What Is a Double Boiler? What's a Substitute? | Double Boilers Pot Reviews

Double Boiler Saucepan If you do a fair amount of cooking in your lifetime, at some point you’re going come across a recipe that mentions the use of a double boiler. Its use is very popular for steaming vegetables, creating dessert fillings, and perfecting delicate sauces. If it’s mentioned in your recipe, don’t gloss over that fact — a double boiler is a important cookware item that can’t be easily ignored.

So, what exactly IS a double boiler?

A double boiler is a specialty cookware item that has one smaller pot nested inside a larger, taller pot. It creates an indirect heating method. The larger pot is filled with just an inch or two of water that, when boiled, heats the contents of the smaller pot directly above it. When the pots are covered and left on a low to medium heat setting, the contents inside cook slowly and evenly without leaving burnt skins or sticky residues on the side of the pot.

This cookware item can be used for any food item that needs a slow and steady cooking approach. Inner pots typically come in two varieties — vented and solid. Vented pots have holes in the bottom, which are ideal for steaming vegetables. Solid pots are best for liquids; a popular use for these is melting chocolate. Other foods that are best cooked using a double boiler method include egg-based sauces, white sauces, custards, and soups that tend to scald easily. You can even use a double boiler to melt wax for making homemade candles.

Notice the structure of this Mauviel double boiler set, for example. The smaller pot fits securely on the top so that steam doesn’t escape. Its exterior is made from copper, which is an excellent heat conductor. This heat is then distributed evenly due to the tin wash interior and porcelain inserts.

What can I use as a substitute for a double boiler?

You can easily make your own version of a double boiler by thinking about what the cooking concept is, and then recreating it. All that’s needed is a way to get steam from boiling water sealed off so that it can reach its intended target. Here’s one way to accomplish this goal:

First, find a big, tall stockpot. Then find something you can rest on top of it that will create an even seal, like a glass bowl with a larger rim than your stockpot. You might even strike gold and find a deep-dish skillet or saucepan that fits nicely inside as well. Once you find that cookware with the perfect seal, congratulations — you’ve just made a double boiler! Fill the stockpot with an inch or so of water, add your ingredients in the bowl, then cover the bowl with a lid and heat it slowly over low to medium heat.

What should I look for in a double boiler?

If you find yourself using the above method frequently, you’ll probably want to check out the real deal. The most important things to look for in a double boiler are even heat distribution, a tight seal around the diameter of the pans, and a tight seal on the lid. Some manufacturers sell double boilers as inserts that you can buy separately as a part of a cookware set add-on — and in this case, make sure you’re buying a matching size in the same product line as your cookware set.

Farberware is one of many well-known kitchen companies that makes a great double boiler, and you can take a look at one of theirs here.

See all of our double boiler reviews below


Cuisinart Double Boiler Universal Insert & Lid

For Chef’s Classic Stainless Steel Saucepan, Fits 2, 3 or 4 Quart

Cuisinart Double Boiler Universal Insert & Lid | For Chef’s Classic Stainless Steel Saucepan, Fits 2, 3 or 4 Quart

If you have a Cuisinart Chef's Classic cookware set and find yourself in need of a double boiler, great news -- you don't have to shell out big bucks for a bulky double boiler set just so you can make that perfect sauce. Instead, take a look at the Cuisinart Double ...





Farberware Classic Saucepan w/ Double Boiler Insert

Stainless Steel 2 Quart w/ Lid

Farberware Classic Saucepan w/ Double Boiler Insert | Stainless Steel 2 Quart w/ Lid

The Farberware Double Boiler is represented by a polished stainless steel pan with an aluminum encapsulated base. The aluminum disc holds heat as you cook. The set comes with metal hanging loops and a stay cool finial style lid handle. Thick rolled rims make the pan more durable and provide ease ...





Mauviel Cupretam Double Boiler Saucepan

Pour la Table Copper 0.8 Quart

Mauviel Cupretam Double Boiler Saucepan | Pour la Table Copper 0.8 Quart

Mauviel is the foremost manufacturer of copper cookware in the world today. Their double boiler system comes with two pans, two porcelain inserts, and a lid. The exterior is made of thick hammered copper, a very efficient conductor of heat, far more so than aluminum or stainless steel. The interior ...





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