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Each cook top has its own quirks. The speed of induction and sluggishness of electric cook tops can affect the performance of the pressure cooker. Here’s how to get the best from your pressure cooker in any situation.

The dirty little secret of the “industry” is…

… that most pressure cooker recipes, and timing charts, are written for pressure cookers working under ideal conditions.  Immediate heat, immediate and precise temperature control and an average predicted time for the cooker to reach pressure.  In other words, they are written for pressure cookers on gas cook tops.

A reader poll taken earlier this month, revealed that over half (54%) use their pressure cookers on a gas cook top; 18% used electric and only 5% induction cook tops; about a quarter (23%) use electric pressure cookers so there’s no worry of sabotage in their kitchens!

Here are the adjustments that need to be made for pressure cooking according to the type of cook top that’s being used.

Electric and Halogen Cook Tops

Although halogen cook tops heat-up in seconds and turn off immediately, their ceramic cover does not, leaving the cookware heated by it in similar conditions as an electric coil or element: slow to heat and slow to cool – compared to gas. These are both important considerations since a pressure cooker is brought to pressure at maximum heat, and then when it reaches pressure the mechanism expects the cook to immediately turn the heat down to the lowest heat the cooker requires to maintain pressure.  Not doing this could result in scorched food, or worse, the secondary pressure release valve to kick-in (which releases large plumes of vapor) to stop the pressure form building further than the cooker’s design can safely handle.

Solution: Do the switcharoo!  While bringing your cooker to pressure on the largest burner, turn on a smaller burner at lower heat.  When the cooker reaches pressure, gently move it from the large hot burner to the smaller low pre-heated burner and begin counting the pressure cooking time.

Induction Cook Tops


Induction cook tops can bring a cooker up to pressure 60% faster than gas – that’s in just 4 1/2 minutes instead of 11 starting with a “cold” cooker.1  The contents can boil, generate vapor, and bring the cooker pressure even before the the lid is hot!2  Once the “heat” is turned off pressure cookers on induction burners cool down 20% faster than gas (9 minutes instead of 11 – in our tests) .   The mechanics and efficiency of induction cooking reduce the heat transferred to the sides and top of the cooker  and concentrate it in the base.  Less overall time to pressure and a smaller area of residual heat to continue cooking during natural release translates into undercooked food.

Solution: Increase the recommended pressure cooking time 2 to 3 minutes for a recipe that begins in a “cold cooker” and 1 minute for a recipe that  begins in a pre-heated cooker (for example, a recipe that begins with sauteed onions).  Instead, if the recipe indicates the cooker be opened with Natural Release (which uses residual heat), increase the total recommended pressure cooking time by 5 minutes . Don’t worry, your induction burner is still faster than cooking on gas since there is virtually no waiting for the cooker to come to pressure with induction.

Gas Cook Tops

For gas cook tops there is not need to take any additional steps.  Simply follow recipe directions and recommended cooking times as given.

Your pressure cooker is not being sabotaged by your gas cook top!

See also:

1Tests were preformed 3 times each on gas cook top (using 20cm burner burning GPL) and induction burner (using 2000w setting) with a room temperature 6L Magefesa Ideal filled with 1 kilo (about 4 cups) of room temperature water. We measured the time to High pressure, counted 10 minutes pressure cooking time, and timed the natural release. Calculations are based on the average of the three results from each test.
2We measured the external temperature of the pressure cooker lid when it reached pressure for a pressure cooker on gas, the lid registered an average of 104F or 40C ; and, on induction the lid registered 91F or 33C
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59 Comments

  1. Hi Laura, to me “ideal conditions” are better matched by induction cooktops, not by gas. Gas does not offer “precise temperature control” while induction does. It is faster as you point out, and it often has an integrated timer that will switch off automatically when cooking time ends. I would not use other thing with my pressure cooker.

    It seems your audience is mainly from the US? I guess induction is used much more broadly in Europe than your reader poll suggests…

    Best regards!

    Enrique

  2. I had such trouble with using a pc on my electric stove — I was constantly running back and forth checking on the pressure. I finally got an electric pc and love it, and gave the stovetop one back to my mother. And now we just moved and I have a gas stove! Oh well, I do like my electric pc.

    1. When I lived in Austria I had an electric cook-top. I have to say that regulating pressure was less of a guessing game once I figured out to have the smaller burner clicked down to number two.

