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From making stew and boiling pasta to brining a chicken, a large stockpot is one of the best multi-tasking pieces in your kitchen. A 12-quart capacity pot is large enough for a family-sized batch of Bolognese (with leftovers), but not so large that it's impossible to store when it's not in use. With its tall and narrow silhouette, it enables slower evaporation—ideal for long-simmering bone broths and for steaming dumplings or vegetables without having to constantly add liquid.
From stainless steel to hard-anodized aluminum models, read on for a comprehensive list of the best 12-quart stockpots.
Best Overall: Cooks Standard 12-Quart Classic Stainless Steel Stockpot with Lid
Durable 18/10 stainless steel construction
Oven-safe to 500 degrees
Compatible with all cooktops, including induction
Polished steel shows fingerprints and water marks
If you're searching for a stockpot that can do it all at a really great price, look no further than this 12-quart classic model from Cooks Standard—you'll be able to make bone broth, host a crab boil, or can your own preserves (and so much more). Made with polished 18/10 stainless steel, it has an encapsulated aluminum disc in its base for optimum heat conductivity, ensuring even heat distribution and preventing hot spots from forming. It also has a stainless steel lid that keeps heat and moisture in, so long-simmering broths and stews won't evaporate too quickly.
This durable pot has riveted handles so you can securely transport the pot on and off the cooktop. It is also compatible with virtually every range, including induction, and is oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Cleaning up is simple, as it is dishwasher safe, but you can also hand-wash this piece with minimal effort, thanks to its polished surface. It’s a durable stockpot that will last for years to come and provide an excellent cooking experience.
Best Splurge: All-Clad D5 Stainless Steel 12-Quart Covered Stockpot
Top-tier, professional quality
Superior heat conductivity
Will last for decades
For the cooking aficionado, multi-clad cookware is the way to go. It’s pricey, but the performance and quality are hard to beat. The All-Clad D5 Stainless Steel Stockpot is one of the most popular multi-clad stockpots available.
This sizzler of a stockpot is made from three layers of stainless steel alternating with two layers of aluminum that provide superior heat conductivity. And, unlike many other stockpots, multi-clad pots have this same layered construction all the way up the walls of the pot for even cooking throughout.
All-Clad has been a leader in multi-clad cookware, and its 12-quart stockpot is highly praised and revered by gourmet cooks who insist on the best. But it’s also perfect for anyone that wants an even, consistent cooking pot that will last for decades. Many cooks feel that nothing can beat the performance of All-Clad multi-clad cookware, but be forewarned that a single stockpot can cost as much—or more—than a full set of cookware from other brands. Still, you can be assured that this top-of-the-line piece will be your go-to stockpot for gourmet cooking for years to come.
Best Non-Stick: T-fal Specialty Total Nonstick Stockpot
Excellent heat conduction
Lightweight for easy handling
Easy to clean via handwash or dishwasher
Low heat threshold
Nonstick finish is susceptible to scratches
Many people prefer the convenience of nonstick cookware, and the T-Fal Nonstick Stockpot is our top selection for quick clean-up.
This 12-quart stockpot is made from aluminum construction, which is known for its ability to conduct heat. The pot is coated with a nonstick finish that is consistently praised by users for its outstanding resistance to messy, sticky, burned-on messes. Many cooks find that it’s easy to rinse or wipe away any residue in the pot. Although it’s dishwasher-safe, many people say they skip the dishwasher since it’s so easy to clean.
This 12-quart stockpot is not as well-suited to high-temperature cooking. It should really only be used on medium or lower heat settings, due to the nonstick finish. Additionally, it’s only oven-safe to 350 degrees Fahrenheit—which is quite limiting compared to the higher temperatures that stainless pots can handle. But if you plan to prepare meals without super high heat and don’t mind using only plastic or wooden utensils, the finish on the T-Fal Nonstick Stockpot will last for years, according to many happy cooks.
Best Budget: Cook N Home 12-Quart Stainless Steel Stockpot with Lid
Aluminum disc aids in even heat distribution
Only oven safe to 350 degrees
Not as sturdy as more expensive brands
If you have a limited budget but are looking for a big pot, the Cook N Home 12-Quart Stainless Steel Stockpot is a great choice. This basic 12-quart stockpot is made from stainless steel, polished to a mirror-like finish. Like many other stockpots, it features an aluminum disc in the bottom that is layered between stainless steel for better heat distribution. It has a tempered glass lid, and soft-touch coated handles on the lid and pot. One thing to note is that this pot is only oven-safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a low threshold compared to many stockpots.
On the stovetop, it seems to perform well under a variety of cooking conditions. Many people seem to find it particularly useful for canning, but it also excels as a pot to cook crab legs or for sous vide cooking. The Cook N Home 12-Quart Stockpot is a basic stainless steel pot that performs essential cooking functions well without eating up your budget.
Best for Multitasking: ExcelSteel Stainless Steel Multi-Cookware Set With Encapsulated Base
Includes useful accessories
Aluminum core conducts heat well
Bulky to store
Some reviewers have experienced a shorter life span than expected
If you want a stockpot that can take on a variety of tasks, the ExcelSteel 12-Quart Stainless Steel 4 Piece Multi-Cookware Set is the way to go.
