Maybe while reading this article looking for the best pots for cooking chili you might discover that you already have the needed pot for cooking this delicious dish. That would be great because it means you can move on straight to cooking this comfort food.
Anyway, let me state right from the start that my favorite pick as one of the best pots for cooking chili is always going to be a Dutch oven.
Of course, I am going to recommend a variety of cookware to choose from because maybe not everyone loves cooking in a Dutch oven but my preference is made clear from the start.
Thus, before jumping to our reviews, let’s settle something.
Would it be better to use a stainless steel stock pot or a Dutch oven for making chili.
Opinions are certainly divided.
While I said that I prefer using my Dutch oven, there are actually people who prefer using a stainless steel stock pot.
Some cooks will mention that the chili made in a stainless steel stock pot tastes better than the one made in a cast iron Dutch oven. I read about someone making two chilis at the same time in these two different pots. They were both delicious but the one made in the stainless steel stock pot seemed a little brighter and sweeter.
If you are team stainless steel stock pot, you can be convinced that your choice will be wonderful.
A stock pot is wonderful if you cook a huge amount. That’s one huge advantage.
A Dutch oven can also represent a pot that is deep enough to hold the ingredients. It has a thick bottom that conducts heat well.
Both a Dutch oven and a stainless steel stock pot are excellent choices as the best pots for cooking chili.
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Best Pots for Cooking Chili Reviews
Since I’ve mentioned that both a Dutch oven and a stainless steel stockpot are excellent choices, my reviews will focus on these two types of cookware. And we’ll see if we can find something else.
Maybe something like the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 5-Quart Chili Pot with Cover because we can’t skip reviewing a pot that is specifically designed for this comfort food. I don’t love it completely because it has some negative reviews that we need to talk about but it’s not about choice if your budget is just under $50.
Besides that, we’ll heavily rely on stainless steel stock pots and Dutch ovens. They’re both incredibly versatile
If you cook for very large gatherings, the only way to go is with a very big stock pot. As long as you have a really big spoon to reach the bottom, then you’ll do fine. Even large stock pots are fairly easy to cook in if they’re at the right height. Grab a small stool if the height gets too much.
On the other hand, Dutch ovens are probably the most versatile pots we’ll ever come across.
From baking bread in an oven, delicious enough to rival professional bakeries, to making soups, chowders, chilis, breakfast foods, roasts and braises, casseroles, frying, one-pot dinners, desserts, etc. There’s no wonder that there are books called How to Cook Anything in Your Dutch Oven or Dutch Oven Obsession.
One of my favorites is the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven.
On the stock pot side of things, my top recommendation is the Cooks Standard Stainless Steel Stockpot.
The NutriChef Stainless Steel Stockpot is equally good for different size options.
Also, I would say that both a Dutch oven and a stainless steel stockpot can be taken camping without problems. Just make room for them.
1. Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Lid: One of the Best Pots for Cooking Chili
It was also my top pick when I wrote my reviews for the best pot for cooking rice.
In my opinion, the best way to describe the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Lid is by saying that this is the much cheaper alternative to Le Creuset.
If you’ve always wanted a Le Creuset but you don’t have the budget for it, you’ll be excited to learn about Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Lid.
The fact that it’s cast iron with an enamel coating means that you don’t have to worry about seasoning or about simmering acidic ingredients.
Some people might worry that tomatoes, which are used for making chili in the form of tomato sauce, shouldn’t be cooked in cast iron cookware for long periods of time, like longer than 30 minutes.
I would say that’s mostly a myth. However, it is true that we need a very well seasoned cast iron pot if we want to cook acidic foods for a long time.
Well, all those considerations don’t exist if we have an enameled Dutch oven like these ones from Lodge or the ones from Le Creuset.
And that’s why I prefer to recommend enameled cast iron pots as some of the best pots for cooking chili.
We get a nice array of sizes to choose from: 1.5 quart, 3 quart, 4.5 quart, 6 quart, and 7.5 quart.
The 6 quart and 7.5 quart are definitely the most popular picks among buyers, with the 6 quart option occupying first place.
Both are amazing sizes.
More importantly, both are affordable pots. If your budget is around $100, then you can go with either.
On the other hand, if your budget is around $70-$80 the 3 quart and 4.5 quart are good options.
Although, I must mention that I think that the 3 quart pot is a bit too small, even if you’re cooking for 2 people. If you’re cooking for one, then it will be good enough if you don’t want to have a lot of leftovers left.
When I read the All-In One Dutch Oven Cookbook for Two by Janet A. Zimmerman, there was a section answering the question which size Dutch oven is best?
The author mentions that even if we’re cooking for two, we might prefer to stick with a larger size. While a 2 quart or 3 quart can be good for some foods, a 5 quart or 6 quart Dutch oven is a better option because it confers higher versatility, even if we’re cooking for a small family or for two. And I agree.
The Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Lid is made of high-quality materials and has a tight-fitting lid.