      With gas you have to get the “feel” for the right flame size and it took me a lot longer to adapt! Each brand has it’s own requirements so since I cook with all at least four different brands of pressure cookers, I still get confused about which needs what.

      You are not alone, about a quarter of the readers have electric, too! So, I think it’s a trend that can’t be ignored. I will get one in-house soon (it’s in the mail.. oh goodie!) and I will be writing and photographing electric cookers, too.

      I really like the idea of running errands all morning and coming home to a hot piping ragu that has has just finished cooking under pressure!

      Ciao,

      L

  3. Enrique!

    I always appreciate your thoughtful comments. I plan to write a detailed article about induction cooking at some point in the future, but will try to answer all of your questions.

    Right now, the norm is that induction only heats a metal disk at the bottom of cookware – this means that the during induction cooking sides and top are cold or colder (this is significant difference for tall, narrow pressure cookers). When cooking with gas, for instance, although pre-heating is significantly longer the whole cooker will become hot creating a reservoir of residual heat.

    Instead, with induction, only the disk is heated and the rest of the cookware (sides and top) are primarily heated by a transfer of heat from the disk to the food (and liquid), and from the food to the metal. So, what is actually happening when you turn off the induction “heat” is that there is no residual heat in the sides and top of the cooker to continue cooking the food. In fact, the opposite is happening – the colder sides and top of the pressure cooker are slowly absorbing heat from the food and cooling it down quickly.

    The longer time the pressure cooker operates the less impact this difference in heat distribution has on the recipe. But, since most pressure cooker recipes are under 20 minutes at pressure the differences are noticeable.

    Sorry if this is not completely clear, when I have time to organize my thoughts and write a proper article about it, I will.

    Ever since I tired induction in Germany I’ve been fascinated by the science behind it all. I just purchased a burner a few weeks ago and can’t stop using it. Dinner now only takes 15 minutes, instead of 30!

    Ciao,

    L

    P.S. Right now, about 80% of the readers are in the U.S. – but I have plans for world domination!

    1. Thanks for your answer Laura!

      It’s true induction has the differences you mention with respect to gas, I find they are perfectly explained in the article and your comment. My only point was that induction better fits the “ideal burner” for me :-) That is, the overall best option for homes. Fast, precise, easily cleanable, integrated timer…. All advantages except maybe not valid for some pans you may already have, and the slightly different way of heating that you describe.

      Ciao!

    2. Do you have a link available for the article on induction cooking with pressure cookers?

  4. Thanks for this! I _love_ using the pressure cooker on an induction burner. But you’re right, the timings are consistently a bit off, and your explanations make perfect sense why.

    Incidentally, for those who haven’t used them, low-end portable induction burners are now less than $100, and they are incredibly fast at putting heat into a pressure cooker.

    1. Just be sure to get a burner that is 1800W or higher -otherwise you may not notice a difference in speed! Thanks for stopping by, Harlan!

      Ciao,

      L

  5. Thank you for this post.

    No matter what kind of burner you use, once you get usd to it (if you can whcih LoriM didn’t), you can make any necessary adjustments.

    When I teach, I teach on gas, butane, electric, induction and none of it seems to make much difference in the results, especially if you start with good, tested recipes.

    And, as an experienced cook, I can always adjust.

    Induction burners are not all that popular in the US yet.

    1. Jill, thanks for stopping by!

      Yes, induction requires an investment in quality cookware. My sister, for example still uses a very durable and expensive non-stick set – so I don’t see her investing in new cookwkare. I have cheap Euro Shop (Dollar Store) stainless steel cook-ware and it does not seem to work as faston my induction burner as my higher-quality pressure cooker.

      However, the advantage here and why I think readers would be interested in induction cooking even if it’s not popular in the US, yet. Is that almost all new pressure cookers are compatible with induction cooktops and, as Harlan said, they are getting cheaper!

      Plus, there are a few more advantages. Like Enrique mentioned, you can set the timer during pressure cooking time to turn off the burner automatically to semi-automate pressure cooking!

      Ciao,

      L

  6. When I had an electric stove I used a ‘simmer mat’ (heat diffuser) for the pressure cooker otherwise it nearly always burned or I had to move it from burner to burner. So glad we have a new gas stove since it’s so much easier to control the heat. The simmer mat worked great but I did bring it up to pressure off the diffuser. My mother had an induction cooker and she regretted that decision. I may buy a one burner induction to use when the summer heat starts.

    wilkwise[at]live[dot]com

    1. Anonymous, go for it! Get a 2000w burner if you can (minimum 1800) with integrated timer. Mine is extra wide and can accommodate both my 6l’s and pressure pans.

