Like Korean BBQ or Ethiopian stew, Chinese hot pot is a dish that’s all about a shared experience. Everyone takes part in the same communal bowl, gradually adding meats, veggies and seafood to the boiling broth. You then grab the food and dip it in your preferred sauce. Hot pot can be enjoyed at a restaurant or at home, whether that’s with a group of drinking buddies or your family.
There are so many different regional variations and dishes that are similar to hot pot that have spread throughout Asia. For example, Shabu Shabu is a Japanese dish that’s also a communal hot pot enjoyed with meats and vegetables. That’s why it’s impossible to pin hot pot down to just one thing. But regardless of which variation you try, there’s an undeniable appeal of a shared meal that everyone takes part in preparing and eating.
What You Need for Hot Pot at Home
If you’re looking to try hot pot at home, you’ll need a variety of meats, vegetables, mushrooms and seafood, but a good place to start is with the pot.
Since the point of a hot pot is cooking and eating the meal together, you need a way to heat the broth that’s separate from a traditional stovetop range. That means you’ll need something you can safely place on the table to cook with. That can be a butane stove, an induction cooktop, or an all-in-one electric skillet that can be plugged in and set on your dining table.
Butane stoves are versatile and can be used without an outlet, but you have to buy the canisters, which can be inconvenient. An induction cooktop is safe, flame-free and heats food evenly, but induction doesn’t work with every kind of skillet. An electric hot pot is easy to set up without any additional equipment, but any all-in-one appliance will be less versatile than combining different tools. All of these are great methods; you just have to find the preparation method you like the best.
We’ve rounded up a range of different pots and skillets that can be used for hot pot, as well as some tools that go along with the hot pot.
Besides the dish, a hot pot can also refer to a small electric appliance that’s similar to an electric kettle. A hot pot is wider to better accommodate food, compared with a kettle, which should only be used with water. Unsurprisingly, a hot pot can also be used for hot pot, although these are generally too small for a larger communal meal. If you’re dining solo and want to enjoy a hot pot meal without busting out a giant pot, you can instead use a small electric hot pot.
We’ve rounded up some of the best hot pots and cookers for hot pot meals.
1. Aroma Stainless Steel Hot Pot, Silver (ASP-600), 5 quart
This option from Aroma is a great, convenient way to enjoy a hot pot meal. It has a simple design with a dial that allows you to toggle between five heat settings. Instead of a central divider, this hot pot has a concentric design with a smaller pot in the middle of a larger pot, allowing you to enjoy different kinds of broths. The pot can be separated from the base for easier washing.
2. Zojirushi Gourmet d’Expert 1350-Watt Electric Skillet
This Zojirushi electric skillet has a deep inner pan that’s ideal for hot pots or soups, and the electric base has an adjustable design. The inner pan can even be removed from the electric base and placed directly on a stovetop, making it a great versatile option. In addition to the deep dish, there’s a shallower flat plate that’s great for searing meats. Plus, there’s a vented steaming rack included in this dish, making for an appliance that’s far from single-use.
3. Proctor Silex 32oz Adjustable Temperature Electric Hot Pot
BEST MINI HOT POT
If you’re looking for a small option for one or two people, this simple, affordable electric hot pot is a great way to heat soups, and the adjustable dial allows you to switch from “keep warm” all the way to boiling. It’s a great option for apartments, too, because it can be easily stashed in a cupboard. The non-stick plate is also designed to be easy to clean.
4. Haufson Yin Yang Hot Pot
BEST NON-ELECTRIC HOT POT
One of the best aspects of a hot pot is the ability to enjoy different kinds of broths, whether that’s a spicier broth or a more neutral one. This hot pot has a divider in the middle to easily separate the two broths. It’s naturally non-stick and comes with a glass lid. The stainless steel base allows it to be used with different kinds of cookers, including induction.
5. All-Clad SK492 Electric Skillet
An electric skillet is a great option for using as a hot pot, as it can be placed on a tabletop for cooking. While this is a more expensive option, it’s made by All-Clad, a brand with a legendary reputation. The 7-quart size can suit a group meal, and it has a precise adjustable dial. Plus, the cord is detachable to more easily move the skillet around.
6. Crux Extra Deep Nonstick Scratch Resistant Electric Skillet
Like others on this list, the Crux electric skillet was not specifically designed for hot pot, but is nonetheless a great option. It has a stylish design and a ceramic-titanium non-stick surface for quick cleanup. The 3″ depth allows it to better accommodate liquid if you’re preparing a hot pot meal. Plus, Crux delivers reliable products at a budget-friendly price, and this versatile electric skillet is no different.
7. Open Kitchen Hot Pot
Open Kitchen is Williams Sonoma’s house brand, and this electric hot pot is a solid, economical option for anyone looking to try out a hot pot meal. It has four temperature settings that can be easily controlled using the dial. The hot pot also comes with a grilling plate, as well as a tempered glass lid.
8. Duxtop 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner
An induction cooktop is one of the most unique and efficient ways to cook food. Induction heats pans from the inside, making for more even cooking results and bringing the cookware up to temperature more quickly. This compact countertop burner can be placed on a table or kitchen counter, making it great for a hot pot meal. It’s worth noting that induction only works on magnetic cookware.
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