Instant Pot History
Instant Pot is the top-selling brand in the modern era of electric pressure cookers in American homes.
Traditional pressure cookers, which heated on the stovetop and were known to occasionally blow their lid, scared even many of the bravest home chefs.
Enter Instant Pot, which began showing up on countertops in the early 2010s. The device’s sleek design and simple plug-and-play operation soothed those with a healthy skepticism of the potential dangers of traditional pressure cooking. Instant Pot promised a more effective, simpler experience, one that was not only safer, but essentially foolproof. Instant Pot’s claims appealed to a huge number of customers, including those unsuspecting consumers who were later burned when their pressure cooker exploded.
Appealing to busy parents and young adult foodies, the Instant Pot made electric pressure cookers/cooking look easy. By 2017, both Slate Magazine and the New York Times had compared devotion to the Instant Pot pressure cookers to a “religion.”
There have been multiple Instant Pot recalls announced over the years by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). One of the faulty pressure cooker recalls was issued in 2015 and the other, 2018.
Instant Pot: From Amazon Prime Day to The Emergency Room
Almost all of this sudden rise can be traced to Amazon.com, which generates more than 90 percent of Instant Pot sales. Instant Pot accounts for seven of the top 10 best-selling pressure cookers on Amazon, including the top three slots. In a single recent Amazon Prime Day, when the appliance was featured at a discount, an astonishing 215,000 Instant Pots were purchased, generating $15 million and outselling all non-Amazon products that day.
Some consumers paid more of a price than just what they paid on Amazon. As seen in the allegations of some of the most recent lawsuits filed against Instant Pot by our lawyers, defective Instant Pots have turned this potentially groundbreaking kitchen innovation into a dangerous liability.
Instant Pot Safety Claims
A YouTube video produced by Instant Pot’s manufacturer touts “10 safety features,” and tells people to operate its product “with confidence, knowing that it is not going to explode.” The Complaints that we have filed against Instant Pot allege that a more accurate instruction would tell owners to approach their pressure cooker with extreme caution, knowing that it can, in fact, explode, without warning – and through no fault of the owner.
According to Instant Pot’s manufacturer, “When [an Instant Pot] is pressurized, the lid will automatically lock to prevent opening the cooker.”
That should be comforting to consumers. After all, if that pressure cooker’s lid were to open, its contents could come spewing out at temperatures well above the boiling point. However, despite these comforting words, plaintiffs around the county are alleging that these safety features have failed, causing severe burns and permanent scarring.
Instant Pot Burn Injury Accidents
According to research conducted by Johnson//Becker, there have been at least 177 known incidents in which an Instant Pot has caused substantial burn injuries after their Instant Pot exploded. Many of these incidents resulted in trips to the emergency room, doctor’s offices and a long road to recovery. Victims of faulty pressure cookers have endured extreme pain, both in the moment of explosion and long after the incident, and have lost time at work, socializing, and with their families.
Potential damages that can be caused by an exploding pressure cooker include:
- First-Degree Burns, Second-Degree Burns, and Third-Degree Burns
- Serious Burn Injuries, Severe Thermal Burns
- Doctor Visits and/or Hospitalization
- Skin Grafts
- Lost Time from Work
- Permanent Scarring and/or Disfigurement
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Litigation Guide
Interested in downloading our Pressure Cooker Litigation Guide? Learn more about the pressure cooker litigation team at Johnson//Becker and Meet the Attorney and Co-Chair of our Consumer Products and Mass Tort Department.
Instant Pot Explosion Lawsuits Filed by Johnson//Becker Pressure Cooker Lawyers
Instant Pot pressure cooker injuries should come as a shock to customers who’ve read its maker’s claims of safe operation with built in safety features, both in its marketing materials and owner’s manual. The same cannot be said of the manufacturer, which has known for years of incidents involving exploding Instant Pots that spew scalding hot contents over their owners.
As our lawyers stated in one recent Instant Pot lawsuit filing, we believe that Instant Pot’s parent company “put profit ahead of safety by continuing to sell its pressure cookers to consumers, failing to warn said consumers of the serious risks posed by the defects, and failing to recall the dangerously defective pressure cookers regardless of the risk of significant injuries.”
In addition, as alleged in one recent Complaint involving Instant Pot, its manufacturer acted “in order to continue generating a profit from the sale of said pressure cookers, demonstrating a callous, reckless, willful, depraved indifference to the health, safety and welfare of… consumers.”
Instant Pot’s financial success should not come at the expense of customers who have suffered injuries. Our law firm has represented dozens of Instant Pot customers seeking compensation for their injuries including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, scarring and other negative impacts related to the incident caused by their exploding Instant Pot.
These damages are not just skin deep or financial in nature. One woman told us how her permanent scarring has affected her confidence, one man told of how horrific injuries affected his intimate, long-term relationship, while a young mother’s burns hindered her ability to nurse her child and continue distance running.
First, Her Instant Pot Annoyed Her. Then it Exploded.
C.A. learned from her father how to make meals stretch on a budget, especially during some lean times in their middle-class household. Both she and her father love to bake, especially bread, and C.A.’s kitchen skills served her well as a housewife with two growing boys in Massachusetts.