      Ciao,

      L

  7. Interesting! I had never thought about the influence of cooktop type of pressure cooking, but it makes perfect sense. Of course, I have a gas cooktop so I can relax… :=)

  8. In my Pressure Perfect cookbook it recommends a heat diffuser when cooking on electric cook top for certain recipes. In a comment above it says they used a heat diffuser or had to move it to another burner. Will moving it to another burner work as well as a diffuser? I have a small kitchen and don’t want to buy a diffuser unless I absolutely need to. Thanks.

    1. Since you have limited space, try the “switcharoo” first. If that works and keeps food from burning at the base of your pressure cooker you don’t need a heat diffuser.

      If, instead, you consistently get burned food stuck to the bottom.. invest in a “light” heat diffuser (aluminum not cast iron) like this one (you can simply “store” it by leaving it on the cook top)!

      Ciao,

      L

  9. Great article, thank you. For the additional time needed for induction does it change depending on the cook time? For example I could see a difference adding 2-3 minutes to something cooking for 15 minutes but what if I am making stock and pressure cooking for 2 hours. Adding 2 minutes to that doesn’t seem like it would make a difference.

    Could you not just heat the pressure cooker on a lower setting on the induction stove so it would take longer to reach pressure or should I always use full power for initial heating?

    Will be picking up a kuhn rikon duo set at lunch today. Already have a fissler blue point 8.5L but the safety valve on it vents too early before it’s up to the second ring.

    1. Thanks Laura,

      The fissler is about 18 months old. It’s done this from the start but I didn’t actually contact fissler about it until a few days ago.

      Maybe it is working correctly, it’s hard to tell as the pressure indicator is kind of lop sided so if looking at it from one side (the side with the handle) the second line is fully visible but if you look from the opposite side it is only about 1/4-1/2 visible.

      Usually it will only hiss mildly with no visible steam coming out when at full pressure. Maybe that is normal but I assumed it would be completely silent and no venting at all.

      A few days ago I made the pressure cooked marinara from modernist cuisine and the safety valve was hissing and venting a ton as soon as it reached the first pressure indicator. Perhaps that was because it was such a small amount (one large can tomatoes and an onion and carrot) in such a large cooker. Hence why I am buying the smaller duo set today.

    2. That’s right, the longer the food cooks, the less critical the time difference becomes. I would say that you can just start using the regular pressure cooking time for anything that needs 30 minutes or more.

      I have not tried starting at a lower heat setting in all scenarios. Great idea.

      The Fissler over-pressure kicking in too early means that the pressure regulator needs to be replaced. If this happened straight out of the box, the warranty may cover it as a manufacturing defect. Otherwise, it’s considered “wear and tear” and you will need to buy a replacement valve.

      I have stopped using my Fisslers altogether. I love them to death but all their valves are shot and I got tiered of installing one defective replacement valve after another. Unfortunately, the Fisslers are neatly stacked and wrapped in plastic collecting dust on the top shelf in my pantry.

      Ciao,

      L

    3. Anonymous, you definitely have a bum valve.

      The Fissler pressure cooker should reach high pressure without hissing. If it worked correctly, it would hiss (or release extra pressure) only after the second ring is clearly visible and out of the housing. You might want to mention the “crookedness” of it to Fissler, it may be an indicator of a manufacturing defect – this is how I was told to spot the defectiveness of the valves from another model (with the yellow, green and red rings). I don’t know if the same would apply to the Blue Point, which is what I’m guessing you have from your description.

      I “had” a Blue Point fry-pan and it worked perfectly until the lid was dishwashed a few times. Then the valve began behaving much like yours did. BTW, the Blue Point lids note in the instructions that they are dishwasher safe!!! : (

      Ciao,

      L

    4. Thanks Again. Fissler is sending me a new top under warranty.

      Rob

    5. Fantastic, this is great news!!

      Ciao,

      L

  10. Great, thanks for the advice Laura. I did mention the crooked indicator in my support email. Haven’t heard back from them yet (sent it tues night).

    It is the blue point.

    Rob

  11. I am having the same exact problem – early hissing and releasing before second ring shows fully and crooked indicator as well. First try out of the box. Will be calling about warranty tomorrow. Sigh.

