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Stock pot: Stainless steel, aluminum or enamel?

SteveTimko Nov 23, 2013 06:49 PM

I need to get either an 8 quart or 12 quart stock pot. I will get a heavy duty version.
Does it make a difference if I get stainless steel,. aluminum or porcelain coated?
I don't have a dishwasher.
I can't afford All Clad.

  1. j
    jaykayen Nov 23, 2013 06:51 PM

    Aluminum disk bottom with stainless walls.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jaykayen
      tim irvine Nov 23, 2013 06:54 PM

      Agree.

      1. re: tim irvine
        m
        mwhitmore Nov 23, 2013 07:00 PM

        Also agree. The stainless will be non-reactive with wine, tomato etc. Disc bottom will distribute the heat. It can double as a pasta pot.

        1. re: mwhitmore
          sandiasingh Nov 23, 2013 07:01 PM

          Totally agree. No aluminum unless it's encased in SS.

    2. a
      andrewtree Nov 23, 2013 06:58 PM

      If you might use the pot for making preserves you will be better off with SS, based on the, perhaps bad science, that using aluminum is not a good idea with acidic foods.

      1. Chemicalkinetics Nov 23, 2013 07:01 PM

        Aluminum pots are usually the cheaper options, but I think stainless steel pots are much easier to take care of, and they are sturdy.

        As jaykayen said, a disc bottom stainless steel stock will serve you well. I won't recommend porcelain coated steel pots.

        Restaurant stock pots like these are great options as well:

        http://www.katom.com/cat/grid/stainle...

        4 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          Chemicalkinetics Nov 23, 2013 07:33 PM

          I just thought of another idea. Have you considered getting a 8 quart pressure cooker? You can use it as a pressure cooker, but you can also use it in non-pressurized mode as a normal stock pot.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            h
            Harts52 Nov 24, 2013 12:58 PM

            I was just going to recommend this!!! I recently purchased a Fagor Duo 10-quart from Amazon for about $120 (1/3 the price of an equivalent sized All-Clad). It's a BEAUTIFUL pot. I almost didn't purchase it because there were naysayers on a canning website that said in order for it to be a reliable pressure cooker, it needed gauges that would show the pressure. I spoke to Fagor and got a better understanding of how the mechanics of their pot works and I investigated some information on America's Test Kitchen. I went with the Fagor and am so glad I did. Even if I never pressure cooked or canned anything, this is a wonderful addition to my kitchen at a really good price....solid as the day is long.

            I love All-Clad and have a 6-quart that is on my stove almost constantly. I'm a big soup person though, and often found the 6-st. just not big enough.

            So the Fagor is my vote. If you are thinking pressure canning is in your future, go for the 10-quart rather than the 8 because you have to have 10 to can.

            Also, if you're aim is to make stock - you'll get a superb stock from a pressure cooker.

            If you're within a reasonable drive of Pittsburgh, PA, All-Clad has two annual on-site sales. It's a great opportunity to get their product at a fantastic price. Supposedly seconds, but there is always plenty of product that doesn't look or perform as anything other than great. I'm lucky - I'm 30 minutes away.

            1. re: Harts52
              Chemicalkinetics Nov 24, 2013 03:17 PM

              <Even if I never pressure cooked or canned anything, this is a wonderful addition to my kitchen at a really good price....solid as the day is long.>

              Yeah, I am glad that I went with the Fagor Due as well. Mine is a 8 quarts. Most of the time, I just used it like a regular stock pot (not pressurized). About 10% of the time, I do use it in the pressurized mode.

              Are you going to pressure can at some points later?

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                h
                Harts52 Nov 24, 2013 04:24 PM

                Yes, I bought it with that intention but have been more than a little intimidated with the learning curve. I thought it would be as easy as make a soup, put it in a jar, pressure it and be done. Haha....not quite. And so many thou-shalt-nots. Wish I had paid attention to this when my grandmother was trying to get me interested!

        2. c oliver Nov 23, 2013 07:07 PM

          What are you going to use it for? That can help decide what you need.

          1. JayL Nov 24, 2013 06:26 AM

            For regular stock pot uses, I'd always choose SS. Restaurant supply stores (online versions are perfect) will have what you need at decent prices.

            1. Sid Post Nov 24, 2013 08:10 AM

              First, what is your budget and do you live CONUS (mainland USA)?

              A good quality 8 quart pressure cooker would be an excellent choice in most kitchens that lack a good stock pot. If you want a slow simmer, just leave the vent lock open. If you want a quick stew, beans, etc. just close the vent lock and enjoy the wonders of pressure cooking.

              I scored two WMF PerfecPlus models off Ebay for ~$100 delivered and they are really easy to use for someone new to pressure cooking. They also are much easier to hand wash then all the others I have used.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Sid Post
                SteveTimko Nov 24, 2013 08:38 AM

                The idea of a pressure cooker is probably a good one.
                I grew up in a rural area with heavy Mormon influence (canning), so I have some pressure cooker knowledge just from osmosis even though I've never used one. I have a strong bias towards pressure cookers without rubber rings.
                I'm thinking about getting an electric pressure cooker anyway.
                Right now I'm leaning towards this stock pot:
                http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FNK43A/r...
                Thanks to everyone for their advice.

