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Some recipes, particularly ones that call for melting chocolate (which can tend to scorch easily), will call for a double boiler. Many of us don’t have one — or even know what it is! But you can make a double boiler with the bowls and pots you already have. 

Creating a makeshift double boiler

A traditional double boiler is a set of two nesting pans, one on top of the other. The bottom pan is filled with a few inches of water, the top pan is placed over the bottom pan, and the water is brought to a simmer. This indirect heat warms or melts whatever is in the top pan without the chance of it burning. 

You can jerry-rig a double boiler in the following way. Find a pot that is wide enough to hold a metal or glass bowl nesting in the opening, with the bottom suspended a few inches above the bottom of the pan. You want the bowl to be large enough to expand up and beyond the top of the pot so you can place and remove it easily. 

How to Make a Double Boiler: Use a bowl and a pot to make a perfect double boiler for melting chocolate and any recipe that calls for one!

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Making a double boiler with a pot and bowl

Fill the pan with water, but not high enough to touch the bottom of the bowl. Rest the bowl with the ingredients (chopped chocolate, egg yolks, whatever you are cooking) in the top of the pan, again making sure the bottom does not touch the water. Bring the water to a simmer (not really a boil, which is usually too hot for the method). Stir until whatever you are cooking has reached the desired consistency. Remove the bowl from the double boiler, watching that the steam doesn’t billow out and burn you. Remove the pan from the heat.

Melting chocolate in a homemade double boiler

Recipes That Use a Double Boiler

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