The stainless steel knob and loop handles provide great maneuverability.
It is perfect for simmering soups and chilis, serving homemade sides or for baking bread.
We can broil, braise, bake or roast in the oven up to 500 degrees F.
And we can sauté, simmer or fry on any stovetop. Thus, it’s induction-compatible.
Pretty much, it’s just perfect.
However, I want to mention that it’s made in China or Vietnam for those who care about this side of things.
Where to Buy?
2. Cooks Standard Stainless Steel Stockpot
While I always rave about Dutch ovens or deep skillets or sauté pans, which are all wonderful cookware for their versatility and usefulness, I always seem to forget about mentioning one essential piece of cookware that everyone should own and use frequently.
I love a good stainless steel stockpot and I stole mine from my mother. As soon as I started cooking about 15 years ago, I came across the stainless steel pots that my mother had. Since I took over most of our cooking, I decided to appropriate those as mine.
I treasure my stainless steel pots. I wash them by hand and I don’t use metal utensils because I don’t want to create micro scratches.
Plus, I also want to mention that I love stainless steel stockpots because their prices are really affordable.
For a budget around $50-$70 we can buy a high-quality stainless steel stockpot of a pretty big size, like 8-12-15-16 quart.
They’re just slightly more affordable than the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Lid that I recommended above as one of the best pots for cooking chili.
I love the Cooks Standard Stainless Steel Stockpot because it’s incredibly well made, high quality, the lid is perfect, and the price is quite affordable.
We get a few sizes to choose from, which is great: 8 quart, 12 quart, and 16 quart.
People who buy the Cooks Standard Stainless Steel Stockpot and cook chili in it mostly go for the 8 quart or 12 quart pots.
We definitely don’t come across many people who would pick the 16 quart one because that’s certainly too big for most of us.
The Cooks Standard Stainless Steel Stockpot is made with polished 18/10 stainless steel with an aluminum disc layered in the bottom.
The aluminum disc provides even heat distribution and prevents hot spots.
We also get a stainless lid that keeps in heat and moisture.
And there are durable stainless steel riveted handles.
All in all, both the 8 quart and the 12 quart can be considered big enough for canning, jarring, and stewing.
And they’re oven safe up to 500 degrees F, just like Dutch oven.
Where to Buy?
3. NutriChef Stainless Steel Stockpot
If you don’t like the Cooks Standard Stainless Steel Stockpot that I reviewed above for whatever reason, then you should check out the NutriChef Stainless Steel Stockpot.
These two have a lot of things in common but there are also some differences that make the NutriChef Stainless Steel Stockpot stand out a bit.
There are more sizes to choose from, which might interest some people.
The smallest size is 3 quart, which is called a soup pot. It’s basically a medium pan.
Next, we have a 6 quart stockpot. This one can be big enough for cooking chili if you’re cooking for a small family.
Next, we have the usual sizes that we expect from most stockpots: 8 quart, 12 quart, 15 quart, and 19 quart.
People who use the NutriChef Stainless Steel Stockpot for cooking chili cook this comfort food in a variety of sizes.
Someone uses the 15 quart pot for making their famous chili. And they mention in their review that they’re going to be buying more in different sizes. That’s a resounding endorsement.
Another cook uses the 19 quart pot to make their big batch of chili. They describe it as the perfect size for everything. The heavy duty bottom really helps even heating. And they love the clear lid that lets us peek without losing heat.
Other people cook in the 12 quart and the 15 quart size is equally popular.
All in all, it seems that the NutriChef Stainless Steel Stockpot is highly popular in a variety of sizes.
The NutriChef Stainless Steel Stockpot is made of 18/8 non-reactive stainless steel.
It has an impact-bonded base for even heat distribution. The base thickness is wonderful.
It also comes with a glass tempered lid with a vent hole that allows steam to escape.
Of course, it’s induction ready. There are no compatibility limits.
Where to Buy?
4. Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 5-Quart Chili Pot with Cover
However, since it’s called a chili pot and we’re here looking for the best pots for cooking chili, I thought it would be nice to see what it offers.
Its shape resembles a Dutch oven a bit and the price around $50 is quite affordable.
It has a hard anodized exterior, made of aluminum, and the manufacturer promises unsurpassed heat distribution.
It’s also non-stick, which a Dutch oven and stainless steel stockpot aren’t but I don’t necessarily look for non-stick coatings when I’m looking for the best pots for cooking chili.
The Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 5-Quart Chili Pot with Cover comes with a quantanium nonstick coating.
I also don’t exactly prefer non-stick coatings for my pot because I know that these can’t last a lifetime. Even the most durable non-stick coating, be it ceramic, teflon, granite or something else won’t last for many years.
Cuisinart also mentions cool grip handles that are solid stainless steel riveted handles.
However, there are plenty of people who complain that the handles are absolutely not cool grip. Be careful about that.
The tempered glass lid is another thing that some cooks complain about. In some cases the glass lid shattered spontaneously while the food was simmering on a very low temperature.
