The best stockpots

The best stockpots

August 19, 2020

 

  • A top-quality stockpot will last for the rest of your life and serve as the perfect tool for whipping up stocks, stews, chili, and even home canning projects.
  • The Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Covered Stockpot is our top pick because it heats evenly, is easy to clean, and comes with a lifetime limited warranty.

Frozen turkey is incredibly affordable; in our house, we stock up on these birds and never let the bones go to waste. With a good stockpot, some vegetables and spices, and a few hours of simmering, you can turn your turkey remains into a stock that beats anything you'd buy at the store. I usually add dumplings, vegetables, and more meat to create a delicious turkey and dumpling soup.

Of course, a good stockpot is useful for making any kind of soup, even if you decide to use bouillon. It will also serve you well for canning projects, cooking for large groups, and much more. It's an integral part of any home cook's repertoire.

To help with your stockpot buying decision, we selected those that are easy to handle, tend not to scorch, and strike an excellent balance between size and functionality.

Here are the best stockpots:

  • The best overall: Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Covered Stockpot
  • The best splurge: All-Clad Stainless Steel Stockpot
  • The best on a budget: T-fal Specialty Nonstick Stockpot
  • The best for induction ranges: Update International Induction Ready Stainless Steel Stock Pot
  • The best for low-temp simmering: Cuisinart Chef's Classic 12-Quart Stockpot

Updated on 8/19/2020 to edit titles, prices, links, and remove third-party ratings and reviews because we've found them to be unreliable in the past.

The best overall

If you're looking for a large stockpot that is easy to clean and heats evenly, Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Covered Stockpot is the one that'll do it all.

The Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Covered Stockpot stands out with its uniquely-shaped lid that Farberware describes as "self-basting" because its tight fit helps trap in moisture and heat. The mostly 18/10 stainless steel pot has a base with a thick aluminum core that helps with even heat distribution.

Though it may be too large for many dishwashers, this pot is dishwasher safe. It is also oven safe to temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, which is useful if you are caught without a Dutch oven and want to sear a large slab of meat before slow-roasting it in the oven. Farberware backs the stockpot with a lifetime limited warranty, too, in case you run into any problems.

The generous size makes it easy to cook stock, pasta sauce, applesauce, and more, just be careful with the handles, as some past purchasers found them to be less than sturdy.

Pros: Dishwasher and oven safe, even heat distribution, made of 18/10 stainless steel, lifetime warranty

Cons: Handles can get hot and uncomfortable

The best splurge

The All-Clad Stainless Steel Dishwasher Safe Stockpot is a great option if you have a little more room in your budget. It has even heat distribution and comes in two sizes.

The All-Clad Stainless Steel Dishwasher Safe Stockpot comes in two sizes: 12 quarts and 16 quarts. But, counterintuitively, the smaller 12-quart version costs nearly twice as much as the 16-quart.

The reason for the vast difference in price is that the 12-quart model has three layers of high-performance metal, including 18/10 stainless steel, aluminum, and another layer of stainless steel, that extend from the base to the rim. Whereas, the 16-quart version just has an aluminum disk in the base.

Also, the 12-quart version is made in the United States, while the 16-quart pot is made in China. The 12-quart All-Clad stockpot is the better option because the three layers of metal allow for even heat distribution, which makes it so you don't have to constantly stir and otherwise babysit your simmering food. However, experts and buyers rate both styles highly.

The wide design makes it so one could easily clean it in the average kitchen sink. All-Clad pots and pans are also known for their longevity. If you take good care of your pot, making sure to wash it thoroughly and remove any stuck-on grease after each use, the pot should last you a lifetime.

Pros: Aluminum core that extends up the sides, lifetime warranty, easy-to-grip handles

Cons: Expensive

The best on a budget

The T-fal Specialty Total Nonstick Stockpot is a great affordable stockpot. It doesn't skimp on quality and it's among the more lightweight stockpots on our list. 

I purchased the T-fal Specialty Total Nonstick Stockpot about two years ago and use it about three times per week. I make plenty of chicken stock, soups, chili, pasta, and more. The handles stay cool and are easy to grip even when the contents are boiling hot.

The pot is made of heavy-gauge aluminum, which produces reliable and even heating. The clear lid lets you check on your meal without releasing heat and moisture, and it has a tight fit. There is a small steam vent. If you prefer not to let any steam out, use a plate or baking sheet instead of the lid and place something heavy on top of that, like a cast-iron skillet. I use this method to make sushi rice.

The only issue I've encountered is that the nonstick surface can be prone to light scratches, though that's largely attributed to misuse. However, it still retains its nonstick properties.

Pros: Lightweight, nonstick, dishwasher and oven safe, stay-cool handles

Cons: Hard to hand clean the exterior of the base

The best for induction ranges

If you have an induction range and need a stainless steel pot, the Update International Induction Ready Stainless Steel Stock Pot has an aluminum core that distributes heat evenly.

Rather than using an electric heating element or a gas flame, induction ranges rely on the transfer of magnetic energy. Therefore, to cook on these environmentally-friendly surfaces, you must have a pot that is flat-bottomed and magnetic. The Update International Induction Ready Stainless Steel Stock Pot is made of magnetic 18/8 stainless steel, which is ideal for induction cooking.

Included in the base of the pot is a 5mm aluminum disk that helps it heat evenly. There are nine different size options ranging from 8 quarts to 100 quarts. The smaller pots have spot-welded handles, while the larger versions feature rivet handles that stay secure when the pot is full of food.

Pros: Tight-sealing lid, variety of sizes, great for induction ranges

Cons: Questionable customer service, no manufacturer warranty

The best for low-temp simmering

The Cuisinart Chef's Classic 12-Quart Stockpot has easy-to-grip handles that face upward, so carrying is a breeze even if the pot is filled to the brim with chili or hearty stews. 

With its stainless steel mirror finish, the Cuisinart Chef's Classic 12-Quart Stockpot looks attractive on your stovetop. Encapsulated in the base is an aluminum disk that facilitates even heat distribution, which helps avoid hot spots and burning. The rim is tapered, which is helpful for drip-free pouring.

Cuisinart warns against using this pot on high heat. Instead, if you are looking to boil water, they recommend medium-high. Still, the pot is oven safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit and is also dishwasher safe. We recommend using a soft cloth or sponge and a mild detergent to wash it by hand and help extend the life of the pot.

It's considered to be very similar to the much-more-expensive All-Clad pot with its easy-to-grip handles. 

Pros: Handles that facilitate easy pouring, tends not to burn food, limited lifetime warranty

Cons: Complaints of rivets corroding

What to look for in a stockpot

The most popular material used in the construction of stockpots is stainless steel. However, not all stainless steel is created equal. 18/10 stainless steel is commonly found in top-quality stockpots, and it means there is 18% chromium and 10% nickel in the steel's composition. Steel with a higher nickel content is more resistant to corroding and will last you longer. If you are looking to save money, 18/8 stainless steel will serve you well. But, avoid 18/0.

Stainless steel does not conduct heat as well as other metals, such as aluminum. Therefore, many stockpots have an aluminum disk in the base to help with heat distribution. More expensive options are "tri-ply," which means there are three layers throughout the entire pot: an outer layer of stainless steel, a middle layer of aluminum, and another interior layer of stainless steel. These stockpots tend to be more durable and heat more evenly.

Anodized aluminum is also a popular material for smaller stockpots. Through the electrochemical anodizing process, aluminum bonds with a nonstick material. This produces a pot that has great nonstick properties while conducting heat well.

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