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It’s no secret that a Dutch oven is an essential component of any well-equipped kitchen. These multi-functional pots are useful for searing, braising, slow-cooking, preparing soups and stews, and they also act as lovely serving vessels. Since a quality Dutch oven can last a lifetime when properly cared for, most of us want to ensure that we’re choosing a practical size before we make the financial commitment. Whether you have your eye on a round or oval-shaped pot, a classic Le Creuset or a budget-friendly Lodge, let’s take a moment to discuss which size Dutch oven is best for you. We’ll also provide a few suggestions based on price point.

le creuset dutch ovenemile henry dutch ovenlodge dutch ovenstaub dutch oven

Feeding 2-4

Personally, I have a 24cm/4.5-quart round Dutch oven from Le Creuset. I use it all the time for everything from soups and sauces, to roasting chicken or baking bread. It is my constant cooking companion, and I value its versatility in my small German kitchen. The pot size is perfect for my husband and I, yielding generous portions for both of us, along with plenty of leftovers. I can confidently recommend this size if you do most of your cooking for 2-4 people. I probably would not go any smaller than the 22cm/3.5-quart size unless you plan on eventually purchasing more than one Dutch oven.

Splurge: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 4.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven – $299.95 

Sensible: Emile Henry Round Stewpot Dutch Oven 4.2 Quart – $100.30 

Saver: Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven 4.5 Quart – $62.22

Feeding 4-6

If your cooking tends to feed 4-6 people, you’ll likely be more comfortable with a pot between 26cm/5.5-quart and 28cm/7.25-quart size. Let’s face it: Dutch ovens are heavy, they take up a lot of space, and they’re not cheap. If you’re going to make the investment, it’s wise to choose a size that will offer maximum versatility. For families, hosting the occasional small dinner party, or meal-prep gurus who love to cook in bulk, spring for one of these mid-size pots.

Splurge: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven 7.25 Quart – $369.95

Sensible: Emily Henry Oval Stewpot Dutch Oven 6.3 Quart – $199.95

Saver: Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven 6 Quart – $49.99

Feeding 6+

For large families or frequent entertaining—and providing that your actual oven is large enough to accommodate—you’ll surely want a Dutch oven no smaller than 7 quarts. A 30cm/9-quart may be the ideal choice, while a 34cm/13.25-quart monster pot will certainly feed a crowd (though you may need lifting assistance!).

Splurge: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven Oval 9.5 Quart – $424.95

Sensible: Staub 8-Quart Round Cocotte – $389.95

Saver: Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven 7.5 Quart – $73.86 

Whether you’re planning to purchase a Dutch oven online or in-store, I do recommend at least taking a peek in a retail store before making your decision. Being able to put your hands on a pot and feel the weight of it ensures you know what you’ll be getting yourself into before committing. Further, and especially if you’re on a tight budget, don’t be shy about checking thrift stores and antique markets for Dutch ovens. You might score a bargain by finding a perfectly functional pot that needs little more than a proper cleaning, and pay a fraction of the price of a brand new vessel.

lodge oval dutch oven

 

Whichever size, color, model, and shape you choose, we wish you many happy years of cooking with your new Dutch oven!

Which Size Dutch Oven Is Best For You?

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