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The centuries-old cooking method known as Chinese hot pot (sometimes called “steamboat”) is the ultimate communal dining experience. A simmering pot of liquid placed in the center of a table evolves into an aromatic soup as it takes on the flavors of the spices and various meats and vegetables quickly cooked in the broth.
Today, Chinese hot pots—as well as Japanese-style shabu shabu and Swiss fondue—are popular options for casual family dinners and as social events. Depending on where you live, restaurants specializing in these collaborative meals might be hard to find, but you can easily replicate this fun, healthy dining experience with the right cooking vessel. Here are the best electric hot pots to get your fix at home!
Hot pot is just one of the many uses for the Aroma Housewares 3-in-1 Super Pot. It has a large, deep capacity that holds up to 3 quarts, and the 10-inch diameter provides a wide enough opening for multiple diners to navigate with chopsticks. When you’re not making a hot pot, you can also use the different heat settings to simmer, slow-cook, stir-fry, steam, or even keep fondue warm. This model also comes with a 10-inch grill plate, so you can sear meats and vegetables for fajitas.
The adjustable temperature control goes up to 450 degrees, heating the cast aluminum pot quickly and evenly and also has an automatic shut-off feature for safety. Once you’re done cooking, cleanup is simple: Remove the temperature probe and put the nonstick pot, grill plate, and tempered glass lid into the dishwasher.
For a very wallet-friendly option, try the Topwit Mini Electric Hot Pot. It has a maximum capacity of 1.2 liters, just enough to feed a small family (or a single hearty appetite plus leftovers) and compact enough to stow away without monopolizing your cabinet space. Fill this to the brim with your favorite broth, then add spices, vegetables, meats, and noodles and enjoy the hot pot restaurant experience scaled down to your needs.
The interior is made of easy-to-clean, food-grade stainless steel and comes with a glass lid. This multi-functioning appliance can also be used for steaming, boiling pasta and noodles, or serving as a tea kettle—particularly useful in smaller, kitchenless spaces like studio apartments, offices, and dorm rooms. Its rotating base allows for easy maneuvering and also serves as storage for the power cord, and the handle stays cool for easy transport to the table.
Zojirushi is known best for its high-quality rice cookers and vacuum flasks, and the brand brings that same standard of excellence to the Gourmet d’Expert. This is another multi-functional appliance that comes with a deep dish inner pan big enough for a large quantity of hot pot and shabu shabu, a tempered glass lid to help steam dumplings and vegetables, and a titanium-ceramic nonstick plate for grilling.
The pot has an adjustable temperature from 176 to 430 degrees, so you can use it to keep food warm or bring it all the way to a high boil in just a matter of minutes. In terms of safety, the magnetic cord will detach easily, and the handles stay cool so you can easily move the pot from the base to the table and back without worry.
The entire unit disassembles for easy hand-washing, and the nonstick surface prevents food from sticking (just be sure to avoid using metal tools to prevent scratching the pan). If you need even more capacity, try the slightly more powerful, 12-inch diameter version.
This hot pot by City ST has a classic shape for shabu shabu but also gives you the option to grill meat or seafood as an alternative to cooking them in simmering broth. With a generous 4.2-liter capacity, you can easily feed a larger crowd as long as you keep the ingredients coming! Heat up your stock quickly and evenly with the flip of a switch—just choose between the “high” or “low” setting. The barbecue plate sits on top of a raised heating element in the center and is controlled by a separate power switch on the front panel so it can be left off if you aren’t using it. The bowl is made of stainless steel and can be separated from the base for easy cleaning. It’s a timeless choice for traditionalists!
If your family prefers varying levels of spice, this traditional hot pot with a dual-pot bowl allows you to cook two types of soup at the same time. For the spice seekers, simmer a Sichuan or Mongolian base in one chamber; for kids and those with lower heat tolerance, a milder Beijing-style in the other chamber. With a 5-quart total capacity, it’s enough to satisfy the appetites of a family of four or more.
This powerful 1500-watt model has five settings that allow for quick and even heating without using too much energy—the temperature dial on the front gives you great control so your broth doesn’t bubble over. The stainless steel pot comes with a tempered-glass lid, and both are dishwasher safe for hassle-free cleanup.
This multi-use pot can be used for simmering, steaming, making Mongolian hot pot or shabu shabu, and for grilling. It has a 3-quart stainless steel pot, a 1.5-quart grill pan, and a see-through tempered glass lid. It also includes a steam rack and mesh strainer for even more versatility.
This has a dial for controlling temperature, and an indicator light to show that the pot is working. The handles are designed to stay cool during cooking. The downside of this pot is that instructions are minimal, so it might take some experimenting to figure out how to use the pot.
While other hot pots allow pouring from the container, the design of this one means you’d need to scoop or ladle the food out of the pot.
The Aroma Housewares Grillet 3-Quart 3-in-1 Electric Indoor Grill is our top choice because it's affordable and versatile thanks to its 3-quart capacity and the inclusion of a grill plate. It's also easy to clean, since the nonstick pot, grill plate, and glass lid are all dishwasher safe. The Topwit Electric Hot Pot Mini is our favorite if you plan to only use a hot pot occasionally. Its compact design is easy to store and just the right size to feed an individual or small family.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats
The author of this piece, Bernadette Machard de Gramont, specializes in global food and wine content. As the granddaughter of immigrant restaurant owners, she grew up cooking her family’s Chinese and Filipino recipes. She still enjoys exercising her love of pan-Asian cookery at home by testing out cookware and appliances in a quest to achieve near-restaurant-quality results in a home kitchen.
This roundup was updated by Sharon Lehman, a home cook who happens to be a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She happily makes space for any gadget that make cooking faster and easier and specializes in small kitchen appliance testing and reviews for The Spruce Eats.
Material: The interior of most electric hot pots are either non-stick coated or stainless steel. The non-stick varieties can be easier to cook and clean, but if you prefer to avoid chemicals found in non-stick coatings or don't want to have to worry about scratching the coating, choose a stainless steel model. They take a little extra work to keep clean, but stainless steel tends to be more durable and long-lasting.
Capacity: Electric hot pots come in all sizes that vary in how much broth and food they can hold. The ones on this list range from 1.2 Liters up to 5 quarts. Consider how many people you plan to typically feed with a hot pot meal. If you plan to use a hot pot for entertaining, you'll want to choose one with a larger capacity.
Accessories: If you'd like the option to sear meats and vegetables table-side instead of simmering them in broth, look for an electric hot pot that includes a removable grill or barbecue plate. Some hot pots also include steaming racks for added versatility.