Thus, aspects like that prevent me from really loving the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 5-Quart Chili Pot with Cover. I wanted to like it a lot more but I can’t, which is a shame.
Well, we should also keep in mind that there are also hundreds of cooks who really like it so there’s that.
Where to Buy?
5. Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven
Since I’ve started off my recommendations for the best pots for cooking chili with what I called the cheaper alternative to Le Creuset, it seems fitting to end my recommendations with the actual thing.
Obviously, my personal preference remains with the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Lid.
However, if you want a Dutch oven but you dream of spending $300-$400 on one, then Le Creuset is willing to come to your aid with their wonderful, expensive, beautiful pots.
I love that we get a wide variety of sizes to choose from. Le Creuset makes sure to meet the needs of everyone, whether they’re related to the size of the pot or the color of the pot and lid.
The sizes we can choose from are: 2 quart, 3.5 quart, 4.5 quart, 5.5 quart, 7.25 quart, 9 quart, and 13.25 quart.
It’s frankly amazing to see that we could buy a 13.25 quart Le Creuset. ALthough, the price around $500-$600 might shock a lot of you.
Generally, I would say to go for either the 5.5 quart or the 7.25 quart.
A few people might also consider buying the 9 quart model. As one user says, the 9 quart is the perfect size to make a big pot of chili or soups.
However, most people who love cooking chili in Le Creuset have gone with the two sizes that I recommended: 5.5 or 7 quart.
There are also a lot of beautiful colors to choose from. You’ll have a great time choosing the color you’d like.
Le Creuset mentions that enameled cast iron delivers superior heat distribution and retention.
There’s no need for seasoning because the cast iron is covered with an enameled coating.
It’s also easy to clean.
The durable enamel coating resists dulling, staining, chipping, and cracking.
On top of that we get a tight-fitting lid that is designed to circulate steam and return moisture back to the food. The stainless steel knob on the lid can withstand any oven temperature.
The ergonomic knobs and handles are perfect for easy lifting.
Also, the Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven is compatible with all cooktops and oven-safe up to 500 degrees F.
What I would like to say about enameled Dutch ovens, if you want to use them to bake bread, is that you shouldn’t preheat the pot empty, like we do with cast iron Dutch ovens. There’s a chance that the enamel coating might crack if we preheat it empty so it’s just best to skip this step.
Where to Buy?
6. Crock-Pot 7 Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel
Cooking in a slow cooker is preferable for those who just want to throw the ingredients in a pot, select a cooking speed and go about their business for the next few hours.
Using a slow cooker to make a wide variety of dishes can be a great thing for many people.
Is it better to cook chili in a crockpot or on the stove?
If you don’t want to buy an extra appliance, I recommend getting a pot like the ones I recommended above.
If you want a pot that can cook a variety of dishes and you prefer cooking on the stove, then choose a Dutch oven or a stainless steel crockpot. And the dishes will be delicious.
The Crock-Pot 7 Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker is among the cheapest. The price well under $50 is great.
It is a 7 quart manual slow cooker that serves 9+ people or fits a 7 pounds roast.
Set cooking time to high and get a hot meal in no time or set it on low and tonight’s dinner can cook while you’re at work.
We get two settings: low and high.
The crockpot goes automatically to warm.
The inner pot is ceramic, stoneware. We get a glass lid. And the stainless steel finish for the appliance makes it look very nice.
The removable stoneware can be used in the microwave and in the oven up to 400 degrees F.
Where to Buy?
Best pots for cooking chili FAQs
Let’s answer some questions about the best pots for cooking chili.
1. Does chili get better the longer it cooks?
Chili is a stewed dish and these kinds of dishes always taste better the longer they’re cooked. I don’t cook my chili in 30 minutes just like I don’t cook my Bolognese sauce in 30 minutes.
I cook chili until the flavors out of the meat, legumes, vegetables, and spices are all combined perfectly.
If you want to make your chili on low simmer with a lid on, you can cook it for up to 2 hours. If you want to cook a quick meal, you can cook it on high simmer with the lid off for 30-45 minutes. It depends how much time you have and how quickly you want to eat.
2. Is cast iron good for chili?
When we’re looking for the best pots for cooking chili, there are two main options to consider: cast iron and stainless steel stockpots.
Some people definitely prefer stainless steel stockpots and I love them, too, because they’re big, easy to cook in, and the chili made in them is absolutely delicious.
On the other hand, I also love making my chili recipes in an enameled cast iron Dutch ovens. Cooking in enameled cast iron is very easy and the capacity of some of these Dutch ovens will be perfect for many of us.
On the other hand, if you’re on a budget, I absolutely recommend getting a stainless steel stockpot. There’s no better choice for a budget around $60.
All in all, looking for the best pots for cooking chili becomes quite effortless once you have a budget in mind and you decide whether an enameled Dutch oven or a stainless steel stockpot would work best for your household.