                1. re: SteveTimko
                  Chemicalkinetics Nov 24, 2013 10:47 AM

                  Your choice looks good. Just to know that this is a disc bottom pot with a thick aluminum. Fully triply and disc bottom designs are both good, just make sure you know what you want.

                  I think a pressure cooker will probably be more versatile. Again, you can use a pressure cooker as normal pot if you wish.

              2. kaleokahu Nov 24, 2013 09:33 AM

                Hi, Steve:

                The way you phrased your choices, I would opt for thick aluminum from a resto supply house. It's not so much the material that matters as it is having a nice thick base. Conductive sidewalls help a little, but usually not enough to justify a $$$ pan.

                Something to consider: True stockpots have a 1:1 height-to-diameter ratio. This is to allow you to totally submerge your solid contents (bones, carcass, etc.) in a minimal amount of liquid and to have a small surface area subject to evaporation. Wider, shallower shapes tend to result in weaker stocks, either from too much liquid or flavor lost to evaporation, or both.

                Unfortunately, there aren't many pressure cookers with this ratio. There are some, but they are usually quite large in capacity and made for canning. You might look here for your gasket-less PC: http://www.allamericancanner.com/allamericanpressurecanner.htm This make may be what you remember from your Mormon upbringing. Totally solid, bomb-proof, lifetime units, with a gauge and selectable pressure--no electronics to go south, and American-made.

                As far as PCs go, I really like my Pressure Magic from http://www.pro-selections.com/product... It's old-school, too, and it has a rubber gasket, but it is approved for pressure FRYING as well as conventional PCing. I believe it's made by Fagor.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                15 Replies
                1. re: kaleokahu
                  SteveTimko Nov 24, 2013 09:52 AM

                  Thanks. I'm not Mormon. But a strong Mormon culture bled over into the non-Mormons. Like I've said, I've never used a preasure cooker, but I've seen where people haven't gotten sick from botulism by eating acid-canned food. So I know, for instance, that pressure cooking is the way to go for canning, not boiling them. And the All American pressure cookers were the Cadillacs of pressure cookers.
                  So it sounds like you think the one I linked to on Amazon is too wide.

                  1. re: SteveTimko
                    kaleokahu Nov 24, 2013 10:10 AM

                    Hi, Tim:

                    The one you linked to is a good all-purpose shape, so for other things AND making stock, it's fine. It's just not optimal for stocks and consommes.

                    The height:diameter ratio is very deceptive visually--pots that are true stockpots tend to *look* substantially taller than they do wide, even if they're exactly 1:1. A happy medium would be a pot you glance at and think "This looks square."

                    Aloha,
                    Kaleo

                    1. re: kaleokahu
                      i
                      iyc_nyc Nov 24, 2013 11:01 AM

                      Here's a WMF 8.5Q pressure-cooker that appears to be on the taller side: http://www.amazon.com/WMF-Perfect-2-Q...

                  2. re: kaleokahu
                    m
                    MacGuffin Nov 24, 2013 10:19 AM

                    Taleo, once again it seems you really ARE a man after my own heart. I've been lusting after a Fagor Pressure Magic for quite some time and now I know of someone who actually has one! Talofa!

                    1. re: MacGuffin
                      kaleokahu Nov 24, 2013 12:29 PM

                      Talofa, Mac:

                      I found mine on the ebay, 98% condition, 8Q for $117. Only 10 psi, but the ability to fry in it clinched the deal for me.

                      Talofa,
                      Kaleo

                      1. re: kaleokahu
                        h
                        Harts52 Nov 24, 2013 01:04 PM

                        FYI the Fagor Duo is on Amazon for $120, is 10-qt and 15 psi.

                        1. re: Harts52
                          m
                          MacGuffin Nov 24, 2013 03:52 PM

                          Not the same thing at all. You can't pressure fry in those Fagors.

                          1. re: MacGuffin
                            h
                            Harts52 Nov 24, 2013 04:27 PM

                            Pressure FRY? That's a new one on me. Sounds frightening.

                            1. re: Harts52
                              m
                              MacGuffin Nov 24, 2013 05:58 PM

                              What do you think put the Colonel's chicken on the map? ;)

                              Seriously, the Pressure Magic line, to my understanding, has been sold by demonstrators rather than in stores for many years. There's a senior on an unrelated list of which I'm a member who bought both her Pressure Magic (which is how I learned of its existence) and Bamix at fairs some years back. I think the PM demonstrators make it a point to attend shows for boat and RV/trailer owners.

                              1. re: MacGuffin
                                h
                                Harts52 Nov 24, 2013 07:18 PM

                                I'm in real trouble now. I hear about a kitchen something, it sticks in my head and won't leave me alone until I find one to call my own. I must resist!!

