A Step By Step Guide to Choosing a Commercial Steam Kettle

The steam kettle is an excellent choice for increasing the productivity of your restaurant kitchen. It offers all the capabilities of cooking in a pot on a range while saving time and energy. Essentially, these commercial kitchen appliances are like self-heating stockpots. They are typically used for boiling grain, simmering sauces and preparing stocks and soups. Any restaurant that serves or prepares any of those foods can benefit greatly from investing in a commercial steam kettle. 

Best of all, many models include automated features to free up your line cooks and chef from the task of checking simmering pots. Designs range in size from as little as six to 150 gallons, and there are nearly as many features and options as there are sizes. 

If you are considering or have ever considered investing in a commercial steam kettle, this is the post for you. We’ve assembled this helpful step-by-step guide to choosing the best kettle for your kitchen. Here’s everything you need to know to make the best choice.

Step 1: Choose The Steam Method

There are two types of steam heating methods for commercial steam kettles: direct and self-contained. 

Direct steam models push steam from an outside boiler into the metal jacket surrounding the kettle itself. The drawback to the direct steam heating design is that the boiler and connecting pipes or hoses will need to be cleaned and maintained regularly (sometimes several times a day) to ensure optimal performance. 

Self-contained steam models use a closed steam system. Cooking staff fill the jacket with water, and the internal heating element or gas jet in the base boils the water. It’s a more complex design, so self-contained steam kettles tend to command a higher price. The advantage to these kettles is that maintenance is significantly easier and needs to be conducted less often.

Step 2: Decide On Volume

Commercial steam kettles come in many different volumes, allowing you an excellent variety of choices based on your needs. Selecting the right volume is based on how much sauce, soup or stock you need to prepare for an average service day. Calculate how much you serve in a given day, and then decide if making one batch for the whole day will save you time. If you deem it worth the investment, a large volume model can make meal prep and serving times improve dramatically.

Step 3: Choose An Energy Type

Your options for powering your commercial steam kettle are gas or electric. Gas models tend to be more energy efficient, especially for self-contained models. If you don’t have natural gas connections, choosing a gas powered model can add to the installation cost. Electric models are more convenient to connect, but they can cost more to operate depending on local utility prices.

Step 4: Choose What Controls Are Best Suited For Your Kitchen

Before choosing a kettle, you will need to determine what controls are best for your kitchen’s needs. Safety valves, thermostats, timers and pressure limit switches generally come standard. That being said, many commercial steam kettles offer electronic controls that offer greater automation. Depending on your budget, you can decide on more or less automation as you deem it necessary.

Step 5: Select Special Features

These are the “nice-to-have” options that typically increase the asking price. The options are varied, and there are many to choose from. For example, some commercial steam kettles offer cold water connections to fill the jacket when food is done cooking. 

This might sound counter-intuitive, but allowing the contents to cool prepares them to be refrigerated at the end of the day. Other features are more readily practical, such as measurement markings on the inside of the kettle to decrease prep time. It’s a good idea to become familiar with what options are available and which will benefit the kitchen most. There are two other special features that you should consider carefully depending on how you plan to use the kettle.


Buying a commercial steam kettle with this feature allows you to tilt the kettle safely to pour contents out into other containers or dishes. This is definitely a must-have feature for busy kitchens that frequently need kettle contents transferred to other dishes

Stationary Mounting

Accidentally spilling a large volume steam kettle is a significant hazard in commercial kitchens. For optimal safety conditions, it’s best to mount steam kettles to the floor securely. If you decide a larger commercial steam kettle is best for your needs, consider stationary mounting as a necessity.

Final Thoughts

Commercial steam kettles offer significant time and energy savings for busy restaurants that produce large quantities of sauce or soup. After reviewing our guide, you should easily be able to choose the model that is perfect for your commercial kitchen.

Are you in the market for a commercial steam kettle? If your establishment is local to the Irving, TX area, stop by Texas Restaurant Supply. We have the inventory and selection you need to acquire the ideal commercial steam kettle for your needs. Contact us today for more information.

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