A Detailed Guide On Bain Marie – Everyone Should Read

A Detailed Guide On Bain Marie – Everyone Should Read

. 5 min read

A bain-marie is a type of equipment used to cook food at low temperatures by surrounding it with hot water.

The word "bain-marie" comes from the use of hot water and is believed to be derived from ancient Roman practices, which took place in large stone pots that were heated with fires underneath them and filled with boiling water.

In French, a bain-marie is often called a 'double boiler,' meaning it has two vessels.

History Of Bain Marie

The history of the Bain Marie goes back hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago when they were used by ancient Romans because their houses did not have ovens, so they had to cook their food in pots over an open fire outside.

This was obviously very impractical and dangerous, so they came up with the idea of using hot water in a container that would act as an insulator and simmer the food at a far lower temperature than boiling it directly.

That was the time when Bain Marie came into being.

2 Basic Types Of Bain Maries

One expert kitchen source says that there are two types of Bain Marie available.

  • Countertop Bain Marie
  • Undercounter models of Bain Maries.

Countertop Bain Maries

Countertop Bain Maries can be built into your kitchen or bought as an independent piece of equipment. Generally, countertop Bain Maries are the most popular because they are easy to move around.

Countertop models have a large surface area which is ideal for keeping sauces at just the right temperature to prevent them from splitting or curdling.

It can be used to keep dips warm without letting them get too hot and runny and kept warm until other dishes are ready.

Undercounter Bain Maries

Undercounter Bain Maries are best suited for commercial kitchens where there is plenty of room, unlike tight domestic kitchens!

They also come in much larger sizes than their countertop counterparts which means that you can fit more items inside - making them perfect for cooking off batches of sauce to go with pasta dishes, etc.

The water can be topped up when it gets low, so there is no risk of the food drying out.

What Is Bain Marie’s Natural Insulation System?

The Bain Marie’s natural insulation means that you can keep water at a very accurate temperature for lengthy periods, which gives you more control over cooking and ensures your dishes come out ideally every time.

These emersion types of Bain Maries heat the water through conduction, making them suitable for any kind of cookware.

However, this method uses direct contact to heat the water; if the pan boils dry or becomes too hot (above boiling point), it will damage the pot and Bain Marie itself.

To prevent this, it is essential to keep an eye on your kitchen equipment while it is in use.

Uses of Bain Marie:

The Bain Marie is used in many ways throughout the kitchen;


Keeping sauces at a constant temperature prevents them from separating or curdling, which is why it is imperative to use a Bain Marie when making Hollandaise or Béarnaise sauce.


You can keep dips warm in a Bain Marie, so they don't get too runny, and you can serve them straight away without having to reheat them.


If you have made ice cream and do not want it to melt before you serve it, then placing it in a Bain Marie will stop this from happening.

In fact, for some dessert recipes such as Millefeuille that require pastry cream to be cooked in a Bain Marie, this is used as an extra cooking stage to help set the cream. You can search for more recipes that are prepared using a Bain Marie.

Bain Marie Buying Guide

If you are going to buy a Bain Marie, then there are some essential things that you should know, such as:


This will depend on how many people you expect to feed and what type of cooking you intend to do with it.

It is good if your Bain Marie has a side handle so it can be more easily lifted in and out of a low oven or filled with hot water without burning your hands - the pot needs to be big enough so it does not overflow when placed near the top, but small enough not too high for easy removal from an oven.

Depth of Pot

A standard depth for a Bain Marie is around 6 to 7 inches, which should be deep enough for most purposes. However, you can go deeper if you intend on cooking big joints of meat or whole fish in your Bain Marie.

Construction Material

The pot should ideally have thick walls so that it holds the heat well and cooks evenly. It should also have a glass lid with a plastic handle because different materials transfer heat at different rates.

Some chefs may prefer to choose separately made parts such as handles or pots but make sure they are compatible before purchasing them together.

If you are looking for a highly reliable brand that offers high construction quality and more durability, consider buying Ianboer’s  Bain Marie; we are sure you would love it.


If the Bain Marie does not sit firmly on the stovetop, then there is a danger that it will shift when being from one place to another, potentially spilling the contents.

The pot needs to have good feet so that it can sit securely and not wobble or spin, as well as a sturdy handle.


Bain Marie's prices range from cheap ones made from aluminum to expensive stainless steel ones with side handles and thick glass lids.

If you are on a limited or low budget, go for an aluminum Bain Marie but make sure that it has feet and side handles and is sat firmly on your stovetop before purchasing.


A tall narrow shape lets you cook more neatly in tall pans without any overlapping issues; these are also best as space savers. So try to buy elongated or rectangle-shaped bain maries as they are pretty much more useful than other shapes.

The shape of Bain Marie

Round: A round Bain Marie shape distributes heat more evenly; it is perfectly fit for preparing every type of sauce. You can easily cook gravies and soups and keep them warm at a certain temperature for up to hours. Also, if you are running a restaurant then you should buy a round bain marie for maintaining the gravy and soup area.

Rectangular: A flat bottomed rectangular shape lets you cook in crockery pots, rather than the usual tall round or elongated shapes. It is perfect for commercial purposes but you can also have them to cook solid food at your home. These ban maries are easy to get started with and are really helpful for cooking food even in minutes.

Is it dishwasher safe?

If you are going to be putting your Bain Marie into a dishwasher, then make sure that it is marked as dishwasher safe. If not, this could cause damage to the finish of the Bain Marie and

Wrap Up

A bain-marie is one of the most versatile pieces of cooking equipment you can have for your kitchen. We in this article have provided you with every piece of information regarding this great equipment and hope that you found exactly what you were looking for.

Courtney Rehman

Part of the expertEasy editorial team, Courtney is from South Africa.

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