Can you use a metal bowl for a double boiler?

If you are someone who’s into cooking or baking, your quest for a suitable double boiler is understandable. Double boilers can help you cook delicate ingredients without subjecting them to too much pressure and melting food items such as chocolate or butter.

However, with a variety of utensils lined up in your kitchen already, you might not want to invest in just another one. So, the question that arises is, can you DIY your own double boiler using a metal bowl from your kitchen? Here come the glad tidings– you sure can! We’ve got you covered with all the “hows” and “whys” in the following sections. Read on!


How to use a metal bowl for a double boiler?


You just need to follow a few simple steps to be able to make your own double boiler. All you need is stuff already available on your kitchen shelves. Here is a step-by-step demonstration of what all you need to do:

Items needed:

  • A pot.
  • A heat proof metal bowl.
  • Some water.
  • Food ingredients you need to cook/melt.
  • Gas stove for boiling water.



  • Take a pot and a heatproof steel bowl, with the bowl serving as the top of your makeshift double boiler.
  • Pour water into the pot until it is almost half full. The bottom half of your double boiler is ready.
  • Fix the steel bowl over your pot without letting the water touch the bowl’s surface. That indicates there should be a sufficient gap between the two pots so that the steam produced remains trapped in between. Make sure the bowl fits well in the pot without getting stuck. The idea is to not let the steam escape from any gaps.
  • Now, start boiling the water. This will produce steam, which will heat the surface of your metal bowl, leading to your food item being cooked/melted.
  • You might want to add more water in case your cooking time is longer since water evaporation will lead to a decrease in the pot’s water level.
  • Add your required food item or ingredient to the top bowl. You do not have to cover your double boiler with a lid as your food will require constant stirring, especially if you are melting a food item. Doing so will ensure the consistency of the paste.
  • Once you get the desired result, you can turn off the stove.

Tip: Using a bowl with a wide bottom surface for your double boiler would be a great idea since it will expose more of your ingredients to heat.


Are there any added benefits of a makeshift double boiler?

It must be pretty evident by now that the most significant benefit of a makeshift double boiler is that it can make your cooking or baking experience a lot better and ease things for you.


Cooks delicately and gently


It lets you avoid subjecting your delicate ingredients to direct heat, letting the steam do the cooking, saving your food ingredients from getting bad.  Some food items may lose their consistency and quality when exposed to high heat. The controlled temperature of a double boiler really helps in such cases.

It is excellent for making sauces, melting chocolate or butter, or even making custards. Basically, a double boiler is an excellent tool for gentle cooking.


Saves you a lot of time


In addition to that, double boilers can come in handy when you do not have a lot of time on your hands. Instead of trying complicated ways to melt your food, you can quickly get it done using the method.


Helps you go clutter-free

Plus, since a makeshift double boiler is made out of already available utensils, it saves your kitchen from clutter. In case you are someone who uses a double boiler occasionally, this could be a great idea. Also, do not forget that it is great for your pocket too; after all, who doesn’t like a little bit of savings?

Another tiny little hack concerning a double boiler is that in case of leftovers, your top bowl becomes a storage bowl that you can cover using a plastic wrap or a lid and put away in the fridge for later. Tadaa! Lesser dirty dishes in the sink!

Tip: Remember that metal is a good conductor of heat. The steam can heat your metal bowl pretty quickly. Hence, be careful not to touch the bowl with bare hands. Use a cloth or cooking mittens instead.


Alternates for a metal bowl for a double boiler

Even though a metal bowl is something easily available in any kitchen, if you still need to look for an alternative, a saucepan should do the job. The procedure is just the same as a metal bowl.




Is it okay to use a glass bowl for a double boiler?

While it is quite okay to use a glass bowl for a double boiler, it is necessary to ensure that you are using a suitable glass. The glass bowl should be heat-resistant so that it can tolerate the heat without shattering. So, if you want to use a glass bowl, look for one that can withstand high temperatures. You can also use a ceramic bowl for a double boiler, again making sure they are heat proof and suitable for the purpose.


How much water should one put into the pan of a double boiler?

It is advised to generally put 1 – 2 inches of water in the pan and then boil it. The key is to make sure that the water in the pan is not in direct touch with the top bowl, leaving enough space for steam to fill in. If the top pot gets too hot, it might lead to the scorching of your ingredient, beating the purpose of double boiling.



While double boilers are available in the market, why bother buying one when you can make one easily using your suitable good old metal bowl? By now, we have made you familiar with the procedure and the perks.

Believe us when we say a makeshift double boiler works just fine; or even better, try and see it for yourself. Meanwhile, if you decide to give it a try, we would love to hear how it worked out for you.

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