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Why is my Instant Pot stuck on preheating?

If your Instant Pot is stuck on preheating, there are a few possible causes to check:

The inner pot may not be fully inserted

For an Instant Pot to begin heating up and pressurizing, the inner pot needs to be fully inserted and in the correct orientation. Double check that the inner pot is completely lowered into the housing. There should be no gaps between the inner pot and the outer housing. The inner pot also needs to have the handles rotated inward to fit properly into the slots.

There could be debris on the inner pot or valve

Make sure the bottom surface of the inner pot and the rubber sealing ring are completely clean. Any debris, dirt, or food residue on these parts can prevent a seal from forming. Use a soft cloth to wipe away any particles. You can remove the sealing ring and wash it if needed.

The lid may not be properly sealed

The lid needs to be fully closed and in the correct locked position for pressurizing to occur. Make sure the lid is seated evenly on top of the rim of the inner pot. Turn the lid clockwise until it clicks and you cannot turn it any further. The markers on the lid and pot should align. If the lid is not completely locked, this can prevent pressurizing.

There could be an error code

Check your Instant Pot display for any error codes. Common error codes include C6, Burn, and Lid. These indicate a specific issue such as a temperature sensor failure or the lid not being closed properly. Refer to the Instant Pot manual to identify and resolve error codes.

The float valve may be stuck

The float valve on the lid regulates pressure. Make sure it is able to freely pop up and down. If food or debris causes it to stick, the pot will not pressurize. Try cleaning the float valve with a paperclip or toothpick. You can also try manually lifting the float valve gently with a utensil.

Pressurizing may take extra time for some recipes

It’s normal for the Instant Pot to take 10-15 minutes to preheat and pressurize before the countdown begins. Thicker recipes and larger quantities of food will take longer. Let the pot continue preheating for 20-30 minutes if needed before checking for other issues.

How an Instant Pot Works

Understanding how an Instant Pot pressurizes can help troubleshoot preheating issues:

Pressurizing Process

1. Inner pot is inserted into the housing
2. Food and liquid are added to the inner pot

3. Lid is locked into the sealed position

4. Heating element engages and heats contents to cooking temperature
5. Steam builds up and valve seals closed once pressure is reached
6. Float valve pops up when pressurized
7. Pressure cooking countdown begins

Common Pressurizing Issues

Not reaching full pressure – Inner pot not fully inserted, debris on sealing ring, lid not properly locked.
Slow to pressurize – Low on liquid or cooking thick ingredients.

Quickly loses pressure – Float valve or sealing ring not working correctly.
Doesn’t pressurize at all – Lid unlocked, error code present, debris blocking valve.

Detailed Troubleshooting Steps

Follow these detailed troubleshooting steps if your Instant Pot is stuck preheating:

  1. Check that the inner pot is completely inserted in the housing. The handles should rotate inward to fit into slots.
  2. Inspect the area where the inner pot and housing meet. Look for any food, dents, warping, or cracks that prevent a seal.
  3. Remove any debris, food, or residue from the bottom of the inner pot and the rubber sealing ring.
  4. Install the sealing ring properly and make sure it can move up and down freely.
  5. Wipe the float valve with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  6. Make sure the lid is fully rotated into the locked position until it clicks and stops moving.
  7. Check for any error codes on the display and refer to the manual for resolution steps.
  8. Let the pot preheat for 20-30 minutes in case extra time is needed to pressurize a thick recipe.
  9. If the problem persists, contact Instant Pot support for troubleshooting help or warranty information.

Quick Fixes to Try

Here are some quick fixes to try if the Instant Pot is getting stuck preheating:

  • Adjust the inner pot to ensure it is level and fitted properly in the housing.
  • Remove any food debris or residue buildup from the inner pot and lid valve.
  • Make sure the float valve and sealing ring can move up and down freely.
  • Lock and unlock the lid to reseat it.
  • Press “Cancel” to reset the pot and restart preheating.
  • Open and close the steam release valve to check for obstructions.

Maintenance Tips to Prevent Issues

Performing regular maintenance on your Instant Pot can help prevent preheating issues:

  • Wash the inner pot, lid, and accessories after each use.
  • Check for debris buildup around the inner pot and clean as needed.
  • Remove mineral deposits by running a demineralization cycle.
  • Replace the sealing ring every 6-12 months.
  • Lubricate the float valve and sealing ring with cooking spray.
  • Visually inspect lid valves, pot bottom and heating element for damage.

When to Contact Instant Pot Support

Get in touch with Instant Pot if you experience any of the following:

  • Error code persists after troubleshooting steps
  • Interior components are damaged or corroded
  • Consistent preheating issues not resolved by cleaning
  • Floating valve, gasket or other parts need replacing

Instant Pot customer support can diagnose problems, provide repair tips and part replacements if needed. They can determine if a warranty claim or replacement is necessary.


An Instant Pot getting stuck continuously trying to preheat is a common problem with a few possible causes. In most cases, it can be resolved by checking that the inner pot is inserted properly, debris is cleaned from key components, the lid is sealed correctly, and the float valve moves freely. Letting the pot run longer can allow extra time to pressurize. Contact Instant Pot support if cleaning and troubleshooting steps do not resolve preheating issues.