  12. So happy to have the option of induction and gas! I use the induction burner to bring pressure up quickly, then switch to the slow, even heat of gas for the rest of the cooking time. Great post!

    1. What a great idea, Patrick! Thanks for sharing it.

      Ciao,

      L

  13. So here’s a question for you… What would your recommendation be for someone using a wood cookstove? :) We just started using ours and I’m thinking of getting a pressure cooker. This article got me wondering if there’s anything I need to take into consideration when using it on the wood stove..

    1. Cindi,

      I’m sorry, I do not have any personal experience with a wood stove. Perhaps readers with a similar set-up can jump-in with suggestions.

      You will need the equivalent of “high” and “low” heat, so if it is not adjustable you’ll have to move the pressure cooker around until you find just the right spot for it to maintain pressure.

      Ciao,

      L

  14. I have an induction hot plate that I sometimes use during the summer months but haven’t used it w/the pressure cooker. I considered induction when purchasing a new stove but we bought gas instead since my first cousin has a pacemaker and was advised by her physician to remain at least 2 feet away from any operating induction cooker. I didn’t want her to feel nervous or afraid sitting at our kitchen table. Her Dr. may be over cautious but I suppose it’s better to be safe.

    maynekitty///at///live///dot///com

  15. Laura: hoping this site is still active Just bumped into it …well, of course because I am fishing for something about pressure cooker & p/cooking.
    I bought a new Satram. You guys talking about cooking time like 20/309 min…………I find everything cooks in a few minutes!
    But my question today has to do with an SEB p/c we have since 1979!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Best friend’s gave us a wedding gift while we got married there.
    It has not been working for a while now. I changed the gasket, the pressure valve..nothing doing.
    Any clue what goes wrong with these p/cs with time. Any fixes you know about?

    1. Boungnoul, so is your pressure cooker not reaching pressure? Where is the steam coming out? The only thing left to replace is the safety valve! I would contact SEB before investing anymore into it. It might be time to say goodbye.

      Ciao,

      L

  16. I just use pressure cooker to cook few dishes, like stewing pork. Maybe I should try some new recipes in the future :D
    Anw, cooking with induction cooktop is really fast. It takes me only 2 minutes to boil water.
    However, thing goes harder when power is down :(

  17. I’m not sure if I’ve posted this comment before (or if it’s been mentioned by someone else already), but here’s a useful tip for using pressure cookers on most hob types: use the most powerful burner – rated in watts. If you don’t know which burner has the highest wattage, check your stovetop/cooker instruction manual. Gas burners are also rated by wattage.

    Using the most powerful burner will bring the pressure cooker up to pressure a few minutes quicker; this is really noticeable when pressure-cooking colder ingredients. Remember to lower the heat enough to keep the pressure cooker pressurised, to avoid burning food on the interior base of the pressure cooker.

    1. Not quite.
      You also need to make sure the hob is not larger than the base of the PC.
      For gas, that means that the flame zone does not extend beyond the base of the pan. In my case that means I have to use my smallest burner for my 2.5L PC. The others have the flame licking up the sides. And I cannot turn them down far enough to stabliise pressure.
      Also gas cooktops are not always measured in watts (technically watt hours) Mine are rated in in mega joules. Yes I can convert, but it is not in the manual. My largest burner runs at 22MJ

      1. You’re right. The flames should not extend beyond the base of the pan.

        The most powerful burner is useful for the average domestic hob and average-sized pressure cooker. There are always exceptions though.

  18. I find that gas cooktops tend to overheat the handles and the gasket on my pressure cooker if the flame is too high. The underside of the handles on my unit are scorched, and I think the gasket has also been scorched a little.

    1. Allan, that’s happening because you’re using a gas burner that is too wide for the pressure cooker base. The flame should not come up the sides of the cooker and reach the handles and gasket. Although the handles and gasket are heat-proof, they are not flame-proof.

      It sounds like both the handles and gasket of your pressure cooker are damaged and you should contact the manufacturer for replacements. The handles may already be brittle and could snap off unexpectedly. You don’t want that to happen while you’re carrying around a full cooker of super-heated food!

      Ciao,

      L

    2. Best advice is to always keep the flames at least half an inch away from the edge of the base. On a domestic gas stove, use a powerful gas burner, because the pressure cooker will reach pressure faster and stay at pressure on the lowest heat (but DON’T use a wok burner, that’s too hot!). The instructions for the gas stove/cooker will tell you which burner is the most powerful; normally the largest sized burner.

