pots for gumbo

7 Best Pots for Gumbo (With Buyer’s Guide)

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Gumbo is an incredibly hearty, and filling stew that packs quite the flavor punch. But as we always say, to make incredible dishes, you need incredible tools. At the very least, a fantastic versatile, and efficient cooking vessel.

So today, we look at the best pots for Gumbo making. Because of the long and slow cooking process, it’s best to buy pots that are made from extremely durable and non-reactive materials. We prefer large round pots made from stainless steel, cast iron, carbon steel, or coated steel. 

The pot should be big enough to make the Gumbo batch that you need but not too large to be a nuisance when it comes to storage. It should be affordable, durable, easy to clean, and a fantastic distributor and maintainer of heat.

In this article, we will look at an in-depth buyer’s guide that will help you narrow down the option that will work best for you. Then, we will also take a look at the best Gumbo pots, which all can be found online. Let’s get started!

What Is Gumbo and How Is It Made?

Gumbo is an extremely popular and world-renowned soup that originated in Louisiana in the United States. While it is primarily made in North America, it is gaining popularity across the globe, with more and more people looking into buying a Gumbo pot specifically.

So, to better understand what type of pot you will need, you need to understand what goes into making Gumbo and how it should be made.

First of all, Gumbo is a soup or stew that includes main elements like heavily seasoned stock, meat or shellfish (oftentimes both are included), a thickening agent, celery, bell peppers, and onions.

Common additions to any type of Gumbo are sausages, leafy greens, and herbs.

Now, there are a couple of different types of Gumbo. And we aren’t talking about additional ingredients added.

They are mainly classified according to the type of thickener used in the recipe. They can either be thickened with okra powder or filé powder (made from dried sassafras leaves). You also get Gumbos like a New Orleans Gumbo, made with a dark chocolate-like roux. Or a Cajun Gumbo made with a dark roux, shellfish, and fowl. 

How to Make Gumbo – A Brief Overview

So, it sounds great and all, but how is Gumbo actually made?

First, it’s important to know that Gumbo has to cook for a minimum of three hours! Most of them, however, cook the entire day. So, as you can imagine, you will need a cooking vessel that can handle prolonged exposure to direct heat.

To start, the meat is first browned. This gives it some color but also an extra umami caramelized flavor. 

Next, the thickener is prepared. Depending on what you are using, the exact steps and techniques may differ. 

Then, the vegetables are cooked and combined with broth or stock, meat, and thickener. 

You can bring the entire pot to a rolling boil. Once boiling, the heat can be lowered and your Gumbo can be left to simmer for at least 3 hours.

This amount of time will ensure that your meat is uber-tender and falls apart. The seafood or shellfish is usually added last because it cooks fairly quickly. And trust us. You don’t want to overcook it in Gumbo!

Buyer’s Guide for Gumbo Pots

So, because of the long cooking times for Gumbos, you need a sturdy pot. But, it’s not as straightforward as it sounds.

pots for gumbo

Below is an in-depth guide that will help you choose the best pot for this dish. Because if you just end up using any old vessel, your Gumbo could come out sub-par, which is the last thing you want to realize after a 3-hour cooking period!

Material

Personally, for any dish that has long periods of cooking, we recommend a very sturdy material. This can include something like cast iron or heavy-bottomed stainless steel pots.

While both these materials have a range of other benefits for making Gumbo, they will last you a lifetime!

Stainless steel is a fantastic conductor and retainer of heat. It won’t react with the ingredients in the stew, give off any strange flavors, or discolor the liquids in any way. It’s also relatively affordable depending on the brand you buy.

Cast iron (or coated cast iron) pots are much more expensive. But they can last a century if well looked after! These pots take longer to heat but can retain them extremely well. This means you’ll be able to hold the Gumbo warm for hours at a safe temperature.

Furthermore, cast iron pots come in a variety of beautiful designs and colors. It’s easy to use and perfect for serving as well.

Materials like aluminum or even aluminum blends aren’t great for slow cooking. They are reactive with some ingredients, can warp when heated for too long, and don’t hold heat well. Don’t even bother with pots like these, even if they are cheap.

Design and Size

Now, considering we are only looking at stainless steel or cast iron pots, the designs are pretty similar in both.

It would be best to choose a pot that is quite large and round. Stay away from strange shapes like oval or square.

When making Gumbo, you RARELY make small portions – pretty much like any stew. So, a pot that can hold around 8 quarts (7.57 liters) of liquid should be sufficient for a small recipe.

However, you can also opt for larger stock pots (mainly available in stainless steel) around 10-14 quarts (9.46 – 13.24 liters).

Design-wise, just make sure the handles are sturdy. For cast iron cookware, the vessel is usually made from one piece of metal, making these pots EXTREMELY durable.

The pot should also be easy to handle and always come with a tight-fitting lid.

Easy to Clean

Another factor that far too many people overlook is the ease of cleaning. And if you’re not sure what we are talking about, think back to the last time you spent hours scrubbing a pot or pan. THAT is what you want to avoid.

