is not covered by Instant Pot’s warranty, but Instant Pot Support can help you get a replacement cooker base. Contact Instant Pot support for the details:

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts

The Case of the Missing Inner Pot
Which Pressure Cooker Should I Buy?
My Pressure Cooker Recipes

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  1. This is where all the “put your wet iPhone in a bag of rice” advice comes from – the rice is supposed to absorb the water. The rice does not matter – it doesn’t do anything more than air drying – and anyhow I don’t have enough rice to bury my Instant Pot, even with the big 25-pound bag from the Asian market.

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, 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. Jamie says

    I just poured a cup of water into my base without the liner. So thankful I didn’t ruin it since I just bought it YESTERDAY. No food, and it wasn’t plugged in yet. I dried it, flipped it, and removed the bottom cover as instructed. Will wait 3 days and give it a shot. SO GLAD I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO’S DONE THIS 😂😂

  2. Cheryl says

    Thanks for your advise. We followed your instructions but my husband also took the pot to his workshop and used the big air hose on the base. Blew it until no water droplets came out. Three days later I plugged it in and tried the Sauté function (using water) and water came to a boil. Next step was to do a 10 minute water test and it passed the test. Hallelujah I am into IP cooking again. Hopefully I have no more screwups.

  3. Kris says

    Thank you so much for this! My Instant Pot innards have just survived a rice-and-broth bath thanks to my following your instructions. Stinks a bit but works fine. You’re a lifesaver!

  4. Theresa Simoneaux says

    I just sauteed ground beef without the liner. My 11 year old said, “Mom, is it supposed to smoke like that?”
    And I was just getting the hang of this thing. =(

  5. Kathleen Hayden says

    I put 1.5 cups in the liner….I realized it within a few minutes. ..I have it upside down now …how soon can I try and use it again?

  6. Sydney Reyff says

    You saved my new mini instapot! I am a newbie at this and of course, put in my pot roast and even poured my cup of water with Lipton onion soup right into the pot … with no liner. I was SO surprised to see onions and brown water pouring out onto the counter.
    Thank goodness I found you right away! You made me feel less stupid, and then I followed your suggestions to dry out 76 hrs. after removing bottom cover. (Of course, my electronics were covered in tiny onions. Tweezers helped get them all out)
    Voila! Just plugged it in. Works fine!
    Can’t thank you enough. Really!

  7. Kathy Senseman says

    I poured a pound of dry beans into the pot
    Without the liner. Most of them came out but there are a few that are underneath the heating element. The screw on the bottom will not unscrew. Help!!! Can I use it with beans stuck in it still?

    • Marolyn says

      NO the screw will come out. I did that too and my husband got that screw loose and all I put in were small white beans I had just washed. I had poured the water off and poured the beans in the pot!!! I have not used it and cooked the beans on the stove. I wanted to be sure it was dry. Could not believe I did that!!!! Hopefully I will never do it again.

      • Kim says

        I have the instant pot duo and none of my screwdrivers fit that screw But I was able to unscrew it with scissors. Now I’ll be waiting 72 hours with bated breath. Appreciate the support since I feel a lot less dumb knowing others have done it.

        • Same. Scissors didn’t work but a knife did. Thanks, I was about to give up. Why on earth did they change the screw from a philips screw to this weird one? Everyone has a philips screwdriver. This? Not so much!

          Hope yours recovered!

          I’m now going to start my 72-hour wait. Can’t believe I did this. I’m not even new to Instant Pots so it’s not like I didn’t know better. Combination of brand new Instant Pot that’s unfamiliar, and being on some kind of autopilot.

          I feel less dumb now too.

      • Kristeen says

        I have the duo and mine needed what looks like an allen wrench not a Phillips screwdriver I luckily had a tiny assorted set and the CR-V 2.5 bit worked perfectly

  8. Penny Nowaczyk says

    Well I tried but pot still does not work. I plugged it in and all the lights flashed and a C6 message appeared. good luck to the rest of you.

  9. Penny Nowaczyk says

    Thanks for all the help. I poured au jus in mine. I put a little water to wash off the base. took it apart and used hair dryer on cool setting. Now I have it sitting on its side away from the wires with out the tray and praying it will work. I will let those of you know what happens in a few days.

  10. Jean D says

    So as quick as 1/4 cup water went into my base the light bulb struck. I turned it immediately. However the screw in the base will not unscrew. I’m using a hairdryer on low through the vents in the bottom. How soon do you think I can plug it in?

    • Ooops says

      That screw has a nonstandard slot.

      Use a small regular or needle-nose pliers to gently grab the head of the screw and turn it counter clockwise. Do it over a counter or space where if you drop the screw you won’t lose it.

      Put the screw either back in the cover plate or the base while drying out the base, or put it in a marked empty pill container so you don’t misplace the screw.

      Don’t ask me how I came to know all of this (: >)

      • Thank you!!!! I quickly realized it is one of those star-shaped screws. But not a size I have. Did not think of needle-nose pliers. Will try Allen wrench but it looks like a star to me.

    • Pat Brown says

      I poured a cup of water into my instant pot, sans liner, put in basket with eggs, “pressure cooked” for five minutes, quick release, no pressure to release. Did it again, still nothing. Then I noticed the liner in the dish rack. No water left in the pot to speak of, and no shorts. But I followed your instructions, was glad to find them, and the company of others who made the same mistake. Thank you.

  11. Malena Klaus says

    Yep we just prepared soup in the liner and when I handed the pot to my partner and asked him to put it in the cooker he poured it all in -.- Not sure if I should laugh or cry.

  12. Diane Seimetz says

    While I didn’t cook without a liner, my base was accidentally immersed in water. I took a heat gun set on low (a hairdryer might work just as well) and from a safe distance, started gently drying the areas where the electrical elements were housed. Since these are used to being exposed to heat, I didn’t think it could hurt. After a few more days of drying out on the counter, it worked like a charm again.

  13. Rose Stone says

    I did the same thing…i.e., I added dry beans and water without the liner pot! It was only when I looked in the pot and thought, “Where did all the beans go and why is the water so low?!” Then, realized the remaining vegetable soup I made the previous day was still in the pot liner, sitting on the counter top.
    Thank you for your post. I’m getting a screw driver now to unearth the beans, hopefully 🙂

  14. M3C2412 says

    Thanks, my 3 year old just poured rice into mine while the liner was sitting on the table.

  15. LD Lawson says

    Thank you for your post. My husband and I are rolling…especially the It’s dead Jim line!

  16. Dee says

    Thanks for sharing. Just poured water into mine without the liner. I was figuring the same thing, electronics usually survive water if allowed to dry.

  17. Celeste Stroblas says

    So what do I do if food was actually cooked in the instant pot without the liner?

  18. Greybeard says

    For things like this (I started with a rice cooker), I’ve gotten in the habit of putting something like a plastic spoon or measuring cup in the base when the inner pot is removed. That way if I forget and go to put stuff in, I see it and stop. Worked so far…

    • lorna says

      im such a dumbalina!! First time I got the pot out, thats what I did. dumped water into the base. Im so thankful for your helpful instructions, which I had already started to do. Now I wait a few days and hopefully it will work fine.

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