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Why would you need more than a 6 qt. stock pot?

  • m

I know it may sound like a dumb question but, why would I need more than a 6 qt?

I actually don't plan on making stock as I just don't have the interest. I get stock cheap at whole foods anyway so its not really something I plan on doing.

What I do like to do is make soups, stews, chili, pasta, etc.

I am a family of 4, 2 adults 2 small kids.

Where would the need come into play? If you don't make stock do you really need bigger? I can't imagine make more than 6 qts of anything else?

Thanks for the help in advance.

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  1. I don't know about other areas, but here on the coast we use much bigger ones for shrimp and crab boils and for making huge pots of gumbo. Also for frying whole turkeys and doing fish fries, but that's an outdoor job.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bayoucook

      I can see doing that. I don't imagine however that I will ever have access to quality huge amounts of sea food. Just the occasional lobster or shrimp. If I did what you do I can imagine wanting like a 16 qt. Sounds amazing, wish I was closer to the sea.

      1. re: mmdad

        Not only seafood but tons of new potatoes and corn on the cob, onions and garlic, bags of seasonings are added to the pot. The *best*!

      2. re: bayoucook

        +1 ------- and crawfish, and peanuts, and blanching large quantities of purple hull peas, corn, butter beans etc. etc. and etc.!!!

      3. I use mine for canning, making large amounts of sauce, anything that might splatter, pulled pork, braising. And since my large pots are cheap ones I usually use 2 at a time, putting a little water in the bottom and making a double boiler so that my sauces and what nots don't burn. Happy cooking!

        2 Replies
          1. re: mmdad

            6 Qt would be ok most of the time, but when chicken, pork, or other meats go on sale, I like to stock up and usually end up using my 12 Qt. I got mine pretty cheap, 5 bucks at a garage sale for the set (4, 6, 8, 10, 12 Qt). When they're not in use, they all stack conveniently in my linen closet.

        1. Stock pots are not ONLY for making stock.

          Deep frying is nice option with a big deep pot, but I rarely do it.
          What I usually do with my giant stock pots:

          MAJOR quantities of soups. It's nice to be able to make a big batch of soup for the winter. (Have a giant freezer in the basement though. Big freezer is ESSENTIAL for saving a ton of $ IMO)

          Tamales. a 6qt would be useless.


          Lobster/crab steaming. I'd assume a 6qt could do maybe 2 1lb lobsters at one time.


          A 6qt is fiine until you need something bigger, at which point you'll need to buy a bigger pot. If you see no real use for one, and you've thought it through, then huzzah. But you can always make 6 qts of anything in an 8qt, 10qt, or 16qt pot. You will never be able to make 10 qts of anything in a 6qt pot. MAybe you shoud just stick w/ a 6 for now, and watch for major sales on a bigger pot down the line. In my cooking, I couldn't imagine a 6qt as my biggest stock, but that's ME. I think I have 4 8qts, two canning pots (one of which is probably like 20 qts,) two 12 qts, and a special pot called a "tamale pot" which I also use for soups/stews that's probably around 12 qts as well. Do I use them all the time? Absolutely not, but there have been times that I've used three or four at the same time. It's super nice to have the option. Also, I only bought them when they were clearanced out at like 75% off. That reminds me, It's getting towards tamale / chili/thanksgiving/holiday season, and I still have like 70% of my cookware still in the basement after the kitchen remodel. Time to sift through it all.

          1. I find an 8 quart pot to be about the ideal all-around size for home.

            1. You can't put 6 quarts of liquid in a 6 quart pot without getting too close to the rim.
              You can get 5 and a half in as long as you don't boil anything, or stir whatever's in the pot.
              If you want to boil or stir gently, you can fit 5 quarts. A rolling boil would limit you to 4 and a half quarts.

              Also, a stock pot with a metal handle and tight lid can be used as a dutch oven.

              I have an 8 quart, wish I had gone larger sometimes.

              1. 6 quarts is nothing. I cook for myself and one other adult. I was having fits making braised lamb shanks earlier this week-- in a much bigger pot!

                1. Six quarts is a good minimum size. You wouldn't want to go much smaller for making a chicken's worth of soup or cooking a pound of pasta. IMO an 8-quart is just as handy and more versatile, though. And my 12-quart comes out when I'm making larger quantities of things for groups or for the freezer. Much bigger than that and they start to get unwieldy, but I do drag out the 32-quart occasionally. You can't boil a pig's head in anything smaller.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    "You can't boil a pig's head in anything smaller"

                    Now if there was ever a reason to justify a larger pot there it is!

