Reader Question: What is the Best 6-quart Stockpot for Canning?

LeafScore is reader-supported. We may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Written by Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT


Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Sustainability Expert

Leigh Matthews is a sustainability expert and long time vegan. Her work on solar policy has been published in Canada's National Observer.


With so many giant stockpots to choose from, how can you know which is the best pot for canning? Here’s our guide to choosing the best 6 qt. (or more!) stockpot for canning, plus our top picks for the best non-toxic canning stockpots.

Table of Contents
  1. How to choose a stockpot for canning
  2. The best stockpot materials
  3. The best stockpots for canning

Canning is one of the best ways to preserve your harvest bounty and make sure you have healthy food on hand all year. But there are so many large stockpots available it can be hard to figure out which ones are right for your canning needs.

This is the conundrum for one of our readers, who wrote in to ask:

I need to get a 6 qt.stockpot that does not break the bank to make, for canning, bread and butter pickles, strawberry jam etc., acidic foods. What can I buy as there are so many on amazon?

Here’s a comprehensive guide to choosing the best pot for perfect preserves, plus our top choices for canning stockpots. Just be sure to send me some canned peaches as a thank you.

Already know what you want? Jump ahead to see our top choices for the best canning stockpots.

Best sustainably made stainless steel stockpot for canning etc.

Alva Stainless Steel Chef Stock Pot 10.6 Qt. [Staff tested]

Jump to details

Best 16 qt. stockpot for canning – and incredibly affordable!

Tramontina Stainless Steel 16-Quart Covered Stock Pot

Jump to details

How to choose a stockpot for canning

Most regular large pots don’t quite cut it for canning. Instead, to make the process less messy, more efficient, and safer, you’ll want a larger (6 quart or more) stockpot.

In fact, I’d suggest that this reader aim far bigger than 6 quarts. This size is fine for very small-batch canning, but is about the same size as most Dutch ovens or larger saucepans. If you intend to can larger quantities, a dedicated canner or a much larger pot is a must.

Stockpots usually range in size from 8-20 quarts. For most amateur or occasional canners, a 12-quart stockpot is a good option as it affords a lot of capacity but still fits in a kitchen cupboard. You can also use this size pot for making big batches of stock, soup, sauce, and so on, meaning it does double duty in an efficient kitchen.

Note that most stovetops won’t accommodate anything bigger than a 16 quart stockpot, unless you have an unusual stovetop with expanding burners.

Size isn’t everything, though. For a stockpot to be suitable for canning, you’ll also want to think about the following features.

The best stockpot materials

Choose: Stainless steel

Stainless steel is the best material for a stockpot for canning. These pots are non-reactive, meaning you can use them without worrying the metal will alter the flavor of foods or otherwise react to the acidity of things like fruit and vegetables.

Stainless steel is also durable and resistant to staining and corrosion. And it’s non-toxic and sustainable, with some companies (such as Alva) using recycled materials to make stainless steel cookware.

Avoid: Aluminum and cast iron stockpots

While I’m a big fan of cast iron for Dutch ovens, they’re a terrible choice for a canning stockpot. Cast iron and aluminum are both reactive with acidic foods, and that can lead to discoloration (think: gray pickles!) and a metallic taste to canned food.

Pickling and canning will also strip seasoning from your cast iron, which means you’ll have to re-season from scratch.

Due to acidity, canning can also increase the risk of aluminum leaching from non-coated pots.

Avoid: Ceramic coated or non-stick stockpots

It’s best not to use any coated pots for canning. The high temperatures and sticky nature of some canned items can leave hard to clean residues on the surface. In addition, any jostling of cans during the sealing process can scratch and chip surface coatings, reducing their useful lifespan.

The best design for a canning stockpot

In general, you’ll want to choose a canning stockpot that has the following features.

A heavy bottom and flat base

Thicker base material helps to distribute heat evenly, preventing hot spots which can cause burning. It also helps in maintaining a steady boil, which is essential for canning.

Thicker bases also tend to resist warping, which means the pot is more stable on the stovetop and continues to heat evenly even with prolonged use. If you’re using an induction stovetop, a flat base is essential.

Tall Sides

Look for a pot that has sides tall enough to allow for a wire rack and jars plus the necessary 1-2 inches of water over the tops of the jars. If you only ever can small jars, this may mean a wide but fairly shallow pan. If you typically can larger jars, taller and wider is better! With a wider pot, you can be more efficient, which also helps save energy.

In general, expect to be able to fit the following in a 21 qt. canning stockpot with a 12-inch diameter:

  • 12 half-pint Mason jars
  • 9 pints / 7 quarts.

For a 12 qt. stockpot, or one with a 9.5-inch diameter, typical capacity will be about:

  • 8 pints / 7 quarts.

Enough capacity

If you’re new to canning, you may think it best to just choose a small pot at first. My advice is to go big from the outset. Otherwise, once you’ve got the canning bug, you’ll find it frustrating to have to do a load of smaller batches rather than a few bigger batches. 

Squeezing jars into a smaller stockpot isn’t the best idea as it means less space for water to circulate. It also makes it much harder to lift the jars out easily with tongs, meaning more risk of scalds.

Alva’s Chef Stock Pot is made with stainless steel and has clear measurements all the way up the inside

Measurements on the side

While it isn’t totally necessary, it is helpful to have markings on the inside of the pot to show volume. If you’re cooking up large batches of tomato sauce, say, it’s really handy to know at a glance when the volume has reduced by half.

Some pots have very faint markings, though, which end up not being super helpful. Once you’ve got water or other liquids in the pot, or a lot of spatter, fainter markings can all but disappear.

Room for a canning rack

A canning rack is like a cooling rack but a bit taller. It is meant to lift the jars off the bottom of the pot, allowing water to circulate underneath. This makes sure the jars’ contents are heated evenly. It also helps to reduce the likelihood of jars breaking. 

Some canning racks loop over the sides of the canning pot, making it really easy to lift the jars in and out securely. This also helps to reduce the weight of the pot for draining and lets you easily reuse the same water for boiling another round of jars.

A tight fitting lid

Make sure your stockpot has a lid that fits snug. This keeps the temperature inside the pot consistent, which is vital for safe canning. I much prefer stainless steel lids over glass lids as the latter break more easily.

Robust handles

Look for handles that are large/wide and easy to grab even with oven mitts or potholders. Unless you have very small hands, you’ll likely want larger, flatter handles that leave about an inch of space to get your fingers (and a mitt) between handle and pot wall. If you can’t easily fit three fingers on the handle, it won’t be very safe or easy to maneuver.

Ideally, these handles are riveted onto the pot, so they’re robust and strong. Welded handles are an okay choice but tend not to be as robust over time.

Whatever you do, avoid larger pots with skinny, rounded handles or those held in place by screws. Boiling water, heavy glass jars, and wobbly or slippery handles with loose screws do not make for safe canning. 

Cooktop compatibility

If you’re already cooking with induction, make sure your stockpot is induction compatible! That means having a flat base and being made with ferrous metal (such as stainless steel).

Consider your cooktop weight capacity!

We had a reader write in a while ago to say that his glass cooktop failed under the weight of his pressure cooker full of water and jars for canning. 

You can usually find the weight capacity for stovetops in the product specifications. If it’s not there, ask the manufacturer directly if you’re using heavier cookware or a large canner.

Easy to clean

Finally, look for a stockpot with a smooth interior and no nooks and crannies for food residue to linger. I like stockpots where the handles are also a decent bit lower than the top of the pot. Otherwise, it can be hard to really get in to clean the handles properly.

The best stockpots for canning

Ready to preserve your summer harvest? Here are our top choices for the best stockpots for canning, from sustainable cookware companies.


Alva Stainless Steel Chef Stock Pot 10.6 Qt. [Staff tested]

Highlights: Robustly built, affordable, tall stock pot with comfortable handles and clear capacity markings. 3-ply stainless steel for even heat distribution, and a well fitted lid for temperature control (vital for canning!).

