Are you a seafood lover looking to add some extra servings of brain- and heart-smart proteins to your family’s weekly menu?
Or perhaps you’re planning a fabulous backyard bash or beach party this summer and are looking for an easy, delicious, and fun way to feed your guests.
A mixed seafood boil is sumptuous and economical. And you can never go wrong with a mess of steamed clams or crab, or a bubbling bowl of bouillabaisse!
Cooking crustaceans and shellfish such as crab, clams, crawfish, lobster, mussels, prawns, shrimp, and oysters is simple and enjoyable when you have the right gear for the job.
All you need is a large kettle like a stockpot, a deep, perforated insert for steaming or draining boiled foods, and a tight-fitting lid.
Your family and friends will enjoy a richly flavored meal and digging into seafood is a fun, hands-on activity that’s perfect for a summer party – but please remember to provide plenty of finger bowls and serviettes!
And if you’re not sure exactly how to select a kettle for cooking seafood, not to worry. We’ve got you covered with the best features and materials to look for, plus our suggestions that cover a range of sizes.
Is your mouth watering yet? Then let’s move on to look at seven of the best pots for cooking seafood and shellfish.
Here’s what’s ahead, with our recommended options in order from smallest to largest, followed by all the details on this type of cookware that you’ll need to make the best pick:
7 of the Best Pots for Cooking Seafood and Shellfish
- Oster Stainless Steel Steamer
- Le Creuset Tri-Ply Stockpot with Colander
- Cuisinart Stockpot and Steamer Set
- Kenmore Nonstick Stainless Steel Steamer Pot
- Concord Stockpot with Steamer Basket
- Bayou Classic Steamer Pot
- Barton Stockpot with Steamer
Now, let’s look at some of the best kettles for cooking the ocean’s bounty.
1. Oster Stainless Steel Steamer
Cooking an intimate seafood dinner for two? This small 3-piece stainless steel set from Oster will be the best choice to use for a less formal meal whenever you’re not throwing a huge backyard shrimp boil to feed a ravenous crowd.
Oster Stainless Steel Steamer, available on Amazon
A smaller steamer set is also a smart choice to save space in your kitchen!
The 3-quart pot, 2-quart steamer, and rim of the vented glass lid are made of 2-ply stainless steel. The materials are PTFE- and PFOA-free.
The Dutch oven-style pot also has an encapsulated stainless steel base for quick and even heating.
The complete stacked set has a combined height of 11 inches and width of 8.5 inches, including the handles. The interior of the pot measures 8 inches across, and the set has a combined weight of 3 pounds.
The steamer is perforated only on the bottom, and fits inside the pot with about 1 inch of clearance.
You’re sure to have a good grip on this set since the pot, steamer, and lid feature stainless steel handles.
Love spying on your food as it cooks? The see-through tempered glass lid fits tightly on the pot, and includes a vent to allow steam to escape throughout the cooking process.
This set is safe to use in the oven up to 400°F. It is compatible with most stovetops, but is not recommended for use on induction burners.
Though it is safe to put in the dishwasher, handwashing and immediately drying afterward is recommended to prevent any water marks from developing.
The company offers a 30-day limited warranty.
2. Le Creuset Tri-Ply Stockpot with Colander Insert
Perfect for a family meal, Le Creuset’s covered stockpot provides triple-layer construction, with a base-to-rim aluminum core enveloped with professional grade, titanium-infused stainless steel. The result is exceptionally fast and even heating in a beautiful, polished product that resists discoloration.
Le Creuset Tri-Ply Stockpot with Colander Insert, available on Amazon
The rolled rim is completely sealed and provides convenient, dripless pouring, and interior capacity markers make prep and cooking more convenient.
The iconic three-ring lid is vented and tight-fitting for excellent flavor, heat, and moisture retention while preventing liquid from boiling over.
Large loop handles are securely riveted to the sidewalls for a firm grip and easy lifting, and the lid has a stainless steel knob handle.
The deep colander insert with perforations on the bottom and sides is ideal for steaming shellfish or draining crab and lobster after boiling. A multipurpose add-on, it can also be used for other applications such as steaming veggies or cooking pasta.
The kettle is 13.75 inches tall with a 10.5-inch diameter and the colander measures 10 inches tall, with a combined weight of 6.5 pounds. The pot holds 8.75 quarts and it’s safe for use on all types of ranges including induction.
Le Creuset provides a limited lifetime warranty for their tri-ply cookware, which is also dishwasher safe. This product is made in Portugal.
3. Cuisinart Stockpot and Steamer Set
A great size for family dinners, the Cuisinart 12-quart stockpot and steamer set features high-quality, 18/10 stainless steel with a beautiful mirror finish and an aluminum encapsulated disc bottom for fast and even heating.