  19. Yes, I figured that out eventually. My post was really intended more as an FYI for others …

    Honestly, I’m over gas cooktops. I’ve had them for years, and while I get that temperature changes are instantaneous and easy to gauge by sight, I find they just put too much heat into the room, are too hard to clean, and in North America, at least, unless you buy a premium appliance (which I did, but…) the burners are just not that powerful. My parents bought a well-equipped, but not too expensive Kenmore electric range for our cottage, with old-fashioned coil elements, and you could smelt iron with those burners. ;)

    1. If you have a reliable electricity supply then induction is the way to go. Cool running and even faster to adjust than gas. But if electricity is less than reliable, as in my case, then gas is the best option. The old fashioned coils are the best of the traditional electrics, then halogen then ceramic then a distant last the solid plates. I remember one rental place I had with them. They took forever to heat up. Than twice as long to cool down. Even the “swap the hob” trick was not very successful. I didn’t stay long.

      David. You can use a wok burner, but you need to turn it down so the flame stays within the diameter you describe. My wok burner goes from almost commercial strength to lower than my smallest normal burner. I do usually use the standard large burner, but sometimes space constraints force me onto the big beast. My configuration is 1x wok,1x small, 1x large gas burner and 1x electric ceramic (great for long simmers and any time I need a really gentle heat)

      1. Thanks for the info Greg. I’m worried that a wok burner at (or near) full strength would damage the heat spreader that’s sandwiched into the base of a stovetop pressure cooker. Given what you’ve said, it’s safe to assume that just keeping the gas flames away from the edges should be fine and of course not letting the pressure cooker boil dry.

        Like any stove, the low wattage burners are slowest; great for small pans, but too slow for larger pans like pressure cookers.

  20. Hi,
    I’m searching for articles that might give me insight into my particular situation, but not seeing it exactly. I have a tall narrow Kuhn Rikon PC (8L) as well as a squattier smaller capacity (5 L) and a Jennaire electric radiant glass cooktop. I’m still somewhat new to pressure cooking but notice that my smaller pressure cooker does better than the tall narrow one, –the tall narrow cooker has scorched things on a few occasions, in spite of using as directed with appropriate amt of water.

    The most recent disaster occurred with cooking a marinara with italian sausage in the 8 L pot. I had cooked some previously with great success but doubled the recipe last night, which still fit nicely within the 2/3 fill line of the pot. I was bringing the cooker up to pressure using high temp and way before it even began to be pressurized I detected a smell of something burning. I checked and the stove surface had not spills on it to account for the smell; after a few minutes more as the smell became more intense so I removed the pot from heat and peeked inside to discover the sauce completely charred on the bottom. It had never achieved even low pressure. There was still plenty of liquid in the pot.

    Should I perhaps be using a lower temperature to achieve pressure, and just wait longer? Or, should I get a heat diffuser to place on my element, as the Pressure Perfect cookbook suggests? Or should I avoid altogether using the pot for anything that might burn, (tomato products, things with flour in them –last disaster being an enchilada sauce that had flour as thickener– ??? I am getting so I totally distrust this tall pot. (And by the way, it is so narrow that it would be difficult find a pot or casserole to fit inside of it for the pot inside a pot idea without greatly reducing the capacity). Note that part of what led me to the purchase of the particular pot I bought was because the Kuhn Rikon literature stresses the importance of matching the size of the pot to the diameter of the heat element.

    Thanks for any suggestions

    1. Allyson, please come post information (or link to) the recipe you used in the Trouble-shooter forum. Here is all the information we need:
      https://www.hippressurecooking.com/forums/topic/read-this-how-to-get-help-with-pressure-cooker-problems/

      In general the 8L should not scorch any more than the 4L, so something else is going on (my first guess is that the recipe is an issue). Please post all of the information we need in the forums and we’ll trouble shoot what’s going on with your pressure cooker.

      Ciao,

      L

    2. Hi Allyson and welcome.
      Please do as Laura suggests and post the specific details over on the forum, but reading your experiences I can already see a few gotchas.

      You mention a recipe using flour as a thickener. This is a big no-no in pressure cookers as it reduces the ability of the water to produce steam and is a sure fire way to cause burning. If that is a pressure cooker cook book, the author doesn’t know what they are talking about. Do yourself a flavour and throw it away. I have thrown a few away in my time once it became obvious they didn’t know what they were talking about.

