When your kitchen is equipped with a stockpot, your cooking possibilities are virtually endless. A stockpot is a great tool used for steaming, poaching, boiling, slow-cooking, and preserving foods. If you have been wondering what you can cook in a stockpot, we’ve compiled a sampling of foods for you to try.
You can make these delicious foods with your stockpot:
- Stock (beef, poultry, fish, and vegetable)
- Tomato sauce
- Steamed seafood (lobster, clams, shrimp, etc.)
Let's take a closer look at why the design of a stockpot is so useful. Keep reading, and we'll also share some great stock pot recipes with you.
What Is The Difference Between A Stockpot And A Soup Pot?
Stockpots and soup pots are often used interchangeably in the kitchen. They can resemble one another in size and shape, but you need only start at the bottom to identify the one notable difference between stock pots and soup pots.
Soup pots have a heavy-duty bottom. Because we fill soups with hearty, dense ingredients, the bottom of the pot must prevent the soup from burning while remaining at a low, long simmer until all the ingredients are thoroughly cooked.
The bottom of a stockpot is thinner than that of a soup pot. Stockpots are designed for a higher volume of liquid because water is the primary ingredient of stock. The thinner bottom enables the contents of the pot to boil quickly and distribute flavors throughout the entire pot.
Although you can cook similarly in either pot, a stockpot is likely to be the largest pot in your kitchen. Let’s take a closer look at the other design features of a stockpot.
Stockpots are tall pots with straight, narrow sides. Both the top and bottom are round. Modern stock pots have become slightly wider, making for ease of use when reaching inside to either stir or sear foods.
Handles And Lid
Equipped for easy lifting, stockpots have wide, double handles that are often affixed to each side of the pot by sturdy rivets. Once you have a firm grip, the rounded top edge of the stockpot gives you an easy, drip-less pour.
The stockpot is also equipped with a snug-fitting lid made of either metal similar to that of the pot or tempered glass. The lid traps moisture inside the pot to prevent liquid from boiling dry when steaming, boiling, and slow-cooking.
Stockpots are made from a variety of materials:
- Stainless steel
- Carbon steel with enamel finish
- Tri-ply (stainless steel/aluminum)
The preferred stockpot material among in-home cooks is stainless steel. Stainless pots are durable, proving a long-lasting investment for your kitchen, and they are easy to clean and maintain.
Stockpots made from stainless steel conduct heat relatively well throughout, but selecting a stainless pot with an aluminum or copper core bottom will dramatically increase conductivity. Stainless steel is not a very porous metal, so the flavor of your foods will not be altered by previously cooked, acidic foods.
What Can I Cook In A Stock Pot?
As we've already mentioned, the possibilities for what to cook with a stockpot seem endless. Check out these ideas to suit your individual cooking style.
Stock Or Bone Broth
Let's start with the pot's namesake, stock. Also referred to as bone broth, stock provides the flavorful base of so many dishes like soups, pastas, curries, rice, and sauces. The stockpot can accommodate animal bones, the primary ingredient, and it holds a large volume of liquid.
Slow cooking bones in the stockpot, with some vegetables for additional flavor, breaks down the nutrient-rich cartilage into a thickened broth. Check out this beef bone recipe from Epicurious.
The ability to generate a quick boil thanks to a highly conductive bottom and tight-fitting lid makes the stockpot a good vessel for steaming foods. Smaller, 4-quart pots are good for steaming vegetables for a family-sized side-dish. Larger, 12-quart pots are good for steaming whole lobsters and corn on the cob.
Try using a steamer basket inserted into your stockpot. The basket will prevent your food from boiling, and let you lift out and drain steamed foods effortlessly from the hot pot. Check out this one pot, shellfish steam recipe from FoodSoGoodMall.
Slow-cooking is a method used to tenderize food and combine flavor profiles into one dish. Stockpots conduct heat well throughout the entire contents of the pot, so they are a good choice for making slow-cooked foods like curry, lentils, BBQ, meatballs, and stew. Keeping the stock pot's snug lid in place also helps slow-cooked foods to stay moist. Check out this butternut squash dal recipe from The Girl on Bloor.
The stockpot is a handy tool used to preserve your favorite foods by canning. This technique involves putting food into a sanitized jar and submerging the jar in boiling water to create an airtight seal on the lid. Check out this guide to canning so you can get equipped and get started.
Mix up a large batch of your favorite food in the stockpot and then clean and reuse the pot to preserve food. You can keep your cupboards stocked with preserved foods like tomato sauce, jelly, pickles, and many more.
A stockpot is a good vessel for brewing because it can hold a large volume of liquid, and it evenly distributes heat throughout. Brewing is a technique that requires a long duration simmer to extract flavors from the ingredients into the liquid.
You can size up a batch of either coffee or tea by brewing it in a 4-quart stockpot. You can brew beer by using a 32-quart stockpot. Check out this homemade chai tea recipe.
Ready to serve up your stockpot recipes? Check out our post How Big Should a Serving Bowl Be? for presentation tips for your foods.
What Is The Best Size Stock Pot?
A 10-quart to 12-quart stockpot is the most versatile size for your kitchen at home. You can easily serve a family or larger crowd from meals cooked in these big pots. You can also make stock, or bone broth by easily accommodating bones of poultry, beef, pork, and game.
For preserving food, a 20-quart stockpot can accommodate a canning jar rack. A 12-quart stockpot will hold multiple jars at once and allow you to easily handle the batch with additional space for using jar lifters.
Before you go, be sure to check out these other great kitchen guides: