Cookware is an essential but somewhat overwhelming part of operating any kitchen. The classic stockpot is one key piece every professional or home chef needs in their cooking arsenal. Stockpots are incredibly versatile. They are ideal for bulk preparation including making vegetable stocks and broths, boiling pasta, cooking soups, sauces and more. Whether you’re an experienced chef looking to refresh your current inventory, or an amateur just beginning your cooking career, this guide breaks down the wide variety of stockpots and their differences.
Things to Consider When Choosing the Correct Stockpot
All stockpots have a round base, deep straight sides and a cover. This shape slows down evaporation, by confining solids and liquids to a restricted circumference. The process allows large amounts of ingredients like water, meat, vegetables, herbs, bones and more to intermingle, as even heat distribution works through each layer. The sturdy, weighted base prevents tipping during the cooking and serving process.
At Gator Chef, our high-quality stockpots include the following:
- Thick, heavy bottom that prevents burning
- Heat resistant handles
- Easy and even heat conduction
Stock pot sizes range from 8 quarts to 160 quarts and from 8 to 30 inches in diameter. Smaller pots such as 8-quart, 10-quart or 12-quart stockpot are a great choice for home cooks preparing foods like stews and chili; larger pots including 20- quart and 32-quart are regularly used in professional kitchens to easily cook mass amounts of food or large-size ingredients, such as lobster and corn on the cob, daily.
- 4 or 6 Qt: Great for small batches or feeding your family soup, noodles, etc.
- 8 Qt: Great for poaching chicken breasts, but can be small for making bulk quantities of stock, etc. such as this 8qt stainless steel stock pot with lid.
- 12 Qt: Great for smashing potatoes and cooking other large vegetables, making broth etc.
20 Qt and up: Great for restaurant/commercial kitchen size portions.
- Also great for steaming seafood like crab legs, crawfish, lobster, shrimp and more.
It's incredibly important to understand the type of material your stockpot is made from. The two most popular are Aluminum Stockpots and Stainless-Steel Stockpots. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages for the cooking process, price, durability and performance. Make sure to compare the different materials before you make any final decisions with the pros and cons list below.
- Safe on all Cooktops: Stainless Steel Cookware can safely be used on induction, gas and electric cooking surfaces.
- Strong and Durable: Stainless Steel is thick and heavy, making cookware durable and long lasting.
- Good Heat Retention: Stainless Steel construction keeps the pot at a set temperature for a long time without losing heat.
- Nonreactive: Stainless Steel is nonreactive, so you can cook all ingredients including acidic foods.
- Heat takes longer to permeate thick construction.
- Heat Conductivity: Aluminum is a strong heat conductor; aluminum cookware gets very hot quickly.
- Lightweight: Aluminum cookware is lighter than stainless steel, making it easier to lift.
- Price: Less metal is needed to make an aluminum pot or pan, making products more cost effective.
- Not Induction Compatible: aluminum cookware is not compatible with induction stoves/cooktops.
- Not recommended for use with acidic ingredients.