Double Boilers: What They Are and How to Use Them

You can easily hack your way into using a double boiler at home, too!

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A double boiler is a kitchen tool that applies gentle heat to food. It’s made of two pots: the first containing at least 1 inch of simmering water, and the second placed above it. The second pot doesn’t touch the water, so the steam that’s created is what slowly heats up the food.


Double boilers are often used for melting chocolate (because heat is chocolate’s enemy!) and making simple emulsions or sauces like hollandaise. When you’re working with heat-sensitive ingredients like egg yolks and chocolate, it is best to work with slow and gentle heat to avoid any breakage or splitting in your sauces. Another use for double boilers is to keep sauces and gravy warm until they are needed.


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If you don’t have a double boiler at home—worry not! It’s easy to hack. All you have to do is place a heat proof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. Make sure that the water doesn’t boil and that the bowl doesn’t touch the simmering water.


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