In most kitchens, the stockpot is often the largest pot in the room. But the range of available sizes can be quite huge. Because it can be difficult to pick out a stockpot that’s the perfect size, we have tips for answering the question “What size stock pot do I need?”.
A stockpot is one of the pots and pans you need in most kitchens. Here we have detailed what you should pay attention to when choosing a pot, so you end up with one that fits your cooking habits. When that happens, you’ll get a lot of use out of your pot and will get better results with each meal.
Stock Pot Sizing
Let’s begin by figuring out how the sizing of stockpots works. The size of your pot will depend on what you want to put in it, so you should always keep that in mind.
If you can, it may be a good idea to figure out the largest thing that you’ll foreseeably cook, so then you know the pot is big enough to cover all the meals you will create.
Stockpots range from four quarts to forty quarts. Here’s some context to what that means in the kitchen:
- A four-quart to six-quarts pot is great for cooking smaller portions of pasta, curry, stew, and soup. A four-quart pot will serve a family of four, in most cases.
- An eight-quart to ten-quart pot is best for cooking with poultry or vegetable stocks.
- A ten-quart to sixteen-quart pot is best for cooking meats and other larger vegetables.
- A sixteen-quart to twenty-quart pot is typically used for canning, which we have explained below.
- A thirty-two-quart to forty-quart pot is used for industrial purposes, such as brewing beer.
Stock Pot Measurements
As we said, it’s a good idea to check measurements before you buy a stockpot. When doing that, you’ll need to take note of a few things, so let’s go through them right here.
You’ll be focusing on two things – dimension and capacity. Dimension concerns the physical size of the pot. So this includes the height of the pot and the diameter (as measured across the top). The capacity is the total volume inside the pot, which is very important when you’re working with a lot of liquids and non-solid meals.
The dimension of stockpots is quite easy to figure out. It is usually measured in inches or centimeters, whichever you’d prefer, and requires measuring the height and width of your pot.
Just by looking at a pot, you should figure out if it’ll fit in your kitchen storage and fit onto the stovetop. Even then, some cursory measurements are very useful.
Typically, if you’re buying a new pot, the measurements will be included on the label or packaging. But, if the situation requires you to take your own measurements, that’s relatively simple to do. (For instance, if you’re trying to figure out whether a pot in your cupboard will be sufficient for a particular recipe.)
Start by measuring the width of the pot and then the diameter of the pot inside. For the height, measure from the cooking top surface to the lip of the stockpot, not including the handle or any lids that may come with the pot. With those three measurements, you’ll have the dimensions of your pot.
As for capacity, you’ll need to measure how much the pot can hold in either liters or quarts. Again, if you’re starting with a brand new pot, the capacity will be stated in the packaging. When you must do your own measurements: If the pot has a fill line, you should measure up to there, otherwise, you stop at the top rim of the pot.
Most stockpots are sold on how much volume they carry, so you shouldn’t need to figure it out for yourself. The equation Pi x Radius2 x Depth ÷ 231 should work properly. Pi is 3.14 and the radius is simply half of the diameter.
From there, multiply that number by the depth of your pot in inches and then divide it by 231. 231 comes from the cubic inches that a gallon of fluid takes up.
Remember, you may need to get a slightly larger pot to accommodate solids and liquids stored together. Solids displace liquids, requiring some extra space to properly store inside the stockpots.
Uses For Stock Pots
Stockpots are the cornerstone of many kitchens because of their many uses. Where you have many ingredients that need to be made into a stew, chili, or pasta dish, then it’s the stockpot that is often best for the job.
They’re also great for steaming foods, which is the main way of preparing many vegetables or types of seafood. That’s where you may need a larger stockpot, for throwing entire lobsters or buckets of clams into them.
Here are just some of the ways that stockpots are used:
- Preparing broth
Best Uses For Stock Pots
Now that we know what stockpots are and how they are sized, here’s a breakdown of how different-sized pots work with certain popular recipes.
Making soups and stews is common for stockpots, so let’s start with that. Let’s say you get a four-quart pot and use it to make a soup, and assuming everybody is getting about one cup of serving per person, then you can easily serve six people. At a maximum, you may be able to serve eight.
For soup, you’ll want the bottom to be thicker than other pots and pans so that you can let it simmer for a long time with no burning.
If feeding a family, a six-quart stockpot is best for making spaghetti. For larger crowds and events, an eight-quart pot is more suitable.
For the best results, use a colander with your stockpot to easily drain the pasta. The result is typically a better quality, al dente pasta.
You can cook an entire small chicken in an eight-quart stockpot, though twelve-quart pots work best. Any poultry or pork bones should fit comfortably in a twelve-quart pot, which is also the ideal size for steaming.
Some specialty dishes require larger pots. For instance, if you’re making gumbo for a medium-sized party, you would do well to have a 20-quart pot. Likewise, if you’re making lobsters for more than 4 people (and don’t want to stage in batches), you’ll need a 20-quart pot. If you’re hosting a crawfish boil in the backyard, you’ll need at least a 30-quart pot and probably larger.
With that, you should now have some idea of what size stockpot you need and how you’ll use it once you have it. Not only do you know how stockpots are commonly measured, but you can also measure yours personally and match it to one of the many uses we’ve detailed above.