How would we ever get along in the kitchen without a stockpot?
This versatile cooking vessel is one of those kitchen essentials that gets used for a wide variety of functions, only one of which is making stock.
Plus, home brewers love the large versions of these cauldrons for brewing up a batch of their favorite beer.
Whole ears of corn? No problem – boil some water and throw them in.
And, depending on their construction, these make a good substitute for Dutch ovens for one-pot cooking, transferring to the oven from the stovetop with ease.
At harvest time they serve double duty for stewing tomatoes, rhubarb, and applesauce, and for use in making antipasto and relishes.
Clearly, they’re one of the strongest workhorses for our cooking endeavors.
In this article we are going to:
- Outline Foodal’s top pick.
- Offer our budget suggestion.
- Explain what to look for in a quality stockpot.
- Briefly review other top-notch offerings.
Bottom Line Up Front – Foodal’s Top Pick In Stockpots: All-Clad Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Stockpot
In my mind, everyone should own three or more stockpots – one at about six quarts, another with an eight-quart capacity, and a third (and possibly a fourth) at twelve quarts or more.
The smaller sizes should be purchased based on quality (read: you get what you pay for) while for the larger sizes – well, for these it really doesn’t matter quite as much. That’s why, for 6- to 8-quart vessels, we highly recommend All-Clad’s offerings.
All-Clad is the renowned American manufacturer of fine cookware – really, the Cadillac of kitchenware. And this handsome mirror-polished 8-quart stockpot is from their Stainless Collection, one of All-Clad’s most popular lines.
It features two layers of premium 18/10 stainless steel that encase a thick, aluminum core. And the three bonded layers extend all the way up the sides for superior, energy-efficient heat distribution and outstanding cooking performance.
Aluminum is a superior conductor of heat (surpassed only by copper for kitchenware purposes), but it is reactive to certain foods. On the other hand, stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat, but it is highly resistant to those same reactive foods, such as tomatoes and vinegar.
So, with a product like the All-Clad, you get the best of both worlds – superior heat distribution across the bottom of the vessel (and even along its side walls since this is a fully clad product), excellent reaction to changes in temperature, and top notch stain and corrosion resistance.
The wide surface area makes for easy stirring and braising, while the high sides are the ideal design for the slow liquid evaporation required to create a flavorful homemade stock.
The interior has a starburst finish that improves its nonstick properties, and this translates into reduced cleaning time. But please note that this is not a true nonstick finish – it’s stainless steel with a patterned polish that helps to reduce sticking, but a nonstick coating has not been applied.
The interior of each pan is engraved with capacity markings for your measuring convenience. And with its sleek exterior and tangible aura of quality, on most occasions you’ll have no hesitation using this handsome piece for serving at either the kitchen or dining room table.
This sturdy vessel will quickly become a favorite in its size for preparing stocks, soups, and stews, as it easily fills the role of the go-to multipurpose pot for many home cooks.
How is the All-Clad lineup better than other offerings?
For starters, All-Clad was the first company to introduce multi-ply cookware, and they are masters of the process.
John Ulam, the company’s founder, held more than 50 US patents for bonded metals. And he was a key player in the US Mint’s conversion to the bonded, layered metals that replaced solid silver coins – a process that is still used for coin production today.
Without question, All-Clad has the chops for creating bonded pieces that deliver long-lasting results.
In the case of their stockpots, the wide, ergonomically designed stay-cool handles, which are secured with stainless steel rivets, allows for a comfortable, steady grip.
You can also pick up great accessories such as steamer inserts to turn your stockpot into an even more convenient one-pot solution.
These also feature wider mouths than the normal stockpot, for the easy manipulation of contents, and a tapered lip for smooth, dripless pouring. And with shorter and squatter dimensions than most, they fit easily into the oven – making them highly versatile for braising, or for use as Dutch ovens.
The stainless steel lid fits snugly onto the rim, and has a stay-cool loop handle that’s Fixed in place with brawny stainless steel rivets.
The All-Clad 8-quart measures approximately 14 x 11 x 6” and weighs 5 pounds.
If you’re looking for a smaller stockpot to serve double and triple duties in addition to this one, such as performing as a rondeau, casserole pan, or a Dutch oven, then look no further than some of the other offerings from All-Clad.
The 6- and 8-quart sizes are the perfect all-around pots. If I were forced to have a more limited collection of cookware, these would take the number two and three spots, just behind a cast iron or carbon steel skillet.
Why such an expensive proposition? Wouldn’t a cheaper product work?
Well, yes, it would. Especially if you’re just going to use it to make stews and stock, a cheaper product with a disk bottom would be more than acceptable – in fact, that’s what we recommend for larger sizes.
However, these two sizes will become the cornerstones of your collection. Once you have a 6- and/or 8-quart stockpot of decent quality, such as the All-Clad, you’ll find this to be true.
Unlike some cheaper options, these are good on all stovetops including induction, and they’re also oven and broiler safe to 500°F.
Also, unlike the products offered by many of their competitors, All-Clad stockpots are dishwasher safe – though hand washing is recommended.
Most importantly, All-Clad offers a limited lifetime warranty that covers manufacturing and material defects – and they actually pay for shipping if a pot needs to be returned due to manufacturing faults.
Now, don’t read too much into the “limited” clause. All-Clad is known for their superior warranty coverage – as long as you didn’t take a sledgehammer to the product or otherwise abuse it, they will cover it.
It’s not uncommon for folks to report that All-Clad has exchanged pans 20 or 30 years after purchase. This is an all-around great company and their products are still made in the USA.
Need something a little bigger? Consider the twelve quart version. I really do love these pots… Can you tell?
What Others Are Saying
The following comments are a compilation of the most frequent remarks from verified purchasers at Amazon.com.
Not surprisingly, the All-Clad 8-quart stockpot gets tops marks for the outstanding quality of the materials and craftsmanship, phenomenal heat transfer, and its broad functionality.
The high quality of materials is immediately apparent in both construction and finishing details. This kettle proves to be well balanced with a solid feel when handling the pot, the lid is precision fitted, and the mirror exterior and brushed interiors are consistently finished throughout.
And thanks to the wide base and superbly bonded metals, heat is transferred rapidly and evenly throughout not only the bottom of the pan, but the walls as well. There are no hot spots to be found in this kettle.
The design and functionality also gets nods of approval from purchasers. The All-Clad has a solid build, but at 5 pounds is surprisingly light for a large, fully-clad pan.
The flared lip makes it easy to pour liquids out of the pot without spilling or dribbling. And the lid is perfectly fitted – an aspect often missing in lower quality pots.
It’s also easy to clean, even after forming a glaze, and a dab of Barkeepers Friend will keep it sparkling inside and out.
The versatility of the All-Clad is another highlight for many, who praise its ability to perform all the necessary functions to make a dish – from braising or sautéing to steaming and simmering.
And value is another sweet spot for a lot of shoppers. While the initial outlay in cash might be a bit steep, the longevity and sheer pleasure of using such a well-made piece of cookware adds immediate value to the cost. Look after it, and you can pass it on to your kids!
At this time, there are no common complaints to pass along.
The All-Clad 8-quart stockpot is definitely a highly regarded piece of cookware with online shoppers.
Fully clad, it’s superb at delivering quick and even heat distribution to all surfaces of the pot. This makes it an outstanding choice for a variety of cooking techniques, not just for heating liquids.
Consistently manufactured to standards high above the industry norm, All-Clad pots are wonderfully efficient, as well as strikingly attractive – they truly exemplify the ideal of Made in the USA quality.
The All-Clad stockpot is an expensive piece of cookware. But, amortized over the course of a lifetime (or a few of them), it gives outstanding value in both performance and durability, and is well worth the cost. And you can usually find competitive prices online at reliable sites like Amazon.
