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The pressure cooker in the store


I am a long time fan of Cooks Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen, and Cooks Country, and for many years I have had an electronic subscription to the full content all of the sites.

During the equipment tests over the years of various different pots and pans, one thing has been consistent. If the thick metal disk on the bottom of the pan is SMALLER than the bottom diameter of the pan - as can be clearly seen on the pressure cooker offered in the store here - the area between the thicker disk and the walls of the pan scorch. This is true of every single review on the Test Kitchen site - every single review. They have also reviewed stove top pressure cookers specifically, and the same flaw is always highlighted and the winner never has that flaw.

So, with the above being true, what makes this pressure cooker different? It clearly has the flaw, but it is being recommended. I'm not saying that it is not a good pressure cooker, not at all, I just don't understand the science behind it.

Thank you.


  • You are correct - when purchasing pots and pans it is better to buy a fully clad pan where the internal metal - aluminum or copper - is encased in the outer aluminum and it reaches up the sides of the pan as well. This is especially important for sautéing for example. With a pressure cooker, most of the cooking is being done under pressure where this is not an issue. In addition, the overall weight of the cooker and the thickness of the metal is important. This particular Kuhn Rikon model (they have been making pressure cookers for over a half century) is very heavy and solid. With thinner construction, you should worry about the inside perimeter but with a thick, heavy pan you are much less likely to get hot spots. We have tested this pan here at Milk Street, by the way, and have not experienced any hot spots or burning on the bottom of the pan, even around the perimeter. The big issue is whether you want an electric pressure cooker or stovetop. We feel that electric models do a poor job sautéing and the metal is not nearly as thick as with a stovetop model. You can also consider an instant pot which is a pressure/slow cooker combo, but you are not going to get the serious, heavy-duty functionality of a good stovetop pressure cooker (although you do get the benefit of a timer and other controls).

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