Pressure Cooker Review: Kuhn Rikon Duromatic – Excellent
The design is sleek and immediately recognizable. Styled like a futuristic Moroccan Tajine this pressure cooker is solid and it feels and cooks with quality – this is the most efficient pressure cooker I’ve tested so far – and it’s easy to use but its Swiss precision does not account for human imprecision.
Pressure Cooker Review: Kuhn Rikon Duromatic
Features: (5 out of 5 stars)
- Attractive Design – The Kuhn Rikon Duromatic does not look like any other pressure cooker on the market today. Its coned top is beautifully minimalist with just a few concentric circles to the peak and a little nub in the middle- the pressure signal. The base is a simple cylinder and in contrast to all of this roundness the handles feature sharp angles and undulating lines at the same time.
- Easy to Use – Put on the lid and go. No other buttons, levers or settings to choose. The pressure valve is easy to remove, clean and remount.
- Fill Lines – Capacity marks inside the pot indicate 3/4 full (for regular pressure cooking) and 1/2 full (for cooking grains, beans and other foamy foods).
- All-metal Valve – The pressure regulator, and its housing, are all metal (save the small heat-safe plastic button on top) making this valve extremely durable compared to its peers.
Safety: (4.75 out of 5 stars)
The Kuhn Rikon has more safety systems than most other pressure cookers, but gets a small ding in this category. This “ding” does not render it unsafe but is a minor design flaw – see Safety Vents, below.
- Primary over-pressure release valve – Integrated in the pressure signal, activates to release pressure if the pressure cooker reaches 17.4 PSI.
- Secondary safety valve - Located a small distance from the primary pressure valve, a small spring fixed silicone stopper will pop out and release pressure (in case the primary should be obstructed or not working properly to release pressure).
- Correct Placement Nub – A little nub within the lid’s rim retracts when the pressure cooker is closed correctly. Should the lid be placed on the cooker incorrectly, this nub will prevent the pressure cooker from reaching pressure.
- Self-locking Gasket - Once the pressure cooker has reached pressure, the silicone gasket will expand to lock the lid of the pressure cooker closed. I have not tried, but the Kuhn Rikon product manager assures me, that even a strong man cannot forcefully open the pressure cooker while the gasket has expanded to maintain pressure and block the lid from twisting open.
- Safety Vents - The Kuhn Rikon boasts two safety vents that come into action in case any of the previous safety measures were to fail. At that point, the gasket will buckle and allow pressure (and some of the contents of the pressure cooker) through the metal cut-outs in the lid. The cook should always point these windows in the rim away from him while operating the pressure cooker. On this model, the vents are on each side of the lid, making it difficult to understand how to position the cooker with both vents pointing away without having the handle stick straight out from the cook-top.
Performance and Durability: (4.75 of 5 stars)
This is where Swiss precision locks horns with human imprecision, and its unparalleled efficiency shines. Durability of the materials is also a winner – though a decorative piece is unnecessarily flimsy (removing a quarter star from the rating – see last paragraph in this section).
The Kuhn Rikon pressure regulator consists of a bar, a spring and a little top. The simplicity and materials make this valve easy to clean and incredibly durable.
The pressure indicator is the small black point in the middle of the cone-shaped lid. When the pressure cooker reaches pressure the indicator begins to rise out of the housing to display the metal bar. When the first red ring on the bar is seen, it means that it has reached “Low Pressure” when the second red ring displays it means that it has reached “High Pressure”.
The advantage of an indicator bar vs. a pressure selector, is that the cook can turn down the heat while the bar is in any position to maintain that pressure. For example, anywhere between the first or second ring for “Medium Pressure” or just before the first ring for “Extra Low” pressure.
Figuring out the correct heat to maintain pressure point has taken me a lot longer with this pressure cooker than any other so far. The Kuhn Rikon will maintain pressure only when a precise amount of heat is applied – since the knobs on many cook-tops do not have any numbers or marks the cook really need to learn to feel where this precise spot is. This takes a few initial recipes to discover. However, once you find the “sweet spot” for how much heat is needed to maintain pressure you will be pleasantly surprised at how low you can go.
The Kuhnn Rikon Duromatic is the most energy efficient pressure cooker I’ve tested so far (knob position 1.6 vs 2.75 for Fagor Futuro).
Releasing pressure by pushing the indicator, as instructed in the instruction manual, for the normal release requires the cook to stand there and push the indicator for approximately 2 minutes. The vapor is diffused by the decorative valve cover and wafts around the lid (not shooting in any particularly inconvenient direction as with the Magefesa Ideal or Fissler Vitavit).
The Kuhn Rikon product manager told me of a faster, undocumented, way to release pressure by pulling up the indicator – I tried it released all of the pressure in less than 30 seconds!
Kuhn Rikon has another model with a pressure valve that allows the cook to release pressure automatically by twisting the indicator. They call it a two-stage pressure release (seen here) – I will update this review with information about how this “automatic” release works, should I have the opportunity to try it.
This brings us to the only weak spot in Kuhn Rikon’s durability: The decorative housing cover. It is held by three heat resistant plastic clips. They are subjected to the cooker’s high heat, super-heated vapor and constant movement when it’s removed and replaced to clean and dry the valve – eventually breaking. In two years of using this pressure cooker often I have gone through two of these covers (illustration 3, below). This cover is not essential to the function of the pressure cooker, but not having it suddenly turns the beautiful cooker into something to hide from guests.
Clean-up: (4.75 out of 5 stars)
- Valve removes with a tool (butter knife or coin are ok)
- Lid and Base Hand Washing Only
Although the valve is one of the easiest to clean, it is made of small pieces (1st illustration, above) so the cook will want to ensure that there is a screen over the sink drain so as not to loose any of the small essential pieces of the valve.
The manual states that all parts must be hand-washed. The thick metal base prevents most foods from scorching – but if they do (due to the cook not adding enough liquid or keeping the heat to high during cooking) the high-quality stainless steel will let most food comes off with the swipe of a sponge or a short soak of soapy water.
All of the Kuhn Rikon pressure cookers come standard with a rack. It is useful when making jams, or wanting to keep delicate things off the bottom of the pressure cooker, but a bit of a disappointment when I might want to do advanced pressure cooking techniques that require a trivet or steamer basket. It is too low to be used as a trivet and, if flipped over, the edges are too thin to use it as a steamer basket.
However, this is not a major ding since it is easy to purchase suitable substitutes.
Also included is a brief and easy-to-understand user manual with an extensive ingredient cooking time tables.
- 18/10 Stainless Steel with aluminum sandwich base
- Available Sizes: 2.5, 3.5, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 12qt
- Spring Valve with indicator Bar (0 to 17.4 PSI)
- Maximum Cooking Temperature measured at high pressure: test in progress
- Universal Base – safe to use on gas, electric, ceramic and induction cook-tops
- Width: (opening) 8.6″ or 22 cm, cylindrical; Height (internal) 5.6″ or 14.25 cm; Weight: (Base) 4.45lbs or 2.02k , (Base and Top) 6.34lbs or 2.87k
- 10 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty (excluding wearing parts)
- Made in Switzerland
- Kuhn Rikon Instruction Manual
- Manufacturer Website: Kuhn Rikon Switzerland , Kuhn Rikon USA
- Recipes on this website using Kuhn Rikon Duromatic
Conclusion and Score:
The Kuhn Rikon Duromatic is lauded by Modernist Cuisine as their favorite brand. Quality is commensurate with price for this pressure cooker and gets top marks from me, too, for consistency, quality, functionality. It is easy to use, and clean. The all-metal pressure valve has survived kitchen experiments other pressure cookers have not. Getting the hang of the right heat setting to maintain pressure takes a little longer with this precision instrument and a decorative piece could be reinforced to last as long as the rest of the cooker.
The Kuhn Rikon Duromatic is the most energy efficient pressure cooker tested – needing less heat to maintain pressure than all other cookers in the Hip Pressure Cooking test kitchen.
NOTE: This review was fact-checked by the Head of Marketing and Product Management at Kuhn Rikon (Switzerland) prior to publication.
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In the interest of full disclosure, we would like to note that: The pressure cooker was sent to Hip Pressure Cooking by the manufacturer at no cost. Our relationship with the manufacturer, or lack thereof, does not affect the outcome of the review.