Multiple metals and a durable finish make this an excellent choice for any chef.
Made from copper, stainless steel, and aluminum to provide an unparalleled cooking experience. Resists warping even at high heat. Easy to clean thanks to its ability to go in the dishwasher.
May be a tad heavy for some when it is completely full.
A great non-stick design that holds a lot of liquid and heats evenly.
Holds up to 12 quarts of liquid. Has a tall yet skinny design that allows it to be used on any cooking surface with ease. Non-stick on both the interior and the exterior allowing for it to be easy to clean.
The handles may crack over time, especially at higher heats.
An excellent choice that works well, looks good, and is meant to be used and loved.
Withstands frequent use. Heats quickly and evenly, and retains heat well. Works well for canning, boiling water, or searing meat. Oven safe up to 350 degrees. Relatively easy to clean after use.
Stainless steel requires a lot of upkeep to maintain good condition.
With multiple colors and sizes, this is a high-performing pick that is suitable for any kitchen.
Comes in 6-, 8-, 10-, and 16-quart sizes. The interior is carbon steel allowing for even heat distribution throughout the pot. Comes in a large variety of colors. The enamel exterior is durable and rugged.
Multiple reports of the lid not sealing as well as it should.
A bigger-sized stockpot that both distributes and maintains heat well.
Stainless steel and aluminum come together to make a durable yet easy-to-use stockpot. The included lid holds tight to the top of the pot itself. Oven safe up to 500 degrees. The handles are easy to hold.
Food may get stuck to the bottom making it hard to clean.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
A stockpot is a great investment for the kitchen. It’s a versatile cooking vessel in which you can boil, braise, fry, steam, roast, sous vide, and more. And when the situation calls for food in bulk, a stockpot can be a godsend.
There are hundreds of stockpots available on the consumer market, so how do you tell which is the right one? With so many kinds of options, it can be tough to sort the wheat from the chaff. You'll want to consider which material you prefer, how big a pot you need, and which other features will work best for your cooking style.
Original stockpots may have been hammered out of copper or forged with cast iron, but for the most part, these materials have fallen out of favor with modern cooks. (Occasionally you might see a copper stockpot in a speciality store, but these are pricey and often just for show.)
Today’s stockpots are made of stainless steel, aluminum, or a three-ply combination of the two. These workhorse metals are durable, chef-friendly materials that help modern cooks get the job done right.
Stainless steel is a popular cooking material, especially among higher-end stockpot models. Because it’s a nonreactive metal, you don’t have to worry about unpleasant chemical changes that affect the taste of your food. However, stainless steel is not an effective heat conductor. If you want a stainless steel stockpot, look for one with copper or aluminum elements. For example, some stockpots feature a bottom of “encapsulated aluminum” for better heat conduction. Others go one better by alternating layers of aluminum and stainless steel throughout the pot.
The “skeleton” of an enameled steel or aluminum stockpot is formed from a heat-friendly material such as steel or aluminum. Next, the pot is coated with a ceramic paint and kiln-fired. The result: an enameled stockpot that could potentially match or enhance a kitchen’s color scheme. The enameling process strengthens the pot and protects it from excessive heat.
The electrochemical process of anodizing bonds aluminum with nonstick materials, resulting in an anodized aluminum that conducts heat well and offers excellent nonstick properties. A drawback of anodized aluminum stockpots is that they're becoming increasingly hard to find on store shelves.
Aluminum is ideal as a heat conductor, but it lacks the structural integrity of stainless steel. The solution is a hybrid stockpot made with three-ply cladding: an encapsulated aluminum disk inside two layers of stainless steel (or another form of steel). A tri-ply stockpot offers the best of both aluminum and steel. If you want this type of pot, you’ll probably pay a higher price for the privilege.
In terms of size, stockpots lead the pack. Capacity is measured by the quart, and most home cooks rarely require anything larger than 12 quarts to prepare a family meal.
Manufacturers sell stock pots of varying capacities. For example, you can buy some with a 4-, 8-, or 12-quart capacity. Others come in capacities of 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, 40, 80, and 100 quarts.
For most consumers, we recommend a stockpot with a 12-quart capacity. It’s large enough to handle the preparation of actual stock, yet it’s small enough to fit the average stovetop burner or oven.
