What Size Of A Stock Pot Do I Need?

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Many of us begin our kitchen collection of pots and pans with a cookware set. This set was maybe received as a housewarming gift or wedding present. These sets almost never include a pot over 6 quarts.


As you begin adulting or maybe once you decide to be the one to throw a big gathering at your place, you realize that the largest pot you own isn’t cutting it. However, you wonder “What size stock pot do I need for cooking?” We’ve provided the below stock pot sizes chart and comparison to aid in your decision.

Stock Pot Sizes Chart and Comparison

SizeSuitable For:
8 Quart Stock Pot
- Rice
- Poaching Chicken
- Pasta
- Soups & Stews for 2-4 People
- Beans
12 Quart Stock Pot
- Preparing Stock
- Crab Leg or Lobster Boil for Small Group
- Soups & Stews for Over 4 People
- Large Servings of Greens or Cabbage
16 Quart Stock Pot
- Seafood Boil for Large Group
- Soups or Stews For Large Gatherings
- Large Canning Jobs
- Brining a Turkey

Be sure to read through entire article for more detailed information on how to choose the best stockpot and stock pot sizes.

How Big Is A Standard Stock Pot?

The standard stock pot size for most home kitchens is 12 quarts. I consider this to be the best size stock pot for needs of most families. It is large enough for a small seafood boil, large amounts of pasta or greens.

The Best Size Stock Pot Will Fit Your Cooking Needs

You’ve seen pictures of people standing over huge pots stirring them with what looks like a boat oar.

You certainly don’t need a stock pot that big but you have no idea how small or big you should really go. Well today’s your lucky day.

We have reviewed some of the best stock pots out there. Our goal is to provide you with guidance on which stock pot size to select based on your needs.

Important Features Selecting Stock Pot Sizes For Cooking

A stock pot is an investment as many people keep these for decades. For instance, my mother has a heavy duty stock pot that was passed down from her mother. This particular stock pot is over 50 years old!

Even though your initial mission was just to find out which size stock pot you need, it is important to know which features to look for as listed below:


As you will eventually pour the contents of your stock pot out, a craftily designed rim will come in quite handy. You will want a stock pot with a lip that has a slight flare to avoid a messy splatter as you pour.


Since stock pots are used for massive amounts of food or liquids, they will inevitably be very heavy. This is why the handles should be bolted or riveted on. You don’t want to take any chances of a handle coming loose as you handle a large stock pot full of hot contents.

You may also want the size stock pot that you choose to have handles that stay fairly cool while cooking. However, know that no handles are 100% heat proof. This is why I still always use mitts or potholders when handling my stock pot.


No matter what size stock pot you need for cooking, it should have a heavy bottom. This is not only for stability but to reduce the chances of burning or scorching as you cook.

Some foods such as soups or chili, require long periods of time on the stove to reach full flavor. A stock pot with a thin bottom is more susceptible to food sticking to the bottom and scorching.

So What Size Of A Stock Pot Do I Need? (Stock Pot Sizes)

Now that we have gotten the info session and definitions out of the way let’s get to what you really came here for. We’re sure this will help you decide how big of a stock pot you need. Check out our stock pot size comparison below complete with a stock pot size chart.

8 Quart Stock Pot

All-Clad D3 3-Ply Stainless Steel Stockpot 6 Quart Induction Oven Broiler Safe 600F Pots and Pans, Cookware Silver

Suitable For:

  • Rice
  • Poaching Chicken
  • Beans
  • Pasta
  • Soups and Stews for 2-4 People

Our Favorite 8 Quart Stock Pots

Best Choice

All-Clad 4508 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Stockpot 

All-Clad D3 3-Ply Stainless Steel Stockpot 6 Quart Induction Oven Broiler Safe 600F Pots and Pans, Cookware Silver

  • Tri-Ply Bonded Cladded Stainless Steel Around Aluminum Core
  • Edge That Allows Easy Pouring
  • Comfortable, Contoured Handles Secured With Stainless-Steel Rivets




Calphalon Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware

Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware, Stock Pot, 8-quart, Black

  • Interior has 3 layers of nonstick coating
  • Dish-washer Safe
  • Hard-Anodized Aluminum For Even Cooking

12 Quart Stock Pot

Cuisinart 12-Quart Stockpot w/Lid, Chef's Classic Collection, Silver, 766-26AP1

Suitable For:

  • Preparing Stock
  • Soups and Stews for Over 4 People
  • Large Servings of Greens or Cabbage
  • A Crab or Lobster Boil for Small Group

Our Favorite 12 Quart Stock Pots

Best Choice

Viking 3-Ply Stainless Steel Stock Pot

Viking Culinary 3-Ply Stainless Steel Stock Pot, 12 Quart, Includes Metal Lid, Dishwasher, Oven Safe, Works on All Cooktops including Induction