Overall Score
Durability Score
Toxicity Score
Sustainability Score
User Experience Score
Transparency Score

What we like

  • 3-ply sturdy base for even heat distribution
  • Robust, riveted, easy to grip handles
  • Well fitting lid with vent holes 
  • Much lighter than similar 12-Qt. pots
  • Clear inner capacity markings
  • Rounded rim for easy pouring
  • Straight sides to maximize space for jars
  • Oven safe to 392 F (200 C)
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Suitable for all cooktops including induction
  • 25-year warranty
  • Made partially of recycled materials
  • Ships plastic-free and sustainably

What could be better

  • Only a 9.5-inch diameter 
  • Best for canning tall, narrow jars or small batches
  • Mottled appearance if you let it air dry
  • Thinner than the All-Clad, Tramontina, and Cuisinart

At a glance:

Price: $209

Capacity: 10.6 Qt.

Measurements: 9.5-inch diameter, 9.5-inch tall

Weight: 5.51 lbs.

Material: 3-ply stainless steel

Handle style: Riveted

Alva’s Chef Stock Pot has proven a useful addition to my cookware collection this past year. If you use a basic canning rack, you can squeeze in:

  • 3 quarts (32 oz., 1 L)
  • 5 pints (16 oz., 500 mL) plus a half pint (8 oz., 250 mL), or 5 taller pint-and-a-half jars (24 oz., 750 mL) plus a half pint
  • 7 half pints (8 oz.,250 mL).

Note, though, that if you use a lift-out canning rack, which I heartily recommend due to the high sides of this pot, you won’t be able to squeeze in as much. For a lift-out canning rack with just under a 9-inch diameter, expect to have enough space for:

  • 2 quarts 
  • 4 pints (16 oz., 500 mL)
  • 6 half pints or quarter pints

I also love my Chef Stock Pot for cooking corn and for large batch cooking. If I ate lobster, I imagine it would work well for that too, thanks to those high sides. 

The 3-play stainless steel and aluminum construction makes for fast and even heating, with little fond burning when making chili, soup, stews, etc. That said, the walls are thinner than with many other 3-ply 12-Qt. pots, which means less heat retention overall. This does make the pot a lot lighter and easy to maneuver though, at just 5.51 lbs., versus the 9 lb. monster Cuisinart or Made In 12-Qt. stockpots.

The lid fits snug and has vents to prevent rattling and boiling over. And it’s easy to pour out liquids, thanks to those wide handles and smooth rounded rim. It also doubles as a fabulous ear-splitting drum for toddlers (don’t ask me how I know).

Get some tongs!

The only downsides to this pot are that for shorter folks like me, it can be a bit of a struggle to reach over those tall sides to safely retrieve cans. I highly recommend getting a good set of long canning tongs for this purpose, or a canning rack.

Alva also offers a smaller, 7.8 Qt stockpot that is 9.5-inches in diameter (view on Alva). If you don’t tend to can taller jars, this is a great way to save a little money and space and have a fantastic pot for everyday cooking.


Tramontina Stainless Steel 16-Quart Covered Stock Pot

Highlights: The best 16-Qt. stockpot around. Incredibly affordable, not too heavy, 3-ply stainless steel, with riveted, ergonomic handles, and a excellent capacity for canning and big batch cooking.

Overall Score
Durability Score
Toxicity Score
Sustainability Score
User Experience Score
Transparency Score

What we like

  • Incredible capacity for canning!
  • Super affordable
  • 3-ply stainless steel design all round
  • Riveted handles
  • Compatible with all cooktops
  • Oven safe to 500 F
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Available in 12-, 16-, 20, and 24-Qt capacities
  • Relatively light for its size
  • Fits 11-inch cooktop element
  • Easy to clean, durable, and robust
  • Lifetime warranty

What could be better

  • More likely to burn fond if you’re not careful when cooking
  • Tall, so you’ll want to use jar lifters

At a glance:

Price: $99

Capacity: 16 Qt. (available from 12- to 24-Qt.)

Measurements: 14.63-inch diameter cooking surface; 16.5-inch handle to handle width; 11.38-inch height

Weight: 8.1 lbs.

Material: 3-ply stainless steel

Handle style: Riveted

At under $100 at the time of writing, the Tramontina 16-Qt Stockpot is an absolute steal.

