When a recipe calls for gentle, indirect heat (think: cheese sauces, tempered chocolate, and hollandaise sauce) a double boiler can prevent burning, curdling, and other mishaps. But with so many options out there, how do you choose the best double boiler for you? It really depends on how — and how often — you’re planning to use it.
Double boilers are typically made up of a pot, a boiler insert, and a lid. When shopping for a double boiler, consider whether you’d like to be able to use the pot on its own. If so, it’s worth splurging for a set which includes a pot that’s heftier and more likely to hold up to consistent use. If you'd like your double boiler to be especially multi-purpose, it's possible to get one that also has a steamer insert.
If you plan to use your double boiler for the sole purpose of gentle heating, a smaller, lightweight model should do the trick. Home cooks on a tight budget (or those with limited storage) might want to consider a double boiler insert instead of a full-fledged model. The insert serves the same purpose as an ordinary double boiler but sits inside a saucepan you already own.
From an inexpensive insert to a double boiler set with a steamer, there's a great option for every type of cook. These are the best double boilers you can buy on Amazon:
1. The Best Double Boiler Overall
If you're in need of a standard double boiler, the T-fal 3-Quart Double Boiler will be your go-to. The bottom pot is a nonstick saucepan that you can use for all kinds of recipes, and the top boiler pot is made of stainless steel. The boiler pot has a two-quart capacity, which is larger than many of its competitors. The glass lid fits both and allows you to see your ingredients as you're cooking. Plus, the whole set is dishwasher safe and reasonably priced! As an added bonus, T-fal offers a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.
Reviewers say: "This is a great double boiler. The size is wonderful and (best of all) it doesn't leak steam from the bottom pot! [...] It's very light, but sturdy, and the clear top makes it easy to see where you are at in the melting process."
2. The Best Double Boiler/Steamer Set
Steam veggies and make a sauce for them, all in the same PureLife 3-Quart Double Boiler and Steam Pots set! The set includes four different pieces: a stainless steel saucepan, boiler pot, and steamer insert, as well as a glass lid that allows you to see what's going on inside. The bottom saucepan has a three-quart capacity and works with induction ranges. The set is also dishwasher and oven safe up to 350 degrees. Just be careful to use a pot holder with the metal handles, as they can get hot while you're cooking.
Reviewers say: "This double boiler/steam pot is the best I have ever owned. [...] The surface heats evenly so when melting chocolate it is done evenly not leaving chunks waiting to melt. Couldn't have asked for a better product."
3. The Best Small Double Boiler
Made of porcelain-fused steel, the budget-friendly Granite Ware 1.5-Quart Double Boiler is smaller and lighter than the other options on the list. It's a great option for making small batch recipes and has a naturally nonstick surface. Outside of the kitchen, many Amazon reviewers use this version for DIY crafting (making candles, soaps, etc.) or even for cooking while camping. You can throw the Granite Ware in the dishwasher to clean it, but it's worth mentioning that the manufacturer recommends against using with a glass cooktop.
Reviewers say: "I absolutely LOVE my double boiler. I had been looking for one for the longest and this is just perfect for one person for me to cook my grits in as we did when I was a child growing up. [...] The pots and lid are extremely easy to clean and wash afterwards."
4. The Best Double Boiler Insert
If you're low on space or just want an inexpensive option, consider the aluminum Nordic Ware Universal Double Boiler. The insert has a two-quart capacity, but its design features interior tiers that allow it to fit inside pots ranging from two quarts to four quarts in size, which means it should sit snugly inside any standard-sized saucepan you already own. The interior is nonstick for easy cleaning. One thing to look out for: The aluminum gets hot so you’ll need to use a mitt to pick up this insert when you’re done using it. But if there are any manufacturer defects, you're covered by a five-year warranty.
Reviewers say: "Ok, so how often DO you really need a double boiler? When you do, this is great! Perfectly fits a lot of pans, Non-Stick finish..perfect to melt butter, chocolate, warm up eggs. One relatively inexpensive tool handles it all."
5. The Big Double Boiler
If you need a double boiler that can handle a large volume of ingredients, give the Winware Stainless 8-Quart Double Boiler a whirl. Though the bottom pot has a whopping eight quart capacity (and can be used alone), Amazon reviewers have pointed out that the boiler pot is about half its size. If that's not big enough for you, don't worry — this model is also available in 12, 16, and 20 quart varieties. It's unclear if the Winware is officially dishwasher safe, but some reviewers have reported running it through their dishwashers without any issues. The double boiler should work on any type of range or cooktop that's able to accommodate its large size — including induction.
Reviewers say: "I absolutely love my double [boiler]. Well made and heavy. I use it all the time in my restaurant. You will not be disappointed."
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