Fixed: Instant Pot Natural Release Not Working

Instant pot natural release not working

Instant pots are not something new among many households. They are highly versatile kitchen appliances that can help you save time and energy. While the best Instant Pots are easy to use, these versatile pressure cookers can often be confusing.

It might be a problem when an instant pot natural release mechanism fails or a smaller piece of food, such as rice or grains, becomes stuck.

And, like any other issue, it is fixable. And believe me, it’s not as complicated as it appears. To do so, you must first identify the source of the problem, which will allow you to identify a solution quickly.

In this article, we’ll go over the causes of Instant pot natural release failure and their potential fixes.

Reasons For Instant Pot Natural Release Not Working

There can be various reasons why the instant pot release is not working. Some of the common causes are listed below.

1. Steam Handle Is Set to Vent 

The instant pot will not seal if the pressure vent knob is set to “venting” rather than “sealing”. It means that pressure hasn’t built up inside the pot, and your pot is unable to vent pressure because it simply doesn’t exist.

It is something that can happen to you at any time! It’s a minor oversight that can easily ruin a meal.

You could also have knocked or otherwise accidentally triggered the steam release handle, causing the pressure to vent swiftly. You won’t be able to naturally release any pressure if the pressure inside the pot has equalized.

2. Broken Component of the Natural Steam Release Valve

Whether you got your Instant Pot years ago or are new to pressure cooking, it can be challenging to maintain your little gizmo in good shape. Lids can fall off, and minor accessories such as the steam valve, sealing ring, and so on can become misplaced. Simply put, things happen, which is why it’s essential to understand how to replace any parts that become worn-down, lost, or broken over time. Of course, at times, it might make more sense to just buy a new instant pot altogether, but a broken release valve is not one of them.

It’s normal not to realize your instant pot’s natural release mechanism is broken until you’re halfway through cooking things within it. If some component of the natural steam release valve is broken, your instant pot will not be able to generate any pressure, all while you’re ensuring everything is in place. If you figure your steam release valve is broken, replacing it altogether is the only viable option you’re left with.

3. Blocked Steam Vent 

When the cooking time you set in the pot goes into effect, steam will begin to vent from the steam valve on top of your instant pot.

The float valve on the lid’s top is designed to alternate between venting and natural pressure release. There’s an issue if this valve becomes stuck. It usually indicates that there is food debris on the float valve silicone seal.

It is a common problem because many people use instant pots for cooking fine meals like rice or quinoa. The tiny grains can occasionally get caught in the steam valve, causing a clog and impairing the machine’s general efficiency.

4. Pressure Leakage Due to Loose Sealing Ring

The sealing ring is the last thing that could be wrong with your instant pot’s pressure system. The steam can sometimes be seen seeping out the sides. If the lid appears to be in good condition, check the sealing ring.

Within the lid, a sealing ring is designed to prevent the Instant Pot from over-pressurizing.

Suppose your sealing ring is not properly seated or has become loose over time and use. In that case, it becomes incapable of forming a proper seal. It means that even though your instant pot was supplying heat to the inner chamber, you were not properly cooking your food.

Ways to Fix Natural Release On An Instant Pot

1. Ensure that the steam handle Isn’t Set to Vent

It is a straightforward problem with a clear solution. Make sure that your steam release handle is in the proper position at the start of each cooking process to ensure that your instant pot retains steam and pressure as it should.

Turn the steam release button counter-clockwise until it is in the up (‘sealing’) position. Make sure the steam release handle/valve is properly pushed in.

It should not vent steam before or during cooking. Instead, it would help if you kept the steam to keep the pressure up.

Also, resist the urge to turn your vent knob from vented to sealed. Cancel the action instead and carefully open the instant pot.

2. Clean the Steam Valve for Blockages

It is yet another simple problem with a straightforward solution, albeit it can get a bit difficult. Remove the lid of your instant pot and inspect the inside hole of the steam valve to see if it is blocked. Unclog the valve, then wash the lid around the valve, making sure all food is gone.

If the first attempt fails, there could be a blockage within the steam valve itself. This is a far more complicated technique that may necessitate replacing the steam valve entirely. We suggest contacting Instant Pot customer service for assistance on how to quickly and safely solve this problem.

3. Seat the Sealing Ring Tightly

Check that the lid is properly locked for pressure cooking if steam is seeping out the sides. It is necessary to replace a stretched or fractured ring. If the ring has become dislodged, it is usually simple to reposition it.

A loose ring can be firmed up by freezing it for a few minutes or immersing it in cold water for a few minutes. However, this can hasten the decomposition of silicone. 

It could indicate that the valve needs to be cleaned and repositioned. If this does not work, the valve may need to be replaced.

Can You Use Quick Release Instead of Natural Release?

This process can be a bit difficult. The lid will be locked in place while the pressure in the instant pot is particularly high. This is done for safety, as uncontrolled rapid decompression can be extremely dangerous.

Quick release is different than natural release in several ways. Cooking continues during a natural release, so keep that in mind when calculating your cook time. If a recipe calls for a Quick Release, you can substitute a Natural Release if you prefer, but the cooking time will be reduced. To release steam, press the button or twist the handle of your release valve.

Make sure not to touch the steam that comes out of the instant pot – it will be quite hot and will certainly burn you.


Now that you have learned the problems and solutions to why your Instant Pot natural release is not working, it will be much easier for you the next time. Clean your instant pot thoroughly after every use. It will also reduce a lot of problems. And it is normal for the small parts to wear off from time to time. And replacing them is a need. 

We also highly recommend you to be careful during every release time. Don’t go too near the steam, or it may cause some severe burning.

Sometimes you may not fix the problems yourself and don’t have to freak out about that. You can simply contact customer service, and they will explain everything in detail. 

I hope this article helped solve your problem. Be careful and happy cooking!

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