Budget Pick: Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless with Glass Lid
Like the All-Clad described above, the Calphalon tri-ply stockpot has a heavy-gauge aluminum core enveloped in stainless steel for excellent conductivity and even heating, making it ideal for preparing stocks, soups, pastas, and so on.
It also has a similar bottom, rounded where it joins the sides, giving it the effect of a saucier. This means you can throw your ingredients in just as you would with a skillet, and sauté, braise, or brown prior to adding your liquids. This feature also makes whisking much easier.
The Calphalon also features a snugly-fitted tempered glass lid, which makes it easy to keep an eye on your level of boil or simmer.
The large stay-cool loop handles are securely riveted to the body with four stainless steel rivets per handle, so you know moving this pot is going to be safe and secure.
The non-porous, brushed stainless steel interior provides a cooking surface that’s easy to clean, and is suitable for use with utensils of all materials.
The Calphalon tri-ply is compatible with all stovetops including induction, and it is also completely safe for use in the oven and under the broiler up to 450°F. With a beautiful polished exterior, it’s a suitable choice for going from the stovetop right to the table for service.
This 8-quart pot measures approximately 14 x 12 x 7.5”, and weighs 7.8 pounds. Dishwasher safe, Calphalon recommends washing in warm, soapy water and using a stainless steel cleaner to retain the high luster of the stainless.
Backed by Calphalon’s full lifetime warranty to replace any piece found to be defective in either workmanship or materials, this product is made in China.
What Others Are Saying
The following notes are a compilation of the most common comments from verified purchasers at Amazon.com.
The Calphalon Tri-Ply is very popular with online shoppers who give it top marks for solid construction, even heat distribution, and long-lasting good looks.
The tri-ply throughout features a hefty, sturdy base that makes it ideal for cooking thick stocks, soups, jams, and jellies without burning – heating is consistently quick and even, with no hot spots.
Several reviewers also appreciate the glass lid. It’s well fitted, locking in moisture and aromas, and you can watch what’s cooking or adjust the temperature without having to remove it.
The stainless steel is of high quality as well, with a large number of owners who report no pitting, corrosion, or discoloration – even after several trips through the dishwasher. And cleanup is easy with warm soapy water, plus the occasional touch of Bar Keepers Friend for stubborn bits.
The simple design and attention to finishing details are also appreciated, with the mirror finish and strong handles getting a few favorable mentions.
On the complaints side, the only recurring theme is from two different owners who reported some pitting on the bottom of the pot.
The Calphalon 8-quart tri-ply stockpot is an excellent budget option, offering durable construction, good looks, and great value.
The thick aluminum core provides fast and even heating while the high-grade stainless steel retains its good looks well, even with heavy duty use. And the snug-fitted glass lid makes it easy to watch whatever’s cooking.
A versatile pot with many applications, the Calphalon 8-quart stockpot is very affordable for a top performer.
Now let’s have a look at what components make for a good stockpot – what sizes to consider, materials used in construction, and features. And then I’ll offer a few recommendations to cover a range of budgets.
Size and Shape
What size open kettle will best serve your needs?
If you plan to use it for a variety of purposes, look for one with a 6- or 8-quart capacity. For the small price difference between the two sizes, definitely consider the larger option – you’ll appreciate the extra space it offers when cooking.
However, if you only plan to use it for preparing soups and stock, a larger vessel such as the 12-quart might serve better. If it’s only going to be used on the range top, you would do well with a less expensive disk-bottomed pot rather than one that’s fully clad.
Another aspect to give some thought to is its shape, and whether you want a tall, narrow style or one that’s a bit shorter with a wider mouth.
What’s the difference? Well, the theory behind the taller pots is that the smaller diameter results in less liquid loss during cooking – and less evaporation means more liquid is retained inside the vessel.
With a wider pot, a good-fitting lid will take care of evaporation and return those flavorful fluids to your food.
For braising and stirring, a shorter pot with a wider mouth makes manipulating food easier. And reducing broths to create concentrated flavors is more efficient in such a vessel. Plus, shorter pots are less awkward to handle when pouring.
When you’re in the market for a good stockpot, look for these features to get the best bang for your buck:
Cookware of this size can vary in weight, depending on the dimensions of the pot and the materials used. Look for one you can handle comfortably, with a nice balance and a slightly heavier bottom for stability.
A tight fitting lid is a must. Some will be made of the same material as the pot, while others may have a tempered glass lid.
With glass, there is the chance of breakage. But they’re also good for having a peek without releasing heat and steam.
Look for handles that are securely fastened with rivets to sufficiently hold the weight of the kettle and its contents.
Plus, check that they have ample room to be grasped easily, even with thick potholders.
A rim with a slightly flared lip will provide smooth, dripless pouring, which makes for easier cleanup of the pan and stovetop.
This is the most important aspect to consider, as the material used greatly impacts heat distribution, flavor, cleaning, and durability.
We believe that tri-ply or multi-ply is the best choice in a smaller stockpot for most cooks, and a disk encapsulated bottom is best in larger sizes to keep prices down.
If you really want to go high end instead, then copper is also an option.
Here’s a list of the most common construction styles and materials that are currently available:
Stock Pot Comparison Table
|• Excellent heat distribution • Reduces hot spots • Durable • Non-reactive with foods • Available at several price points • Most can be used with induction hobs||• Pricier in thicker examples||All-Clad Calphalon Mauviel Viking|
|• Good heat distribution • Reduced hotspots • Somewhat durable • Most are less pricey than clad • Non-reactive with food • Some can be used with induction hobs||• Steel sides do not allow heat to travel up, making them less than ideal for multi-use cooking • Disk bottom can separate||Update International Demeyere|
|• The absolute best at heat distribution • Nearly eliminates hotspots • Durable, heirloom quality • Stainless interior makes it non-reactive with foods||• Extremely expensive, even thinner models • Most can’t be used with induction||deBuyer Mauviel|
|• Great at conducting and spreading heat • Somewhat nonstick • No chemical coating (anodization is controlled oxidation) • Inexpensive||• Anodization will eventually wear off • Need to use wooden or nylon utensils for best longevity||Cuisinart Calphalon|
|• Even heat distribution • Inexpensive • Completely nonstick||• Uses various chemicals for coating • Coating wears off • Wooden or nylon utensils must be used • Can’t take high heat or damage to the coating will occur • Most aren’t induction compatible||Neoflam|
|• Inexpensive • Available in very large sizes • No coatings to worry about • Not reactive to acidic foods • Some can be used with induction||• Steel does not transmit heat nearly as well as aluminum or copper, resulting in hotspots • Suitable for water or thinner liquids only; not multipurpose • Often too thin, resulting in leaks and dents – especially in larger sizes||Bayou Classic|
|• Inexpensive • Available in very large sizes • Not reactive to acidic foods • Compatible with induction • Somewhat naturally nonstick||• Hotspots can form due to poor conductivity of steel • Suitable for water or thinner liquids only; not multipurpose • Porcelain can crack and chip||Le Creuset|
Top Rated Stockpots in Each Category
Although we have already identified our top picks above, there are a bunch of decent (and a few not so good) products on the market that you may want to take a look at.
Cladded Stainless Steel – Tri-ply & Multi-ply
This style is the best for most consumers, at least in a smaller size. With an inner core of copper or aluminum to provide excellent conductivity, these offer fast and even heating, durability, and easy transfer to the oven. They’re easy to clean, and dishwasher safe.
Most of these vessels are “tri-ply,” meaning they are composed of two thin sheets of stainless steel with a layer of aluminum or copper bonded in between.
Some the higher end models are 5- or even 7-ply. This means they have layers of other metals (like copper or silver) that are added to further increase the ability of the pan to spread heat throughout the vessel – across the bottom and up the sides.
Although aluminum is a much, much better conductor of heat than steel or iron, copper and silver are better still.
