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I like cooking soups, however often as not the lentils or oats stick to the bottom of the pot and start to burn. I like cooking my soups over several hours in a large pot.

How can I avoid this?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

Cook on a lower heat, in a pan with a thicker base, to distribute the heat. Check every now and again, and add water if the soup has become too thick. Also, the occasional stir can only help.

Consider buying a slow cooker -- there are very cheap models that do the job well.

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Heavy-bottomed pots is the way to go. – citizen Oct 20 '12 at 2:05

One time I didn't stir my pea soup frequently enough and it stuck to the bottom. Without stirring up the burnt parts, I dumped it all into a second pot (stainless steel). All the burnt stuff was still in the other pan which I cleaned and went back to my other pot.

I put a cast iron frying pan on the stove (it would distribute heat much better then a pot). I put the stainless steel pot inside the cast iron frying pan and put vegetable oil around the inside of the cast iron frying pan. This would absorb the heat from the frying pan and distribute it evenly around the pot. I kept the oil in the frying pan hot enough to simmer the pea soup.

Well what do you know? It worked - no more stuck soup! I stirred the pea soup about every 10 or 15 minutes just to keep it mixed up.

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Add some meat or broth (chicken, beef) in your pot.
Basically add something, that will turn water into oily/fatty liquid.

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Oil or fat will float to the top of the pot because it is less dense than water. This won't help with food items burning on the bottom. – Aaronut Mar 9 '11 at 18:08
You're probably right. It's just I always cook it with meat and it never sticks, hence my advice. – z-boss Mar 9 '11 at 21:37

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