  • 3-Ply Stainless Steel Clad Construction Throughout
  • Induction Safe
  • Raised Lid Handle Makes Sure It Stays Cool




Cuisinart 766-26 Chef’s Classic 12-Quart Stockpot

Cuisinart 12-Quart Stockpot w/Lid, Chef's Classic Collection, Silver, 766-26AP1

  • Aluminum disk heats quickly and spreads even heat
  • Rim Tapered For Drip-Free Pouring
  • Flavor Lock Lid

16 Quart Stock Pot (Standard Stock Pot Size)

Tramontina Covered Stock Pot Gourmet Stainless Steel 16-Quart, 80120/001DS

Suitable For:

  • Seafood Boil for Large Group
  • Soups or Stews for Large Gatherings or To Be Stored for Later
  • Large Canning Jobs
  • Brining a Turkey

Our Favorite 16 Quart Stock Pots

Best Choice

HOMICHEF Large Nickel Free Stainless Steel Stock Pot

HOMICHEF 16 Quart LARGE Stock Pot with Glass Lid - NICKEL FREE Stainless Steel Healthy Cookware Stockpots with Lids 16 Quart - Mirror Polished Induction Pot - Commercial Grade Soup Pot Cooking Pot

  • Thick 3-Ply 7MM base Prevents Warping
  • Elegant Mirror Polished Exterior
  • Tight-fitting Lid To Circulate Heat & Preserve Food Flavor



Tramontina 80120/001DS Gourmet Stainless Steel Covered Stock Pot

Tramontina Covered Stock Pot Gourmet Stainless Steel 16-Quart, 80120/001DS

  • Induction Compatible
  • Riveted Stainless Steel Handles
  • Magnetic Tri-Ply Base Construction

What Materials Are Stock Pots Made Of

Various size stock pots

Not only will you have to determine “what size stock pot do I need“, You should also be aware of your choices of stock pot material construction.

Stainless Steel

This is the material that makes up the majority of stock pots. This is because stainless steel is not only abundantly available but it provides excellent heat distribution.

There are two options when it comes to the full composition stainless steel stock pots.

  • Cladded – Cladding is the term for the layer of aluminum between the slabs of stainless steel that make up the pot. Stock pots that have full cladding covering the bottom and sides of the pot are the gold standard as this allows heat to travel up throughout the pot.
  • Disk Bottom – Disk bottomed stock pots are generally far less expensive than cladded options. The disk bottom refers to an aluminum or copper disk wrapped around a thin sheet of stainless steel at the bottom of the stock pot. This serves to spread heat around the bottom of the stock pot but not up the sidewalls.


Copper stock pots are usually purchased by professional chefs or SERIOUS home cooks. They are the most expensive option out there as they offer the absolute best heat distribution.

Hot spots using copper stock pots are virtually non-existent. You can expect these pots to last for generations.

Hard-Anodizing Aluminum

Hard-Anodizing is an electrochemical process that make aluminum actually harder than stainless steel. Stock pots made using this process also have a somewhat added non-stick component to them.

The hard-anodizing process does have the tendency of eventually wearing off which is why this type of stock pot is usually less expensive than other. But rest assured you will get many years of use before this occurs and well after you have gotten your money’s worth.

Related Post: List of Kitchen Essentials for a New Home

I’m Torn Between A Couple of The Stock Pot Sizes

If you find yourself going back and forth about which size stock pot that you need, my suggestion is to go with one of the 12 quart options. The 12 quart is small enough to fit in your cabinets yet large enough to have a nice-sized seafood boil.



1. How does the material of a stock pot affect its performance?

The material of a stock pot can greatly impact its performance, durability, and heat distribution. Stainless steel is a popular option for its durability and resistance to corrosion, while aluminum is a good choice for its light weight and even heat distribution.

2. Can I use a stock pot on an induction cooktop?

Yes, you can use a stock pot on an induction cooktop as long as the pot is compatible with induction cooking. Some stock pots such as our #1 pick by Viking are made with a magnetic layer on the bottom, which allows them to work on induction cooktops.

3. What are some tips for cleaning a stock pot?

To properly clean a stock pot, you should start by washing it in hot, soapy water and using a scratch-free tool like the Scrub Daddy sponge to remove any food residue. If there are stubborn stains or burnt-on food, you can fill the pot with water and bring it to a boil. After boiling for a few minutes, let the pot cool and the stains should come off more easily. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to ensure that your stock pot stays in good condition.

That’s all for now!

We are glad to have helped you learn a little more about stock pots and what to look for in selecting the best stock pot sizes for your needs. Finally, we hope you enjoyed reading the article!

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