What’s The Point Of Covering A Pot Of Water You’ve Set To Boil?


In setting out to boil water, does covering a pot of water vs. having an uncovered pot make a difference? Which is better? Or, does it really matter?

Most cooking textbook information would say that if you want to bring a pot to boil, you should cover it to speed up the process and save energy.  It would indicate:

uncovered pot – allows evaporation to escape and takes longer for the heat to build up. It tends to waste more time and energy.

covered pot – keeps the moisture and heat in, bringing it to the boiling point more quickly. It saves time and energy.

Covering A Pot Of Water

Covering your pot will help to trap heat inside. That means if you’re trying to bring something to a simmer or a boil, such as a pot of water to cook pasta or blanching vegetables, put the lid on to save energy and allow the contents to achieve the boiling point more quickly.

However, we at CookThink conducted a kitchen experiment to see exactly HOW much difference it made to cover a pot when bringing it to a boil. We set two pots of water, each 2 quarts in a saucepan on the stove to boil. They were both heated on high, with the same starting point as far as water temperature is concerned.

Here are the results:
covered pot: boiled in 4:23
uncovered pot: boiled in 4:25

So, does it really matter whether your pot is covered when you’ve set it to boil? In our opinion, not really. It takes a few more seconds to find the lid than it does to make the difference in the boiling time. Happy cooking, and don’t worry about it if you forget to cover your pot with a lid.

What has been your experience with covering a pot of water you’ve set to boil? Does it make a significant difference?

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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