This 12-quart stockpot is made from 18/10 stainless steel and has an aluminum core in the bottom encased in stainless steel. This assists in heat distribution and even cooking. The set includes the stockpot plus a steamer basket, pasta basket, and lid. Users love the capacity and convenience that this set offers. The smaller colander is about 3.5 inches deep and is great for steaming veggies. The larger colander is about 9 inches deep and is perfect for boiling pasta or potatoes, then lifting them out to drain without having to juggle the entire pot of hot water. Users have also found this pot to be great for canning.
People praise this stockpot for being of similar construction and quality to more expensive versions but at a fraction of the price–especially considering the extra colanders included with this set. Overall, the ExcelSteel 12-quart stockpot set is a great choice for cooking a variety of foods or even canning.
Best Enamel: Cuisinart Chef's Classic Enamel on Steel Stockpot with Cover, 12-Quart
Fun color to accent the kitchen
Stain and odor-resistant finish
Questionable durability of the finish
Hand wash only
For a stockpot with a pop of color, choose an enamel-coated version like the Cuisinart Enamel on Steel Stockpot. This brightly-colored 12-quart stockpot looks great in the kitchen and also performs well on the stovetop. The pot is constructed of stainless steel and coated with enamel to provide a stain and odor-resistant finish.
Users are a little conflicted about the durability of this pot, with a few people mentioning issues with enamel chipping or rust spots appearing. One suggestion that may be beneficial is to avoid putting this pot in the dishwasher, even though it is described as dishwasher-safe. As for the other performance benefits of enamel cookware, such as the ability to resist stains and odors, most people seem pleased with the Cuisinart Enamel on Steel Stockpot.
Best Hard-Anodized: Calphalon Premier Space Saving Hard Anodized Nonstick Stockpot with Cover, 12-Quarts
Hard anodized aluminum provides great heat conductivity
Easy to clean and store
Oven safe to 450 degrees
Exterior finish doesn't hold up in the dishwasher
People praise this stockpot for how easy it is to clean up and store. One thing to note is that while it is technically dishwasher-safe, many people found the outside finish to be ruined by the dishwasher. To be safe, it may be best to hand-wash this pot.
An alternative to nonstick cookware, hard-anodized cookware is another easy-keeper that is found in many kitchens. This Cuisinart Hard-Anodized 12-Quart Stockpot is a popular choice for this category. This stockpot is made from aluminum that has been specially treated and heated to produce an anodized finish that is nonstick—without using a separate chemical coating on the pot. The result is a pot that will cook contents evenly while resisting burning or sticking. Hard-anodized cookware is also supposed to be significantly more scratch-resistant than typical nonstick finishes. It also can withstand higher levels of heat and is oven-safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Our top pick is the Cooks Standard 12-Quart Classic Stainless Steel Stockpot with Lid, thanks to its durable 18/10 stainless steel construction and easy maintenance (found on Amazon). If you can splurge on a professional-grade stockpot that will last a lifetime, you can't go wrong with the All-Clad D5 Stainless Steel Stockpot (found on Amazon).
What to Look for When Buying a 12-Quart Stockpot
Most things you make in a stockpot will cause the handles to become hot, which can be dangerous especially paired with a heavy pot. Many stockpot handles include rivets for balanced pouring or heat-resistant handles to prevent burns.
For optimal versatility, it needs to perform well under a variety of cooking conditions. When shopping, consider the types of recipes you will be using a stockpot for, and be sure that the products you're contemplating can withstand the maximum temperatures needed. Additionally, some stockpots are designed with an aluminum core or disc at the base to ensure optimum heat conductivity and prevent hot spots from forming.
With stockpots being one of the best multi-taskers in the kitchen, it's essential the cookware stands up to regular use. Take into consideration the product warranty, and look to reviews to estimate its expected life span.
What is a 12-quart stockpot best used for?
A 12-quart capacity stockpot works well for making large amounts of, well, anything. Use it to simmer bone broth, whip up a batch of chili or Bolognese sauce, steam crab legs, or boil a family-sized amount of pasta. Deep stockpots can also be used for sous vide cooking, instead of having to buy a special container.
Can you use a stockpot for canning?
Yes, as long as your pot is tall enough. To can, you will have to add some sort of rack to keep your jars from resting directly onto the pot's bottom, and the pot walls should be high enough for the rack and jars to be submerged under at least an inch of water with additional room for the water to boil.
Can you put a stockpot in the oven?
Yes, as long as it is specified to be ovenproof by the manufacturer. Double-check your cookware's specs to see what its maximum heat threshold is, and bear in mind that lids (especially glass) aren't always ovenproof, even if the actual pot is.
Can you use a stockpot for deep frying?
Yes, absolutely. The best type of stockpot for deep frying will be a heavy-bottomed pan with excellent heat conductivity and retention, as you want your oil to maintain as constant a temperature as possible.
What is the difference between a stockpot and Dutch oven?
Stockpots are typically made of aluminum or stainless steel, and Dutch ovens are typically made of cast iron (either bare or enameled). Some manufacturers will use "Dutch oven" to describe the silhouette of any large, double-handled, lidded pot, but if it's not a heavy cast-iron piece, you can likely consider it a stockpot.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The author of this piece, Erica Puisis, is a writer and interior design expert who has covered all things home and lifestyle for The Spruce since 2017. Erica has written similar roundups on other kitchen products, including the best countertop microwaves.
This piece was edited by Bernadette Machard de Gramont, an LA-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. A Williams-Sonoma HQ alum, she researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight.