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Best Stockpots of 2021

Which stockpot is best? To find out, we boiled, stirred, and sautéed in every pot, ending up with gallons upon gallons of chicken stock and a new winner.

Top Picks

Winner

Cook N Home Stainless Steel Stockpot with Lid 12 Quart

See Everything We Tested

What We Learned

A stockpot is like an umbrella: You don't use it often, but it's invaluable when you need it. My own is oft-ignored, usually hidden in a cabinet, but it becomes a star player when I start making chicken stock in colder months. A large pot like this is also handy for cooking multiple ears of corn on the cob, whole lobsters, or big batches of pasta. You can also use it when making stew or chili for a crowd.

We previously tested stockpots, but most of the models we looked at have been discontinued, so we decided to retest. We focused on finding the best 12-quart stockpot because we think it's the most useful size—big enough to accommodate most jobs yet small enough to easily store. We purchased seven widely available models, priced from about $30 to about $400, and used them to boil bulky ears of corn, cook thin strands of angel hair pasta, sauté onions, and simmer chicken wings and backs in water for 5 hours. Our efforts resulted in not only gallons of fragrant chicken stock but also a new favorite stockpot.

Pot Thickness Determined Heating Time

We conducted two tests to examine how well each of the stockpots conducted heat, timing how long it took to bring 2 quarts of water to a boil over high heat and how long it took to sauté 1 cup of onions to an even golden brown over medium-low heat.

In the water test, the top-performing pot brought water to a boil more than 5 minutes faster than the bottom-performing pot. In the onion test, the top performing pot browned the onions about 2 minutes faster than the bottom-performing pot. Looking at these results for each pot, it didn't take much sleuthing to figure out the reason behind these differences: the thinness of a pot's base. The thinner a pot's base, the faster it heated the water and the onions. Our quickest-heating pot's base was 3/16 inch thick, and the base of the slowest-heating pot was twice as thick at ⅜ inch. While bringing water to a boil quickly in the pots with thin bases was a plus, we had to keep a close eye on onions we were sautéing in these pots, as they were more prone to scorching. In the end, heating time wasn't a significant factor in our choice of a favorite pot.

Stainless-Steel Interiors Were More Durable Than Enamel-Coated Steel

Another thing we learned while sautéing onions: The sole enameled pot didn't handle heat as well as pots with plain stainless-steel interiors. The light-colored enamel began turning brown immediately when placed over heat, even though the burner was set to medium-low. We much preferred the stainless-steel pots in our lineup for their ability to withstand heat without discoloring.

Lighter Weight Was Better

Stockpots are large pieces of ...

Everything We Tested

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Recommended

Recommended with reservations

Not Recommended

*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.

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The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.