Cuisinart Stockpot and Steamer Set, available on Amazon
The deep, fully perforated colander sits 2.5 inches above the stockpot floor and the smaller steamer basket can be used simultaneously. The perforated basket fits inside the colander, and can be inserted and removed with two long handles that you can fold to fit inside the basket as you cook.
Because the basket is shallower than the deep colander, you can steam other ingredients separately above the boiling liquid in the colander. This means you can boil pasta while you are steaming vegetables or seafood at the same time!
The tight-fitting, flat lid locks in flavor and moisture. Solid stainless steel loop handles are soundly riveted to the sidewalls, colander, and lid. The basket has two thick wire bail handles for safe and easy transport.
The stockpot measures 10 inches high with an 11-inch diameter, the colander is 9.5 inches tall with an 11-inch diameter, and the overall weight is just over 11 pounds.
It can be used on all stoves and all pieces are dishwasher safe. Cuisinart provides a limited lifetime warranty.
Check customer reviews and find prices at Amazon.
4. Kenmore Nonstick Stainless Steel Steamer Pot
Can’t buy kitchen equipment unless it comes in a fun color? You’ll enjoy the gorgeous glacier blue shade of this 16-quart stainless steel steamer pot from Kenmore!
Kenmore Nonstick Stainless Steel Steamer Pot, available on Amazon
Your seafood will steam in style inside the 2-ply steel pot with a hard enamel finish. The exterior is finished in a glacier blue color, while the interior is an off-white shade.
The handles are made of the same material, and these are also coated in the same blue hard enamel finish of the pot’s exterior.
The stainless steel perforated insert fits snugly inside the lower third section of the pot along an indented rim. A small handle in the center of the insert helps you to easily remove it when your seafood is finished cooking.
The tight-fitting tempered glass lid has a stainless steel handle and rim, but it does not include a vent.
This pot set is safe to use on gas, electric, induction, and glass ceramic cooking surfaces, and is safe to use in the oven at temperatures up to 400°F.
The overall height with the lid and handles included measures 10 inches and the pot is 12.5 inches wide. The set has a total weight of 7.45 pounds.
Because the enamel coating can scratch easily, avoid using metal tools while cooking.
Handwashing is recommended for each piece in this set, and Kenmore offers a limited lifetime warranty.
5. Concord Stockpot with Steamer Basket
The large, 24-quart Concord stockpot with steamer basket is made of fully polished, commercial-grade stainless steel that’s suitable for steaming or boiling large quantities of seafood at parties and events.
Concord Stockpot with Steamer Basket, available on Amazon
Large loop handles are securely plate mounted to the kettle walls with four rivets for a sure and steady grip and the domed lid has a welded loop handle.
The steamer basket is fully perforated and sits on four sturdy stainless steel feet that raise the basket 1.5 inches above the floor. A heavy gauge, stainless steel bail handle makes for safe and easy handling in and out of the kettle.
The pot measures 14.8 inches tall with an 11.5-inch diameter. The basket is 12.5 inches tall with a 10.5-inch diameter. The overall weight is 12 pounds.
Concord provides a limited one-year warranty and the kettle and basket are dishwasher safe.
6. Bayou Classic Steamer Pot with Lid
A steamer designed for cooking up large quantities of your favorite seafood or veggies, the 32-quart Bayou Classic stainless steel pot is brilliant at backyard barbecues and campsites.
Bayou Classic Steamer Pot with Lid, available on Wayfair
Robustly constructed of heavy-gauge, 18/10 stainless steel, the large kettle is fitted with a nesting, bottom-perforated steamer insert that holds food above the simmering water. The snugly-fitted, domed lid is ventilated to prevent the liquid from boiling over and effectively traps and circulates heat and moisture for fast, even cooking.
The stockpot, steamer insert, and lid are all equipped with large loop handles of stainless steel that are heavily welded in place for a comfortable, firm grip.
The overall measurements are 16.6 inches tall with a diameter of 15.5 inches and a weight of 11.6 pounds. The bottom pot holds 32 quarts and the steamer insert has a 27-quart capacity.
Bayou Classic provides a limited one-year warranty. Handwashing is recommended.
You can check prices and customer comments at Wayfair.
7. Barton Stockpot with Steamer/Strainer Insert
When you need a jumbo-sized steamer for backyard bashes, beach parties, or tailgating, the stainless steel, 53-quart Barton stockpot with deep steamer insert gets the big jobs done.
Barton Stockpot with Steamer/Strainer Insert, available on Amazon
Constructed of premium quality stainless steel for a sturdy feel, the sleek satin finish is ideal for hiding scuffs and greasy handprints.