“I’m always game to try a new recipe,” C.A. says. “Different recipes, different techniques – there isn’t much that scares me.”
Despite that experience, C.A. admits she wasn’t quite sure what to make of the Instant Pot when she received one as a gift. She stored the box in the pantry, and there it sat, “this annoying piece of gadgetry,” for several months until, in spring 2019, C.A. started using her new appliance.
That summer, the leeks growing in C.A.’s garden arrived in abundance. She planned to make a large batch of a potato, leek, and white bean soup, and can the leftovers.
After dinner one night, C.A. reviewed a recipe she had found online and combined the ingredients in the pressure cooker, taking care not to fill the pot too high. She stepped away from the device and waited until the cooking cycle was complete. When she returned to the kitchen, C.A. was confident the soup was done and the Instant Pot was depressurized; she could see the float valve that indicates the cooker is locked had fallen.
She had just started rotating the lid when it popped off and her hot soup erupted everywhere, covering her chest, stomach, hands, and foot.
“It was like a soup bomb went off,” C.A. says.
Her husband heard screaming and ran to find out what had happened. C.A., crying from the intense pain, stripped her clothes and ran to the bathroom, where she discovered she could not even endure the feeling of standing under running water. As her husband drove to a CVS to buy over-the-counter burn treatment medication, C.A. saw bubbles developing on her burnt and discolored skin.
That night, C.A. hardly slept. Every slight movement irritated her fresh burns, and the feeling of any clothing against her skin only caused more pain.
“The next morning I was in tears,” she says. “I thought, this [pain] is worse than having babies.”
She put on a loose-fitting dress and headed for the emergency room, where doctors examined her third-degree burns. They debrided the wounds, a painful process of removing the dead skin, and one that C.A. would come to despise in the coming weeks. (“It felt like they were skinning me, pretty much.”) Medical professionals wrapped C.A.’s torso “like a mummy,” with bandages extending from her chest to her hips.
C.A. needed to take time off from her part-time job working in a school cafeteria kitchen. When she did return, the other employees took on physical tasks and C.A. worked the register. Moving still caused pain on her burn spots.
At home, C.A.’s husband and her sons picked up the slack on the cooking and cleaning tasks she would normally do. C.A. struggled with the stationary new role forced upon her by her burn injury.
“It was a lot of doing nothing, and I’m not a do-nothing kind of person,” she says.
As her blisters slowly healed, leaving permanent scars, C.A. and her husband wondered if they should take action against Instant Brands, the Canadian manufacturer of Instant Pot. She’d never sued anyone, nor even considered it, but Greg thought the company should be held responsible for what its product had done to his wife.
C.A. was angry that she had abided by the rules of the Instant Pot, read the manufacturer instructions, and followed a recipe. In the end, all she had to show for her precaution was pain and scarring.
C.A. opted to leave the decision to experts, contacting attorneys at Johnson//Becker and asking if her situation merited a potential lawsuit. It did, and a civil Complaint was filed in June, alleging that the Instant Pot “suffers from serious and dangerous defects” that causes injuries like C.A.’s. C.A. is one of more than 80 burn victims to retain Johnson//Becker to seek compensation from Instant Brands.
She is surprised, though, that the company retains such a sterling reputation, especially in the online community. C.A. is ready to tell anyone, including strangers, about her own horrific experience using the bestselling pressure cooker on the market. One family member who purchased an Instant Pot soon got rid of theirs after hearing C.A.’s story.
“There isn’t enough of a warning out there,” she says. “It’s supposed to be this time-saving wonderful product for people who don’t have time to cook. But it’s not safe. It’s not fair that someone is going into it thinking this is a safe, sound, product. It’s not.”
She Talked up the Instant Pot – Then it Burned Her.
B.M. didn’t just like the Instant Pot. She was an evangelist.
For the past decade, B.M. has taught a class on lifestyle medicine, with the emphasis on helping students switch to a healthier diet based on vegetables and complex carbohydrates. She’d made the same move herself, and the electric pressure cooker made it seem simple.
“Switching to a plant-based diet is not easy,” B.M. says. “There are no fast food restaurants for a diet of plant-based foods.”
In her classes, B.M. would demonstrate how beans and grains were prepared more simply and far faster with an Instant Pot than on the stove.
“I was looking for something efficient and quick, because a lot of people don’t have a lot of time on their hands,” B.M. says. “It was perfect for those classes.”
At home, B.M. had owned at least one Instant Pot for six years; she would eventually collect four of them. These she used for batch cooking, preparing food that could be portioned, frozen, and reheated for weeks. One night in May 2020, she went to check on a pot of lentils. She touched the lid, which immediately exploded off the Instant Pot into her hand.
Scalding hot lentils and liquid exploded everywhere in the kitchen, and hit B.M. in the arm, chest, and stomach. Only the popped-off lid protected her face from getting splattered.
B.M. ripped off her soaked shirt and examined her burning skin. She called a nurse line and described her arm, which appeared scalded throughout. The nurse raised the possibility of nerve damage, and suggested she go to the hospital.