This gorgeous pot boasts comfortable, riveted handles, 3-ply construction all the way around, and a huge capacity for canning and for making soups, stews, and whatever your heart (and belly) desires.

The cooking surface measures more than 14.5 inches across and the sides are tall, meaning you can fit:

  • 36 quarter pint (4 Oz.) jars (stacked x 3)
  • 24 regular half pint (8 Oz.) jars (stacked x 2)
  • 8 wide mouth pint jars
  • 8 tall pint and a half jars
  • 19 regular pint jars
  • 13 x 12 Oz. jars
  • 7 regular quart jars
  • 6 wide mouth quart jars.

At just 8.1 lbs., this pot weighs less than the much smaller Cuisinart 12-Qt Stockpot. The downside is that there’s a little more risk of food sticking and burning with the Tramontina. If you’re an attentive cook, you won’t notice a difference, though, and if you’re just using this pot for canning, this doesn’t matter a jot.


Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Triple Ply Stainless 12-Quart Stockpot with Cover

Highlights: Affordable excellence! Boasts lots of capacity and fast and even heating with good heat retention. Heavy, though.

Overall Score
Durability Score
Toxicity Score
Sustainability Score
User Experience Score
Transparency Score

What we like

  • Very affordable
  • Oven safe to 550 F
  • Dishwasher safe
  • 3-ply construction all the way around
  • Tapered rims for easier pouring
  • Stay cool handles, riveted, with thumb rests!

What could be better

  • Heavy
  • Hit and miss performance with induction cooktops
  • Lid isn’t as tight fitting as some other stockpots

At a glance:

Price: $139.95

Capacity: 12 Qt.

Measurements: 15.5-inch diameter (handle to handle); 11.5-inch cooking surface; 9.1-inch height

Weight: 9 lbs.

Material: 5-ply Stainless steel

Handle style: Riveted

There’s a lot to love about the Cuisinart 12 Qt. Stockpot. For half the price of the Made In pan, this pot offers much more height and flexibility for canning. It also boasts well designed handles that have thumb rests to make it much easier to maneuver this large pot safely and comfortably.

This stockpot will work well with most 11.4-inch or smaller canning racks and should fit seven pint jars.

The downsides to this stockpot are spotty performance on induction cooktops (as reported by some users), a lid that’s okay but not as snug as I’d like, and the weight.

At 9 lbs., the Cuisinart 12 Qt. Stockpot is a heavy pot to move around, especially when full of liquid and glass.

The nice thing, though, is that while the Cuisinart pot is deep enough to allow for canning of pints, it’s short enough to accommodate shorter cooks like myself.

Updated 12 Qt. Stock Pot!

Note that the Cuisinart original 12 Qt. stockpot has been discontinued. The newer version is a little taller and heavier, with a smaller cooking surface overall. Check listings carefully to make sure you’re getting the one you want!

Ladles to love

Just as it pays to be choosy about your funnel, you’ll want to look for a good quality ladle for canning.

Choose either a stainless steel or silicone ladle, rather than aluminum or plastic. Stainless steel will be more durable overall and can be recycled at end of life.

Make sure the ladle feels good in your hand and has a rounded lip for easy, clean pouring.

Two of our favorites are:

  • Rösle Stainless Steel Hooked Handle Ladle with Pouring Rim, 5.4-Ounce – View on Amazon
  • Super sturdy, ergonomic 8 Oz. stainless steel ladle with long handle – View on Amazon


Made In Stainless Clad 12 Qt. Stockpot

Highlights: Professional quality stockpot at a more affordable price. Tight fitting lid and great handles! Excellent multipurpose pot for kitchens with limited space, as well as for shorter folks, but not enough depth for canning more than half pints or pints (at a push).

Overall Score
Durability Score
Toxicity Score
Sustainability Score
User Experience Score
Transparency Score

What we like

  • Wide diameter, enabling efficient canning
  • Sturdy, riveted, stay cool handles
  • 5-ply stainless steel construction
  • Fast and even heat distribution and a quick rolling boil
  • Tight fitting lid for heat and steam retention
  • Short profile, helpful for shorter cooks
  • Oven safe up to 800 F
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Made in Italy by expert craftsmen
  • Ships in sustainable packaging

What could be better

  • Only 6.5-inches deep, limiting canning options
  • Expensive for a 12 qt. pot
  • Wide diameter is too big for most (11-inch) burners

At a glance:

Price: $279

Capacity: 12 Qt.