The colander sits deep in the kettle and is fully perforated for free-moving steam and for easy draining when used for boiling. It has a thick and sturdy bail handle of solid stainless steel for a sure grip and safe moving.
The flat lid is tightly fitted to seal in moisture and heat, and features a large loop handle firmly welded in place. The kettle has plate-mounted loop handles attached to the sidewalls with four large rivets to carry heavy loads securely.
The cooker measures 16 inches tall with a 16.75-inch diameter and the steamer basket is 13.5 inches tall with a diameter of 13.25 inches. The overall weight is 27 pounds.
The Barton stockpot comes with a limited 30-day warranty. Handwash with soap and water or wipe the outside down with a clean, damp cloth and dry immediately.
Features and Considerations
The following features and considerations can help you make the best choice to meet your needs.
To determine the pot size you need, a good rule of thumb is to allow two quarts of capacity per person who will be dining.
The amount of food per person depends on the type of seafood being served. For example, crayfish typically yields up to 15 percent of its overall weight in tail meat, mussels give about 25 percent meat, and shell-on prawns yield 60 percent of their total weight in tail meat.
For a main dish serving, the following guidelines gives an approximate weight (shell on) for each person – add another half pound for those with big appetites!
- Clams = 1 to 1.5 pounds
- Crayfish = 3 pounds
- Crab = 1.5 pounds
- Lobster = 1.5 to 2 pounds
- Mussels = 1.5 to 2 pounds
- Oysters = 1.5 to 2 pounds
- Prawns = 1 pound
- Shrimp = 1 pound
- Seafood mix (with vegetables) = 1.5 to 2 pounds
And it’s always better to go slightly larger than smaller. If you choose a smaller pot size, you’ll be limited to that maximum capacity, which may be an issue whenever you want to host a big dinner party. Buying a pot with a larger capacity guarantees you’ll have more flexibility to adjust your serving amounts as needed, with or without a few extra mouths to feed!
Because these kettles are heavy when they’re full of water, strong but lightweight materials are best.
The lightest cooking material available is aluminum. However, it is reactive with acidic ingredients like lemon juice, tomatoes, and wine, and can impart a metallic taste to foods.
A better choice is stainless steel, which is also lightweight but non-reactive with the acidic ingredients often used in a seafood boil or shellfish broth.
Stainless steel is also stronger than aluminum and won’t split under the stress of a full load.
And for faster heating, look for those with a disc or encapsulated base, or tri-ply cladding.
Will your fishy feast be cooked on an indoor range or over a bed of coals?
Heat sources like a campfire or a pit of embers often scorch the outside of cookers, leaving them permanently discolored. Choose lower-end kettles for camping and the beach, and leave the pricier products at home for use on the stovetop.
For the greatest value, look for a seafood pot that can be used for other purposes as well.
Family-sized ones are excellent for cooking pasta; steaming dumplings, tamales, and veggies; or blanching seasonal foods for the freezer.
And the larger ones often pull double-duty for brewing beer, canning, deep frying, or simmering large batches of soup stock.
A large stockpot with a spigot makes it easy to drain off the delicious broth without the sediment that can collect at the bottom. And it makes emptying a full pot much easier as well.
Unfortunately, spigots on lesser-quality products also tend to leak readily.
If a spigot is an important item, look for heavy-duty, stainless steel components with a silicone washer or O-ring to provide a secure seal.
Often called colanders or strainers, steamer baskets are indispensable for steaming delectable, tender seafood and for draining foods cooked in a boiler before serving.
Many multicooker options come with a steamer/strainer, or these can be purchased separately to fit an existing cooker.
Look for evenly spaced perforations to ensure steam and liquids circulate fully for even cooking, as well as a sturdy handle or handles for lifting.
And for steaming, if the insert doesn’t sit on the kettle rim, check that the basket has legs to lift it above the water.
To ensure heat, moisture, and steam stay trapped for cooking, a tight-fitting lid is needed. These can be either dome-shaped or flat.
They need to have a large, secure loop or knob handle for easy removal, and a vent in the lid or along the rim helps to prevent boil-over by releasing excess air pressure.
Whether you’re cooking up sweet, succulent lobster or savory steamed oysters, the right equipment makes the job easy and enjoyable.
A large kettle, deep steamer basket, and lid is all you need to serve up an unforgettable dinner your family and guests will rave about!
Do you folks have any questions about choosing the best seafood pot for your needs? Let us know in the comments section below.
If you’re shopping for more kitchen equipment to help you with other cooking tasks when you’re not making the best seafood boils, we can certainly help. Explore our collection of kitchen gear reviews, starting with these:
© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on February 5, 2020. Last updated on September 8, 2022. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu and Nikki Cervone. Product photos via Amazon, Wayfair, and Home Depot. Uncredited photos via Shutterstock.
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.