However, many of these extra layers are too thin to make much of a difference, and most of the core material is still composed of aluminum.
In our opinion, it’s just not worth it for most people to pay nearly double for the 5-10 percent increase in heat distribution that those thin layers of copper will give you.
At least not in a stockpot, that is – it may be worth it in a sauté pan where you need to be able to finely control the heat. But a sauté pan is more of a scalpel, whereas a big ol’ stew pot is a bulldozer…
Bottom line: tri-ply is all you really need, but multi-ply is nice if you can swing it. And for the best performance to cost, you can’t beat fully-clad stainless.
A few multi-ply models, such as All-Clad’s D5 line, contain extra layers of steel rather than copper, in order to maximize performance on induction. In our opinion, this is overkill.
As long as a layer of ferrous-magnetic stainless steel is on the outside and the bottom is flat, it will perform well on induction. Place a magnet on the bottom – if it sticks, you’re good to go.
Besides the All-Clad and the Calphalon options reviewed above, there are several other quality pans that we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
What to Buy:
Mauviel M’Cook 5-Ply Stewpan
Known for its high-end copper cookware, Mauviel has been handcrafting kitchenwares since the 1830s in the same small village in France.
In recent years, they’ve also expanded into other lines such as carbon steel frying pans, and superior multi-ply stainless products such as the one shown below.
The M’Cook collection is Mauviel’s line of multi-ply stainless steel cookware. It offers both home cooks and professional chefs the best of bonded metal technology, with five layers of materials.
The M’Cook 9-quart stewpan provides perfect conductivity thanks to the quick and even heat distribution of the five bonded layers.
Comprised of magnetic layers of 18/10 stainless steel for the exterior and interior, the core is comprised of a layer of aluminum alloy between two layers of aluminum, which is then clad with the two layers of stainless – all to a uniform thickness of 2.6 millimeters.
This combination creates not only high performance cookware with a stylish and easy-to-clean surface, it’s also designed to work on all stovetops – gas, electric, halogen, and induction.
The oversized and ergonomically designed handles are made of stay-cool cast stainless steel – durable, oven-safe, and attractive. And as they’re made of solid stainless, they conduct heat very slowly for comfortable and safe usage on the stovetop.
However, they will heat up in the oven and mitts should be used for oven-hot pans. For peace of mind, the handles are secured with stainless steel rivets for a safe and steady purchase.
The M’Cook stewpan has a reinforced non-drip edge for clean, dripless pouring, and is oven safe to a whopping 680°F – making it a truly one-pot vessel that’s able to withstand temperatures much higher than its competitors.
The Mauviel 9-quart stewpan measures approximately 11 x 11 x 5.5” and weighs 9 pounds. It is also available in three other sizes with all of the same features as the larger model.
Dishwasher safe, hand washing with prompt drying is recommended to retain the lustrous finish. Handcrafted in France, the M’Cook stewpan comes with a lifetime warranty to be free of material and manufacturing defects for home use (note that this does not apply for commercial use).
In fact, Mauviel’s products are typically multi-generational, and your grandchildren may be using this pot!
What Others Are Saying
With a high-end price tag, there aren’t a lot of reviews from verified purchasers at Amazon at the time of this writing – but here’s a summary of the available comments for all sizes of the M’Cook stewpan.
Very popular with those who have purchased online, the M’Cook stewpan gets top marks across the board for its outstanding artisanal construction, and the fast, uniform conduction of heat all throughout the bottom and walls.
The rim design also gets mentions for its easy, controlled, and mess-free pouring.
The Mauviel aesthetics and attention to detail are also appreciated, from the highly polished and easy to clean mirror finish to the uniform thickness.
Mauviel creates exquisite pieces of professional and home-use cookware regardless of the materials used, and this stainless steel stewpan is a fine example.
Mauviel’s high standards are apparent in the robust handcrafted construction, superb conductivity and even heating, and professional-grade dimensions and design of this French-made piece.
The M’Cook stewpan is not inexpensive, but let’s face it folks, life is too short for cheap tools. Buy once and use it forever!
Best known for their phenomenal professional and prosumer stoves, Viking also produces a line of well-regarded cookware. And their stockpot offerings are in line with that of All-Clad in both price and quality.
The Viking 3-ply clad design combines three layers of bonded metal to create a kettle that features both the durability of high-grade stainless steel, and the super conductivity of aluminum.
A core sheet of aluminum alloy is bonded between an exterior layer of induction-ready stainless steel, and an interior layer of 18/10 stainless that delivers even heat distribution all along the bottom and sides of the pot.
The unique structure of this layering forms a complete heat delivery system, one that uses less energy to heat and maintain even temperatures, and that is extremely responsive to changes in temperature.
Viking commercial-grade stainless steel also features a non-reactive and non-porous surface, which makes cleanup quick and easy.
The magnetic exterior is safe for use on all stovetops including induction, and it can go from the hob to the oven or under the broiler with no problems – it’s safe for temperatures up to a scorching 600°F.
Made by skilled artisans, Viking spared no expense on the polish job – and this one has a handcrafted mirror finish, which is a rare find.
High luster polishes can’t be mimicked by machinery – a craftsman with a large buffing wheel is required to do the job right. And eliminating this labor-intensive step is often one of the first ways that a cookware company will cut costs in the manufacturing process.
If you’re not a fan of the shiny look, it’s also available in a satin finish.
Large stay-cool loop handles on the pot and lid are ergonomically designed to provide maximum comfort, even with large oven mitts. And all handles are solidly secured in place with stainless steel rivets for a safe and secure grasp.
Plus, with its tall sides, you can simmer a liquid all day long and lose only a minimal amount of moisture – ideal if you want to make broth or stock.
The Viking is also dishwasher safe, or it can be quickly hand washed in warm, soapy water. Use a dab of stainless steel cleaner to tackle any sticky residue.
This superior cooking vessel comes with Viking’s limited lifetime warranty to be free of manufacturer and material defects.
What Others Are Saying
As there’s only one review for the 8-quart size at the time of this writing, we’ve compiled the most frequent comments from verified purchasers on Amazon.com for a number of Viking’s 3-ply offerings – just to get a better feel for its level of performance in the home.
This line of Viking pots gets high praise from owners for their high levels of professional-grade construction, and their solid feel.
Across the board, they’re vetted for quick and efficient heat distribution with no hot or cold spots – with the full cladding providing complete coverage for the bottom and walls.
And the lustrous mirror finish also gets a fair share of complements for its good looks and longevity.
At this time, there are no common threads of complaints for this line.
The Viking 3-ply stockpot offers a combination of stainless steel and aluminum alloys for unrivaled heat distribution, long-serving durability, good looks, and easy cleanup.
The handcrafted mirror finish will look outstanding in any kitchen, and reflects the investment-class features and quality components Viking brings to all of its cookware.
A wonderfully versatile cooking vessel, the lifetime warranty and heat rating of up to 600°F should make this stockpot a worthy contender in anyone’s search.
Stainless Steel with a Disk Bottom (Encapsulated Aluminum)
The quality of encapsulated disk-bottomed pans can vary from good to great, and they are also sold at various price points – though you’ll find they’re generally cheaper than multi-ply.
These offer good conductivity with fast and even heat distribution across the bottom, they’re long-lasting and durable, easy to clean and dishwasher safe, and they have a good weight distribution (with most of the weight at the bottom when empty).
With these types of vessels, the interior aluminum core doesn’t extend up the sides, which does result in a loss of heat. This also means they’re not quite as efficient in the oven, since the comparatively thin stainless walls won’t retain quite as much heat (though they will do the job).
Nonetheless, with a lower price and great heat retention across the bottom, disk bottom stockpots are a viable option in the larger sizes. And in general, they give the best performance for a budget product.
