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Sep 17, 2010 10:54 AM

Good LARGE stock pots - what to look for?

I have used cheap Revere Wear thin stainless, the good Calphalon annodized aluminum (before they sold out to China), Sitram Professional, cast iron, and some other random brands of similar quality for years. I make a lot of stews, soups, chilli's, and similar items.

I want to purchase a very good LARGE stockpot that won't scorch easily in the bottom and will carry heat up the sides of the pot. I'm finding an 8 quart pot is too small causing me to overfill and "splash" a lot or not have enough water for the amount of soup ingredients I have. I have high output burners on my natural gas cooktop so, the pot needs to stand up to big heat when I'm boiling water for pasta and similar things.

The 12 quart All-clad carries a good reputation but, at ~$400 is pretty spendy. I'm looking at the Vollrath Tribute 16 quart model as an alternative which is ~$100. Does the Vollrath cook as good as the All-clad (or close to the same)? Should I consider other brands?

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  1. Sitram makes some around ~ $100. Most of my Sitram stuff is from before Frieling acquired them or whatever, but I am happy with it. It's professional grade stuff; not as shiny or pretty as All-Clad, but I think higher-quality than a lot of other restaurant-grade stuff, and the prices are usually fair.

    If you buy All-Clad's multi-cooker thing (12 qt pot with two steamer baskets), it's closer to $100-150. I think I bought mine on sale for $100. I'm not usually a big fan of All-Clad, but I am pretty happy with this thing at this price point -- even if there are some differences compared to the $400 one, the thing is more than adequate for stockpot use, and the bottom is nice and heavy. I don't really use the steamer / strainer bits, but you can throw them away if you don't plan on using them.

    Generally speaking, I think you're thinking about the right things - find something that's nice and heavy (especially the base) and feels solid.

    1. I'm sure there are many here that know far more than I, however for stews, soops, chilli's and such, wouldn't you be better served with enameled cast iron such as LC or Staub? Williams Sanoma has a Staub that's 13 quarts, granted you probably have to be an ex-NFL lineman to handle it when it's full, I extimate it's about 50 lbs at that point, but that seems like it's made for those dishes. Then get a big SS stock pot for pasta and the high heat. I guess this is as much a questiion as a reccomendation.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mikie

        I'm thinking a cast iron pot in this size range would be awful heavy and ackward to use in a home kitchen. I have some smaller Le Creuset enameled cast iron which I like a lot. The small ones are hard enough to handle when they are in the sink being washed, I can't imagine using the 13 quart model if I were older then I am now. Stainless steel would be more tolerant of knocks and bumps and use on outdoor grills at the camp site or lake.

        1. re: Sid Post

          I certianly can't disagree about the weight, ergo the ex-NFL lineman reference, the empty pot is about 25 lbs. and you could double that with the contents. Certianly if you intend to transport the pot from place to place and use it on an outdoor grill, then this would not be a suitable alternative.

          1. re: mikie

            I don't expect to use it "outside" often but, on rare occasions it would be nice to have a nice boil or soup on for a large family gathering. I do like cast iron in general though.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. What did Cooks Illustrated like about the All-Clad? Also, why was the Vollrath recommended with reservations (it appears to be similar to the Sitram Professional)?

          1. re: Sid Post

            ***** Paraphrased review *****

            All Clad Stockpot - pot was nice and heavy, had easy grip handles
            that didn't get too hot (but pot holders were needed). The
            aluminum core runs up the side of pot. All of the other stockpots
            only had aluminum cores on the bottom of the pot.

            Volrath Stockpot - Was tall and narrow pot that felt tippy,
            cumbersome, harder to pour from and clean than squatter pots.
            It did cook with even heat and was the heaviest of all the
            stockpots tested, however.

          2. Don't forget that All-Clad has two different 12 quart pots. One is the 'multi-pot', which includes a steamer/pasta basket. The other is just the same as the rest of their lines. The multi-pot can be had for about $150 if memory serves correctly, although it's only a disk bottom.

            1. re: ThreeGigs

              I've got some "disc"pots in smaller sizes which work pretty good but, I really want something that carries heat up the sides better for a pot this large.

              1. re: Sid Post

                Honestly, I don't think it's going to be a problem. And I have not seen too many decent, heavy-duty stockpots (especially in the price range you're talking about) that don't have disk bottoms.

                1. re: will47

                  Don't the Vollrath Tribute stock pots have aluminum past a "disc" in the bottom of the pan?

                  1. re: will47

                    I've reheated a whole heck of a lot of soup in my time, and makes zero difference what the side of the pot is made of.

            2. Have you considered getting a pressure cooker?

              2 Replies
              1. re: cutipie721

                I have smaller Kuhn Rikon pressure cookers that I really like. The only really large pressure cookers I have seen have been pretty crude models for canning.

                Do high quality pressure cookers exist? Where would I find one?

                1. re: Sid Post

                  I am very interested in WMF Perfect "Ultra" 8.5L, which is slightly under 9qt. This specific model is not available in the US, but they have the Perfect "Plus" on Amazon US. I do prefer getting Ultra over Plus though.

                  If you want something even bigger, Fissler do make some 10L ones.

                  Check out That's where I've been drooling over the 8.5L Perfect Ultra and found some other versions of Fissler 10L. Shipping isn't all that bad. As a matter of fact, the Perfect Plus is cheaper from them than from Amazon US at today's exchange rate.

              2. A good USED copper stockpot in the 10-16Lrange can be had for around $300 on eBay anytime--there are several listed every week. I bought a lightly-used Ruffoni 14L on Craigslist for $150.

                1 Reply
                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Wow! I never really considered that option. All the copper Mauviel I own is very spendy so the thought of getting a 14L copper pot never crossed my mind.