The 10 Best Stockpots

Updated September 26, 2017 by Melissa Harr

10 Best Stockpots
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Cooking for a family when you're busy is a lot easier if you can simply throw all the ingredients together and let them simmer until you're ready to eat. One of these stockpots will let you do just that, since they’ll help you venture into the culinary world of soups, stews, pastas, Cajun-style seafood boils, turkey brining, and more. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best stockpot on Amazon.

10. Neoflam Retro 3-Quart

This cute looking Neoflam Retro 3-Quart comes in both mint and pink, and features a ceramic coating that helps it resist unsightly scratching. The knob on its lid works as a vent, and it’s totally free from PFOA and PFTE nonstick chemicals that may cause health issues.
  • winner of several design awards
  • unique vintage styling
  • handles get extremely hot
Brand Neoflam
Model 52419
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Granite Ware 4-Quart

If you don't need anything too fancy try the Granite Ware 4-Quart. Its construction starts with low-carbon steel for strength and finishes with a porcelain coating that won't leech any unpleasant tastes into your food. This glass-like interior won’t corrode or hold odors.
  • dark color heats up quickly
  • it is easy to wash
  • not for glass-top ranges
Brand Granite Ware
Model 6121-4
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Cuisinart Contour 12-Quart

The slightly curved shape of the Cuisinart Contour 12-Quart is striking, but it’s not this model’s best feature. That honor goes to its anodized aluminum core that’s made to get rid of annoying hot spots and evenly distribute heat.
  • effective nonstick surface
  • contoured handles for comfy grip
  • coating could be more hardwearing
Brand Cuisinart
Model 6466-26
Weight 8 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Calphalon Tri-Ply 8-Quart

The Calphalon Tri-Ply 8-Quart makes rustling up your favorite cuisine a snap, since it’s designed for both minimal evaporation during simmering and simple stirring thanks to a sloped bottom. Its brushed exterior looks good at the table, too.
  • see-through top for monitoring
  • safe on ceramic or halogen stovetops
  • works with any utensils
Brand Calphalon
Model 1767727
Weight 9 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. T-fal Specialty 12-Quart

With its aluminum construction, the T-fal Specialty 12-Quart offers great heat conductivity, so you’ll always get even cooking. It’s also got a nonstick coating on both the exterior and interior, which means no more stuck-on food to scrub.
  • vented hole prevents boil-overs
  • smaller model available as well
  • some quality control issues with lid
Brand T-fal
Model 2100087877
Weight 6.5 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. All-Clad 4506

The All-Clad 4506 6-quart isn’t exactly inexpensive, but as fans of the brand will tell you, these USA-made pots offer superior performance and longevity. This versatile model is safe for broiler use up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit and is induction stovetop compatible.
  • wide bottom good for sauteing
  • small size ideal for portion control
  • warp and ding resistant
Brand All-Clad
Model 8701004424
Weight 6.9 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Cuisinart 12-Quart Pasta/Steamer Set

You’ll be ready to steam veggies and make perfect al dente noodles with the Cuisinart 12-Quart Pasta/Steamer Set. It’s got a non-reactive cooking surface, so you won’t have to deal with metallic tastes, as well as a tapered rim for mess-free pouring.
  • aluminum encapsulated bottom
  • can be put in the freezer
  • small steamer basket capacity
Brand Cuisinart
Model 77-412
Weight 10.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Cook N Home 20-Quart

If you’re on a budget and canning or preparing food for a crowd, then you may just need the Cook N Home 20-Quart. It gives you the features you deserve, including premium stainless steel and riveted handles, without burning a hole in your pocketbook.
  • reinforced rim prevents deformation
  • tempered glass lid
  • neither too heavy nor too light
Brand Cook N Home
Model NC-00335
Weight 9.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 16-Quart

The eye-catching Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 16-Quart has a highly polished mirror finish that provides an elegant touch to your kitchen. Thanks to its self-basting lid, you’ll be able to preserve all the delicious, juicy flavor of anything you prepare.
  • safe for the dishwasher
  • comfortable to carry
  • sturdy and long-lasting
Brand Farberware
Model 50009
Weight 8.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Tramontina Gourmet 12-Quart

When you consider the exceptional quality you get for the price, it’s tough to beat the Tramontina Gourmet 12-Quart. This tri-ply model is oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, NSF certified for consumer safety, and crafted from the highest grade materials.
  • flat lid for easy storage
  • durable riveted handles
  • includes lifetime warranty
Brand Tramontina
Model 80120/000DS
Weight 8.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Cooking: The Craft That Keeps On Giving

There's a practically endless body of knowledge regarding food and how it's prepared. Everyone starts somewhere different; maybe your dad showed you how to fry an egg or your grandmother taught you her handcrafted, traditional recipes. Some future cooks stood at their family's stove for hours after bedtime as a child experimenting with different spices and honing their palate. Wherever the roots, one thing's for sure: anyone can cook if they take the time and have the dedication to learn.