Well, because folks often use larger stockpots for – wait for it – making stock!
Of course, they also get used for making thinner soups, broths, chilies, and so on. And for these purposes, most of the heat from the stove is transferred exclusively from the bottom, with little heat absorption from the sides.
These larger (and less expensive) sizes are also great for home beer brewing, home canning, steaming crab and lobster, as well as fish frying for larger gatherings. And they work great whenever you need to make copious quantities of anything.
What to Buy:
Update International Induction Ready
It’s hard to beat the value of these Update International stockpots. A US importer and distributor of commercial kitchenware for the food and beverage industry for over 30 years, their exclusive line of SuperSteel cookware was crafted for the professional chef.
Update stockpots are designed to be sturdy and functional, with a handsome natural finish that’s easy to care for.
The heavy duty tri-ply bottom consists of an impact bonded 4-millimeter core of pure aluminum, encased between two layers of 18/8 stainless steel for strength and superior heat distribution.
The magnetic stainless steel bottom layer makes the pan induction compatible and safe for all stovetops, while the aluminum provides fast and consistent heat distribution that’s free of hot and cold spots.
Construction details remain the same for all sizes, with the exception of rivets also being used on the handles of the larger models of 24 quarts and greater.
This also means the interior walls will show rivet heads on these larger models, absent in the 8-, 12-, and 16-quart versions. Naturally, the weight and dimensions will differ as well.
As we’ve previously stated, it’s advisable to spend the cash on quality tri-ply or multi-ply for your smaller vessels. Because of their versatile nature, they’ll definitely benefit from having an aluminum core throughout.
Large, sturdy loop handles are welded to a plate, which is then welded to the exterior wall for a secure grip that leaves a clean, rivet-free interior surface for easy cleaning on models of 8, 12, and 16 quarts.
And on larger models of 24, 32, 40, 80, and 100 quarts, the handle plate is also riveted to the wall to provide the strength needed to handle the extra stress of their greater weight.
The lid handle is spot welded, which provides more than ample strength for its comparatively lighter duties. It’s constructed of rugged stainless steel and fits snugly on the lip of the pan, which is slightly flared for clean, dripless pouring.
If your cooking requires something this big, definitely get one of these clad-bottom kettles in the larger sizes. They make dandy pots to brew a batch of beer, boil your canning jars, or to use for a crab or shrimp boil (gumbo, anyone?). These will also work very well in the smaller sizes for those on a budget.
The Update International 32-quart stockpot measures 17 x 15.75 x 13.6 inches, and weighs 12.6 pounds. It does not come with a manufacturer’s warranty, so be sure to make your online purchase through a reliable vendor such as Amazon that offers at least a 30-day, hassle-free return policy. And remember to check it over carefully as soon as it arrives.
Update International products are made in China.
What Others Are Saying
The following notes are a compilation of the most frequent notes from verified purchasers on Amazon.com.
Very popular with online shoppers, they give the Update stainless steel stockpots top marks for their sturdy, well-made construction, and the even heat distribution of the clad bottom.
The stainless steel is of high quality that holds up well with heavy use, and is non-reactive for all foods.
Fans love the tri-ply disk bottom, which is thick and hefty with even heating. This makes it ideal for simmering stews, chili, and soups for long periods without any sticking, burning, or scorching.
A strong and sturdy pan, the handles prove to be solid and comfortable, and remain cool to the touch.
Easy cleanup is another favorite feature, and the pots have a nice curved transition from the bottom to the walls that makes washing with just warm, soapy water quick and simple.
Plus, a good number of folks use the larger sizes for brewing purposes, as the high-quality stainless steel imparts no flavor of its own to the suds.
On the complaints side, the most frequent comments are regarding pots that have arrived with an assortment of dings and dents. Aside from that, there are no other common threads.
With their sturdy build and quality tri-ply disc bottom, the larger sized Update International stainless steel stockpots are a sure bet in their class.
The NSF-certified stainless steel is non-reactive, making these pots an ideal selection for cooking or brewing, and the vast size selection makes getting the right one for your needs easy.
Prices vary with each size, but regardless of their capacity, they prove to be solid performers with an economical price tag.
Demeyere Atlantis Deep Stockpot with Lid
Founded in 1908 in Belgium, Demeyere is one of the world’s few true luxury cookware companies. But don’t let the word “luxury” fool you – their high prices reflect top-end craftsmanship as well as state of the art research and development, employing ever-evolving construction techniques and materials.
With Demeyere, you aren’t just buying a brand, you are buying quality.
Unlike most of their counterparts, they produce different types of multi-ply metal composites to complement different cooking methods.
This can be broken down into different applications such as stirring, slow cooking, boiling, and frying, and each pot or pan they produce uses a construction method based on those tasks.
This stockpot is composed of a 7-ply disk bottom, featuring induction-ready stainless steel inside and out.
The sheets of stainless steel have a core of various layers of aluminum, copper, and silver that measures a total 3.8 millimeters in thickness. But the sides are thinner, because they’re stainless steel rather than clad.
The handles are made of stay-cool cast stainless steel that’s welded in place on the pot and lid for a safe and secure grip, and a smooth interior wall free of rivet heads.
And the stainless steel lid fits snugly on the drip-free rim to retain moisture and minimize evaporation.
Treated with Demeyere’s proprietary Silvinox process, this electro-chemical application removes impurities from the stainless steel for a stick-resistant and easy-to-clean surface.
This kettle is a fine example of Demeyere’s design philosophy – it’s designed to do one thing really well, and that is to make stock, or thinner soups and stews.
Therefore, it features the very thick encapsulated bottom to effectively capture heat from the bottom of the pan, where it comes into contact with the range. This allows the energy to easily pass through the bottom and up into the liquids contained within.
The thinner, non-clad sides help to prevent heat from escaping through the sidewalls, as stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat.
These details mean the pan excels on the stovetop – and that means all stovetops, including induction – but not so much in the oven. This is in line with Demeyere’s goal of using specific construction techniques to create pans intended for a dedicated, specific task.
Dishwasher safe, it comes with Demeyere’s 30-year warranty to be free of manufacturing and material defects. Made in Belgium.
What Others Are Saying
At this time, there are only a handful of reviews for both sizes on Amazon.com or elsewhere. The only common remarks are that they heat quickly and evenly, and those that have submitted reviews all rate these products highly, with no complaints.
There’s no question that the Demeyere Atlantis stockpot is a well made, high end piece of cookware.
However, the construction specifics (i.e. the 7-ply bottom) and specialized use make this pot a little too much of a one-trick pony for our tastes.
Unless you have an unlimited budget and unlimited storage space, a cooking vessel in the 6- to 8-quart range needs to have greater flexibility, with a multipurpose nature. It should work equally well in the oven and on the range for making thick stews and casseroles, as well as thinner soups or stocks.
For our budget sensibilities, the high-end price is too much to spend for a single-purpose pot.
As much as we love many of the other available Demeyere products (despite being slightly overpriced), we’ll still stick to our guns. And that means a recommendation for either the All-Clad or the Calphalon offerings at the top of the page in the smaller to medium sizes, or the inexpensive Update International products listed immediately above for the larger sizes.
What’s not to like about copper?
Besides its beautiful appearance, copper features the quickest and most even heat distribution available. It has superior conductivity over all other cookware metals, and it’s hefty and solid. Plus, copper is also very durable.
This material distributes heat the best, and is the ultimate metal to prevent scorching – important when making thick soups, stews, goulash, and so on.
On the flip side, unlined copper can react with foods, leaving a metallic taste behind.
Of course, pans made from copper are also high maintenance (you’ll need a scullery maid to keep them polished!). And they’re expensive.
What to Buy:
DeBuyer Prima Matera Copper Stewpan with Stainless Steel Lid
From renowned French cookware maker deBuyer, we have their revolutionary Prima Matera line of copper cookware – induction ready with an ingenious ferro-magnetic bottom.
