I mean, it happens.
There’s no denying that Instant Pots—the modern day pressure cooker that has built a massive devoted following—are built to last. With a stainless steel body and inner pot, 10 built-in safety features, and no chemical coatings, the company claims the machines should last for over 100,000 uses. But, we’re all human and kitchen mistakes happen. So what should you do if you’ve dropped, burnt, or damaged your Instant Pot in another way?
Buying Replacement Parts vs. a New Machine
Certain aspects of the Instant Pot can be very affordably replaced if damaged irreparably. Smaller parts—which have a larger chance of getting lost or tossed—like condensation collectors, steam release handles, float valves, and detachable power cords can all be replaced for under $20 through the official Instant Pot website.
The most fragile part of the Instant Pot, and the one most likely to be replaced at least once every few years, is the ring, which experiences a lot of wear during everyday usage. In the case of damage, or when your ring is simply worn down, sealing rings can be replaced online for between $6-13 depending on the size of the machine.
When it comes to replacing the inner pots, lids, and bases, the prices go up significantly. Although the inner stainless steel pot was designed to survive any kind of damage, in the case of loss, a replacement can be purchased for between $30-35 depending on the size.
The replacement parts that will do the most damage to your wallet are bases and lids. However, in most cases replacing one of these pricier pieces will still save you cash in comparison to purchasing a brand new Instant Pot. Though each Instant Pot does come with a one-year warranty, this policy only covers machines that are faulty and not any damage that is a result of a user error.
In addition to the official site, Instant Pot parts can also be found on Amazon, but typically not for a discount in comparison to the parts sold by the company.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
The best way to avoid the time and money needed to repair a damaged Instant Pot is to treat the machine with care, and to avoid these common but potentially harmful mistakes.
- Instant Pot pressure cooker valves should never be covered, as releasing steam is the machine’s main safety mechanism. While it’s tempting to limit the amount of steam being released with a towel or cloth, obstructing this vent could result in permanent damage to the cooker. For an alternative method for clearing steam out of the kitchen quickly, place the device under the exhaust fan of your range hood so that the steam is slightly disseminated.
- Avoid overfilling your Instant Pot, as this can cause food to spray out of the pressure valve upon release. This will result in both a messy situation and food residue potentially getting stuck in the valve and interfering with machine functionality in the future. Your pot should never be more than 2/3 full, or ½ full if you’re preparing a food that expands during cooking, like rice. If you’re worried that you’ve potentially overfilled your pot, use the natural pressure release method, turning off the heat and allowing the pressure to lower slowly over a 5-20 minute period.
- Make sure the inner pot in always in place before tossing in ingredients. While this might seem obvious, during a hectic dinnertime it’s easy to let this step slip your mind. Try placing a lid or wooden spoon over the opening to the pot every time you take the inner portion out, so that it will never slip your mind to return the inner pot into position before tossing in your ingredients.
- If you’re planning to store your Instant Pot on the stovetop, place a wooden cutting board below the machine to prevent any accidental burning of the bottom.
It’s important to note that due to the high build up of pressure, using a damaged Instant Pot should be approached with caution to prevent a dangerous cooking environment. If you’re concerned about the condition of your pot, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and contact Instant Pot support with your issue before attempting to use the pot again.
For inspiration on how to get cooking with your Instant Pot, check out these easy and delicious recipes.