WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities
Steam kettles are boiler-based or self-contained cooking appliances that use circula-
ting steam to perform tasks similar to traditional stockpots, including boiling pasta
and simmering sauces. Steam kettles may be preferable to traditional stockpots due
to their rapid, uniform cooking and ease of control.
Steam kettles have a double wall that covers at least half of the height of the sides
of the kettle. Steam is circulated within this double wall, or “jacket,” then condenses
to transfer heat to the food product by means of conduction. Steam kettles range in
capacity from 0.5 gallon to more than 200 gallons each.
Steam kettles can also be
designed with tilting capability, strainers, and covers.
Boiler-based steam kettles rely on an external central boiler to deliver steam. These
types of steam kettles are commonly found in large facilities with centrally located
boilers. Boiler-based steam kettles require a regular blowdown to remove conden-
sate on the steam supply line and can consume more than 100,000 gallons of water
per year. Returning condensate to the boiler as make-up water can reduce this water
Self-contained steam kettles rely on their own heat source to generate steam under
pressure (see Figure 4-2). Self-contained steam kettles use less water and energy than
boiler-based steam kettles because they do not require significant blowdown water.
Boiler water must be dumped at the end of the day to prevent mineral buildup. They
also require de-liming on a regular basis and regular manual venting and refilling.
Figure 4-2. Self-Contained Steam Kettle
Water or Product
The Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship at the New York State Food Venture Center, Cornell University. January 2007.
Steam Kettles in Food Processing:
Fact Sheets for the Small Scale Food Entrepreneur
East Bay Municipal Utility District. 2008.
WaterSmart Guidebook—A Water-Use Efficiency Plan Review Guide for New Businesses
The Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship at the New York State Food Venture Center, Cornell University,