This unique cookware is constructed of 90 percent high-grade copper, which has superb thermal conductivity for perfectly controlled cooking. The remaining 10 percent is stainless steel, which does not alter the properties of copper, and lines the interior for safe, non-reactive cooking every time.
Copper itself is an extraordinary conductor, and provides the most outstanding heat distribution of all kitchenware metals. A copper vessel heats not just from the bottom but from the sidewalls as well, making it ideal for the preparation of sauces, reductions, stews, and more.
And with stainless, the interior will never have to be re-tinned due to wear and tear. The combined copper and stainless measures 2 millimeters thick, and has a high-gloss finish with head-turning visual appeal.
The elegant and ergonomic handles are made of cast stainless steel, with stay-cool results, due to the poor heat conductivity of stainless. Strong and securely riveted to the sides and lid, the large handles are comfortable to grasp for lifting and moving.
The lid is constructed of 304 grade stainless steel, and has a precision fit on the rolled pan lip, designed for clean, dripless pouring of liquids.
One of copper’s few drawbacks from a cooking point of view is that it’s non-magnetic, which makes it ineffective on induction ranges.
But deBuyer has solved this with a special iron-magnetic, stainless steel bottom – creating the Prima Matera line for efficient use on all ranges, including induction.
You can read all about the features and qualities of the Prima Matera line in Foodal’s detailed review.
The high walls of this stewpan make it ideal for stewing and braising meat, fish, and vegetables. And with its eye-popping presence and elegant, embossed deBuyer crest, it’s an exceptional piece to have on display in an open kitchen.
This Prima Matera stewpan can be washed with warm, soapy water to clean the interior and exterior, and the copper should be maintained with a polishing paste.
The 6.3-quart size measures approximately 13 x 9.5 x 5 inches, and weighs just over 8.5 pounds.
Made in France, it comes with deBuyer’s lifetime warranty to be free of material and manufacturing defects.
With their induction-ready Prima Matera line, deBuyer has addressed the needs of copper cookware fans who also enjoy using induction stoves – and at this time, they’re the only manufacturer to produce a full line of these specialized pieces.
The exquisite craftsmanship, highly functional design, and the lustrous copper all make this stewpan unique among its peers – performing where others fear to tread. Of course, the price makes it pretty unique, too!
This beautiful pan is very expensive – but, it’s also one that will become a multi-generational heirloom. And if you can afford it, you’d be hard-pressed to find another that will deliver the same high quality in this unique niche.
Mauviel M’Heritage Copper Stockpot with Lid and Cast Iron Handles
Another French company with a long history of producing top-end cookware, Mauviel produces several lines of copper kitchenware for professional and home use. The M’Heritage line features pieces constructed of bilaminated copper and stainless steel.
M’Heritage products are comprised of 90 percent copper and 10 percent stainless steel, for an extra-thick gauge of 2.5 millimeters.
The copper exterior and stainless interior heat quickly, with excellent thermal distribution throughout the bottom and walls. And the non-reactive stainless lining is a natural for daily cooking tasks – it will never need to be reapplied.
Copper is rated at twice the conductivity of aluminum, and this makes it the absolute best material for cookware. Its ability to heat up quickly and evenly, then to cool down quickly, gives it superior control over the cooking process that is unmatched by other materials.
Because of the hefty 2.5-millimeter thickness, cast iron is the chosen material for the handles. Large loop-style grips are solidly attached to the walls and lid with stainless steel rivets, giving maximum security for grasping and moving this large kettle.
A well-fitted lid is also constructed of the same bilaminate combination, and it sits tightly on the rolled, dripless edge to seal in flavor and moisture.
The M’Heritage 6.4-quart pot measures approximately 11 x 11 x 6 inches, and weighs in at just shy of 10 pounds.
This style with the cast iron handles is also available in a 9.6-quart capacity.
It’s suitable for use with gas, electric, halogen, or ceramic hobs, but you’ll need an interface pad to use this lovely copper pot on an induction range. It’s oven safe to 500°F as well.
To clean it, wash your pot with hot, soapy water, rinse, and dry promptly. To restore the shine, use a paste copper cleaner. Mauviel cautions against using bleach on copper cookware, as it can cause irreparable damage.
Mauviel M’Heritage cookware is made in France. It’s guaranteed for life to be free of manufacturing and material defects for home use.
What Others Are Saying
With only a few reviews on Amazon.com at this time, there isn’t a lot to report in terms of common comments.
However, across the board, M’Heritage cookware receives very favorable citations from reviewers for its outstanding craftsmanship, superb thermal qualities, and sumptuous appearance.
Another lovely piece of eye candy for the kitchen, this stockpot is more than just a pretty pan.
M’Heritage cookware excels at thermal conductivity and controlled heating as only copper cookware can, and the stainless steel lining provides a long life of non-reactive cooking with fast cleanup.
And robust cast-iron handles easily bear the load of copper, to ensure that this artisanal piece will last for generations when properly tended to.
Expensive? Yes. But the materials, craftsmanship, and performance give exceptional value, making this one of the premier choices available for those who can spend a little more on it.
Aluminum has outstanding thermal transfer properties, but it’s not a material that we like to recommend for the home cook. Why? Bare aluminum is very reactive with any acidic ingredients, and will impart an unappealing metallic taste to ingredients.
It’s true that at a professional level, some restaurants use aluminum cookware. But these will usually have a good thick coating of seasoning and oxidation, which results in a rather unattractive appearance – not a pan most folks want in their kitchen.
Anodized aluminum has all of the same qualities that make aluminum a popular choice for cookware, plus many more that make it a far superior material.
First used in aeronautic applications, it provides excellent thermal conductivity. It’s lightweight, and while a bit pricier than plain aluminum, it’s still quite affordable.
The hard anodizing process corrects many of the flaws of aluminum. It provides a barrier, so food doesn’t actually come in contact with the metal. And this means there’s no reactivity with acidic foods, or aluminum leaching into ingredients.
Plus, the anodizing process strengthens and hardens aluminum, giving it a natural scratch-resistant surface with good nonstick properties, and rust and corrosion resistance as well. It takes marginally longer to heat than pure aluminum, but still retains excellent heat conduction properties.
Hard anodizing produces a decent nonstick surface that improves with age and use. But most brands of aluminum cookware these days feature an applied nonstick coating for superior food-release properties.
At this time, most of these coatings are made of synthetic polymer applications similar to Teflon, or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). But, they’re now being made without perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical associated with toxicity to human and environmental health.
Some anodized aluminum cookware features nonstick ceramic coatings, which are made of natural materials – a nice option for those looking to avoid the traditional solvent-based PTFE.
Cuisinart GreenGourmet Hard-Anodized Nonstick Stock Pot with Cover
Cuisinart brings us this stockpot from their GreenGourmet line, featuring hard-anodized aluminum and their exclusive Ceramica nonstick surface.
Tough and durable, the ceramic coating is 100 percent free of PTFE and PFOA, for healthy cooking. And Ceramica is also unique in that it’s a water-based application, whereas most nonstick surfaces are solvent-based. Plus, this durable scratch-resistant surface adheres beautifully and won’t peel off.
The hard-anodized aluminum provides outstanding heat conductivity for energy-efficient performance, and is virtually free of hot spots. It’s harder than stainless steel, and the exterior is dense, nonporous, and highly wear resistant for superb toughness and longevity.
Another green feature are the stay-cool stainless steel handles. Made from 70 percent recycled stainless steel, the large loop grips are firmly attached to both the lid and walls with stainless steel rivets.
The well-designed lid fits securely on the lip and traps in heat, moisture, and nutrients. And the flared lip makes for a tidy, dripless pour, keeping the kettle and stovetop clean.
