Pressure cooker, Ramblings
comments 35

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. 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…

  2. Celeste Stroblas says

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

  3. 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.

  4. LD Lawson says

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

  5. M3C2412 says

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

  6. 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 🙂

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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!

  14. 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?

  15. 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. =(

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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 😂😂

  19. CeCe says

    Poured a cup of water into my new IP, looked in and couldn’t figure out where it went until I noticed my countertop was flooded. Thanks for the info. I’m not alone-yippee!!

  20. I’m so glad to find this information. Toddler was helping daddy cook, wanted to pour more water in the saucepan on the stove. Daddy said there was enough water and to pour the rest in the sink. Toddler came up with his own idea of where the water could go, and I was very distressed until I saw this information offering reassurance! I’ll have to come up with a new plan for dinner, but at least I can have hope it’ll work again in a few days.

  21. dyanne says

    hello – did the throw the cup of water in without the inner oops – brand new pressure cooker… saw your guidelines re- drying pot – very much appreciate your explanation and pictures – really helpful, now a waiting game (the suggested 72hrs) 🙂

  22. Penny talbot says

    Thanks a bunch… just poured beans and water into mine and am having a meltdown… did everything you suggested so will wait 72 hours and hope for the best.
    Don’t even have a child to blame… just my old 64 year old self. Doh

  23. Laura L. Malizia says

    My 16yr old son was in one of his talkative moods this evening while I’m pouring a cup of Chicken Broth directly into the pots heating base without the cooking pot (liner)………Thank God I realized immediately before I poured the entire cup. I screwed up BIG TIME!! The chicken broth was pouring out bottom vent all over counter, and when I rushed it over to sink the broth kept pouring out bottom all over my area rugs! Not a happy mama right now, even blamed my 16yr old son for making me not pay attention to my cooking instructions. He replies, “Oh Don’t even try blaming me Mom! Your the dumb dumb that poured it in the cooking base before you put in the liner! Next time you better pay attention!!” Gotta love these teenagers! So I cleaned inside base with wet paper towel & then turned upside down & used paper towel to dry all the wet spots from the vent…….I cannot get that damn screw off bottom to take vent off to air dry for 72hrs……I don’t think I have that special screw driver you suggested above to remove that wierd screw. So I’m leaving upside down for 72hrs. Now that I talked everyone’s ear off……….How about they make the Cooking Pot not removable & noone would be having this problem!

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