Some of the most delicious things require a little bit more finesse than the average kitchen is prepared to give. Think melted chocolate, hollandaise sauce, or even reliably unburnt stovetop rice. For that, you need a double boiler, which is essentially a pot on top of a pot of boiling water that will give you lower, more even heat.
Picking out a double boiler can seem like a bit of a chore–there are a ton of options, and they all look more or less the same. In this guide, we’ll go over the things you should specifically look for when deciding which double boiler is best for your needs. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our ten favorites to help you get started on your search.
How to Choose a Double Boiler – Buying Guide
Deciding on a double boiler relies heavily on the way that you’ll be using it. So think about these factors when making your choice.
Double Boiler Set or Insert? Depends on Your Space and Use Frequency
There are two main types of double boilers: inserts and sets. Each come with their own set of pros and cons, so consider how you’ll be using it before you choose.
Sets are More Effective but Take Up More Space
Double boiler sets include a base pot that holds water and a top pot that holds whatever it is that you’re double boiling. These two pots fit together perfectly to ensure that you never have to worry about spilling water, letting too much steam into your food, or anything tipping over.
However, as they are a set of two, they take up quite a bit of space and would be best for those who would use a double boiler more often.
Inserts are Convenient for Those Who Would Only Use It Occasionally
A double boiler inserts is just a pot that sits on top of another pot that you already own to create a double boiler effect. As you only have to store one new item, they’re pretty space efficient.
However, because they don’t fit together, you do need to pay extra attention to it while you’re cooking to prevent anything from tipping over or ruining your food with too much steam.
For Most People, a 2 Quart Capacity is Enough
Bigger isn’t always better. Double boilers come in sizes ranging from 1 quart to 4 quarts. For most uses–think making a few servings of hollandaise, melting butter, etc.—2 quarts or less should be plenty.
However, if you tend to do bigger batches or make desserts that require a little more space like custards or hot cocoa, feel free to go larger.
Choose Stainless Steel for Safety and Quality
When it comes to a double boiler, there’s no point in getting anything other than stainless steel (for the top pot anyway!). Stainless steel is extremely durable and safe for use with any cooking utensil—feel free to stir with a metal spoon.
With stainless steel, you don’t have to worry about any unnecessary chemicals or flavors leeching into your foods. Plus, there’s no need to even consider nonstick since nothing will stick at such low temperatures.
Pick a Boiler with a Lid for Faster Cooking
Just because you’re working at low temperatures doesn’t always mean that cooking has to go slowly. If your double boiler has a lid, it helps to seal in whatever heat is there and speed up your melting or heating up process.
Of course, some things require you to stir constantly, but for those that don’t, a lid can really save you some time. Extra points if the lid is glass so that you can see through it!
Top 5 Best Double Boiler Sets to Buy Online
Now that you know what to look for, here are our five favorite double boiler sets for those who have the space for it.
5. Farberware Classic Stainless Double Boiler
Single Serving Double Boiler with Easy Pour Edges
At just 1 liter, this double boiler is the perfect size for single servings. It has Faberware’s classic rounded edges, which make for easy, drip-free pouring. The bottom pot can also be used on its own as a 2-liter saucepan.
However, some reviewers have noted inconsistencies in construction quality, so be sure to double check for any rough edges before the return window passes.
4. JKsmart Double Boiler and Classic Stainless Steel Saucepan
Small Double Boiler with Standing Lid
This little double boiler is well-constructed, quick-heating, and will work on any heating source including induction stoves. Its tempered glass lid stands up on its own, and all of the handles are heat-proof.
However, the amount of overlap between the two pots when stacked is relatively short, so you’ll need to be careful when using it to keep from accidentally knocking it over.
3. Granite Ware Double Boiler
Porcelain-Coated Multi-Use Pots
This little double boiler conducts heat extremely well, and the bottom pot boils water in no time. The nonstick porcelain coating is strong and won’t scratch easily, but even if it does, it’s chemical-free and still safe to use.
