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This Compact Pasta Pot Has Already Improved My Spaghetti Routine

May 29, 2023

By Megan Wahn

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Stockpots are heavy-duty pieces of cookware. Our top-rated stockpot—the All-Clad tri-ply stainless steel stockpot—is an 8-quart behemoth. But you don't always need all that boiling and simmering space. For those who could do with something smaller there's the Kuhn Rikon 4th Burner Pot. Unlike the All-Clad, the Kuhn Rikon comes in at a much smaller 3 quarts. Where the All-Clad is wide, the Kuhn Rikon is tall and thin, meaning it can nestle right next to all your other cookware on a shelf or in a cabinet. It's also significantly cheaper than your average stockpot. But how well does it actually work? And does its smaller size limit its abilities? Read on to find out.

I mostly know Kuhn Rikon for their versatile and sleek paring knife, but I’d never really used any of the brand's cookware. The Kuhn Rikon 4th Burner Pot, so called because it will fit on the oft-unused small burner on your stovetop—essentially functions as a smaller stockpot or pasta pot with a 12-cup (three-quart) capacity. It's a simple piece of cookware—just the pot and lid—although it does come with a steamer basket. Other than that, it's a stainless steel pot with a small spout and a red silicone encased curved handle on the side (versus handles on either side, like a normal stockpot). The lid similarly features a red silicone covered handle, as well as different-sized strainer holes on either side. According to the product description, the pot's bottom is an 18/10 stainless steel and aluminum sandwich base that's meant to facilitate even heat distribution.

The pot is mostly marketed as a piece to use on a crowded stovetop. Other reviewers explained it's ideal for a camper with small burners or to cook in more modest batches, while our reviews editor Noah Kaufman mentions it as something to make small servings of pasta for his kids. It can be particularly useful for long, dried pastas like spaghetti or fettuccine because it's actually taller than 6- or 8-quart stock pots. It's 10.6" tall compared to our favorite All-Clad, which is only 5.75" tall.

You can cook pasta or use the steamer basket to boil eggs, steam some corn, and cook asparagus. Once you’re done, strain the water using the spout and strainer lid and you’re ready to go.

It might be good for a camper, but I found it ideal to use in a small apartment or in situations where you’re cooking for one or two. It's smaller than a standard stockpot and a lot thinner, so it's easier to store in a cabinet or cart.

Though it's small I actually found that this pot produced a lot more than just a single serving of pasta. To start off using the pot, I made some creamy gochujang carbonara and ended up having plenty of leftovers for two to three more servings. One thing worth noting is that, if you’re making a dish that requires tossing pasta with its sauce in the stockpot, the 4th Burner Pot might prove slightly difficult because of its tall, thin shape.

I also noticed a lot of small, otherwise insignificant qualities that quietly added to the functionality of the stockpot, like its lid. The pot itself has a small little spout on the side, while the lid has two sets of different size holes on either side to help with straining and draining, thereby eliminating the need for a colander and adding to the pot's overall versatility. (One thing to note about the lid though is that, despite the silicone covered handles that are meant to be heat resistant, the top still got quite hot when the pasta was boiling).

The steamer basket is another nice touch. I used it to boil eggs for deviled eggs and it worked perfectly. As with the lid I did find myself reaching for a hot pad to lift the steamer basket out of the pot despite the silicone handle. I also found myself a little apprehensive about the height of the pot when it came to putting the eggs in and used tongs instead of just dropping them in like I normally might.

I used the steamer basket for corn as well and got four ears in (with room for at least one more), proving once again that this pot has a much larger capacity than a "single-serving." The resulting corn was also firm yet delicious to bite into.

You’ll usually find stockpots of 6 or 8 quarts. If you live in a small space, cookware that size can consume precious real estate, especially if you’re someone who isn't frequently throwing dinner parties. If you live alone, have a crowded kitchen, or just want a really easy pot to cook spaghetti in, then the 4th Burner Pot is for you.