                                1. re: Harts52
                                  m
                                  MacGuffin Nov 24, 2013 07:43 PM

                                  :(=)

                                2. re: MacGuffin
                                  kaleokahu Nov 25, 2013 12:55 PM

                                  Talofa, Mac:

                                  In case anyone needs any further enablement on a combo PC/fryer, here's the link to Pro-selections again: http://www.pro-selections.com/product... FYI the cookbook offered for these is also excellent.

                                  Talofa, Kia Orana,
                                  Kaleo

                                  1. re: kaleokahu
                                    m
                                    MacGuffin Nov 25, 2013 04:24 PM

                                    "Enablement!" ROTFLMAO
                                    Bear in mind that I haven't eaten meat of any kind since 1988, will never pressure fry chicken, and damn if I don't want that whole set (lack of room be damned). :`(

                                  2. re: MacGuffin
                                    DuffyH Nov 25, 2013 12:56 PM

                                    Mac,

                                    Bamix! I stood in awe, must have watched the demo 3 times the very fist time I saw it. It was at the Del Mar Fair in San Diego way back in the 70's, IIRC. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

                                    I still smile thinking about it.

                                    1. re: DuffyH
                                      m
                                      MacGuffin Nov 25, 2013 04:21 PM

                                      They are indeed honeys--no better stick made.

                      2. r
                        rasputina Nov 24, 2013 10:46 AM

                        My 12 qt is stainless steel but I have a 20 quart aluminum I use for BWB canning.

                        1. John E. Nov 24, 2013 03:11 PM

                          If you're on a budget and have an Ikea store nearby, this is the stockpot I would recommend for you. (Right now it's on sale for just $20. For that kind of money, you could buy it to use for a second stockpot.)

                          http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/pro...

                          We have the 5 quart and 3 quart versions of this kettle and the only time anything has ever scorched in when heating milk and not paying attention.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: John E.
                            Chemicalkinetics Nov 24, 2013 03:18 PM

                            Wow, nice price.

                          2. v
                            VictorA Nov 29, 2013 04:05 AM

                            Enameled is the only material that is non-reactive (beware: pure enamel and not porcelain or nonstick).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: VictorA
                              DuffyH Nov 29, 2013 06:13 AM

                              < (beware: pure enamel and not porcelain or nonstick).>

                              I'm not sure I understand the difference between "pure enamel" and porcelain enamel.

                              As I understand it, they're the same animal. Glass fired onto another material under high heat, right? What am I missing?

                            2. SteveTimko Dec 2, 2013 09:17 AM

                              Suppose I wanted to use a stainless steel stockpot (with encapsulated aluminum) to cook pasta or steam tamales. Would it be that much slower because it's steel, not aluminum?

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: SteveTimko
                                Chemicalkinetics Dec 2, 2013 09:20 AM

                                No, not really much slower. It may even be a bit faster.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  DuffyH Dec 2, 2013 09:28 AM

                                  Hi Chem,

                                  If the OP wanted the big pot specifically for boiling and steaming, would a thin steel pot such as Graniteware conduct faster than a disk bottom? I think a thick disk might slow things down, but what about a thin disk v. thin steel?

                                  Or would you think there'd be no practical difference?

                                  1. re: DuffyH
                                    Chemicalkinetics Dec 2, 2013 10:18 AM

                                    Yeah, if it is just for boiling water, then disk bottom is not needed. It will probably be faster with a steel pot, but it may not be that much faster because the water itself requires a long time to boil anyway.

                                    I will think it is nice to get a sturdy pot (with decent wall thickness). Beside a thicker stainless steel wall can act as better heat insulator and therefore slow down heat loss.

                                2. re: SteveTimko
                                  John E. Dec 2, 2013 10:34 AM

                                  I liked the choice of stockpot you made. An interesting thing has been happening to me regarding your choice. I clicked on your Amazon link to check out the stockpot. For the last week, an advertisement from amazon for the kettle has been following me around the internet. I better delete those cookies.

                                  1. re: John E.
                                    Chemicalkinetics Dec 2, 2013 10:36 AM

                                    The kettle must be very good.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                      DuffyH Dec 2, 2013 11:59 AM

                                      And loyal! My cats won't follow me out of the room.

                                    2. re: John E.
                                      h
                                      Harts52 Dec 2, 2013 12:08 PM

                                      I'm missing something - what stockpot did he choose?

                                      1. re: Harts52
                                        John E. Dec 2, 2013 12:12 PM

                                        I may have misspoken. The upthread Steve included a link to a stockpot on Amazon. I guess he said he was 'leaning' towards the purchase of that stock pot.

                                        http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FNK43A/r...

                                        1. re: John E.
                                          Chemicalkinetics Dec 2, 2013 12:19 PM

                                          Yes, I remember he showing the link. It looks perfectly good in my opinion.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                            DuffyH Dec 2, 2013 12:28 PM

                                            I was admiring those pots yesterday and knew they looked familiar. Mystery solved.

                                          2. re: John E.
                                            h
                                            Harts52 Dec 2, 2013 12:21 PM

                                            ah! nice pot!! Thx for the link ;)

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