Instant Pot Mishaps: Adding Ingredients Without Inner Pot Or Sealing Ring

Pouring water on Instant Pot without Sealing Ring

Instant Pots are relatively easy to use, but sometimes their simplicity makes it easy to make a mistake, too.

If you accidentally tossed some ingredients into the Instant Pot without the inner pot or sealing ring, you might be in for a bit of trouble. The good news is that you came to the right place to learn how to deal with this mishap.

Throughout this post, we’ll break down what you should do if you forgot to put the inner pot or sealing ring in the Instant Pot, how you can clean the heating element, and tips to open the bottom of the pot. We’ll also discuss common warranty concerns about removing specific components.

So You Placed Ingredients In An Instant Pot but Forgot the Inner Pot

If you accidentally added ingredients in your Instant Pot without the inner pot, you should first unplug the unit, turn it upside down, and safely shake out the contents. 

To speed up the process, use a wet/dry vacuum to suck the remainder of the ingredients out. Wipe dry with a cloth, turn the Instant Pot over and let it dry for 24 hours. Never use chemical cleaners in an Instant Pot.

By the way, I test products, scour the internet, and compile the best of my research all on Simple Lifesaver, so you don’t have to go digging for it. 

After you read this article, check out another recent article, I wrote that addresses all the best safety practices you should know when dealing with an Instant Pot.

How To Clean an Instant Pot Heating Element 

1. Once again, always unplug the Instant Pot to prevent shocks and other hazards. You should never try to fix or clean an Instant Pot when it’s plugged into the wall.

2. Use a damp cloth or towel to wipe and clean the whole heating element and inner lining. Never spray chemical-based cleaning products in an Instant Pot, especially on the heating element. It’ll spread the chemicals throughout the food, making it unsafe to eat. 

3. Flip it over and let it dry. You can also use a chamois or microfiber cloth to get rid of all of the excess moisture. 

Wait for the Instant Pot to dry completely before cooking in it. The leftover water can cause burn marks and electrical issues for the Instant Pot.

As you can see, cleaning an Instant Pot’s heating element isn’t as tricky as it sounds. 

The longer the ingredients stay on the heating element, the more you’ll have to scrub to remove them. 

As long as there are no corroded components, the Instant Pot can be cleaned and used without a problem.

If you prefer a video tutorial, check out this helpful video. 

In a recent article, I outlined the best Instant Pot cleaning tips in 13 easy steps.

Forgot To Put Sealing Ring In Instant Pot

Forgetting to put the sealing ring in an Instant Pot is quite understandable. 

If you recently cleaned all of the components, you should always put the ring back in. 

If you don’t, the pressure won’t build up inside of the Instant Pot. The food won’t cook, and most of the heat will escape through the outer edges.

According to The Kitchen Chair, failure to replace the sealing ring in the Instant Pot can cause pressure irregularities that won’t cook the food properly.

Chicken, turkey, fish, and other meat will be unsafe to eat since they can’t reach the proper temperature.

Fortunately, you can turn off the Instant Pot, replace the sealing ring under the lid, and turn it back on without a problem. If you’re losing pressure due to a damaged sealing ring, replace it right away! 

You can find reasonably priced Instant Pot sealing rings here. Make sure to buy the right size for your Instant Pot. I always keep spares instead of waiting till I need them.

Instant Pots work by providing immense amounts of pressure; Without the ring, there’s no way for the pot to build up enough pressure to cook anything. It’ll simply act as a warm pot.

The easiest way to know if the ring is properly placed inside of the Instant Pot is to keep an eye out for steam around the edges. 

The ring should be able to hold all of the moisture inside of the pot, which is why the pressure gets so high. If there’s steam, turn off the pot, let it cool down to room temperature, and adjust the ring.

Instant Pots are fairly simple to use. But there are so many cool things you can do with it that many people don’t even know. 

Lucky for you, I wrote a master guide where I compiled all the tips, tricks, and charts users should know.  

How To Open The Bottom Of My Instant Pot

To open the bottom of your Instant Pot, follow these instructions:

Please note: Disassembling your Instant Pot may void your warranty, so proceed at your own risk 

1. Make sure the Instant Pot is unplugged and cooled down, then flip it over. Pulling off the bottom of the Instant Pot shows the wires, so you don’t want them to have electricity going through them when you open it.

2. Unscrew the retaining screws (there are between one to four, depending on the model). You’ll need a screwdriver to access the screws since most of them are set deep in the retaining plate. If you have an off-brand pot, you might need a flathead screwdriver instead. My particular one has only 1, Which is fairly easy to access.

3. Remove the bottom plate to reveal the wires under the Instant Pot. Make sure you’re far from water, ingredients, and anything else that can make its way into the Instant Pot. 

Opening the bottom of your Instant Pot will let you access the electrical components, but it won’t do much when it comes to cleaning the unit. 

If water gets under the bottom plate, or other ingredients removing the plate will give you the opportunity to shake it out. 

Try this quick disassembly video:

YouTube video

If you’ve read this far in the article, here is another cool article that teaches you how to use your Instant Pot to sterilize infant feeding items.

Will I Void My Warranty By Opening My Instant Pot?

You will void your warranty by opening the bottom of your Instant Pot if you try to repair, fix, or replace anything. 

The guidelines clearly state that the Instant Pot shouldn’t be modified or adjusted by the user since it can alter the unit’s performance. 

If you think something is wrong, turn off the Instant Pot and check if it’s eligible for the warranty service.

The Instant Pot Warranty Guide shows all modifications will void the warranty. Most Instant Pots come with a one-year warranty, so it’s worth sending yours into the repair facility if it fits within the time frame.

It might be tempting to repair the Instant Pot at home, but there’s no way to get a free repair or replacement if you mess things up. 

Always unplug your unit before trying to work on anything other than adding ingredients to the pot.

If you’re an Instant Pot fanatic like I am check out this cool free course I found on Teachable here!


Co-founder, product tester, and editor-in-chief around here.

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