How Big Of A Stockpot Do I Need?

Stockpot multi-cooker with pasta, vegetable and spices, How Big of a Stockpot Do I Need?A stockpot is typically the largest pot in your kitchen. However, stockpots come in a variety of sizes. For a versatile addition to your kitchen's cookware, you might be wondering how big of a stockpot you need. We've researched the various sizes and uses of the stockpot to get the answer for you.

The size of the stockpot depends on what you intend to cook. The larger the pot, the larger the yield in terms of serving size. Stockpots range in size from 4-quarts to 40-quarts. To get an idea of what size works best at home, use a(n):

  • 4-quart to 6-quart sized pot for soup, chili, stew, curry, and pasta
  • 8-quart to 10-quart sized pot for poultry stock and vegetable stock
  • 10-quart to 16-quart sized pot for beef, pork, and game stock, steamed lobster, corn on the cob, and canning
  • 16-quart to 20-quart sized pot for canning
  • 32-quart to 40-quart sized pot for brewing beer

Keep reading, and we'll talk more about you why the stockpot is an essential item to have in your kitchen.

What Do You Use a Stockpot For?

As the name might suggest, stockpots are traditionally used for cooking stock or bone broth. The clever design conducts heat quickly and efficiently throughout the entire contents of the pot. A snug lid traps moisture inside the pot during slow simmers, so the bottom will not boil dry. Sturdy handles and a rounded top edge make it easy to lift the pot and pour out the contents.

In most home kitchens, the stockpot is the simple choice used to cook soup, pasta, chili, and stew. The size variety among stock pots lets you select a pot that is just right for your family of four (4-quarts) or one that accommodates a crowd (8-quarts).

Click here to find this 6 qt. Farberware pot on Amazon.

Stockpots are an excellent choice for steaming vegetables and seafood. Larger 10-quart to 12-quart pots can easily handle whole lobsters, bushels of clams, and pounds of shrimp. Using a steamer insert in a stockpot lets you cook to perfection without accidentally boiling or overcooking delicate foods. Plus, you can easily lift and drain vegetables and seafood from the hot pot when finished cooking.

Click here to find this steamer on Amazon.

But these useful stock pots can do so much more than cook! You can also use a stockpot for:

  • Brewing
  • Canning
  • Pickling
  • Candle-making

The more creative you become with the uses of your stockpot, the more important the size will be.

How Are Stockpots Measured?

Stockpots are sized based on both the dimensions (physical size) and capacity (total volume) of the pot.


The dimensions for stock pots are typically measured in inches (or centimeters). Measuring your pot involves both the height and width. You will be able to determine how easily you can store the pot and whether or not the pot will fit neatly on your stovetop by looking at the dimensions.

Measure the width of the pot by the diameter of the inside of the pot, between the upper inside edges.

Measure the height of the pot by the length perpendicular to the base of the cooking surface and topmost lip. Do not include the lid and handles in the pot’s height.


The capacity of the stockpot is the total volume that the pot can hold measured in quarts (or liters). Capacity is measured to the fill line or top rim on the inside of the pot. Remember that when sizing a pot’s capacity for your recipe, you might need a size larger to accommodate all the ingredients.

What Is the Best Size Stock Pot For Spaghetti?

A 6-quart stockpot is a good size for making spaghetti for a family. If you are feeding a larger crowd, then an 8-quart stockpot will do. We recommend using a colander insert to cook pasta in your stockpot because it enables you to lift and drain the pasta. You will have al dente pasta every time!

Click here to find this colander on Amazon.

What Is The Best Size Stock Pot For Soup?

Cooking soup in a 4-quart pot will serve between six and eight people as an entrée, based on approximately 1-cup serving size per person. You will want to use a pot with a heavy-duty bottom to prevent the soup from burning during a long simmer while all the ingredients thoroughly cook.

A good stock pot to use for cooking soup is typically constructed with multiple layers of stainless steel and aluminum to be both durable and a good conductor of heat.

Click here to find this 4 qt. All Clad pot on Amazon.

What Is The Best Size Stock Pot For Bone Broth?

An 8-quart stockpot is large enough to cook bone broth using an entire small chicken. For the most versatile size, we recommend a 12-quart stockpot. The 12-quart pot will handle larger bones (duck, beef shank, pork shank, etc.), and it will come in handy if you want to steam whole lobsters or ears of corn.

Click here to find this 12 qt. Granite Ware pot on Amazon.

What Is The Best Size Stock Pot For Canning?

For canning on a large scale, a 20-quart stockpot works well because it can accommodate a canning rack. If you are simply canning per jar, a 12-quart stockpot will work for smaller batches.

Click here to find this Roots & Branches canning rack on Amazon.

What Is The Best Size Stock Pot For Brewing?

Typical home-brewing beer recipes are formulated to produce 5 gallons of beer. Because brewing starts with more liquid than yielded at the end, if you plan to use a stockpot you will need a pot ranging in size between 32-quarts (8 gallons) and 40-quarts (10 gallons) depending on your recipe.

From cooking and preserving food to dabbling in crafts, the stockpot can transform your stovetop into either a gourmet range or a hobbyist table.

Don't miss out on these other great kitchen guides:

What Can You Cook on a Griddle?

How Big Should A Serving Bowl Be?

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