You can use both pots separately from each other as nonstick pots. However, the bottoms of both pots are slightly recessed, so they may not work on glass stovetops.
2. Calphalon Nonstick 4.5qt Sauce Pan with Double Boiler
Large Capacity, Heavy-Duty Double Boiler
If you need to cook bigger batches, this 4.5-quart double boiler might just do the trick. It is sturdy, solidly built, and dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. Its glass lid is also completely flat for low-profile storing.
However, it is quite large and very heavy. If you need that kind of construction, there’s nothing better, but if you don’t, it might be overkill.
|Materials||Stainless steel (top), nonstick (bottom)|
1. T-fal Specialty Stainless Steel Double Boiler
High-Quality, Snug Fit Double Boiler
This double boiler is large enough for most purposes and unlike most double boilers, both pots have the same capacity. It’s well-made, fits snugly together, and dishwasher safe.
The bottom pot has a nonstick coating and can be used separately. If you ever have any problems, this double boiler also comes with a lifetime warranty.
|Materials||Stainless steel (top), nonstick (bottom)|
Top 5 Best Double Boiler Inserts to Buy Online
For those with a little less storage space, here are our favorite double boiler inserts.
5. Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Baking Bowl Double Boiler
Silicone Insert Ideal for Melting
This insert is made from food-grade silicone, which is perfect for melting chocolate or butter. It collapses for easy storage, and if you have a pot of the right size, you don’t have to worry about steam escaping.
However, because it’s silicone, it doesn’t conduct heat very well. This makes it good to melt and mix the most gentle foods, but it might not be hot enough to actually cook anything.
4. Neeshow Stainless Steel Double Boiler Universal Insert
Tiny Insert for Single Servings
This little double boiler insert is the perfect size for small batches. It has two spouts for easy pouring and a flat bottom, which allows you to mix or rest it on the counter.
Its hooked handle allows you to use it with pots of (almost) all sizes, but because it’s so small, if the pot is too large, there will be quite a bit of steam that comes up around it.
|Capacity||2 cups (.5 quarts)|
3. Norpro Stainless Universal Double Boiler
Large, Hefty Insert for a Deep Pot
This insert is made from some extremely thick stainless steel. It features two dripless pour spouts and a riveted handle that stays cool.
It is a fairly deep insert, though, so to use the full 3-quart capacity, you’ll want to use a pot that’s at least 7″ deep with it for the boiling water to not touch the bottom. To just use the bottom section, a narrower diameter pot with a 4″ depth would work too.
2. Nordic Ware Universal Double Boiler
Insert that Fits Like It’s Custom Made
This uniquely shaped insert features several concentric grooves, which allows it to fit snugly on almost any pan with a 6″-9″ diameter. Despite all the crevices, the nonstick coating helps food to release easily.
However, it does not have a separate handle, and you’ll probably have to use a towel or oven mitt with it to hold it in place and pour, as the sides do get very hot.
1. Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless Universal Double Boiler
Insert that Fits in with Any Kitchen
This solidly-built double boiler insert has a graduated bottom meant to fit on any 2-, 3-, or 4-quart pot (particularly other Cuisinart pots, but most others as well).
This insert has a lip on the rim for easy pouring, its riveted handle stays cool, and its cover fits snugly. Plus, it’s dishwasher-safe and easy to clean.
How to Best Use Your Double Boiler
The point of using a double boiler is to cook foods more delicately, but just having a double boiler isn’t enough! Here are some tips to not mess up.
Make sure the water in the bottom pot is well below the bottom of the top pot. The boiling water doesn’t heat the top pot—the steam does. Heat water in the bottom pot until it’s simmering; fill the top pot with ingredients while it’s still cool and lower it onto the bottom pot. If you put the ingredients into an already hot top pot, you run the risk of burning the ingredients.