      What type of tomato product are you using? If it is tomato sauce (ketchup) then this contains both sugar and thickeners. Both of which WILL cause scorching. Check the label for additives. Personally I always use passata (purée), canned tomatoes, or paste which I am careful to add last so it is well away from the heat source. It can also help to stir it as it comes to a boil. Obviously with the lid off.

      Also, when you were matching the PC to your cooktop, how did you measure it? The flat disc needs to match (or be slightly bigger) than your element. I can’t quite recall the specifics of the KR recommendation but a lot of them don’t make this completely clear. If you matched the overall diameter to the hob, then you may have the thinner curved edge hanging over the full heat of the coil. This will cause scorching in that area. I have a gas hob and get scorching if I turn the gas up a little too high – the flame spreads further so the hob size is effectively a little too big.

    3. Hi Allyson!

      I’m in the same boat, love my KR for nearly 20 years, but am failing miserably with my GE ceramic cooktop in my new home. Same issues as you, starchy thick foods (bean stews, fruity sauces) all scorched on the bottom but never came to pressure to cook the meal. Couldn’t get most things to come to pressure.

      I’m having somewhat success with the opposite solution from the others. When I use it on a burner that’s too big I can actually get it to temperature, if the burner size matches the base or is smaller then it never reaches pressure and results in scorching. Weird right?

      It is still a challenge to get it to temperature/pressure, since the burner shuts itself off when it thinks the base is hot enough, even though it hasn’t reached pressure. I end up managing it manually, lifting up one side of the pan to expose the burner to air, then once it reawakens I settle the PC back down and keep an eye on it.

      Yes, it’s high maintenance, and keeping it at pressure can be the same challenge, it can go too low and stay there because the stove is sensing the heat of the base and shuts itself off. I tend to keep it at level 4 out of 10 to maintain pressure, but even then I need to keep an eye on it. Not an ideal solution, but I’m back to making chicken soup and a few other favorites.

      I hope this helps, would love to hear what has worked for you!

      1. Hello Diana,
        Thanks for sharing your experience. Your stove/pot situation sounds more challenging than mine, as my cook top does not cycle off as readily as yours. It does do that to some degree, as it sounds familiar, but not to the extent that yours does. I have just avoided tomato sauces or things that burn readily since having made that mistake and I’ve had no further problems. Actually, a single batch of marinara had previously worked alright, it was the double batch, requiring more time to reach pressure that created the disaster. But back to stove tops: If I were in your situation I would be pretty tempted to buy a separate burner to use with my KR. I am not sure I would have the patience to stand there and lift the pot off and on the burner as you have been. ;-)
        I hope you find an easier way to continue using your KR. (I call mine my “magic pot” as I do find it magical MOST of the time!)

  21. Hello Greg,
    I’ve had a busy day, so probably haven’t done absolutely everything yet from the details Laura suggested, but here’s some of the missing detail that I did figure out.

    Yes, the enchilada recipe that includes flour doesn’t surprise me. It was my own fault, as I tried to switch a regular recipe to a pressure cooker method and sort of succeeded, yet enough sticking to make me realize I’d better be watch out…

    My tomato products were a brand of Italian roma tomatoes without any added sugar. They are just tomatoes and puree– I used 4 28 oz cans of these and 2 cans of tomato paste. I first put the italian sausage and sauteed onion on the bottom along with some wine, which was reduced in volume per the directions. I used Pressure Perfect’s recipe for 5 minute Tomato Sauce but this time I doubled it since the pot had plenty of room to do that.

    I have a Kuhn Rikon 8.0 L stockpot model 3044 with a bottom diameter of 22 cm. –exactly the same as my 5.0L Kuhn Rikon which has given me no trouble. I noticed today when I did the 10minute water test (which we passed with no trouble –full pressure achieved in probably 5 minutes) that the burner is lit up approximately 1″ more in diameter than the pot. My manual states that the hob diameter should match that of the hotplate or ring, which is why I avoided wider pots. It’s not a complete match though –that is a very tough requirement to meet. Somehow I thought that too large of a pot might be worse than too small, but maybe I made the wrong assumption.

    The stove I have is a jennaire downdraft range with glass cooktop using radiant heat.

    Thank you so much for trying to help me figure out what the major problem is. There are probably a few rules that must not be broken with this!! When things turn out well with these pots, I am so pleased, but the tomato sauce disaster is one I really must not repeat. Too expensive and way too time consuming! It was really hard to get the pot clean and it still has a pungent burnt odor to the gasket.

