Illustration: Nicholas Davison

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Not Securing the Seal
That large, clear rubber ring on the inside of the lid may not look like much, but it serves an important purpose: It prevents air from getting out of the pot when the lid is closed and locked. If it's not securely in place, the Instant Pot won't be able to come up to pressure, and you'll probably see steam seeping out from underneath the lid. Since you need to wash the ring after each use (it absorbs the smell of whatever you've just cooked), you'll probably be removing and replacing it every time you use the appliance—and the one thing you must do when you put it into its track is to make sure it fits snugly (by the way, it doesn't matter which side of the ring is facing up, according to the Instant Pot manual). Press with your fingers all the way around the inside of the lid, making sure the ring is sitting inside the lid's track. An easy test is to spin the ring; it should move easily around the track.