Instant Pot Timer Starts Before Pressure
Instant Pot pressure cookers are very easy to use and reliable too but every once in a while there may be an issue that prevents your pressure cooker from working properly. Luckily for every problem, there is often a solution.
One commonly reported problem is that the Instant Pot timer starts timing the cooking time before the Pot gets up to pressure. Many customers complain that this renders the whole timing function essentially useless because it means that you have to then time the pressure cooker independently or else you could end up with burnt or more likely raw food.
If the Instant Pot timer starts before the pot has reached pressure, it could be an issue with the gasket or the seal.
Check that the seals look to be in good condition and are actually sealing the pot. Any damage to the seal and the pressure cooker will not be able to reach pressure because a vacuum will not have been created inside the pot. Replacing the seal is an easy and inexpensive job that is part of the maintenance program of caring for your pressure cooker. Seals do wear out and become worn and when this happens your Instant Pot will not be able to reach pressure.
Many people recommend carrying out a water test to check whether the Instant Pot can actually reach pressure at all. Your pressure cooker will not come up to pressure if there is insufficient liquid within the pot to create the necessary steam, so carrying out a water test will enable you to check this out more fully.
To carry out a water test, bring 4 cups of water up to pressure for 10 minutes and note whether the lid lock activates before the timer starts counting down. If your pressure cooker works while undertaking the water test but the timer still doesn’t work properly when cooking a meal, it could be that you need to clean your Instant Pot.
A pressure cooker is very sensitive to temperature and liquid and if you burn the food or leave stains after searing in your Instant Pot, the dry burned layer on the bottom of the pan can cause the heat to rise above the boiling point of water. The result is that your pressure cooker reads the heat sensor and registers that pressure has been reached. Once this happens, the automatic timer kicks in and this is a common reason for this issue of the malfunctioning timer.
Remember that despite what the timer indicates, your Instant Pot is not cooking under pressure until the floating button has popped up. And although the Instant Pot cooks food very quickly, you do have to allow for added time in order for the pot to reach pressure.
Depending on what you are cooking it can take between 5 and 30 minutes for the Instant Pot to reach pressure so you do need to be patient. With large quantities of frozen food, it can take as long as 45 minutes to reach pressure.
If the problem persists and you have checked the seals, carried out the water test and cleaned the Instant Pot, you should contact their customer service dept for advice. The company should be able to advise you on the next step to take and although Instant Pot is always reluctant to offer money-back or replacements, you will probably find the company a good source of information.