I was making steamed chicken soup in a clay pot, and think I may have steamed/simmered the larger stock pot dry. My arrangement was like so: I had a large stock pot with a few cups of water in it (an image of the stock pot after I finished cooking in it is attached), a steaming trivet (looks like this) in the water/stock pot, and on top of the trivet a clay pot (this one, also pictured for ease of reference) in which the chicken itself sat.

The particular recipe I use for the soup requires a long steaming time of around 3 hours, so I usually stay close by and continually refill the water as it gradually simmers away/evaporates. At some point, however, I did not refill the water in time and I began to smell a sort of chicken-y smell -- not necessarily one of burning, but it was a sort of savory scent that made me think that I should check the chicken.

I think there was only a very small amount of water left in the stock pot, but it was hard for me to tell as the bottom of the stockpot is black, and the clay pot inside obscured most of my view of the bottom; I'm guessing some water remained because the bottom had a shiny sort of sheen as if it were wet.

This is the large stock pot I used after I finished: enter image description here

This is a photo on Amazon of the clay pot I used: enter image description here

I'm not entirely sure the bottom of the larger stock pot actually simmered/steamed dry, and I didn't purchase it myself so I'm not sure what it's made of. My question is whether the chicken soup is safe to consume, and whether both the clay pot and stock pot are safe to continue using?

Thank you for your time and I apologize if this is a silly question -- I appreciate any responses/insight.

2 Answers 2


I think that the soup is safe to eat as it was inside a clay pot. No worries there.

The stock pot looks rather sad. How does it look after cleaning it? If it still looks like that, I'd ditch it. I guess it's a rather cheap thing. A good stock pot doesn't have to be expensive. I'd go for a thick bottomed, large, stainless steel, pressure cooker. If the bottom has aluminum in it, that's golden.

  • 1
    Thank you so much for your insight! The marks on the stock pot wash off, but I do think I will be investing in a new one in the near future anyway :)
    – msjcha
    Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 5:43

I don’t think it’s quite the same situation, but I once made the mistake of reducing chicken stock and scorched the (stainless steel) pot. The smell was pretty bad (not quite burnt hair, but close)

I ended up running a few rounds of boiling, deglazing, and scrubbing to get off the stuff that had burnt onto the bottom of the pot. I probably should’ve used something like Barkeeper’s Friend.

In the end, the pot came out fine. It’s discolored, but I didn’t notice any flavor transfer or other issues with it.

It’s possible that your pot is in worse shape, or you value your time more than the pot. You could try donating it a thrift store, and maybe someone who’s up for cleaning it can get a great deal. You could also turn it into something used for non-food. (Potted plant, etc)

  • 1
    Thank you for your insight! The marks washed off, but I think you may be on to something as I will likely invest in a new stock pot in the near future. :)
    – msjcha
    Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 5:44

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