Measurements: Cooking Surface Diameter: 12.4-inch, Depth: 6.5-inch, Length (handle to handle): 14.5-inch

Weight: 7 lbs.

Material: 5-ply Stainless steel

Handle style: Riveted

Made In offers a wonderful 12 Qt. stockpot ideal for canning a good number of pints, if you use a short rack, or half pints. The depth isn’t enough to handle pint-and-a-half jars, though.

If you’re short on space and like to can jams and jellies mainly, this is a great option for a stockpot. The 5-ply construction makes for easy, fun cooking of soups, stews, sauces, and more.

Make sure there's enough headroom!

You need at least 1-2 inches of water above the jars when canning, so as to ensure proper seals and food safety. If you already have a wire rack for canning, check its measurements.

If your current rack lifts your jars more than half an inch off the bottom of the pan, this stock pot will be too short for canning pints. Invest in a short rack, though, and you should be just fine!

This pot has heavy duty handles that look great and, most importantly, make it safe to move the pot around even when full of hot liquid.

The Made In pot is compatible with all cooktops, including induction. The base is flat and resists warping. It heats fast and even and the snug lid helps to keep heat and steam in.

Note that the polished stainless steel look of the Made In pot does leave it a little vulnerable to mottling if you let it air dry. The degree of mottling will also depend on the hardness of your water and the detergent you use.


All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel 12 Qt. Covered Stock Pot

Highlights: Luxury 12-Qt. stockpot with great performance on induction cooktops and good capacity for canning. Light, easy to maneuver, but very expensive.

Overall Score
Durability Score
Toxicity Score
Sustainability Score
User Experience Score
Transparency Score

What we like

  • Wide base and decent depth
  • Wide lip for easy pouring
  • Perfectly fitted lid
  • Much lighter than similar size stockpots
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Oven safe to 600 F

What could be better

  • Very expensive
  • Best to handwash

At a glance:

Price: $359 at time of writing (on Amazon)

Measurements: 14.3-inch handle-to-handle; 11.4-inch cooking surface; 9.5-inch height

Capacity: 12-Qt.

Weight: 7 lbs.

Material: 3-ply stainless steel

Handle style: Riveted

If money is no object and you want a beautiful, induction-friendly, slightly lighter weight, 3-ply all round stockpot, check out All-Clad.

This 12-Qt. pot is a great choice for induction cooktops and also for anyone who struggles with heavier pans. At just 7 lbs., it is two pounds lighter than the Cuisinart 12-Qt. pot and a pound lighter than the Tramontina 16-Qt.

The All-Clad isn’t as light as the Alva Chef Stockpot, though. So, if lightness and budget are your priorities, go for Alva. Just know that you’re sacrificing a little bit of space and heat retention.

Note, too, that All-Clad recommends washing this pot by hand. While technically dishwasher safe based on materials, All-Clad doesn’t actually market this pot as such.

Don't forget your funnel!

It might seem silly, but having the right funnel to hand when canning can make all the difference between a frustrating mess and a smooth, fun preservation process.

Wherever possible, choose a wide-mouth stainless steel funnel. Most funnels are made with either plastic or aluminum. The former degrades quickly and can harbor bacteria or leach toxic chemicals. The latter, aluminum, is reactive with acidic foods and can make your otherwise perfect pickles taste metallic.

You can also use your wide-mouth funnel for filling storage jars with bulk nuts, seeds, and grains.

Two of our favorite funnels are:

Delove Canning Funnel with Strainer for Wide and Regular Mason Jars – View on Amazon

HIC 18/8 Stainless Steel Canning Funnel, 5.5-Inch Diameter – View on Amazon

Free eBook: Simple Steps to a Greener Home

Concerned about climate change? Learn actionable tips for making each room in your home greener.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Leave a Reply

If you have a question about the subject matter of this post, ask it in the comments below. To better serve our readers, we have started answering some reader questions in dedicated blog posts.

Back to top