Sometimes cooking calls for a gentle touch. It can’t be all scalding hot pans and flash frying, after all. Delicate dishes such as crème brûlée, cheesecake and hollandaise, require an equally delicate cooking method, known as a bain-marie.
A bain-marie is essentially a fancy French way to describe cooking something in a bath of hot water. This process envelopes the ingredients with gentle heat and promises more uniform cooking. One of the easiest ways to achieve this technique is by using a specialized setup known as a double boiler. This is basically one smaller pot on top of another larger pot. The larger pot has hot water simmering within it to transmit gentle heat to the smaller bowl.
You can, of course, make your own double boiler using your pots at home, but buying a specific set ensures your pots will fit together perfectly. Here, we’ve pulled together our four favorite double boilers on Amazon to help you create a perfect bain-marie.
1. All-Clad Double Boiler
All-Clad is synonymous with quality and this double boiler demonstrates why. Featuring a five-ply bonded construction of stainless steel, aluminum and copper, it promises reliable and uniform cooking. The 1.5-quart insert is made of porcelain to gently transfer the heat into whatever delicate ingredients you’re cooking. The setup is oven safe up to an incredible 600°F and is optimized for induction.
Pros: It can withstand very high heat.
Cons: The 2-quart size could be too small for some.
2. Mauviel Stainless Steel Bain-Marie
Mauviel has been serving up premium handcrafted cookware since 1830 and is the choice of Michelin-starred chefs across the globe. This high-quality bain-marie continues that legacy. Made from cast stainless steel, the double boiler offers outstanding heat conductivity, as well as controlled heat distribution. That means you’ll never burn that hollandaise that you’re trying so desperately to perfect. The setup can be used on all cooking surfaces, from a halogen stovetop to the oven, and the handles will stay nice and cool during use.
Pros: Its exquisite craftsmanship ensures you’ll use it for ages.
Cons: It’s the priciest option on this list.
3. T-fal 3-Quart Double Boiler
This model has a larger capacity than most of its competitors but is simple to maneuver thanks to its ergonomic phenolic handle. The bottom saucepan is crafted from nonstick aluminum and can be used on its own for all kinds of different recipes, while the top boiler is made of stainless steel. Thanks to the glass lid, which fits atop of both pots, you can carefully watch throughout the entire cooking process.
Pros: The entire set is dishwasher safe, so cleaning is a cinch.
Cons: Because the double boiler has an aluminum exterior, you cannot use it on induction stoves.
4. Farberware Stainless Steel Double Boiler
With a thick aluminum core surrounded by a stainless steel layer that ensures fast and even heating, Faberware’s take on this kitchen workhorse is a worthy addition to any set of pots and pansa. It’s compatible with any type of cooktop, even induction, and is both stylish and durable. The classic saucepot handles offer easy and comfortable handling and are oven safe to 350°F.
Pros: It’s induction compatible.
Cons: You are limited to 350°F in the oven due to the handles.