How to Pick a Great Soup Pot
Buying a good soup pot, also called a stock or cooks pot, is important to every home cook because of its versatility. Not only will you use it for making delicious homemade soups, but it will also come in handy when you cook pasta, make stocks, braise meats, make your famous homemade tomato sauce, and plenty more.
So you want to buy something that will work well for every type of cooking and one that will hold up for many years to come. Here are some important things to look at when choosing a soup pot.
What to look for in a good soup pot?
Size: Soup pots typically come in sizes ranging as small as 4 qt. to as large as 20 qt. before getting into commercial sizes. Although a soup pot doesn't have to be as big as a stock pot because you typically don't make as big a batch, you don't need to have one pot for soup and another one for stock.
I'm recommending you look at a 6-qt. - 12-qt. range so it will be versatile for your other cooking needs.
Shape: A soup pot usually has a round base, deep straight sides, and a cover. Although this shape is more important when making stocks and stock reductions, it works well for making soups too.
Could you use a shorter, smaller, wider pan for making soups? Of course and depending on how much you are making you may want to use a large saucepan instead.
Structure: No matter what type of pan you buy, you want it to have a thick, heavy bottom to prevent burning. This is especially true with soup pots. The soup requires time to cook so the pan will be sitting on the stove top for long periods.
You don't want the ingredients to scorch and stick to the bottom because it is too thin or made of cheap materials.
Materials: There are lots of different schools of thought as to what a good pan should be made of. Check out my post on How to Choose the Right Cookware.
In his article, you will learn about the various materials you can choose from including copper, aluminum, cast iron, stainless, nonstick, and a combination of different materials. Each material has its own pluses and minuses including cost.
Companies like Calphalon created a "hard-anodizing" aluminum for cookware using an electrochemical method of preparing raw aluminum that was developed by NASA for the aerospace industry. Talk about cooking with George Jetson.
The end product is actually harder than stainless steel and is non-reactive to acids. So you can see there are a lot of choices when it comes to materials. Which one you choose will depend on what's available, the cost, and what feels good in your hand.
Conductivity: What this means is the pot's ability to transmit heat from the heat source to the food and do so both evenly and efficiently. Well-made soup pots are considered highly conductive when they can transfer heat evenly across the bottom and up the side, so the food cooks the way it is supposed to.
You want the soup at the bottom of the pan to be cooking evenly with the soup at the top. Every metal conducts heat differently, so that's why it's important to find the right match for the type of pot you are using and the way you cook.
Handle: Whether you are using it to make soup or to boil some corn, you want a well-constructed pot with a handle that you feel secure won't fall off when you are lifting a pot of hot liquid.
So look for soup pots with handles that are securely attached to the pot. So pick a pot that uses heavy screws or rivets with their handles.
Some of the new cookware on the market have handles that resist getting hot when used on your stovetop. This is great if you want to move the pot from the burner to the sink, but you want to be careful if you put it in the oven for any reason.
Cool resistant doesn't mean cool proof. Always use your Silicone Oven Mitts when taking any cookware out of a hot oven.
Another thing to look for in a handle is the shape and size. You want enough room to be able to grab with potholders and a comfortable shape for picking up.
What do I use?
Personally, most of my pans are older Calphalon hard-anodized aluminum pans that are no longer on the market. I called Calphalon and spoke with a knowledgeable customer service person who told me these pans are still around in some specialty shops if I really wanted one.
But I don't, and that's because I've tried a couple of their new Calphalon One, infused anodized pans that are not nonstick but because of the design have many of the qualities of nonstick but all the versatility of heavy gage aluminum.
These pans are great, and I highly recommend them. You can use them on the stovetop, in the oven, use metal utensils, deglaze, sear foods and best of all they clean up fast and easily. They are also dishwasher safe and have a lifetime warranty. What more can you ask?