    1. Too late now, but you went the wrong way with the size of the pots. Ideally, you match the size of the pot to the size of the hob. But if you cannot get a perfect match, it is better if the pot is slightly bigger than the hob. Specifically what you want to measure is the diameter of the flat disc on the bottom – not the actual diameter of the pot. Your 22cm pots probably have true base diameter of about 18cm.

      If the hob is smaller than the pot, then you are just running a little less efficient as your heat source is smaller, and probably lower output than optimum. It has the advantage though that if you pot is a little off centre, there is no drama.

      If, OTOH, the flat of the pot is smaller than the hob, then you are 1. heating the thinner sides of the pot so you end up with a hot spot on the sides. 2. you are wasting electricity as you end up just heating the kitchen not the food.

      If the flat base of your pot is exactly the same size as the hob, then you are in the sweet spot but you need to be careful you centre the pot precisely every time you use it, or you will end up wasting heat and potentially scorching.

      The big pot is probably scorching more as it takes longer on high heat to come to pressure. That means that there is more time for the food to scorch. Leaving the lid off and stirring until you reach a boil will go a long way to solving this issue. As would heating to pressure at a lower setting. But that of course will slow down the whole cook.

      Incidentally I have three KRs. Two (5L, 12L) with a 28cm base and one with a 24cm base (2.5L). Perhaps counter intuitively the smallest one takes longest to reach pressure, but that is because I need to use a smaller heat source for it.

      As for cleaning, Caustic Soda (NaOH – the basis for many oven cleaners) is the most effective thing I have found for removing a heavy build up of burnt food. But it is potentially VERY dangerous. Rinse very thoroughly after using. Also treat it with the greatest respect, and not at all if you have inquisitive children around. It WILL eat through clothing, skin, flesh and bone. I usually only use it on ceramic and glass. I am not sure if the Caustic will damage the steel. I suspect not as I have used it once or twice on steel with no visible ill effects. Basically make up a slurry with water to coat the burnt bits. If you have pure NaOH granules (my preference), put some in the bottom of the pot and add some water. It will get very hot. If you are using a prepared solution, just add it to the pot at full strength. The gel types are ideal here as they will stick to the curved surfaces. Leave to soak for a few hours then scrub off what will come off easily. Repeat as necessary then rinse thoroughly. Note that it will remove the burnt food, but will have no effect on the discoloration of the steel itself. If you don’t like the idea of Caustic – and I wouldn’t blame you – elbow grease and an abrasive pad will get there eventually. But will scratch the surface of the steel.

      As for the gasket, the simplest solution may be to get a replacement. Soaking in vinegar and/or Bicarbonate of Soda (Not at the same time – they will react together) will help, but I find the best option is to just hang it up to air for a few weeks. Not a problem if you have a spare gasket but difficult if you don’t and rely on the PC for meals.

  22. Wow. Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply, Greg. I will make sure I bring things to a boil before putting the lid on, as I’m seldom in such a hurry that it would bother me to take those extra few minutes. Highest heat and tomatoes just don’t mix, as I’ve known for a very long time. Also, I wonder if it might make sense to use the smaller burner on the stove for things like this? I might have to experiment with that. You are probably right that I ordered the diameter of the pot to match the diameter of the stove and the base of the pot is not the same thing. I hope others might benefit from my mistake there! That is an expensive mistake!
    Thank you also for the tip on Caustic Soda. Sounds like something to put under lock and key if there are toddlers around.
    As for the vinegar and soda, I’ve done that, and hanging it outside to air out is about all that is left. I’m sure time will take care of the rest.
    Again, thank you so much, I’ve learned a lot!

    1. I was reading your earlier comment about burnt-on residue. If you can buy Cif cream, the one with the words _micro particles_ on the label, try it. I find this cleans off stubborn bits from inside the pressure cooker without scratching the stainless steel. It’s best to wear gloves when you use Cif cream to avoid friction on your finger tips. When you’re done, rinse the cream off and then rub vinegar around inside, preferably clear vinegar, to bring back the shine.

      Cif cream is absolutely brilliant inside the stainless steel pressure cooker, far better and safer than anything else I’ve tried. If you can’t find Cif in the shops, you can order it online.

      1. Thanks for that David. I’ve never seen or even heard of it. Almost certainly not available locally but I’ll keep an eye out.

        I have tried KR’s Swiss Cleaner and find that works for lesser burns. But not the major ones I get now and again.

