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Get Stock or Soup Simmering With the Right Pot

What is a stock pot?

A stock pot can cook soup, stock, stew, pasta, braised meats, sauces, beans, chili, chowder, oatmeal, and more. Typically, they accommodate liquids that cook slowly and evenly, simmering for hours before being served up.

What types of stock and soup pots are available?

Soup pots and stock pots come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from smaller 3.8L pots to massive 17L ones.

Materials like copper, stainless steel, aluminum, ceramic, cast iron, and glass are common; some have multiple layers of different materials for durability and good heat retention and dispersion. Copper generally offers better heat distribution, while cladded stainless steel can be thicker and more durable.

Not every soup pot or stock pot is compatible with induction cooktops, like copper and ceramic ones. And not all pots come with lids, so keep that in mind if you make recipes that need to be covered.

What’s the difference between a stock pot and a soup pot?

A stock pot is designed for cooking liquids, like bases for soups and sauces, possibly with chicken bones/carcass, vegetables, and even meats as well. They are usually larger, have thinner bases, and heat up very quickly to simmer ingredients for long periods of time, keeping the liquid heated evenly. They are also great as large boiling pots for lobster or big batches of corn on the cob. Those with limited kitchen storage space might use a stock pot to make soups and stews as well. But be careful when adding meats and vegetables, as they could burn quickly due to the thin base.

A soup pot, meanwhile, has a heavier base that heats up evenly so thicker items like pea, squash, or pumpkin soup, or stews with meats and poultry, won’t burn. Often soup pots are made of material like ceramic or cast iron.

How to purchase the right stock pot for you?

What do you plan to make in it? A soup pot is a no-brainer for soup lovers or making chili and stew. But if you want more versatility, a stock pot that can make many other things, including boiling pasta, might be better.

Even for small families, soups and sauces are usually made in large batches and frozen, so a larger pot can come in handy (ditto for entertaining). And if you make soup and plan to include an entire chicken or its carcass, you’ll need a pot large enough to accommodate it, too.

As noted, make sure the pot has a lid and is compatible with your cooktop, and consider useful included accessories like a steaming basket or pasta insert for draining water. Other features include cool-touch handles, dishwasher-safe materials, clear glass lids, and flared rims for dripless pouring. Some soup pots are even nice enough to transfer from stove to table for serving.