The best soup pot

From bestreviews.com
By
Jennifer Blair
BestReviews

A soup pot's heavy bottom helps keep food from sticking and burning to the surface, so you don't have to worry if your soup needs to cook all day.

When it comes to comfort foods, it's hard to top a bowl of hearty, homemade soup. But if you're going to prepare delicious soups at home, you need a high-quality soup pot to mix up your recipe.

A soup pot, also referred to as a stockpot, is a wide pot with straight sides and a flat bottom. It often has a heavy base that works well for thicker, creamier soups. You can also find some pots with a thin base to help recipes with a heavier liquid content come to a boil. If you're looking for a versatile soup pot compatible with induction burners, the All-Clad Brushed Stainless Steel Stockpot With Lid is the best you can find. 

What to know before you buy a soup pot

Material

Soup pots are available in several materials, which determine how durable they are and the types of recipes you can make in them.

  • Stainless steel is an excellent material for soup pots. It's nonreactive, so you can cook with acidic ingredients such as tomatoes without worrying about the taste of your food. It doesn't conduct heat as well as other materials, though. Many stainless-steel pots contain bottom inserts made of copper or aluminum.
  • Aluminum is one of the most affordable materials for cookware. It is an excellent conductor of heat, though it doesn't distribute its heat as evenly as stainless-steel pots. Aluminum can react to acidic foods, too, which can affect the flavor of your soups and discolor the pan over time. It doesn't work on induction cooktops either. 
  • Tri-ply has stainless steel inner and outer layers but features a mid-layer made of aluminum or copper. Because of this combination, they offer top-notch heat distribution and conductivity but don't react to acidic foods. Tri-ply pots are also stain- and corrosion-resistant and compatible with induction stoves.
  • Anodized aluminum is aluminum that undergoes an electrochemical process that combines it with a nonstick material. It offers good heat conductivity and a nonstick cooking surface for easy cleaning. Anodized aluminum pots are usually oven-safe to high temperatures, too. 
  • Porcelain Enamel is used to cover a base of stainless steel or aluminum. The finished pots typically feature bold colors and patterns for a more decorative look. They're also nonreactive and nonstick. They distribute heat quickly and evenly, too. The enamel-coated surface can chip somewhat easily, though.
  • Copper is the most traditional material for a soup or stockpot. It offers the best heat conduction of any material and looks great on your stovetop. But copper is a reactive metal, so these pots should feature a stainless-steel liner for greater versatility and durability. Copper pots are the most expensive, too.

 

Size

Soup pots generally range from 4 to 20 quarts, but you can find pots that hold as many as 40 quarts. Some larger commercial options can even accommodate as many as 100 quarts.

For home use, a 12-quart pot is usually a good size. It offers enough capacity to make large batches of soup for groups or freezing and is even large enough for making stocks and broths. 

Weight

Many soup pots have a heavy bottom to help stabilize the pot. That can affect its overall weight, making it difficult to carry — especially when it's full of soup or other food. Choose a pot with a good weight and balance to it but that you can still move without difficulty. 

Soup pot features

Lid

A soup pot should come with a well-fitting lid that helps trap heat to reduce your cooking time. Covering the soup also helps it retain moisture and flavor, so you wind up with the best-tasting soup possible. 

Most pots have lids made of the same material as the pot itself, but some come with glass lids. Glass lids can break easily if dropped, but they let you keep an eye on your soup without removing the lid and allowing heat to escape. Some pots even have shatter-resistant glass lids to reduce breakage issues. 

Handles

A full pot can be extremely heavy, so it should have durable, easy-to-grip handles to ensure safe maneuvering. Reinforced riveted or welded handles are usually the strongest and aren't as likely to break off as screwed-on handles when carrying a pot of hot soup to the table. 

You may also want to look for a pot with heat-resistant handles. These handles are typically made of silicone or rolled stainless steel, which stays cool longer than other materials. 

Rim

Many pots have a straight rim all the way around, but some offer a slightly flared edge. A flared rim cuts down on drips when pouring soup out of the pot, so you have an easier time cleaning up the pot and your countertop afterward.

Soup pot cost

Soup pots vary in price based on their materials and size, but most cost $15-$700. Aluminum pots usually go for $25-$100, while stainless steel pots typically cost $65-$400. For large, commercial-sized pots, you'll generally pay $400-$700.

Soup Pot FAQ

Can I use a saucepan to make soup?

A. A large saucepan can work well in a pinch to make a small batch of soup. However, if you regularly prepare large batches of soup, you'll prefer having a soup pot designed to ensure your soup cooks properly and is large enough to hold thick, hearty soups. 

What else can I make in a soup pot? 

A. In addition to soups, you can make stocks, broths, stews and chilis. It also works well for boiling pasta or potatoes and is ideal for making a big batch of homemade sauces, such as tomato or barbecue sauce. Depending on the size, you can even use it for boiling lobsters.

Which soup pot should I get?

Best of the best soup pot

All-Clad Brushed Stainless Steel Stockpot With Lid: available at Amazon and Wayfair 

Our take: Made of durable brushed stainless steel, this pot looks great on your stovetop and offers top-notch performance to create soups that are always the perfect consistency. 

What we like: Its wide bottom lets you saute in the pot before adding liquids. The aluminum core helps it heat up quickly and evenly. It's compatible with induction stovetops and oven-safe up to 600 degrees. It has riveted, heat-resistant handles, too.

What we dislike: It's one of the pricier pots for home use. 

Best bang for your buck soup pot

Cuisinart Chef's Classic Pasta/Steamer Set with Lid: available at  Amazon and Kohl's

Our take: This versatile pot can make more than soup, but it consistently produces a delicious batch, thanks to its many convenient features.

What we like: It's made of nonreactive stainless steel, so it works well with acidic ingredients. The aluminum base allows for even heating. It comes with a pasta insert and steamer basket. Its rim allows for drip-free pouring. The tight-fitting lid helps lock in nutrients and moisture.

What we dislike: It isn't compatible with induction cooktops. 

Honorable mention soup pot

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 16-Quart Covered Stockpot: available at Amazon and Macy's

Our take: This affordable pot offers not only durability and performance but an impressive appearance on your stovetop too. 

What we like: It's durable enough to hold up to regular use. It has an aluminum core to ensure fast, even heating. It's oven-safe up to 350 degrees and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. It comes with a self-basting lid for flavorful results. 

What we dislike: The stainless-steel exterior requires regular maintenance to keep it in good condition. 

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Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
 

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