Unknown pots

I am interested in knowing what the top pot is used for. I have a similar pot with holes at the bottom. I used this one to steam vegetables while I come something on the bottom pot. This makes sense, however the pot on the picture has no holes so I don't know how it would be used. The boiling water will not be able to pass into the top pot. What is this used for?

If this is not a good question to ask please help me make it better.

  • 2
    Double boiler! If you don't have this then to "imitate" this pot, boil water in sauce pan and put a smaller pan with whatever ingredients, say chocolate, in the the bigger pan. Simple hack.
    – Kumar
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 4:29
  • 1
    @Kumar You can also rest a larger pan over the rim of a smaller pan so that the steam does the work.
    – rfusca
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 4:49

2 Answers 2


It's a double boiler. You use it when you need to use 'soft' heat.

If you need to melt chocolate, or if you are making a hollandaise, or something that can easily scorch using direct heat, you use this pot. It has a much more forgiving heat, the heat is generated from steam from the water that boils in the bottom pot.


"Double boiler" or "bain Marie".

Put simmering water (and keep it at a simmer) in the lower pot (not touching the bottom of the top pot) and then put the top pot it. The idea that the constant temperature of the simmering steam is provide an even, predictable, well manageable temperature - 100 C. Its great for tempering chocolate (although be careful of condensation) or doing fragile sauces since you know you can't get it scorching hot by accident.

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