Dutch ovens are easy to clean but do require some maintenance. If they aren’t coated with an enamel layer they can easily start to rust. You also need to regularly season your cast iron to help prolong its shelf life.

That being said, cast iron is easy to clean and you can scrub it with a pot scour (only if it doesn’t have a coating). You can also leave it to soak without worries.

Stainless steel is also super easy to clean. It is slightly non-stick, but more often than not, the base will catch a little. You can use a pot scour to clean it, but it’s best to use a fabric scrubber. 

This material doesn’t rust at all and has minimal (if any) maintenance. And you can even clean it in the dishwasher, although that’s something we generally avoid.

Versatility

Don’t buy a pot if you aren’t planning on making Gumbo, or any type of stew, regularly. If it’s something you want to give a try, rather invest in an affordable but still quality stainless steel pots.

However, if this is something you make often, definitely splurge on a more heavy-duty pot instead.

Also, always make sure that your cooking vessel is multi-functional. There’s no point you buy an 18-quart stock pot that can only be used for making Gumbo. It would be better to invest in a smaller pot that can be used for smaller stews and soups as well, like a 12-quart pot.

7 Best Pots for Gumbo

So, without further ado, let’s look at the best pots for making Gumbo.

gumbo

In today’s list of options, we tried to include as many products that will help suit all of your needs. Most of these are multi-functional, all of them are extremely sturdy and well-built, and every single pot is well worth its price, no matter whether that’s cheap or on the more expensive side.

If you still aren’t sure which one to go for, it’s best to think about what other uses you may have for it. That should help narrow down the options.

Let’s take a look!

RankProductKey Features
1.NutriChef 12-Quart Stainless Steel Stock Pot With LidThe big 12-quart size makes it extremely versatile, especially for larger recipes. It’s also made from heavy-duty stainless steel and can be used on all cooktops, including induction.
2.Cook N Home 8 Quart Stainless Steel Stock PotThe 8-quart size makes it perfect for smaller batches of Gumbo (serving roughly 10 people). Another heavy-duty stainless steel pot is cheaper because of the lesser-known brand name.
3.Le Creuset 10-Quart Stock PotA versatile pot that comes in a variety of beautiful colors and shades. Heavy-duty carbon steel material that can last you a lifetime.
4.Meuller CuraCast 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch OvenA heavy-duty cast iron Dutch oven is perfect for smaller kitchens or smaller portions. It will last you a lifetime and is extremely functional.
5.Rachel Ray Brights Non-Stick 6 Quarts Stock PotLightweight, budget option for small recipes. It also comes in a variety of colors to match your style.
6.Dartmoor 9 Quart Pre-Seasoned Outdoors Cast Iron Dutch OvenExtremely durable material that will last you a lifetime. Retains heat well and evenly. It’s also perfectly suited for indoor and outdoor use on all cooking surfaces!
7.Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 12-Quart Stock PotA perfect all-rounder that comes at an affordable price. The larger size makes it more versatile while keeping its great functionality.

1. NutriChef 12-Quart Stainless Steel Stock Pot With Lid

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NutriChef 12-Quart Stainless Steel Stock Pot With Lid

First up on today’s list is a simple yet highly efficient and versatile option for a Gumbo pot.

To start, this NutriChef stock pot is made with 18/8 food-grade heavy-duty stainless steel. It has a mirror polish exterior and a matte interior. This may sound irrelevant to many, but the benefit of this design is that the outside can always stay pretty, and the inside will never look dull.

Next, as we’ve already mentioned in the buyer’s guide, stainless steel is an extremely durable material that is also an excellent heat conductor and retainer, making your cooking process much easier.

It can also withstand prolonged periods of heating and won’t react with your food in any way. It’s super easy to clean and requires the bare minimum when it comes to maintenance.

Another handy benefit to this product is that it comes with a see-through lid. This enables you to check the progress of your stew as it cooks while insulating the steam build-up and heat.

The reason we chose the 12-quart pot instead of a smaller or bigger one is that this size is arguably the most versatile for stews and soups.

You can make very big batches of Gumbo, but still, use the pot for smaller batches. If the stock pot was any smaller, you wouldn’t be able to cook for many people. And, if it was any larger, it would be extremely difficult to use and store unless you have the proper facilities.

NutriChef is also a more expensive brand for cookware. So, this is definitely an investment, but one that can last you a lifetime. That being said, they aren’t anywhere close to being the most expensive brand out there. So, this product especially is a fantastic affordable option for a quality pot.

If you want a different-sized option, NutriChef has virtually all the ones you will need, from 2 quarts to 19 quarts in this specific model range. You can also use all of these on gas, electric, ceramic, and induction stovetops.

2. Cook N Home 8 Quart Stainless Steel Stock Pot

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Cook N Home 8 Quart Stainless Steel Stock Pot

Next up, we have another stainless steel stock pot, but this option is slightly cheaper than the NutriChef. This is mainly because it’s a lesser-known brand, and the pot is significantly smaller. 

That being said, it is one of the best budget (and quality) options out there! So, what are its benefits?

Pretty much the same as any basic stainless steel stock pot. It’s heavy-duty, non-reactive, durable, sturdy, and easy to clean.