Other brands: There are many other excellent brands on the market. I started with Calphalon years ago and just stuck with them, but I speak with other home cooks, and they tell me they like All-Clad, Anolon, Circulon, Emerilware, Le Creuset, and Farberware to name a few.
Buying Sets or Individual Pots: Some people like to buy the whole set at once and get it over with. When I started buying cookware, I couldn't afford to do it that way so I started with one 4 ½ qt. saucepan and added on.
I had some really cheap pots that I bought right out of school, but they didn't hold up very well and were awful to cook with. They're most likely buried in some box in the garage somewhere. Just can't seem to throw them out.
The other reason I'm glad I didn't buy them all at once is that they keep coming up with new materials, new designs, and new features. It's great to find a new piece of cookware under the tree at Christmas and find out some new feature that makes using it easier.
onlinesources: Soup Pots
There are lots of sources for purchasing a quality soup pot, and I suggest you check out your local department stores and kitchen supply shops to find one that's right for you. You want to feel it in your hands and check the weight, size, and materials. If you're looking for a wide selection of products and prices, you may want to check out some online sources for ideas, prices, and maybe even a place to purchase your goods.
Some of My Favorite Soup Recipes
- You Won't Believe This Simple Eggplant and Couscous Soup Recipe
- Braised Beans and Spinach with Pecorino Romano Cheese Recipe
- Watermelon Gazpacho Recipe
- Black Eyed Peas and Bacon Soup Recipe
- Vegetable Stock Recipe
- How to Make Cooking Stocks for Soups Stews and Sauces
- Instant Pot Black Bean Soup Recipe
- The Last Mushroom Soup Recipe You Will Ever Need
I became really annoyed with this piece when I realized you didn't link the article you suggest in the following sentence (never mind the grammar): "For a good article on cookware material from a professional chef, check out contributing chef Mark Vogel’s, How to Choose Cookware."
G. Stephen Jones
Hi Andrea, please do not be annoyed. My site is the hobby of one and has changed from html to Joomla and now to WordPress. Each time the site gets switched, links are lost and pages missing. Just seems to happen. I appreciate your letting me know and I will fix the link and the grammar too. I also appreciate help from my visitors letting me know when I've made mistakes and sorry to cause you any annoyance.
This is unnecessarily aggressive lol
Thanks for the article, I'm looking for a pot for my daughter's house warming gift. Can't decide between s.s. or enameled cast iron. Also, I'm sorry for the earlier comment from the annoyed woman, doesn't take much to set some people off, esp. if they have mental issues. You seemed to take it seriously and owe no one an apology.
G. Stephen Jones
Hi Wendy, thanks for your comments. Is there any way you can get some ideas from your daughter without letting on your motives? If you just happen to be in a cookware store, maybe you can look at some different brands and get her opinion. I love the enameled cast iron. Besides being great to cook in, they look great too but they are heavy.
I would like to know where I can purchase a soup pot that is the heavy duty stainless steel rthat flares out from the base allowing the movement of the vegetables/beans/pasta/rice/meat to be in a continuous rolling motion that prevents scorching and running of the solids. I had seen this pot/pan a number of years ago but the company went out of business. Thank you. Sincerely, Nancy
Well, this is ridiculous ! I have spent twenty minutes trying to find a place to order a soup. Twenty minutes. All I get is a picture of a red soup pot and the article. No matter what I place in the search box, all I get is a picture of a red soup pot and the article.
Twenty minutes I spent running around your website. I have been shopping on line for 10 years. Is it me or your website???
G. Stephen Jones
Hi Marilyn, not sure what you are looking for but this post is to learn more about soup pots so you can go out to your favorite cookware store or online shop to purchase one. I don't sell any from my site. Sorry for the confusion.
I would like to know which type of pot is best for making cream or milk based soups like New England Clam Chowder. Something that is least likely to burn the product even with frequent stirring
G. Stephen Jones
Hi JoAnna, I suppose you could invest in a nonstick soup pot but you may also want to try reducing your heat with the frequent stirring.