Safe for use on electric, glass, gas, and ceramic cooktops, the aluminum construction of the GreenGourmet is not suitable for induction ranges without a magnetic pad.
Oven and broiler safe to 500°F, the Cuisinart GreenGourmet stockpot should be hand washed in hot soapy water with a soft cloth or sponge, rinsed thoroughly, and dried promptly.
To clean off those tough bits, soak in hot, soapy water for an hour or two. Do not use steel wool, copper, or other abrasive scouring pads on the interior. A nylon scrubby can be used on the exterior.
Cuisinart recommends using only silicone, wood, or plastic utensils and avoiding the use of sharp tools or cutting on the Ceramica surface. Also remember to stack with care, to avoid chipping the ceramic interior. Seasoning the GreenGourmet twice a year is recommended by the manufacturer, to maintain optimal performance.
Made in China, the GreenGourmet comes with Cuisinart’s limited lifetime warranty to be free of manufacturing and material defects.
What Others Are Saying
The following notes are taken from the most frequent comments of verified purchasers at Amazon.com.
The GreenGourmet stockpot gets top marks from happy shoppers for its outstanding nonstick performance, quick and even heat conductivity, and fast and easy cleanup.
Over and over, this stockpot gets favorable comments for its superior nonstick performance. And the fact that it does this without a Teflon coating is obviously important for many reviewers, who appreciate that it provides a healthier cooking option over the old petroleum-based coatings.
Users report that the nonstick surface holds up well even with frequent use – provided you wash it by hand, don’t use abrasives, and follow Cuisinart’s recommendations for use.
The design and quality construction of this kettle also receives kudos. The perfectly flat bottom is good for use on glass stovetops, and the shape is ideal for soups and stocks, as it locks in moisture. Plus, it has an attractive profile that makes a nice addition to the kitchen!
The handles give a good, sturdy grip, and while they’ll get warm to touch, they still stay cool enough to handle without oven mitts – on the stovetop, that is.
Being able to transfer the GreenGourmet to the oven is another appreciated feature, but do protect your hands when handling an oven-hot kettle.
And as foods don’t stick to the surface, cleanup is quick and easy with just warm, soapy water and a soft sponge.
On the negative side of the ledger, the only common thread was from two separate reviewers who reported they had a small section of the coating peel off – but returned it for a hassle-free refund.
Another repeated remark, though not really a complaint, was from those who would like to have the option of a glass lid available.
With its Ceramica interior coating, Cuisinart’s GreenGourmet stockpot offers the real deal in nonstick performance. And the anodized aluminum provides a light material with outstanding heat transfer for consistent, even cooking and energy savings.
A green alternative for healthier cooking, their Ceramica surface proves to be rugged, durable, and efficient.
A great option for those who enjoy the qualities of anodized aluminum and want to avoid traditional nonstick coatings, this is a reliable performer from Cuisinart with a very reasonable price tag.
Calphalon Unison Nonstick 4-Quart Soup Pot with Lid
Back in 1968, Calphalon debuted on the marketplace with a new line of professional-grade cookware made from anodized aluminum, a specialized material used in aeronautics.
Today, the brand still holds a preeminent position in this niche, and markets several lines of cookware. This attractive 4-quart soup pot is from the Unison line, and it is made of the same strong and durable anodized aluminum Calphalon started with.
Coated with Calphalon’s “Slide” nonstick surface, the interior releases food effortlessly, and makes for quick, easy cleanup. This is a PFOA-free nonstick coating that supplies a durable and long-lasting surface, ideal for creating delicate sauces and scorch-prone thicker soups, and for simmering smaller batches of broth or stock.
The heavy-gauge aluminum provides excellent heat transfer for fast and even heating, and the design has a nice slope where the walls and bottom meet, for easy stirring. Plus, the combination of tall sides with a narrower mouth minimizes evaporation, making it ideal for the low, slow cooking needed for soups, stews, and stock.
The large loop handles are made of solid cast stainless steel that will remain cool to the touch on the stovetop, and they’re oven safe up to 500°F. They’re securely attached to the body with four stainless rivets each for a firm, sound grip. And the lid handle is soundly riveted as well.
A flat lid of tempered glass lets you monitor the contents without lifting, and this has a fitted stainless steel ring with flange around the perimeter so it snuggles right into the interior. This makes for a tight seal that traps in moisture, and the stainless ring also helps to protect the glass against accidental chipping.
One hundred percent dishwasher safe, cleanup couldn’t be easier – just use a dishwasher detergent that’s free of bleach or citrus additives, or hand wash with warm, soapy water and a soft sponge. Calphalon recommends using plastic, silicone, or wooden utensils to prevent scratching the nonstick surface.
The Unison soup pot is compatible with gas, glass, electric, and ceramic hobs, but will not work on an induction range without a transference pad.
It measures approximately 13 x 11 x 6.5 inches and weighs 6 pounds. Made in China, it comes with Calphalon’s limited lifetime warranty to be free of material and manufacturing defects.
A 5-quart Unison Dutch Oven is also available from Calphalon, as shown above.
What Others Are Saying
The following remarks are gleaned from the most frequent comments of verified shoppers at Amazon.com.
The Unison gets top grades for its quick, even heating, quality construction, and the efficient, durable nonstick surface.
Smaller than most of the other stockpots in our review (with the exception of the 3-quart Neoflam, reviewed below), many shoppers report the 4-quart size is ideal for couples and small families.
The Slide nonstick surface proves to be completely nonstick, which makes cleaning with a soft sponge and soapy water easy. And the surface also holds up admirably when put through the dishwasher on a regular basis.
Happy customers also appreciate the high-quality sturdy construction of this lovely and versatile little soup pot.
Plus, the heavy-duty anodized aluminum provides quick and even heating throughout the bottom and walls.
At this time, there are no common complaints to report.
The Calphalon Unison 4-Quart Soup Pot is a robust little kettle that offers the versatility required to prepare soups, stews, and stocks, in a smaller package.
And because of its sound nonstick qualities, it’s particularly useful for those thicker offerings like stews and goulashes, or any dish where ingredients will build on the bottom and become prone to burning.
Ideal for couples and small families, Calphalon’s reliability paired with the sleek, strong style lines of the Unison soup pot make it an attractive addition to any kitchen – and it has a reasonable price tag, offering good value as well.
For smaller-sized stockpots, nonstick offers several benefits.
Most notable is their superb slippery surface, which is ideal for smaller pieces used to prepare ingredients that are prone to scorching.
Almost all are constructed of aluminum, so they’re also lightweight – a feature appreciated by those who find excessive weight to be an issue. And they require the use of only small amounts of fat, which makes for healthier cooking.
On the downside, their problems are also well documented. The durability of nonstick surfaces is notoriously dodgy, with scratching, peeling, and flaking being common issues.
And sadly, we’re all aware of the environmental and health hazards associated with the liberal use of PFOA in the manufacture of the old PTFE coatings.
Today, most nonstick coatings are still made with PTFE, but without PFOA. This is certainly a step in the right direction, but a PTFE surface still has to be used with care – overheating to 500°F will cause it to break down and release fumes that have been shown to be toxic to birds.
However, we have a relative newcomer to the nonstick market that offers a healthier alternative – coatings with ceramic and diamond particles that are completely free of both PTFE and PFOA.
A big plus to these natural material coatings is that they’re stable under intense heat, and won’t break down at high temperatures as PTFEs do. They’re also resistant to flaking, and make a tough, scratch-resistant surface – but they’re not impervious to scratching, and still need to be handled with care.
Both ceramic and diamond coatings are applied with water-based nanotechnology, which is being touted as a green and healthy alternative to solvent-based PTFE coatings – although research into the long-term effects of nanotechnology on cookware is virtually nonexistent.
Neoflam Retro Covered Cast Aluminum Stockpot with Ecolon Nonstick Coating
Neoflam is a multinational company that started as an importer of US and European kitchenware. In 2008, they began production of their own line of cast aluminum cookware featuring an Ecolon ceramic nonstick coating.
Constructed of thick-gauge cast aluminum, the Retro stockpot provides durability and has all of the hallmarks of a well-crafted, quality kettle.
Much lighter than cast iron, and with far superior thermal properties than stainless steel, cast aluminum is a lightweight and affordable alternative for cookware. Well known for its exceptionally even heat distribution and transfer properties, this means fast cooking and reduced energy consumption for the home cook.
Their Retro brand of cookware brings a fresh look to a traditional design for a modern audience. Available in pastel shades of grey, a blue “mint” with either a ceramic coated lid or a tempered glass version, and the pink version that comes only with a tempered glass top.
It’s easy to understand why the striking Retro line won the prestigious Red Dot Design Award in 2014, a juried international competition that appraises new designs and products annually.
Neoflam’s trademark Ecolon surface treatment uses advanced ceramic technology, producing a durable and efficient nonstick coating material that’s highly scratch-resistant, safe for the home consumer, and friendly for the environment. And with both the interior and exterior coated with Ecolon, cleanup is fast and easy too.
The main ingredients in this coating come from mineral sources – essentially dirt, sand, and rocks. These are not the synthetic petroleum polymers used in traditional nonstick coatings, and as such, it’s completely free of PTFE and PFOA.
It’s also free of the heavy metals cadmium, lead, and mercury, and will not release any potentially harmful chemicals, even when the pan is overheated. You’ll find no dead canaries at the entrance of the Ecolon mineshaft!
Both the body and lid are constructed of cast aluminum, and these work together to create a convection effect within, circulating currents of hot air for more efficient cooking.
The lid is equipped with a soft-touch silicone handle, and it has an integrated knob with discrete steam vents that prevent overboiling – water stays in the pot, rather than running down the sides. Plus, the handles are cast in one piece with the pot for a seamless, solid purchase.
Neoflam’s stockpot is dishwasher safe, but they do recommend washing in warm, soapy water with a soft sponge, and to avoid using abrasive cleansers or scouring pads.
They also recommend cooking with a small amount of oil or butter to preserve the nonstick surface. Use wood, silicone, or plastic utensils, avoid metal tools, and store with a pan protector or tea towel to preserve surfaces.
The Retro is suitable for use on gas, electric, glass, halogen, and ceramic stovetops, but you’ll need a transference pad for use on induction ranges. And while the pot itself is oven safe to 475°F, the lid is not, due to the handle.
Made in Korea at Neoflam’s cast aluminum factory, the Retro 5-quart stockpot measures approximately 14 x 11 x 7.5 inches and weighs 5.6 pounds. It comes with Neoflam’s limited lifetime warranty to be free of material and workmanship defects.
The Retro stockpot is also available in a 3-quart size, as shown above. It also comes with two silicone handle-grabbers in the same shade as the pot.
What Others Are Saying
The following notes represent the most common comments from verified shoppers at Amazon.com.
The Retro stockpot gets top marks from satisfied customers for its top-notch nonstick properties, superb heat transfer, and its stylish, eye-catching design.
The ceramic nonstick coating upholds Neoflam’s claims of having complete food-release properties regardless of cooking technique, whether browning meats or simmering soup. This is appreciated not only for cooking, but it also makes cleanup straightforward and simple with just warm soapy water and a soft cloth.
The cast aluminum is of a heavy gauge, yet the vessel itself remains relatively lightweight for easy maneuvering. And the heat transfer of the aluminum is outstanding, with the pot heating evenly throughout – no hot or cold spots.
The overall high quality also gets plenty of mentions, with the sound and sturdy one-piece construction impressing many reviewers.
And of course, the aesthetics get high praise with their throwback style lines and the modern twist on soft pastel colors – users like the hint of metallic flake in the ceramic coating that adds a tantalizing twinkle.
As for complaints, the only common thread is about the handles. Since construction is seamless, the cast aluminum handles get every bit as hot as the pot itself. And while the included silicone handle grabber/covers are a nice touch, oven mitts or gloves give better protection when pouring or tilting.
The Neoflam Retro Stockpot is not only chic and stylish, the innovative nonstick ceramic coating is made from all-natural materials for safe, toxin-free cooking. And it’s a top performer as well, will the fast and even heating of aluminum combined with the food-release and easy-cleaning qualities of a high-grade nonstick surface.
As the Ecolon ceramic surface is applied to both the interior and exterior, a bit of extra care is needed for storing and stacking, much the same as for porcelain-coated cookware. But really, taking a few extra seconds to place a stacking cloth in between stacked pots is a small price to pay to retain these good looks.
The asking price is a bit steep for cast aluminum, despite its many fine qualities. But if you enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the Retro stockpot, a few extra dollars may be well worth it for this lovely and highly functional little cooking vessel.
On its own, stainless steel is non-reactive, durable, stain-resistant, easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and it heats fairly quickly. Plus, it’s inexpensive.
Unfortunately, stainless also has poor heat transfer qualities, which creates hot and colds spots on the cooking surface – and low-quality alloys, while less expensive, will tend to pit and stain.
Nonetheless, despite the spotty heating, plain stainless steel is a more than adequate material for very large stockpots that are used primarily to boil water or other liquids. When used as a boiling pot, the spotty heat distribution that causes scorching in thicker ingredients won’t be as much of an issue.
Again, just to make this clear: We don’t recommend straight stainless steel for an everyday cooking vessel. These are really for those needing only occasional use, and very large containers for activities like crab boils and beer brewing without spending a fortune.
Even then, the Update International products reviewed above offer very cost competitive products with spun aluminum disk bottoms, and they are available in fairly large sizes as well.
Unless you need the absolute largest sizes available, we recommend going with something like that rather than a straight stainless steel version.
Bayou Classic Stainless Steel Stockpot
Bayou Classic is a family business that focuses on providing the best possible cooking equipment to compliment outdoor pursuits – and they’re well known for their extra-large boilers and stockpots, jambalaya kettles, and homebrew equipment.
Their large 24-quart stockpot is constructed of 20-gauge stainless steel with a thickness of 0.2 millimeters, and it provides good rust and corrosion resistance.
Its generous capacity and upright design makes it ideal for heating large quantities of liquids, whether water for a crab boil, stock, or your favorite brew.
Large loop handles made of sturdy cast stainless steel are welded to the walls and lid, for a safe and secure grip when moving this large cauldron. Resulting from the poor heat transfer of the cast stainless, they’ll remain cool to the touch even after being on a hot stove.
The vented lid prevents any water overflow from escaping down the outside of the pot, and the lid flange sits well inside the pot for an effective and efficient seal.
The 24-quart size is the baby of the Bayou batch, an option that can still sit fairly comfortably on the home stove for indoor use.
However, for their larger sizes of 36, 62, 102, 142, and 162 quarts, you may want to consider an outdoor propane burner or a robust camp stove such as the Camp Chef 3-burner to accommodate their size.
The Classic Stockpot will work on all stovetops including induction – but, as mentioned above, finding a big enough burner on a non-commercial indoor stove may be a challenge for most of the larger sizes.
On models of 24-62 quarts, the kettle has a side indention that goes all the way around, just above the handles. This can be used to elevate a perforated steamer basket above the bottom.
But the larger models do not have this steaming rim indent, with smooth walls from top to bottom. Steamer baskets must be purchased separately.
The Bayou Classic 24-quart stockpot measures approximately 15 x 14 x 14 inches and weighs 8 pounds. Bayou Classic cookware comes with a 30-day return policy if you’re not satisfied with the product. Made in China.
What Others Are Saying
The following notes reflect the most frequent comments from verified purchasers at Amazon.com.
