3 BEST Double Boiler Substitutes You Should Try

Are you looking for an easy, foolproof way to melt chocolate and make the perfect custard? If so, a double boiler is the kitchen tool for you.

A double boiler is an essential piece of cookware for many recipes and is often used for cooking delicate foods that require gentle and consistent heat.

But what if you don’t have a double boiler? Not to worry—there are several great substitutes for a double boiler that yield the same results without having to purchase a special piece of cookware.

Read on to learn more about the three best substitutes for a double boiler.

What is a Double Boiler?

A double boiler is a kitchen essential that is used for cooking delicate sauces, melt chocolate, and even making custards.

It is made up of two pots, a smaller upper pot that fits perfectly inside the larger one that is filled with water.

The food is placed in the upper pot, and the water in the lower pot creates steam that slowly heats the food in the upper pot without direct heat, making it gentler and preventing food from burning.

The direct steam heat from the double boiler is gentle and even perfect for melting chocolate, making custards and puddings, and heating milk for sauces and soups.

However, double boilers can be difficult to find and expensive, meaning that you may be looking for alternatives.

Thankfully, there are plenty of easy and inexpensive ways to replace a double boiler.

The most common alternative is to use a bowl placed over a pan of hot water.

This allows you to place the food in the bowl and let it cook as the steam from the hot water rises.

Another great option is to use a heatproof glass or ceramic bowl over a pot of boiling water.

This method works well for food that needs to be stirred, such as custards or sauces.

Lastly, you can use a pot with a steamer basket.

Simply place the steamer basket over a pot of boiling water and place the food in the basket.

This is a great way to steam vegetables, fish, and more.

These simple alternatives can help you achieve the same results as a double boiler and make cooking delicate sauces and custards easy and fun.

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Even though a double boiler is a great kitchen tool to have, these alternatives are an easy and inexpensive way to create the same delicious dishes without having to purchase a double boiler.

3 BEST Double Boiler Substitutes You Should Try

Double boilers are a great tool for cooking recipes that require both gentle, indirect heat and moisture, such as when melting chocolate or stirring custards.

Unfortunately, a double boiler is not a kitchen tool that everyone has lying around.

If you don’t have one, there are some simple substitutes that you can use to get the same effect.

1 – The Pot-in-Pot Method

The pot-in-pot method is a great alternative to a double boiler for those who don’t have one available.

To use the pot-in-pot method, simply choose two pots that can fit one inside of the other.

One pot should fit snugly inside the other.

Fill the larger pot with 1-2 inches of water and place the smaller pot inside.

Then, add the ingredients that need to be cooked in the smaller pot.

Place the two pots on the stove and heat the water until it boils.

The steam produced by the boiling water will rise and cook the contents of the inner pot.

This method is ideal for melting butter, chocolate, cheese, or any ingredient that needs to be heated slowly and gently.

Because the food is heated indirectly, the pot-in-pot technique helps to prevent burning and scorching and ensures that the heat is distributed evenly.

The pot-in-pot method can also be used to make delicate sauces, caramel, and even yogurt.

If using the pot-in-pot method, it is important to keep an eye on the water in the bottom pot.

If the water starts to evaporate, be sure to add more so that the steam is consistent and the food cooks evenly.

Additionally, be sure to use oven mitts when handling either pot to avoid burns.

The pot-in-pot method is a suitable and effective substitute for a double boiler and is a great way to make delicate dishes without the need for special equipment.

Plus, the pot-in-pot technique is easy to use and provides consistent results.

2 – The Bain Marie Method

The Bain Marie method is one of the oldest and most popular methods of double boiler cooking.

It involves using a heatproof container, such as a metal bowl, placed over a pan or bowl of boiling or near-boiling water.

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This allows the heat from the boiling water to gently heat the contents of the container without it ever coming into contact with the water itself.

As a result, the heat is evenly distributed, and temperatures are more consistent.

The Bain Marie method of double boiler cooking is ideal for delicate ingredients and recipes, such as custards, cream sauces, and melted chocolate.

With this method, the heat is so gentle that it won’t scald or cook the delicate ingredients too quickly.

The dense metal of the container also helps to evenly disperse the heat.

The Bain Marie method is also a great tool for melting butter, cheeses, and chocolate over low heat.

This way, the ingredients can be heated slowly, allowing them to remain in a liquid state while they melt and mix.

To use the Bain Marie method, one will need to find a large pot or bowl that has been designed to sit on top of a larger pot or bowl of boiling or near-boiling water.

It’s important to make sure that the container is heatproof and won’t leach any chemicals into the food.

Once the container is ready, fill it with the ingredients that need to be heated, and place it over the pot or bowl of boiling water.

It’s important to keep a watchful eye over the food, stirring it occasionally to ensure that it doesn’t burn.

Once the food has reached the desired temperature, it’s ready to be served.

The Bain Marie method of double boiler cooking is ideal for anyone looking to heat or melt their ingredients gently and evenly.

With its easy setup and quick results, it makes double boiler cooking accessible and achievable to just about anyone.

3 – Using the Oven Instead of the Stovetop

When it comes to cooking, one of the most important cooking techniques to learn is the double boiler.

This is a crucial step when making custards and sauces, as it helps to create a gentle and even heat.

However, if you don’t have a double boiler, you can still use your oven for cooking up a delicious dish.

Using your oven as a substitution for a double boiler is fairly simple, but it does require some extra effort.

To begin, you’ll need to find a heat-safe glass or ceramic bowl that will fit comfortably in your oven.

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It’s important to make sure the bowl is made of heat-safe material, as it could potentially shatter if exposed to too much heat.

Once you’ve chosen the right bowl, you’ll need to fill it with water.

If you’re making a custard or sauce, you’ll need to place the bowl inside the oven and then surround it with a shallow pool of hot water.

This pool of hot water will act as an insulator, allowing the heat from the oven to be evenly distributed around the bowl.

Once your setup is complete, you’ll need to turn the oven on and set the heat to low.

This will give your ingredients a gentle heat, allowing them to thicken slowly and come together.

You may also need to adjust the heat intermittently to make sure the ingredients are cooking evenly.

When it comes to double-boiler techniques, there are a few things to bear in mind.

Make sure to check on your ingredients regularly and stir them often to prevent any burning.

Also, if you’re using a glass or ceramic bowl, be sure to keep an eye on the bowl itself, as it could potentially crack or break if left in the oven for too long.

Overall, using the oven instead of a double boiler is a great way to make delicious custards, sauces, and other dishes.

Just remember to use the right amount of water and adjust the heat accordingly to create an even cooking environment.

With patience and practice, you’ll be able to master the art of double-boiler cooking in no time.


In conclusion, it is possible to achieve the same results as a double boiler without one.

Whether you choose the pot-in-pot method, the bain marie method, or just use the oven instead of the stovetop, you can properly melt ingredients with the same results as a double boiler.

However, for absolutely perfect results, a double boiler is still the best option.

With the methods laid out in this article, though, having a double boiler is not a necessity.

3 BEST Double Boiler Substitutes You Should Try

3 BEST Double Boiler Substitutes You Should Try

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 – The Pot-in-Pot Method
  • 2 – The Bain Marie Method
  • 3 – Using the Oven Instead of the Stovetop


  1. Choose a preferred substitute from the provided list.
  2. Follow the cooking instructions for the selected substitute.
  3. Use the correct proportion of ingredients when preparing the substitute.

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