      2. I concur with David – first let the pot soak overnight. Then scrub as much as you can with a scrubby sponge. Then start going for the chemichals. The equivalent of Cif in the U.S. is Soft Scrub. ; )

        Ciao,

        L

  23. Lots of excellent pointers above. Here’s my bit from the peanut gallery. I have the 22 cm stockpot in the 6 liter size. The bottom disk that contacts the stove surface is 19 cm. My largest electric coil burner is 18 cm. This pairing works well. I’ve had no problems with scorching, although I haven’t PCed thick tomato sauces.

    If you decide the size of your burners are a pain for some PC recipes, here’s a workaround. @Greg or @Laura, please weigh in, as I have not tried this out.

    Maybe pressurizing the pot on an induction plate would work better. You’d match your heat source to your PC’s bottom plate, and pressurize faster than on your small burner. As some have found induction too imprecise for maintaining low heat, then once your pot is pressurized, you could slide the pot to your stove burner. This might be significantly faster than using only a small burner.

    Not the most elegant workaround. But less expensive than a new stove or KR PC.

    1. That’s a great idea Suzanne. It means buying a new bit of kit though. And finding somewhere to keep it. In my kitchen that’s a real problem. Still with some of the cheaper units coming in at less than $50 these days it is a really cost effective solution. Certainly a LOT cheaper than a new Kuhn Rikon.

      Actually I was one of the people who struggled to get the right balance on induction. But the other week I was forced to use it with my 12 L. I was cooking a large corned beef and my gas is still out of action. With the pot nearly full it actually balanced beautifully for around an hour. I was impressed.

  24. @Greg, it’s nice to hear your largest KR still gets some heavy lifting to do despite your Breville’s usefulness in your dismembered kitchen. (That’s the murder mystery I’m watching on TV talking.)
    :-P

    What do you think made the difference in your successful cook on induction? The volume of the corned beef relative to the pot size? The largish meat’s heat retention capacity?

    1. I think the key is that the pot was fuller – induction heats only the base that heats the liquid that heats the sides – so more liquid would mean that more of the rest of the pot is heated evenly.

      BTW, my cheap induction burner broke down and I did a little more research. I got a still somewhat cheap burner but with the temperature adjustable in 10 degree (°C) increments vs. 20 and the timer settable in 1 minute increments vs. 5. What a difference! It’s actually less powerful (1800W vs 2000) but in this case convenience really trumps power. So it takes an extra MINUTE for water to boil but it’s so much easier to select the right temperature to maintain pressure!! But, to be honest, I only use the stovetops when the electrics are already busy or their inner-bowls are not available.

      I almost never fry – last time was probably a couple of years ago – but last weekend I paired the KR Braiser base with my new induction burner and they were a dream team. I just had to set the temperature and the peanut oil was always in no time. It stayed at the right temperature the whole time (I was still careful about how many things you place in the oil at a time). BTW, I made a simple batter (we call it “pastella”) with cold beer and flour and deep-fried zucchini flowers that were stuffed with anchovies and, then, apple slices in the same batter (which I later sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar). The flowers were HUGE so using the braiser meant I could at least do 4 at a time – a smaller pan would have let me do only 1.

      Ciao,

      L

  25. A few years ago I looked at a lot of induction burner reviews on Amazon. A recurring complaint — at least in the U.S. — seemed to be that these units break down relatively quickly. @Laura, you’ve been straightforward about the issue of electric PCs having short service lives. How do you see induction burners in this regard?

    1. I have only used one induction burner – and it doesn’t have the typical use scenario. My husband CONSTANTLY boils over rice and pasta in it – he insists on putting the lid on after adding the grains despite the mess it makes EVERY TIME. I swear he does it so I won’t ask him to cook once a week while I’m taking the kids to their activities. Anyway, I strongly suspect that his behavior has hastened the life of the induction burner. It lasted a good 4 years and it “may” have lasted longer had it not been abused by my husband. I imagine these are designed to resist one or two boil-overs in the life of the product as people who are not my husband generally figure out not to do it anymore after that.

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Husbands eh!
        The only good one in the kitchen I know is well and truly taken. ;) mind you his wife refuses to learn how to use a pressure cooker. Or even master scrambled eggs. He has been unwell lately and so has delegated the daily breakfast. The eggs are coming out rubbery and the bacon cold for days now. Mind you. It gives him more time to waffle on on his favourite forum. Luckily she doesn’t read it.

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