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Double Boiler Substitute

Double boilers are used for cooking food by using two pots; a large pot plus a small one that uses steam. This technique can, however, also be used even in the absence of a double boiler.

You can use a mason jar, a mixing pot, and a pot, bain-marie, microwave, or two pots. The steam from the larger pot, which is filled with hot water, heats the one placed at the top.

The smaller pot fitted on top of the larger one uses the steam to heat the intended food. A double boiler is an efficient kitchen tool used to apply heat on a stovetop gently.

This article focuses on what can be used instead of a double boiler to effectively cook or heat food.

How Is A Double Boiler Used?

A double boiler’s main purpose is to heat gently without burning its content regardless of how delicate the content is heated without overheating or burning its contents.

For example, it can melt subtle things like chocolate though not limited to such tasks. The delicate food is fitted inside the smaller pot and put on a larger pot, which is placed heat. Other uses of a double boiler are to keep side dishes and sauces warm.

Top 5 Substitutes of a Double Boiler

Mason Jar

A mason jar can substitute a broiler if you want to melt some chocolate when making your meals. Start by putting the mason jar’s ring at the bottom of a slow cooker or a pan, fill it with water and bring the water to heat. Place your chocolate in the mason jar, place it on the hot water, and make sure it stands on the rings and not directly on the pan’s bottom.

Mixing bowl plus a pot

This substitute only works when you use a heatproof bowl. The bowl is placed on top of a pot. It should fit snugly or easy removal while allowing excellent trapping of steam. The best choice would be an aluminum bowl because it tends to conduct heat fast, which means short cooking time and hot spot formation prevention.

However, if you are heating or cooking acidic food ingredients, use stainless steel, ceramic or heat-friendly glass bowl. These bowls are slow heat conductors and therefore require you to stir your ingredients to prevent burning due to hot spots.


A Bain-marie is widely used to gently heat ingredients or keep food warm for a specified period. The best one should have high sides to hold all your delicate food, such as custards and chocolates. The smaller container with the ingredients is placed on top, and the bain-marie is put on the stove to allow the water to boil and use steam for cooking the food at the top.


A microwave can be used when a double boiler is not available. However, it’s not manually controllable, and you have to put up with its high temperature, which may not be an idea for some ingredients.

Also, make sure you stir your food every few minutes. But, avoid using a microwave when dealing with extremely delicate ingredients.

Two Pots

This is the most preferred option for a double boiler, and it just what it says; two pots. It is straightforward and the easiest to use. Just get two pots and add some water in one of them (the smaller one), and place the bigger pot on top to allow your food to cook through the steam’s heat.

Double Boiler Substitute
Double Boiler

What to avoid when using a double boiler substitute:

  • You should not fill the pot containing water more than halfway. This is because the water may tend to spill out when it reaches the boiling point.
  • Maintain the simmer. This can be satisfied by adjusting the stovetop by either reducing, increasing, or turning off the heat source.
  • Handle the pots extra-carefully. The pots become very hot with time, and you must therefore use protective gloves when handling them.


Always choose a double boiler alternative with excellent heat transfer. It not only ensures smooth cooking but also saves you time. Heating delicate things require gentle heat with even distribution.

A double boiler is usually used for this purpose, but even its substitutes can do a clean job when used properly.

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