So there you have it–a quick guide to picking out the right double boiler for you! Hopefully, you’ve found the right one and are already on your way to making the most delicious food.
By Jacqueline Oshiro
There’s nothing more comforting on a cold winter night than sitting around a table with your friends and family eating food that you all cooked together. And there’s no better way to do that than hot pot! From broths filled with mouth-numbing Sczechuan peppers to mild Japanese shabu shabu, hot pot is fun and easy to do at home–if you have the right materials. As the popularity of this traditionally Asian cooking style continues to rise in the West, so does the availability of tabletop heat sources and appropriately shaped pots. The only problem now is choosing! That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to picking out the right hot pot cooker. If you still find yourself stuck after that, we’ve also included a list of our ten favorite hot pots to start your search. How to Choose a Hot Pot Cooker – Buying Guide Having the right materials to make your hot pot can make or break your dinner experience. Here’s how to make sure you’ve chosen the best one for your needs. Electric or Not:
Everybody knows that single-use plastics are bad for the environment, but in reality, all plastics are pretty terrible. So when it’s time to replace your food containers, instead of reaching for the first plastic container you see on the shelf, it might be a better idea to think about the wider impact your purchase will have. But even if you exclude plastics from your search, there are still so many options when it comes to food storage containers. So in this guide, we’ll go over the different things you should look out for when picking an eco-friendly food storage container. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites for you to start your search. How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Food Storage Container – Buying Guide Deciding what to bring into your home is a multi-faceted, personal decision that requires you to weigh your priorities and convenience. And if that means going for something that’s more or less eco-friendly, then that’s completely fine. In either case, this guide w
From aches and pains to cramps and cold toes, sometimes it’s nice to have a little bit of extra heat for some quick relief. While hot water bottles might seem old fashioned, they’re simple and easy to use, plus you don’t have to worry about accidentally starting a fire or tripping over cords as you do with electric heating pads. There aren’t too many options out there, but you still want to look for a product that is both high-quality and fits your needs. In this guide, we’ll go over the factors you should consider when choosing the right hot water bottle for you. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started on your search. How to Choose a Hot Water Bottle – Buying Guide Picking the right bottle is about finding something that meets your needs in terms of both quality and practicality. So don’t forget to consider how it would fit into your lifestyle. Choose a Material Based on Heat Retention and Durability The two main materials that hot water bottles a
Whether you’re cooking hot pot at the dinner table, short on stove space, or looking for a compact cooktop for your camper, it can be useful to have a portable electric stove. They’re convenient, easy to use, and safer than a gas stove. But there are a ton of options, and finding the right one can be a challenge. On top of how well the stove works objectively, you also need to consider how well it would fit into your lifestyle. In this guide, we’ll talk about the factors you should consider when choosing a portable electric stove. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started on your search. How to Choose a Portable Electric Stove – Buying Guide Choosing a stove can make or break your cooking experience, so it’s important to consider what you’d actually use. Stovetop and Heat Type Determine Safety, Cleaning, Heating Ability, and Portability The most important consideration when choosing an electric stove is exactly what kind of heating mechanism it uses.
