What’s the Problem?
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed across the U.S. alleging that defective pressure cookers similar to the Instant Pot exploded after their lids were opened, resulting in severe burns and scald injuries. Our lawyers are investigating whether this problem is being caused by a product defect and, if so, whether unsuspecting consumers can file a lawsuit.
Related Article: Why Do Pressure Cookers Explode?
What is the Instant Pot?
Instant Pot (also known as "InstaPot") is a cooking device that, according to the manufacturer , “does the job of a slow cooker, electric pressure cookers, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and warming pot.” There are multiple versions of the Instant Pot available, ranging in price from about $90 to $200.
Found in roughly 20% of households, pressure cookers stand out as one of the most frequently employed culinary appliances in the United States.
These hermetically sealed kitchen tools, engineered for expeditious cooking, function by elevating the temperature of boiling water from 100°C to approximately 121°C under a standardized pressure of around 15 pounds per square inch. With the gradual increase in pressure, the cooker lid is intricately crafted to stay firmly fastened, employing both locking and safety valve mechanisms.
Instant Pot Explosion Injuries
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has received dozens of reports of the following types of injuries associated with exploding pressure cookers similar to Instant Pot :
- Severe thermal burns to the arms, legs, face, and other parts of the body
- Scars and disfigurement
- Damages to kitchen walls, cabinets, and floors
Related Article: Pressure Cooker Lawsuit Update
Common Causes of Pressure Cooker Explosions and How to Avoid Them
Common Problems Found in Pressure Cookers
- Insufficient Lid Seals – A lid seal that lacks adequacy may lead to spills and the expulsion of cooker contents.
- Defective Gaskets Permitting Premature Opening – Gaskets with faults allowing early pot opening under high pressure can result in steam and contact burns.
- Inadequate Ventilation – Poor venting has the potential to cause a pressure cooker to explode.
Guidelines for Safe Utilization of Pressure Cookers
- Examine the Pressure Cooker Prior to Use – The rubber gasket positioned between the pot and lid plays a crucial role in the proper operation of a pressure cooker. Before initiating cooking, ensure the gasket is clean, free from cracks, and not dried out. Some manufacturers recommend replacing the rubber gasket annually, depending on usage frequency.
- Avoid Overfilling the Pressure Cooker – The cooker should never surpass two-thirds of its capacity to prevent food from obstructing the vents in the lid. For foods prone to swelling or frothing (e.g., beans, rice, pasta), only fill the cooker halfway.
- Use Adequate Liquid – Pressure cookers rely on steam under high pressure to cook food, and steam necessitates liquid. A minimum of half a cup of liquid is necessary to generate sufficient steam for proper cooker operation.
- Consider the Nature of the Food Being Cooked – Certain foods (such as pasta, split peas, oatmeal, applesauce, and cranberries) may produce froth during cooking, potentially blocking steam valves and vents. Before using a pressure cooker for such foods, confirm that your recipe aligns with your cooker's size, and avoid overfilling. Standard pressure cookers should not be used for frying; specific models are designed for this purpose. While a small amount of oil may be included in recipes, using a cooker not intended for frying can damage the gasket and other components.
- Release Pressure Safely – Pressure can be released naturally by removing the cooker from heat and letting it sit until the pressure decreases, or through cold water release by running cold water over the closed cooker's lid. Quick release involves using the steam release valve to expel steam. Always take precautions to shield your face, hands, and body during pressure release, as steam may still escape upon opening the pressure cooker, even after what seems like proper pressure release.
- Clean the Cooker Thoroughly – After using your pressure cooker, remove the gasket and clean it separately from other parts. Clear the release valve using a toothpick. To minimize unnecessary wear on the gasket, store the cooker with the lid upside down on the pot rather than locked in place.
Instant Pot Explosion Lawsuit Alleges Defective Pressure Cooker Caused Severe Injuries
A new lawsuit filed in California alleges that Instant Brands, Inc., the manufacturer of Instant Pots, misrepresented the safety of their pressure cookers.
