Which stockpot is best?
If your idea of heaven is a thick, rich stew bubbling away on the stove, chances are good that you already understand the value of a high-quality stockpot. These large, straight-sided cooking vessels streamline the process of preparing bulk batches of food.
When you are ready to invest in a stockpot that will last for generations, the All-Clad D5 Stockpot With Lid is the best choice. It performs beautifully on all cooking surfaces and comes from a brand that professional chefs trust.
What to know before you buy a stockpot
A stockpot is designed to cook massive quantities of food at once. The downside is that these large pots take up lots of kitchen real estate. While 10-quart stockpots exist, 12- and 16-quart ones are more common, and best suited for most home kitchens.
The material you select dictates the quality of heat retention and the pot’s durability and style.
- Stainless steel: Stainless steel is the most common material. Solid stainless is durable and performs well.
- Enamel: Enameled stockpots feature an aluminum or stainless core coated with enamel. This gives cooks more color options and protects the pot from nicks and dings.
- Anodized: Anodized pots are aluminum with an electrochemically bonded non-stick coating. This works for cooks who want an easy-release interior coating, but this type of pot is less common.
- Hybrid: Hybrid stockpots feature an aluminum core for even heating wrapped in multiple layers of stainless steel. The most common number of layers is three, but 5-ply hybrid pots exist (and are the most expensive option).
Stockpot height and weight
You want a pot large enough to cook big batches of soups and stews, but for shorter cooks too much height can be an issue. Tall stockpots can be difficult to reach into, and their weight when loaded can also be prohibitive. Make sure you’re physically capable of reaching into the pot and carrying it as needed.
What to look for in a quality stockpot
Most cooks use a stockpot on the stove, but some recipes require a finishing trip to the oven. The best stockpot is oven safe to at least 350 degrees, but some can withstand temperatures of up to 600 degrees.
Sturdy, stay-cool handles
Fully loaded, a 16-quart stockpot can weigh 15 pounds or more. Make sure the handles on your stockpot are firmly riveted in place. Stay-cool handles are also a must, especially when transferring the pot from the oven to the stovetop.
A lid that nestles into the stockpot retains steam and heat without creating suction or a vacuum. Some feature a lip and a slight overhang, while others fit inside the walls of the stockpot.
How much you can expect to spend on a stockpot
The main driver of price is the material used. Expect to spend $90-$600, with quality options all along that range.
What is a stockpot used for?
A. The most common use might be soups or stews, but that’s not the only thing you can make in these large pots. Other uses include:
- Boiling lobsters and crabs
- Making candles and soap
- Dyeing fabric
- Brewing beer, wine and mead
- Mixing paint and stain
Do you need a dedicated stockpot?
A. Pasta pots, Dutch ovens and stockpots all serve the same basic purpose: to cook large quantities of food. However, there are some differences in each.
- A stockpot has straight sides, with no curving inward or outward. This design preserves the moisture inside the pot and does not allow for evaporation. Stockpots are also designed to be used primarily on the stovetop.
- A Dutch oven is largely used in an oven. The upper wall flares out slightly to allow steam to escape over long periods of time.
- Pasta pots are, as their name indicates, used for boiling water and preparing pasta. Many of these come with steamers or colanders for draining pasta water. Although they resemble stock pots more closely than Dutch ovens, pasta pots are often thin-walled and less sturdy than a stock pot. If you make more pasta than soups or stews, or if storage space is scarce, this might be a good dual-purpose pot.
Whether you need a dedicated stockpot depends on what you cook most often.
What’s the best stockpot to buy?
What you need to know: This 12-quart stockpot comes from a kitchen brand that professional chefs trust.
What you’ll love: It’s a high-end pot made of durable 18/10 brushed stainless steel. It has 5-ply bonding for even heating. The handles stay cool and are securely riveted. It’s dishwasher-safe. It can be used in the oven up to 600 degrees. It’s also safe on induction cooktops.
What you should consider: It is a very expensive pot.
Top stockpot for the money
What you need to know: It is a versatile option at a substantially lower price.
What you’ll love: The set includes not only a stainless steel 12-quart stockpot but also a colander, steamer insert and lid. The aluminum base heats evenly. It’s dishwasher-safe.
What you should consider: This cannot be used on induction burners, and some users found the stainless steel wore out quickly.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: At 16 quarts, this stockpot is great for large-batch cooking and feeding a crowd.
What you’ll love: It has a classic mirror finish and a domed top, and is also available in a 12-quart capacity. It has an aluminum core wrapped in thick stainless steel for even heating and no hot spots. It’s oven-safe to 350 degrees and cleans up easily in the dishwasher.
What you should consider: Filled to capacity, this stockpot is very heavy. Use with caution.
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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