It’s summer, it’s hot, and you just want a cold drink. But unless you’re just drinking water, it’s hard to ignore the fact that your melting ice cubes water down your drinks and change the flavor! Luckily, there are reusable ice cubes that don’t melt away and can be used over and over. But there are also a ton of different options, and it can be hard to figure out which one is the best for you. That’s where we come in! In this guide, we’ll run through a few things you should consider when choosing reusable ice cubes, and if you still find yourself stuck, we’ve also got ten of our favorites to help make the decision a little easier. How to Choose Reusable Ice Cubes – Buying Guide Considering reusable ice cubes are a pretty new concept, there’s a surprising number of options available! Read on to learn how to pick through the fluff and find the right ones for you. Choose a Material that Suits Your Needs There are three main types of reusable ice cubes: plastic, stainless steel, and stone
From spatulas to slotted spoons, tongs to prongs, if you’re an avid cook, you may find yourself with more utensils than you know what to do with. What you need, then, is a way to store them all that will make them easy to find, easy to access, and maybe even easy to show off. In this guide, we’ll go over the different types of kitchen utensil holders and how to make sense of the variations, so that you can choose the best one for you. If you find yourself still a little lost, we’ve also got a list of ten of our favorites for inspiration. How to Choose Kitchen Utensil Holders – Buying Guide Not only are there a lot of options when it comes to utensil holders, but also there are even different types as well. There are two main types: countertop and in-drawer, and many people like to use both. But because they’re so different, and you might find that you only need one versus the other, we’ve split this section into two parts for clarity. Countertop Holders: For Quick Access and R
Maybe you’ve just tried a crepe for the first time in Paris and want to make some yourself at home. Or maybe you’ve been making crepes for years and want to simplify everything. In either case, you’ve probably realized that crepes require a special set of tools in order to get their paper thin consistency just right. But don’t worry, you don’t need to go all the way to France to find what you need. There are a ton of options when it comes to crepe makers, and although most of them might technically work for you, you want to choose one that fits your needs perfectly. In this guide, we’ll go over the things that different crepe makers do well and help you think about what you need. If you’re still stuck at the end, we’ve got a list of our ten favorites for you to start your search. How to Choose a Crepe Maker – Buying Guide Before purchasing a crepe maker, it’s important to find one that fits your needs rather than just choose the first one you see. This guide will help you figure out w
With the crisp air, balding trees, and mall Santas slowly sneaking up onto us, it’s obvious that winter is right around the corner. And nothing screams winter quite like a hot cup of freshly brewed tea. While tea bags are convenient and easy, sometimes those slow, dark mornings beg for something with a little more flavor, a little more pizzazz. Something like loose-leaf. If you’re not accustomed to using loose-leaf though and don’t have the proper equipment, you might find yourself with mouthfuls of soggy tea leaves. If so, it might be time to consider investing in a tea infuser. We’ll help guide you to the perfect tea infuser, and if you’re still stuck, we’ve also got a list of our ten favorites that you can find online. How to Choose a Tea Infuser – Buying Guide When it comes to choosing a tea infuser, you shouldn’t just buy the first one you see. There are a few things that you should take into consideration so that you can brew the perfect cup of tea. Basket vs. Submersion Infuse
Some fair foods are pretty easy to replicate at home–funnel cakes, corn dogs, and candy apples, for example. But cotton candy, one of the most iconic and most fun to eat foods, is nearly impossible to make without a dedicated machine. Luckily, cotton candy machines are pretty easily accessible, even to those who just want to make some for themselves or the kids. But whether you’re looking to whip up some fluff for a small slumber party or a big fundraiser, you’re going to want a machine that works for your needs. In this guide, we’ll go over the different factors to consider when choosing a cotton candy machine. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started on your search. How to Choose a Cotton Candy Machine – Buying Guide Finding the right cotton candy machine can be a sticky process. The cute designs and fun colors of the machines may catch your attention, but don’t forget to take your own situation and needs into consideration first. What Can You T
As more people become environmentally conscious, many are turning to reusable water bottles to cut down on plastic waste. Particularly popular are stainless steel water bottles, which are great for keeping drinks cold or warm for up to twelve or more hours. This rise in popularity means that there’s now an abundance of stainless steel water bottles on the market, and when they more or less all look the same, how do you choose? But don’t worry, we’re here to help! Here is a handy guide that will help you compare features, design, and price so that you can make the best decision. If, at the end, you’re still a little lost, we’ve got ten of our favorites for you, too. How to Choose a Stainless Steel Water Bottle – Buying Guide While many stainless steel water bottles offer similar insulating powers, there are a few key differences between them that can make one better for you and your needs. So here are some things that you should look out for. Some Considerations for the Kids First let’s