A stockpot is designed to minimize the loss of liquid during the simmering process. This is why the sides of a stockpot are generally straight, not flanged outward like a Dutch oven. The bottom of a good stockpot should be heavy and feel stable when placed atop a burner.
Some stockpots have a flat, tight-fitting lid; others sport a dome-shaped glass lid for easy observation of the food. A small metal rivet in the dome allows steam to escape during long cooking sessions.
Because stockpots do much more than create stock, potential buyers should consider a product’s “ease of access” when choosing a new model. Tall stockpots can pose a challenge for shorter cooks as they try to stir the contents from the bottom to the top.
And food can burn and stick to the pot if not stirred regularly, so a long-handled wooden spoon or metal stirrer could be in order.
When fully loaded, a stockpot is quite heavy. As such, the handles should have strong welds and reinforced rivets. While presenting a pot full of chili to 15 of your closest friends, you certainly wouldn’t want the handle to snap off unexpectedly!
For safer pouring, the lip of the stockpot should curl outward. Commercial pots used in restaurants and soup kitchens may have a spigot attached to the bottom for easier service, but these spigots can also tempt curious children. If you purchase a stockpot with a spigot, be sure to store it on a back burner between uses.
While a stockpot’s “traditional” purpose is to prepare meat and vegetable stock, many people have found alternative uses for this tall, spacious, heat-friendly container.
Here are some other potential uses you may find interesting:
Both soap and candle making require a large supply of melted ingredients. A large stockpot provides a place to combine these ingredients and keep them in a liquid state. The pot’s solid dual handles make it easier to pour the melted product into molds, and for those units with a stainless steel or nonstick coating, cleanup is much easier.
A cloth-dyeing craft called batik involves applying a layer of protective wax over a section of cloth, then dyeing the material various colors. The wax is removed by boiling in a clean stockpot, and the result is a beautiful, multi-color design.
Small-batch production of craft beer, wine, and spirits is much easier with the use of a commercial-size stockpot. You can make the fermented mash necessary for whiskey in a stockpot on a standard stovetop burner. You can also place a craft beer base in a nonreactive stock pot during the fermenting or aging process. Of course, the laws on home-based alcohol production vary from state to state, so be sure to do your homework before using a stockpot for this purpose.
Some household projects require a little outside-the-box thinking. You could use a large stockpot to mix and contain your specialized paints or stains. Most pots are easy to transport, nonreactive to chemicals, and large enough to hold several gallons. An added bonus: the pot’s tight-fitting lid will protect your paint/stain from the elements and help prevent drying.
A. The answer to this question traces back to the original intended purpose of a stockpot: to create flavorful meat and vegetable stocks as bases for other dishes. This required hours of carefully monitored simmering over low heat. The straight sides of a stockpot keep the liquid and ingredients in an even vertical stack, which reduces evaporation and encourages the heated liquid to circulate inside the pot.
A. While many traditional stockpots still have tall, straight sides, some newer designs differ, and they serve a practical purpose. When liquids in a cooking vessel become heated, they move upward in the pot. If the vessel is wider at the top (like a Dutch oven), some of that liquid flows outward and evaporates. A stockpot with a top that flares inward reduces this effect.
A. Valid concerns exist about the possibility that a nonstick coating could flake into your food during cooking. Many companies have addressed this issue by changing the manufacturing process or switching to a safer nonstick chemical coating.
A. All of these cookware pieces can hold large quantities of water or broth, and most are oven-safe. However, some noticeable differences exist between the varieties.
The sides of a true stockpot are either straight or flared slightly inward. This design allows the pot to transfer heat evenly from bottom to top while simultaneously minimizing liquid loss through evaporation.
Unlike a stockpot, a Dutch oven is designed primarily for the oven. As such, its slightly flared sides allow more liquid to escape as steam.
You might see a “stockpot” sold as part of a pasta cookware set. This large pot may be closer to a thin-walled soup pot or steamer than a true stockpot, and it may include a specially fitted colander or steamer as well. There’s nothing wrong with investing in a stockpot/pasta pot hybrid, but sometimes combination sets do not perform any one task particularly well.