“This was the middle of the pandemic,” B.M. says. “I thought, ‘…I don’t want to go to a hospital.’ I was terrified.”
She followed the nurse’s instructions, and doctors found a small patch of healthy skin on the back of her arm which would eventually allow the swelling elsewhere to reduce. By this time, shock had worn off, and B.M. was in excruciating pain.
She was back in the emergency room 10 days later after a reaction to pain medication. She also endured weeks of her skin peeling and blistering. B.M. recalls standing in a restaurant takeout line to receive her food, when she realized her shirt was soaking from a burst blister.
It took weeks before she was comfortable in clothes, or felt well enough to go back to the gym.
As for her classes, B.M. felt some guilt thinking back at how often she had explicitly recommended students buy an Instant Pot for home use. “I had encouraged a ton of people that I know, who have bought them over the years,” B.M. says. “I feel like I need to contact them all and say, ‘Don’t use it!’”
The real liable party in B.M.’s story is Instant Brands, manufacturer of the Instant Pot. B.M. has become one of dozens of Johnson//Becker clients to take legal action against the most popular electric pressure cooker on the market. Her Complaint highlights just how often the Instant Pot was marketed as safe to use, claims her lawsuit says “are not just misleading, they are flatly wrong.”
B.M. knew those claims well, and had often found herself repeating them to a room full of people.
“I taught lots of classes that worried, ‘Well, don’t those things explode?’” she says. “And I told them that once it’s under pressure, they will not explode. It’s locked down. That’s what I was taught, that’s what all the materials I had seen said. I felt very safe with it, very confident that it wasn’t going to explode.”
Until she didn’t.
“I used to think the product was helpful. Obviously, now I think differently.”
Complaints & Case Repository – Instant Pot Litigation Documents
Though each pressure cooker case has its own facts and details, our law firm has repeatedly found what we are alleging are the same flaws in design and manufacturing leading to customer injuries.
Below is a list of just some of the more recent lawsuits our lawyers have filed against Instant Brands. Please feel free to review the complaints to learn more.
- A December 2020 Instant Pot lawsuit on behalf of a resident of North Cambria, Pennsylvania injured during the use of an Instant Pot Ultra 3-in-1.
- A November 2021 Instant Pot lawsuit on behalf of a client who lives in Whippany, New Jersey, and was injured by her defective pressure cooker just days after its initial purchase.
- A pressure cooker explosion lawsuit against Instant Brands filed in December 2021, on behalf of a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania resident suffered a severe injury in December 2019.
- A pressure cooker lawsuit filed after Instant Pot explosion that spew scalding hot contents caused a burn injury suffered in March 2020 by a Los Angeles, California client.
- A March 2022 lawsuit alleging the pressure cooker burned a Sylmar, California client two years prior to its filing.
- A Waco, Texas client injured by her Instant Pot pressure cooker in March 2020, who filed a lawsuit in March 2022.
- A May 2022 Instant Pot lawsuit on behalf of a Centerville, Ohio woman who had owned her Instant Pot for approximately six years before sustaining a burn injury after the pressure cooker exploded.
- A Chireno, Texas client who sued the Instant Pot manufacturer two years after her March 2020 pressure cooker explosion.
- A Bedford, Pennsylvania client’s November 2021 lawsuit after a pressure cooker explosion injury suffered about one week after she first purchased the appliance.
- An Alabama minor injured by a defective Instant Pot in November 2019, who filed a pressure cooker explosion with the help of Johnson//Becker in November 2021.
- A client who suffered second-degree burns following the use of an Instant Pot in November 2019.
Will my Instant Pot Lawsuit be Handled Individually or as Part of a Class Action Lawsuit?
Johnson//Becker will handle and file your pressure cooker case individually, giving your case the individual care and attention you deserve. Our lawyers feel strongly that it is not in our clients’ best interest to file or join a class action lawsuit for two reasons. First, class actions are designed to address damages that are usually economic in nature, not personal injuries, the severity and effect of which will vary from person to person. In other words, what is a fair resolution in one case may not be a fair resolution in another case. In addition, in a class action, the control and decision-making process is consolidated with one “Class Representative”, who oversees making decisions for everyone in the class. If that Class Representative is not you, someone you have never met and who has no incentive to put your best interests first will get to make the decisions that will affect your case.
Finally, we feel strongly that it is in our client’s best interest to file individual pressure cooker lawsuits, as class action lawsuits in product liability personal injury cases typically result in far lower settlements. At Johnson//Becker, PLLC our goal is to maximize compensation for our clients, and for this reason we only file individual pressure cooker lawsuits.
Questions about an Instant Pot Lawsuit? Contact a Johnson//Becker lawyer today for a free case review.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective Instant Pot pressure cooker, you may want to speak with the lawyers at Johnson//Becker. We are actively filing new Instant Pot lawsuits across the country, and you may be entitled to financial compensation for your defective pressure cooker injuries.
We offer a free case evaluation. Please contact us using the form below or by calling us at (800) 279-6386. We would be honored to speak with you and respond promptly to every inquiry we receive.