What the best soup pots have

  • Even cooking performance. Experts say a pot with a thick, heavy bottom is best at keeping soups and stews from burning.
  • A nonreactive material. Anodized aluminum (which may have a nonstick coating) is super-hard and won't react with acids, while clad stainless steel (plain or enameled) will work with induction cooktops.
  • A suitable size. Experts say a pot that holds at least 6 quarts, but no more than 12, can handle a wide range of cooking tasks.
  • Comfortable weight. Your pot should be heavy enough to hold heat well, but not so heavy that you can't easily lift it when it's full.
  • Big, sturdy handles. Test these in person to make sure that you can grasp them easily even with potholders on.
  • Easy cleanup. In user reviews, the ease or difficulty of cleanup is one of the biggest factors in how satisfied owners are with their soup pots.
  • Nice looks. The best pots look good while new but also stay that way through years of use.
  • Durable construction. A good pot should be solidly built, with firmly attached handles and a durable finish.
  • A long warranty. All the soup pots in this report are backed by a warranty of at least five years.

Know before you go

What are you cooking? If you need a pot that can handle the widest possible variety of kitchen tasks, experts recommend a 12-quart stockpot. This size is roomy enough for big jobs like making stock or boiling lobsters. But, if you'll only be cooking soups and stews, a smaller 6-to-8-quart pot may be easier to handle. A nonstick finish may also be helpful for a pot that will be used mainly for soups, since it helps residue come off during cleanup.

Many users also say that an oval-shaped pot is remarkably convenient for cooking corn on the cob and long pastas like spaghetti. Finally, some soup pots (often called "multi-pots") are sold with handy inserts for steaming vegetables or draining pasta.

What kind of cooktop do you have? For a smoothtop electric range, you'll want to avoid heavy, rough pots (such as cast iron) that may scratch the surface. You'll also need to make sure your soup pot has a flat bottom to make contact with the heating elements. If you have an induction cooktop, you'll need a skillet made of a magnetic material, such as stainless steel. Users do say that some stainless-steel pans don't work as well as others; test it out at the store by sticking a magnet to the bottom.

Do you clean everything in the dishwasher? Pots with a nonstick finish usually aren't dishwasher-safe, although they usually clean up fairly easily by hand. Many stainless-steel pots, by contrast, can go in the dishwasher (although experts say hand-washing will keep your cookware in better shape). You'll also need to check the size of the pot to make sure it will fit in your dishwasher.

Soup Pots Runners Up:

All-Clad Stainless 12-Qt. Stock Pot with Lid *Est. $380

2 picks including: About.com, Amazon.com…

Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 8-Qt. Multi Pot *Est. $100

2 picks including: Amazon.com, Cooking.com…

Farberware Classic Series 12-Quart Covered Stockpot *Est. $60

2 picks including: About.com, Amazon.com…

Le Creuset 8-Qt. Stockpot *Est. $60

2 picks including: Amazon.com, Cooking.com…

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All-Clad 4512 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Stockpot with Lid / Cookware, Silver
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $390.00 $371.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 8 Qt. Multi-Pot
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $99.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Covered Stockpot, 12-Quart
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $126.00 $56.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Le Creuset Enamel-on-Steel 8-Quart Covered Stockpot, Black Onyx
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $110.00   
Average Customer Review:  

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