The Bayou Classic Stockpot gets top grades from satisfied customers in the areas of quality construction, and good value for the price.
A no-frills kettle, it provides reliable performance for the tasks of heating and boiling large amounts of liquid.
The lid is sturdy and makes a good seal with the pot to keep evaporation to a minimum, and it keeps contents in the pot, rather than dribbling down the sides.
And although the stainless steel walls are fairly thin at 8 millimeters, the thickness is consistent throughout, and most users report that the quality build provides ample strength for safe and confident use.
The handles stay cool and are up to the task of lifting a full load, as they’re well made and soundly welded to the walls.
Many reviewers acknowledge that there are better quality pots on the market, but they also say it would be hard to find equal quality for the price. The Bayou Classic provides good value relative to cost, particularly with the “Big Daddy” sizes.
On the complaints side of the ledger, there are a few common threads:
The first involves a relatively small number of reviewers who have reported leaks or weeping, primarily from around one inch above the bottom of the pot.
The second common thread is related to corrosion. A few reviewers have reported small holes appearing in the bottom, rendering the pot useless. Others describe rust appearing in various locations, like the handles, lid, and inside the bottom.
The third complaint is about the thinness of the stainless steel, with a small number reporting flexing of the bottom when full, and a few others wrote in about the pot rocking quite violently while heating.
Bayou Classic stockpots are a favorite with online shoppers, and they definitely fill a market niche.
Popular with brewers and cooks alike, these big boys are good for boiling large-capacity liquids like seafood boils, stock, corn on the cob, and beer.
Yes, the stainless steel is thin and you wouldn’t want to cook anything that might scorch in these, but as a boil pot they give good value for the price tag.
Again, these are ideal for those who can take these large kettles outdoors to use on a propane burner.
Porcelain Coated Carbon Steel
A porcelain coating can be produced in an array of bright, attractive colors. Pans made from this material transfer well to the oven, clean easily, and are often relatively inexpensive. They can also be used on induction stovetops.
The main drawback with porcelain is that that the enamel coating can chip and crack, and the interior may discolor over time. And since these are made from thin carbon steel with thermal properties similar to that of stainless, they easily develop hotspots, and are best relegated to boiling tasks or making thinner soups.
What to Buy:
Le Creuset Enameled Steel
From the makers of iconic enameled cookware Le Creuset, we have this gorgeous enamel-coated stockpot
Volcano Flame was the first color produced by Le Creuset in 1925, and it was chosen to reflect the intense orange shade of molten iron seen inside a foundry cauldron – or “creuset” in French.
Since then, Le Creuset has built a solid reputation as an innovator in manufacturing the latest contemporary hues for their enamelware, and for producing cookware of outstanding value.
Don’t like that color? Don’t worry, these vessels are made in many of Le Creuset’s standard shades.
Whatever color you choose, you can be sure it will transfer beautifully from the stove right to the table.
Made of heavy-gauge carbon steel with a double coating of hard porcelain, this tall-profile design with tight-fitting lid produces an environment that retains moisture and infuses all ingredients with heated liquids while cooking.
Carbon steel also provides quick heating and retains the heat as well, for consistent results every time the pot is used.
The domed lid is tightly fitted to return moisture to the pot, and it has a stay-cool plastic knob that’s oven safe to 450°F.
Unlike many similar products, Le Creuset fits a stainless steel rim around the lip of every carbon steel vessel they sell. This is done to prevent the chipping and cracking around the rim that’s so prevalent in many enameled models.
The stainless rim also gives the lid a snug fit rather than being perched on top, which prevents the loss of moisture and flavor.
Moreover, construction is better than average with this type of cooking vessel, with triple-welded loop side handles offering a sure and steady grasp. The porcelain-coated interior is as easy to clean as Le Creuset’s legendary porcelain-enameled cast iron Dutch ovens and frying pans.
Designed to function effectively on any heat source, including induction hobs, these enamel-on-steel stockpots are not only versatile, they also offer durable resistance to wear and damage.
Available in six, eight, ten, twelve, sixteen, and twenty quart sizes, these brightly colored creations offer a beautiful alternative to the usual blue or black speckled monstrosities that one usually associates with porcelain-coated steel.
To clean, hand wash in hot, soapy water, rinse well, and dry promptly.
This beautiful 10-quart version measures approximately 13 x 10.5 x 10.5 inches, and weighs almost 6.5 pounds.
It also comes with Le Creuset’s 5-year limited warranty (for the original owner only) to be free of defects in materials and workmanship, granted you follow the care and use instructions provided. Coverage is for household use only, not commercial. This product is made in Thailand.
These are available in nearly every color offered in Le Creuset’s cast iron line with ten different options, so finding the perfect match for your kitchen should pose no challenge.
What Others Are Saying
The following comments are a compilation of the most frequent remarks at the time of this writing, from verified purchasers at Amazon.com.
Satisfied shoppers give the Le Creuset stockpot high grades for its sturdy functionality and bright, beautiful appearance.
The carbon steel makes for a great lightweight vessel that is easy to lift and maneuver.
Sturdy construction is another highlight, giving it a hefty, substantial feel. And with no exposed rivets inside the pot, the only thing that touches your food is non-reactive enamel. The enamel also makes cleanup quick and easy, as most food will release with just warm, soapy water.
Plus, the plastic handle on top of the pot stays cool to the touch, even after being on the hob for several hours.
Naturally, the lovely colors and overall attractive appearance of Le Creuset’s offerings get their fair share of kudos as well.
However, this pot is not without its detractors.
The most common complaint is about the enamel being brittle. There are numerous complaints of the enamel chipping and flaking, as well as incidents of spiderweb cracking around the handles. This exposes the metal, which results in rust and corrosion in just a short time.
There are also a few complaints about the steel ring on the rim being of poor quality, with the joint separating after a few uses.
Customers also report issues with the lid being a poor fit that it is wobbly, allowing too much moisture to evaporate as a result.
It would be hard to find a prettier stockpot for the kitchen than Le Creuset’s enameled steel vessel.
It also offers quick and efficient heating and is light weight, which is always appreciated in the larger sizes. And while Le Creuset is known for the high quality and high price of their enameled cast iron cookware, these porcelain carbon steel stockpots are very reasonable – particularly when compared to their tri-ply stockpots of a similar size.
However, there does seem to be an issue with quality control at the manufacturing plant in Thailand. There are just too many complaints regarding the poor quality of the porcelain coating to be attributed to anything but the production process.
Though there are plenty of satisfied customers, there are also many who have been dissatisfied – so, it’s a bit of a crapshoot. Buy it if you need something large and pretty for the stovetop, or if you want to match a set of existing Le Creuset items. Otherwise, your money could probably be better spent elsewhere.
The Final Say
Well, that wraps up our overview of the indispensable stockpot.
Versatile and durable, it provides a wide range of applications above and beyond just making broth and soup.
Our recommendation is to go with a fully-clad vessel for smaller sizes, and the best price to performance definitely lies with the All-Clad offerings.
For those on a budget who still want to get in on multi-ply goodness, the Cuisinart Tri-Ply model is the way to go.
For larger models, a disk bottom like those offered by Update International is your best option. But whatever size, style, or material you choose, opt for the best materials you can afford and you’ll be rewarded with years of cooking enjoyment.
And what about you, readers? Any questions or comments on favorite models that you’d like to share with your fellow foodies? Let us know in the comments section below, as we always appreciate your thoughts and insights!
Originally posted September 19, 2016. Revised and updated February 24, 2017.
Photos from Shutterstock and product photos courtesy of All-Clad, Calphalon, Mauviel, Vining, Update International, Demeyere, deBuyer, Cuisinart, Neoflam, Bayou Classic, and Le Creuset. Text © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu and Mike Quinn.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.