Why Pushing Down the Instant Pot Lid is Not a Good Idea

Why Pushing Down the Instant Pot Lid is Not a Good Idea

A timely push on the Instant Pot lid seems like a good idea as it seems to immediately popup the floating valve, seal the pressure cooker, and speed up the whole cooking process!

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Instant Pot Floating Valve

Steam is coming out of the floating valve…
The metal pin is dancing up and down…
This is so tempting.
Let’s push down the pressure cooker lid to seal it all up!

A Major Reason Why Food is Undercooked

Let me tell you this. Pushing down the Instant Pot lid is actually one of the top reasons why your food comes out undercooked in the Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker.

Without going all nerdy right off the bat, let me explain this to you in human language.

If the lid is pushed down to force seal the Instant Pot, air will be trapped inside the pot. Since air has a lower heat capacity than steam, it will reduce the cooking temperature.

Let’s Look at Some Experiment Data

We did 9 tests with temperature trackers inside 5 different models of Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cookers. The results support this theory.Instant Pot Test Kitchen

Experiment Results from Instant Pot DUO60 Version 2

Model: Instant Pot IP-DUO60 V2 Electric Pressure Cooker
Temperature trackers directly submerged in 2 cups of water
Cooking Time: High Pressure for 5 minutes

DUO60 V2 Push Instant Pot Lid Chart

Black color (Peaked at 241°F/116°C) – Naturally sealed
Blue color (Peaked at 237°F/114°C) – Force sealed by pushing the Instant Pot lid down while steam is floating through the floating valve
Red color (Peaked at 230°F/110°C) – Force sealed immediately when placing the Instant Pot lid on

Experiment Results from Instant Pot Smart

Model: Instant Pot Smart Electric Pressure Cooker
Temperature trackers placed on a trivet in 1 cup of water
Cooking time: High Pressure for 10 minutes

Instant Pot Smart Push Instant Pot Lid Chart

Black color (Peaked at 231°F/110°C) – Naturally sealed
Blue color (Peaked at 224°F/107°C) – Force sealed by pushing the Instant Pot lid down while steam is floating through the floating valve
Red color (Peaked at 200°F/93°C) – Force sealed immediately when placing the Instant Pot lid on

Conclusion from the Instant Pot Lid Experiments

If we calculate the PSI based on the peaked steam temperature at 241°F/116°C, 237°F/114°C, and 230°F/110°C

The psi is 10.64, 9.04, and 6.09 respectively.

We can conclude the following with the experiment data we gathered from the 9 tests:

  1. More Trapped Air = Lower Cooking Temperature: The more air gets trapped inside the Instant Pot, the lower the cooking temperature.
  2. More Significant Impact When Cooking On a Trivet: The cooking temperature reduces more significantly when food is on a trivet and not submerged in the water (i.e steaming).

Solutions to Prevent This Mistake?

Why Pushing Down the Instant Pot Lid is Not a Good Idea

  1. Be Patient & Seal Naturally: Allow the pressure cooker to seal naturally by not forcing or pushing down the Instant Pot lid.
  2. Begin in Venting Position: Always make sure the Venting Knob is in the Venting Position when putting on the Instant Pot lid. Then, turn the Venting Knob to the Sealing Position after closing the Instant Pot lid.
    • Why? With the Venting Knob in Sealing Position, the floating valve may popup immediately if there is hot liquid in the Instant Pot. So, it’s a good habit to have the Venting Knob in the Venting Position first. 🙂
Instant Pot Test Kitchen: we did 9 tests with Temperature Trackers in 5 different models of Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cookers to find the problems with pushing down Lid.

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I am having trouble finding out what’s wrong with my duo. I have used it for a year or so, not too often and I could cook well. Recently the steam escapes from the floating valve or from the side of the lid like a few days ago and I can’t understand what’s wrong. The sealing ring is fine, not damaged or cut, placed well in crease and the floating valve is clean and well positioned, with rubber cap like usual. Today I tried a recipe from the book instant pot fast and easy (ground beef shawarma rice) and most… Read more »

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 80

I don’t believe my lid is defective but occasionally (with lower-volume cooking, generally) I’ll have an issue where there’s a lot of steam noise and the entire cooking cycle completes without sealing. Very rare, but when it happens it’s frustrating and I have to guess how long to continue to cook the food for and whether to add more liquid. Previously I would just push the lid down right away, but after reading this article I might suggest that anybody having this problem wait until the actual cooking countdown starts to push down on the sides and seal the pot.… Read more »


I have the Instant Pot Ultra and I have had to push down on the lid several times because liquid was coming out through the steam release valve and it wouldn’t come to pressure. Once I pushed down on the lid it came to pressure. Are you saying that it’s normal to have steam coming out of the release valve and that eventually it will come to pressure if I don’t push down on the lid? I’m a bit confused about this whole thing. I don’t feel that it would have come to pressure if I hadn’t pushed down on… Read more »


The lid may be fine, but the silicone ring may need to be replaced. They do stretch and eventually fail with use.


Hi, Denise.
I was reading your question and you stated that liquid was coming out the steam valve and then asked if it was normal to have steam coming out. It is completely normal for steam to be coming out while the pot is coming to pressure. It is not normal for liquid to be coming out though and I am concerned you may have your pot too full.

Danielle Shields

This is my absolute favorite pressure cooking website! I love all your tests. I really appreciate the scientific approach to your recipes. My results using your recipes are stellar EVERY time! You guys are awesome. Thank you for all you do!


I loved finding this data. I was wishing I had a sensor to do what you did. I’m wondering if you allowed more steam to release whether it might be possible to achieve slightly higher temps? In other words does the popup valve allow as much air out as possible? My guess is that it probably wouldn’t get much warmer but only data would tell…


I’ve been pressing down to seal my instant pot b/c my there was steam coming out of the pin area and the edges. I put a new sealing ring in my pot and did the water test, my pot never came to pressure and it began counting down. Any help would be wonderful as i love my Instant pot and I want to make sure I’m doing things properly.

Terry Smith

I can’t figure out how to get the lid on my InstantPot. It keeps going crooked. What am I doing wrong?


I am brand new to the Instant Pot, but I don’t get what you mean by “pushing the lid down”. I set the lid on the pot and give it a twist to latch it. That’s it. How do push the lid down any more than that? I didn’t know about having the vent open to begin. That’s good to know. Thank you.

Jo Hannah Fritsch

I don’t push down the lid, but I have had it in the sealed position instead of the venting position before I shut the lid. Thanks for the advice and I will be more careful about that now. Also, I don’t want to use aluminum foil, so what else could I use to keep my dish from boiling over?


I didn’t press the lid the last time I used my IP and I got the overheating error message before the valve sealed.

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