This product also comes with a see-through lid to make the cooking process much easier.

The size is truly what makes this pot great for Gumbo. You won’t necessarily be able to make massive batches of stew at a time. But it’s perfect for family meals and still extremely versatile in how you can use it, arguably more than a 12-quart pot!

3. Le Creuset 10-Quart Stock Pot

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Le Creuset 10-Quart Stock Pot

Most Le Creuset cookware is made from carbon steel or cast iron that has been coated in an enamel or porcelain coating. The benefits of these pots are their durability and sleek, stylish design. What’s even better is that they come in a large variety of colors that can match your kitchen’s aesthetic!

While this is a very expensive pot, it can be passed down through generations. And, because of the porcelain coating, there is little to no maintenance that needs to be done other than cleaning, drying, and properly storing the pot.

So, what makes carbon steel cookware so great? 

This material is relatively lightweight. This makes it easy to handle while it’s still one of the most durable options out there. It’s also an excellent conductor of heat, retains it well, and is easy to clean.

Furthermore, the porcelain coating makes it slightly non-stick and is also what reduces the amount of maintenance on this material.

Le Creuset offers a variety of colors and sizes for this design. And again, while this is a much more expensive pot, it will last you a lifetime!

4. Meuller CuraCast 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

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Meuller CuraCast 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

While smaller pots generally aren’t great for making Gumbo, not everybody has unlimited kitchen space for storing larger pots. And while this specific brand only offers this pot in 6 quarts, MANY other brands have virtually the same thing, just at a different price.

Now, the benefits of this pot. It’s made from enamel-coated cast iron. This makes it low-maintenance, easy to clean, extremely durable, and naturally (slightly) non-stick. 

It’s a material that takes a while to heat up but can retain that temperature for HOURS! It’s a fantastic option for making stews like Gumbo but also roasts, braised cuts, soups, and other cooking techniques, like simply cooking some rice.

The biggest downside is the cost and the weight. Because it’s made from such a heavy-duty material, the pot is quite heavy. It’s not a big problem, but don’t store it on top of other things or flimsy shelves. 

The price, albeit expensive, is justified. It’s another type of cooking vessel that you can pass down to your great-grandchildren if you look after it well!

5. Rachel Ray Brights Non-Stick 6 Quarts Stock Pot

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Rachel Ray Brights Non-Stick 6 Quarts Stock Pot

Another pot that is on the smaller side, but the difference is the material it is made from and ultimately, the price.

If you cannot afford cast iron enameled pots or if you don’t have the capabilities to safely store them, you can still buy an uber-stylish, highly functional small stock pot at a much lower price.

So, first of all, this pot is made from aluminum. While we did say “no aluminum” for slow cooking techniques, this pot is different. Why? Because it’s coated. So, it cannot react with the food during the cooking period.

The non-stick coating is durable as long as you take good care of it and avoid any scratching. That also means only using cooking utensils that won’t scratch the surface. Wooden or silicone spoons are great!

Furthermore, the aluminum heats very quickly and evenly, a must-have benefit when cooking Gumbo.

The product also comes in a variety of colors so you can match your kitchen’s look. And the lid is completely see-through making it easy to monitor the progress of your Gumbo without losing heat.

The handles of this pot are also heat resistant, sturdy, and very easy to work with.

All in all, at a fraction of the price, you can get a budget option that looks great and works even better!

6. Dartmoor 9 Quart Pre-Seasoned Outdoors Cast Iron Dutch Oven

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Dartmoor 9 Quart Pre-Seasoned Outdoors Cast Iron Dutch Oven

We had to include an outdoor pot for Gumbo. In many Louisiana households, it’s the traditional way of cooking it: on a hot open fire or steamy coals.

This Dutch oven can still be used indoors. It doesn’t have peg legs to keep it above the flames, so can be placed directly on the cooktop.

The benefits of getting an outdoor Dutch oven like this are that you can use it on camping trips, barbecues, and, of course, indoors as well. This makes it much more versatile than any of the other options on our list today. You can even use it inside the oven!

A 9-quart pot size is also extremely versatile. You can bake flatbreads, make stock, broth, stew, soup, and much more.

The cast iron material is extremely durable, conducts and retains heat well, and will never break!

Downside? It’s extremely heavy, and it doesn’t have a protective coating. This means that you will need to properly clean, dry, and season the material after every use. But it’s a very quick process and super easy. The pros far outweigh the cons!

7. Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 12-Quart Stock Pot

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Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 12-Quart Stock Pot

And finally, sometimes the simplest pot is the best for more versatile needs. Cuisinart is well-known for producing high-quality cookware at reasonable prices, and this range of pots is no different.

Again, we chose a slightly bigger size to enable versatility in cooking. The stainless steel material allows you to heat the pot quickly, maintain that heat efficiently, and clean it effortlessly. It’s also dishwasher-safe and will never rust!

It’s designed with sturdy, cool grip handles that won’t easily burn you. Their shape also makes them super easy and comfortable to use, especially considering this is a larger pot.

So again, a perfect all-rounder that comes at a great price and that can truly last you decades and decades.

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