Many home cooks don't realize that there's one specific skill that underlies some of the basics of all cooking. In fact, at professional cooking schools, it's often among the very first techniques students learn. The creation of this basic ingredient involves a range of different methods, and once it's fully mastered, a budding cook is sure to know at least the foundations of modern cooking. That fundamental skill is the production of stock, one of the most important ingredients in many dishes.

Stock, at its simplest, is just flavored water. In practice, it's far more than that: it's an integral necessity that uses a nearly infinite variety of foods. Meats, fish, vegetables, herbs, seeds, nuts, and even fruits and cheeses can be used to add flavor to stock. Some of these flavors are simple, such as the classic mire poix of onion, carrot, and celery. Others, such as those from roasted beef bones, are so complex that scientists have yet to nail down the exact physiological effects of the chemicals that make them so delicious. Some flavors, such as apple or parmesan cheese, give stocks a unique purpose in special, exotic dishes. But why is this component so important? And how is it made?

Taking Stock of All The Flavors

On a basic level, stock is made by simply simmering your selected variety of foods in water for hours, and straining the result. Don't be fooled by this simplistic description, however. This important procedure really does employ some specific cooking methods that will help any cook perfect their skills and grow towards being a real chef.

The preparation of the ingredients in stock is of prime importance. Of course, when chopping any food, safe cutting practices are first and foremost on the list — as safety always should be. But once the bones are separated and the vegetables chopped, they are often also browned.

To explain browning and why it matters, let's touch briefly on the concept of wet vs. dry heat. It's pretty straightforward: wet heat means cooking with water, dry heat means cooking without it. Steaming, boiling, and braising are examples of wet heat, and grilling, sauteing, and frying are examples of dry heat.

Two things happen when dry heat is applied to ingredients that will soon be simmered into stock. A lot of flavorful foods, especially seeds like cardamom, coriander, and fennel, contain powerfully tasty chemicals locked up in hydrophobic (non-water-soluble) cell walls, and those flavors might never make it into the stock if you don't pay them a little extra attention first. A light roasting unlocks these compounds, helping them to make it into your ultimate soup broth.

But the most important part of dry heat involves a combination of caramelization and the Maillard reaction. Anytime you experience food that's been browned, you're seeing, smelling, and tasting the results of these complex reactions between heat and either sugar or starch. Applying enough heat to brown bones, meat, vegetables, or seasonings causes the food's chemicals to react in unchartable ways and form chemical combinations that are so delicious we don't yet understand them. When those intricate flavors are dropped into boiling water, they dissolve over many hours to create the hearty, complex component known as stock in all of its meaty (and sometimes veggie) goodness.

Another immensely important chemical activity occurs during the near-sacred process of stock-making. Collagen, connective tissue present in almost all meat products and in very high concentrations in bones, is broken down very slowly over time into gelatin and incorporated into the liquid. This gives the stock body, making it ever-so-slightly thicker. This increased viscosity enhances our ability to taste the subtle flavors that make a good broth so memorable.

I Use Bouillon Cubes. Do I Still Need A Stockpot?

Short answer: absolutely.

Of course, stock isn't only an important part of the culinary world because someone's instructor made them learn it first. In truth, there is an entire world of complex sauces that are essentially predicated on having access to a high-quality batch of veal, beef, chicken, or seafood stock. Derived from the five classic mother sauces are dozens of intricate recipes, a majority of which will call for a well-made stock to thin them to the proper flavor and consistency. And today's finest restaurants use the glace de viande, which is just stock simmered until about 3/4 of the water has evaporated. But even if you prefer to skip the entire stockmaking process and buy pre-made soup base, you'll still find plenty of utility in having a stockpot.

Sometimes you'll need to boil a few pounds of pasta or blanch several handfuls of vegetables. The right pot can enable these tasks, letting you produce large batches of food. And what better place to wash and rinse a bunch of tomatoes or squash than a pot with a 2-5-gallon capacity? Even if you buy stock in a cardboard box (which can be delicious), you'll still need somewhere to cook up that soup for your whole family. Speaking of family gatherings, you surely can't simmer an entire cookout's worth of chili in a 4-quart saucepan.

So, pick up a good stockpot. Get one with the heaviest bottom you can find. And make sure you roast those bones before you drop them in the water.

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Last updated on September 26, 2017 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.

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