                  2. Yes, I think you do. I'm a family of 2 and have several sizes; here are there general uses.

                    5 qt - Boiling water for Pasta or small batches of pasta sauce. I have two of these; one is Magnalite (anodized) and one is cheap-o stainless. Cheap-o gets most of the use.
                    8 qt - Small batch of gumbo
                    12 qt - most commonly used to make stock
                    16 16 - normal batch of gumbo; normal batch of chil; larger batch of stock

                    I have separate pots for water bath canning (both pint and quart) along with a 6 qt presser cooker. I also have a 6-3/4 qt Le Creuset oval for braising.

                    I used to have a 32 qt but gave it up, since I can manage fine with the 12 and 16 qt pots for large batches. I have a *ton* of cookware!

                    1. 6Qt seems too small even to boil a pound of pasta...come to think of it, for small amounts of pasta for just my wife and me we usually use a 4Qt sauce pan!

                      I think my smallest is 8 or 10. It's one of those things that you might not use THAT often, but boy are you glad you have it when you need it! Mine mostly gets used for boiling pasta, potatoes, corn or other large objects. Occasionally gets used for brining or boiling pretzels/bagels, too.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jzerocsk

                        I use a six-quart stock pot for my pasta, jzerocsk. It's fine for one package, for dinner just for my family. I don't think I'd do more than a pound at once in it, though. So if someone entertains a lot, and includes pasta on *those* menus, he or she might want something larger for those occasions.

                      2. I'd suggest an 8 qt. Can't imagine anything smaller if it's your only "big" pot because sooner or later you're going to need the room for something.
                        Maybe to boil a few pounds of potatoes to make potato salad to take to a pot luck or something. Poach a whole chicken to shred the meat for chicken salad or another dish. Steaming two lobsters for your anniversary supper will push the limit but probably make it in an 8 qt. Tight, but OK.
                        I sealed a one-pint canning jar in mine recently. We've used it for a roof leak and to chill wine. And to brine a whole chicken.

                        The 8 qt gives you some "head room" so the water doesn't boil over if you cook and entire pound of pasta at once for your family and guests.
                        I use that size to cook 2 pounds of brown rice at a time so I can freeze it. That way it's always ready to pop in the microwave at a moments notice when I want rice.

                        A pot that's a little too big is much, much better than a pot that's too small by even a tiny bit. And much safer.
                        My 8 qt is my go-to.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: MakingSense

                          Ok I am convinced I picked up a 8qt. allclad. Thanks all.

                          1. re: mmdad

                            probably wise. Mine's about 6 qt I'd say, and it's me and my girlfriend. I love making a big irish stew or chicken stew :)

                            And it's autumn now, so I'm gonna go crazy with cassoulets and stew o__~

                        2. Entertaining with leftovers. We can easily go through most of a 6 quart pot of chicken soup when we have 8-10 guests, and it's always nice to have leftover soup.

                          Then again, there's this thing about hosting a shabbat dinner at least every other week...

                          1. If you love the soup you make/eat today, you'll probably be glad to have another meal's worth in the freezer, for later, don't you think?

                            That's why I use my 10 and 12 quart stockpots: to make LARGE quantities so I can freeze half of whatever good food I spent hours making... :-)

                            I also make jams and jellies in the larger stock pots--I don't have to worry about foam up and run over--and pickles and relishes, also in large quantities to preserve.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Beckyleach

                              Me too on the batching. If it takes a long time to make, then planned leftovers are luxury in the freezer!

                            2. I have a small family too, and the eight quart size is the largest I ever need unless I am steamling large quantities of king crab legs, blue claw crabs or crawfish. The poster who noted that you can't put six quarts of something in a six quart pot is correct. You need at least an inch at the top or you will have messy boilovers

                              I would go for at least an eight quart, knowing you comfortably get six or seven in there. My everyday "stock pot" is actually a 5 quart stainless steel Rondeaux or "Dutch Oven". It is shorter and wider than a stock pot per se, but it is the best all around pot of its type for my situation. For parties and large groups, I have up to 24 quarts, but those are for special occasions. I pull out the eight quart when I need a large quantity of water or tomato sauce or soup or anything else. It is the second best size.