Soups, stocks, chili — you’re going to want a big pot for cooking any of these. The best stock pot holds at least 12 quarts and is made of tri-ply stainless steel for even cooking. This tall, spacious pot lets you cook big batches of food without worrying about it boiling over.
Stock pots are called upon for large batches of cooking, like gumbo or homemade stock, and a 12-quart stock pot is the most versatile size for home kitchens without being so large that it’s difficult to wield or store. A smaller 8-quart or even 6-quart pot is suited to boiling water for pasta, and still, you may prefer an even bigger 16-quart pot for extra-large batches of soup or canning.
The best stock pots are made of tri-ply stainless steel with aluminum cores; this multi clad construction combines the durability and non-reactiveness of steel on the exterior with the superior heat conduction of aluminum at the core. This material goes from stovetop to the oven, and is usually dishwasher-safe, though big, tall pots may not fit in all appliances — something to consider before deciding on a size. For truly exceptional quality, a pot made from 18/10 stainless steel, which means it contains 18% chrome and 10% nickel, is more resistant to corrosion and has a shiny, lustrous appearance, though these picks tend to be pricier. A more affordable pot that is not designed with nickel and is instead made from stainless steel and aluminum, which will still get the job done but won't be quite as high-quality.
Stock pots can get heavy, and a pair of sturdy and comfortable handles is essential for a good stock pot; they should be wide enough to grab with or without pot holders. Most stainless steel stock pots will also come with a tight-fitting lid.
You may not use one every day, but there are some recipes that need the size and build of one of the best stock pots. There's one for every budget, and each of my picks below is highly rated on Amazon.
1. The Overall Best Stock Pot
This sturdy stock pot is a cult favorite made with 18/10 stainless steel that has earned a 4.6-star rating and over 5,000 reviews on Amazon, and its quality makes it a solid kitchen investment. Cuisinart's pot is made of tri-ply stainless steel with an aluminum core and holds up to 12 quarts. This pick is dishwasher-safe, oven-safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit — the highest of any other pick — broiler-safe, and compatible on all stovetops, including induction.
The stainless steel handles are wide and comfortable to grab, remain cool to touch, and are riveted for added strength. It also boasts design features that may seem otherwise small, but add up in making this a worthwhile investment, according to reviewers: the pot's rim is conveniently tapered for pouring without drips, and it has a tight-fitting lid with a handle.
A helpful review: “This is an outstanding stockpot on all counts. Obviously you buy a 12-quart pot for big jobs, and I have been able to process as much as 35 pounds of tomatoes for sauce in one batch. [...] My tomatoes never stick, and the rivets are pristine and obviously real stainless steel [...] The lid fits perfectly and tightly; the handles are cool and extremely ergonomically friendly; the cooking is superbly even; the pouring lip is neat and effective; it cleans with exceptional ease, and though it wasn't the dealmaker, this really is beautiful cookware. [...]”
2. The Best On A Budget
The best stock pot under $60 also holds up to 12 quarts and is made of tri-ply stainless steel with an aluminum core. Use this pot on gas or electric stovetops — reviewers confirm it's also safe for induction. Its construction is 80% stainless steel/20% aluminum, and while that makes it lightweight and durable, expect it to feature a more matte shade than the other picks.
This pot is dishwasher-safe and oven-safe (up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit reports a reviewer, though the manufacturer doesn't specify). A reviewer also reports the handles stay cool while cooking, though the lid could be more tight-fitting.
A helpful review: “[...] I was VERY pleasantly surprised by the uniformly thick walls and bottom that are [tri-ply]. I tested the bottom and lower sides for hot spots by making an Italian meat sauce. Even over high heat on my not great gas range there was no scorching or burning for the meat or the soffritto. I then turned the heat down for a slow simmer and again was happy that there were no burned hot sides, this pot heats very evenly. [...] this is by far the best stock pot I can afford and even if I had the means I couldn't bring myself to pay 10x more for one that just has a better lid. [...]”
3. The Best Extra Large Stock Pot
Need even more room? This large stock pot holds 16 quarts (and also comes in a 24-quart size). Its tri-ply stainless steel construction with an aluminum core heats evenly on all cooktops, including induction, and it's oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Like the first pick, this one is constructed of high-quality 18/10 stainless steel, plus it's dishwasher-safe — that is if you can fit it inside your dishwasher.
The pot's handles are riveted for extra strength and reviewers report they remain cool while cooking. A matching lid with a handle is included.
A helpful review: “This pot is perfect for making a large pot of bone broth! It is light, but strong. It's really easy to clean, it's smooth, and it looks like it's expensive competitors. [...] With THIS pot, I can simmer a soup for 48 hours, and it comes out tasting WAY better than any other soup I've made in a different pot. If I fill this pot to the top (minus 2-3 inches head space) with water and bones for broth, I end up with seven 9-cup storage containers of broth to freeze for dishes later. It's nice to be able to make so much at once! [...]”