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: InstantPot.com/Support

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

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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.

54 Comments

  1. Jeanne Fauci says

    Thanks, Mike for the helpful instructions! I, too, dumped water into the pot without the metal liner in it. I have it upside down with the bottom off and will wait 72 hours as suggested. Fingers crossed!

  2. Just done it.😡🙃😒. Good to find this web page to get some assurance about the process to o follow.
    Put the base for drying. Try it in a few days.,🤞

  3. Rebecca says

    Oh thank you!! I’ve had this for almost a year, and tonight I dumped dry macaroni in it without the liner! Of course it wouldn’t all come out! So i took the base off and had it all out in a matter of minutes! Lucky for me I have a good screwdriver set with the odd bits so i could do it!

  4. Larry says

    I accidentally Dumped beans in the pot without the liner. Got most out by shaking them out, but still a few under the burner that won’t come out. I’m going ahead with cooking some beans. Hope I don’t have a problem.

  5. Linda says

    I poured broth in mine. Checked the package & no fat. Thank Goodness!! Now the question of will it work again wi be answered in 3 days. Thanks for your help.

  6. Stephanie says

    So my issue was a little different.. my butt forgot to put on the seal ring… so all the moisture went around the insert and out the bottom the lcd screen stopped working i unplugged it took the bottom plate off and turned it upside down… we shall see…

  7. Mary M says

    Thank you so much! I’d dumped in a cup of split peas, realized my mistake, and then shook and shook and… finally found this page. Rogue peas are on the kitchen floor now and I can use my instapot again!

  8. Judith Dokmanovich says

    Glad I am not the only one. I thought that I would thaw out a small frozen ham and poured in 2 cups of chicken broth without the liner. I sealed it and pressed the Meat/stew button and the pressure cook button. It set itself for 34 minutes. I was waiting for the On light to go off when I noticed a lot of steam coming out of the top and brown water under the pot. I immediately pulled the plug out, took the lid off and realized my stupid mistake. It was black in places on the bottom and I gently rubbed it off, turned the pot over in my sink to drain it. Should I still take the bottom off or will it be OK to let it dry for a few days before testing it. My Happy Easter isn’t so happy.

  9. Jennifer Hansen says

    This post saved my Instant Pot, and the Lord used the experience of poor communication between my son and myself… and water being poured into our IP without the inner liner pot… as a lesson for us to communicate better and to forgive quickly. Thank you, Mike! Your post helped save a valuable piece of equipment and a priceless relationship.

  10. Prudence Lau says

    Hi Mike. The other day I overfilled my instant pot insert with too much water for my sous vide bath. Yep, some of the water went into the instant pot. I immediately took everything out, shook out the water on both ends. And did exactly what you’ve mentioned, wait 3 days to dry out completely and test the instant pot without the insert at sauté for 3 minutes. I did it twice. Whew, happy ending. It worked out just fine. Grateful.
    Thanks for being here to share what you know.

  11. I am so happy to read these replies! I know I am not the only one…..but-does everyone begin with beans and water???!!! Oh if only!! I began with olive oil-not any old olive oil but special olive oil we brought back from Italy!!!! I poured it in and began to sauté pieces of a chuck roast for pot roast-without the removable bowl! The meat browned quite nicely until I saw oil draining out the bottom!!!
    So you’re saying it’s dead??!!! We removed the bottom and I have wiped out any trace of oil

  12. Will says

    Yes sir leave the inner pot out and water pours right through. I had to do it twice to convince the 67 year old child inside me it was really happening? It’s drying now !!! USE A 2.5 MM ALLEN KEY TO REMOVE THE RETAINING SCREW AND DON’T DO IT AGAIN!!1 🙂

  13. Hi Y’all! I have had my IP for several weeks and i love, love. love it. I rave about it all the time to my husband and this morning suggested he take a go at it. I showed him how to do it, But at the time the inner liner was where it was supposed to be. While I was at the gym he decided to steam some broccoli. so in went the water and veggies …too bad there was no liner in the pot, as I had put it into the sink….so he turned it off and unplugged it. and waited for me to get home.
    I am grateful for being entertained by everyones stories. Thanks..they are fun and helpful
    Tom

  14. 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!

  15. 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

  16. 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) 🙂

  17. 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.

  18. 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!!

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