According to the lawsuit, Plaintiff Rosalina Drayton’s pressure cooker exploded, causing severe thermal burns.
The Complaint states that the Instant Pot is marketed as having “safety mechanisms” that are supposed to prevent the unit from both building pressure if the lid is not closed properly, as well as the lid from being removed until all the pressure is released.
However, Ms. Drayton alleges that the Instant Pot pressure cookers contain defects that allow unsuspecting consumers to remove the lid while the cooker is still under pressure causing the scalding hot contents to be projected from the unit.
Lawsuit Alleges Instant Brands Misrepresented Safety of its Pressure Cookers
A lawsuit filed against Instant Brands, Inc. alleges that the company misrepresented the safety of its pressure cookers. The Complaint was filed on behalf of Ms. Lucy Perkins, a resident of Utah . Ms. Perkins’s pressure cooker exploded while under pressure on April 25, 2019. As a result of the explosion accident, Ms. Perkins sustained severe thermal burns to her body.
The Instant Pot is marketed as having "safety mechanisms" which are supposed to prevent the unit from both building pressure if the lid is not closed properly, as well as the lid from being removed until all the pressure is released, the complaint states. However, Ms. Perkins alleges that the Instant Pot pressure cookers contain defects which allow unsuspecting consumers to remove the lid while the cooker is still under pressure causing the scalding hot contents to be projected from the unit.
Instant Pot Explosion Injures California Woman
A woman who claims she was severely burned by an exploding Instant Pot has filed a lawsuit (PDF) against Instant Brands, Inc., in the Central District of California.
Plaintiff Gail B. alleges she was injured when she opened the lid on the Instant Pot, allowing the “scalding hot contents to be forcefully ejected from the pressure cooker.” The suit accuses Instant Brands of selling a defective product that was falsely advertised as having safety features to prevent pressure cooker explosions.
Class Action Filed Over Burn Injuries Alleged From Tristar Power Pressure Cooker
Six plaintiffs have filed a class action lawsuit against Tristar Products, Inc., claiming they were severely burned when the “Built-In Safety Features” of the Power Pressure Cooker XL failed during use.
All 6 claimants allege to have sustained substantial burn injuries as a result of the pressure cooker having a lid that can be rotated and opened while still pressurized, causing its “scalding hot contents to be forcefully ejected from the Pressure Cooker and onto [plaintiff].”
Pressure Cooker Injury Studies
A 2020 study published in the Spartan Medical Research Journal  looked at the case of a woman who suffered second-degree burns after using a pressure cooker.
The example patient described in this report was an African American female in her early 30s who presented during the summer of 2020 after suffering varying levels of second-degree burns to her bilateral upper torso and left wrist (i.e., approximately 10%, total body surface area), the researchers said. The authors first saw the patient during a primary care office visit a week after her initial injury when she first went to a local urgent care clinic. Upon her arrival to the second author’s family medicine clinic, a multi-specialty wound recovery plan was initiated since her first urgent care visit treatment had been minimal without prophylactic antibiotic therapy or placement of a burn center referral.
Another study published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine in September 2018  looked at a case of a pressure cooker explosion that led to polytrauma with injuries including pneumothorax, intracranial hemorrhage, open skull fracture, and multiple facial fractures.
Extreme forces and temperatures are involved in pressure cooking, the researchers said. Given the infrequent but real risk of mechanical failure and the increasing use of such devices to create intentional explosions, emergency physicians should be aware of the potentially significant blast injuries that can be associated with them.
- Elite Bistro Pressure Cooker Case
- Crofton Pressure Cooker Recall
- NuWave Nutri-Pot Digital Pressure Cooker Suit
See all related product liability lawsuits our attorneys covered so far.
Get a Free Instant Pot Explosion Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Product Liability Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Instant Pot explosion lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new burn and scalding injury cases in all 50 states.
Again, if you or a loved one suffered a severe burn or other injury caused by an exploding pressure cooker, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.