There is no doubt in my mind that bone broth you make yourself is nutritionally superior to commercial brands. If you still aren’t sure, try this easy test. Buy any of the popular brands and put a container in the refrigerator. Notice how it remains liquid and doesn’t transform into a familiar gelatinous blob like a mason jar full of homemade bone broth. Add to this the risks from toxic packaging (unless in glass), and there isn’t any contest. Broth made at home wins hands-down.
After realizing that a weekly pot of bone broth is one of the most important (and simple) tasks for keeping your family (and yourself!) healthy, the next question is this … what type of stockpot is best?
While stainless steel stockpots, crockpots or pressure cookers like Instapot might seem to be a good idea, it is really best to steer clear. The safest bone broth is actually made in clay or enamel pots (lead-free and tested for purity of course).
These materials are superior due to the high risk of carcinogenic nickel and excessive chromium leeching from the stainless steel during cooking. The dangers are particularly acute for long simmering bone broth, which is slightly acidic from the addition of small amounts of vinegar. Even quick cooking meat stock simmers for an hour or two. Now don’t worry that you need to replace all your stainless steel cookware! The risk is primarily from cooking acidic foods, not other types of dishes!
These concerns led me to switch to a VitaClay stockpot/slow cooker a few years ago once I dug into the alarming research of cooking acidic foods in stainless steel.
If you make a lot of bone broth at home like I do and want to make the switch too, the next question is … what type of stockpot is optimal. Glazed stoneware or clay?
As you can see from the picture above, I have both types of stockpots on my kitchen counter. I’ve been comparing the two to try and help answer this question for myself.
Let me share what I’ve learned so it can perhaps help you sort through the options as well.
Clay Stockpot vs Stoneware Stockpots
When comparing a clay stockpot vs a stoneware stockpot from a functional standpoint, there is little difference.
Both models accomplish all of the following very well:
- Cook in about half the time of a crockpot.
- Delayed timer so that you can soak oatmeal AND cook in one step instead of two.
- Energy saver green appliance using up to 60% less energy.
- Rice cooker (soaks AND cooks in one step using the delay timer feature).
- Makes both regular and Greek yogurt.
- Easy clean-up.
- Nontoxic, lead-free and tested for purity.
- Attractive on the kitchen counter.
From a practical and aesthetic standpoint, here are the few differences I’ve noted.
- The clay stockpot is more fragile than the stoneware. Although I’ve had no problems with chipping, cracking, or breakage in the years I’ve used one, I can see where some people might experience problems. Stone is inherently more durable than clay. The good news is that Vitaclay does offer replacement pots if necessary if you prefer the clay model.
- The stoneware stockpot simply because it doesn’t require topping up with water. Stoneware doesn’t breathe like clay does, hence the broth doesn’t simmer down as quickly. On the other hand, if you like to make homemade bouillon cubes, reduction sauces, or homemade sweetened condensed milk, the clay stockpot would be a better choice.
- If you plan to keep the stockpot on your kitchen counter, the clay or the stoneware model might look better depending on your color scheme. My kitchen is black and white so the stoneware model is more striking.
- Slow-cooked food tastes a bit better cooked in the clay stockpot/slow cooker. This is due to the breathability of the clay. My husband doesn’t really notice a difference in taste between the two, but I think the clay model produces tastier results.
Which is Best?
In conclusion, it is ultimately up to you to decide which Vitaclay bone broth/slow cooker is best based on your intended usage pattern. The similarities and differences itemized above can hopefully prove helpful to your decision!
By the way, if you intend to try one of these wonderful appliances for yourself, use coupon code WISE25 to get 10% off the model of your choice.
I just bought a Vitaclay pot, based on your recommendation, and just made my first batch of beef bone broth. I nearly always reduce my broth down to gelatin cubes, but I wasn’t sure how to do that with the Vitaclay pot as there are so many warnings to not cook with a small amount of liquid as it may damage the pot. Do you have any advice on how to make bouillon-type cubes using the Vitaclay pot? Thanks.
Hi Faith, I have never reduced broth down to bouillon cubes in a Vita-Clay, so can’t offer any tips for doing that.
Bought the Vita-Clay on your recommendation….what you don’t realize until it arrives is the long list of Do’s & Don’ts (can see the silicon lid plugs getting lost so fast, don’t put cold food in, don’t put hot food in, towel on sink floor to set it before washing, check the liquid level frequently so it doesn’t run out of liquid, etc etc…too fragile….too complicated….so I asked to return it…yes they will accept returns but with a 20% restocking fee & pay shipping both ways…. don’t say what they will charge you for the ship to costs….. A friend told me it cooks too hot to make broth…. Customer unfriendly company… Consumer beware… Also it comes with a little cookbook but they don’t make that clear, spent extra for their extra cookbook and this cookbook instructs user to put the pot on settings that DO NOT EXIST on the pot….
Different VitaClay models have different settings. Have you tried cooking with it yet? I think you will love it if you try it out!!
The pot comes with a second set of plugs … I’ve never lost even one in 8 years.
It is a very small company, so do not expect the customer service of a large corporation.
Again, I would try it out first. Much of that language of Do’s and Don’ts are necessary for legal purposes. I’ve put cold food in there many times.
It is very important to have enough liquid in there … I also make broth all the time in it.
Hi, I live in Australia and they don’t seem to sell the Vitaclay here and I if I buy it on eBay it costs way too much to post etc to Australia. What other similar product would you choose if you could not buy a VitaClay? Is the coating on the stoneware cookers bad for you? Much appreciated. Madeleine
Hi, thanks for posting this as I’ve literally been searching for days for an easy way to make broth that won’t kill me.
I found another product that claims to be paleo approved… can I share wit here as I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
I read all the posts on this blog & I see a lady named Tamara saying the inside component of Vitaclay contains lead. Already my concern is that clay pots absorb a lot, and tend to be porous. Sarah, are you at all concerned about this? Also the cooking plates/elements and the outer but still interior of the top lid, (on the other models) seem to be aluminum. There are holes for steam to escape. If you have that model, you can see what I mean. Are you at all worried about these materials coming into contact with food? Should I be concerned?
Sarah Pope MGA
This is fake news. The Vita-Clay pots are lead free and tested free of contaminants. The cooking element never touches the food which is all inside the clay pot.
I use my SS pans to steam vegies, occasionally cook rice or pasta. Frying pans to cook omelots, stir fries, etc. What is a good alternative for the stainless steel? Can I use the items above for my needs or are they just like crockpots? I will keep an eye out for the enamel pots/pans at Goodwill, garage sales, etc. Any other ideas? Really want to avoid anything with nickel as it is an endocrine disruptor.
Sarah Pope MGA
Stainless steel is fine as long as it high grade stainless and you don’t cook anything acidic in it … eggs, stir fry etc are fine. Enameled cast iron (MUST be enameled) would be my choice for a replacement if you really want to change out your stainless.
Vita-clay does much more than a crockpot, but it isn’t a replacement for pans in all situations.
Does the fact that it’s “smart” pose any health risks, like other smart technology?
Sarah Pope MGA
It’s not “smart” as in some of the dishwashers, refrigerators etc. It isn’t wifi enabled.
Thanks for your help Sarah! I did contact Vitaclay and they told me the stoneware pot will be available again at the end of next winter! So I’m going to order the clay one.
Sarah Pope MGA
You will love it! Please let me know your thoughts once it arrives and you’ve cooked a few meals with it.