The Best Dutch Ovens By Size

·10 min read
Lodge 5-Quart Dutch Oven
Lodge 5-Quart Dutch Oven

Amazon

Coined as the "cast iron workhorse of the kitchen," a classic Dutch oven is a cooking pot with a heavy, tight-fitting lid and thick cast-iron walls. Cook stews, soups, sauces, bread, braises, or roasts on the stovetop or in the oven any time of the year.

Dutch ovens are one of the most versatile cookware pieces you can own. They double as decor when left sitting on the stovetop. Not all Dutch ovens are created equal, but a quality Dutch oven will last for years and doesn't have to break the bank.

Dutch Oven Uses

A 1-quart to 2-quart Dutch oven serves one to two people, best for individual servings with sauces, cobblers, gratins, and pot pies. Dutch ovens in 3-quart to 4-quart sizes serve two to four people, ideal for side dishes including sides, soups, or no knead bread. One-pot meals, chili, fried chicken, short ribs, or a 5-pound chicken will cook in a 5-quart to 6-quart Dutch oven, feeding four to six individuals.

For batch cooking with stews, stock, pulled pork or roasts, use a 7-quart to 8-quart Dutch oven to cook for six to eight folks. When hosting eight or more people at holiday gatherings, use a Dutch oven of nine or more quarts to meal prep, hold an ice bucket, cook a large batch, or roast a 10-15-pound turkey.

Round Dutch Oven Shape vs. Oval Dutch Oven Shape

How do you plan to use your Dutch oven? Oval Dutch ovens are best suited for cooking oblong meats such as larger pieces of chicken, tenderloins, or prime rib.

A round Dutch oven, also known as double Dutch oven, is the way to go if you cook frequently on the stovetop, for browning, sautéing, or frying. In this case, the lid is often deep enough to double as a skillet. Round Dutch ovens are ideal for soups and stews.

What Size Dutch Oven Should I Buy?

The standard Dutch oven size is between 4 and 7 quarts. However, you can find Dutch ovens as small as 1 quart or as large as 9 quarts or more. Size is the most important factor to consider when purchasing a Dutch oven.

What size Dutch oven do I need? First and foremost, consider the amount of people you're serving. The general rule of thumb calls for 1 quart per person with a few extra quarts for leftovers. If cooking for one or a couple, a 4-quart Dutch oven is ideal. Add a few children to the mix, and you may consider a 6-quart Dutch oven. Note that the larger the pot, the heavier it will be, especially with food inside. If you host exquisite dinner parties with several mouths to feed, a larger Dutch oven will best suit your needs.

Best 1 Quart Dutch Oven: Le Creuset 1-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven

Available in six fun colors, Le Creuset's round 1-quart Dutch oven has superior heat distribution and retention. "This is now my second-most used Le Creuset pot that I own," raved one Amazon 5-star reviewer. "It is very small and perfect for browning butter, making a glaze or heating soup for one. I reach for it all the time to do little tasks that I used to have to haul out a bigger pan for. It heats quickly and evenly and is easy to clean. I find it incredibly useful, and it is beautiful on my stove as well. If you love to cook and bake, this is a very worthwhile purchase."

BUY IT: $154.95; amazon.com

Best 2 Quart Dutch Oven: Lodge 2-Quart Pre-seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven

With 10,432 5-star Amazon reviews, Lodge's 2-quart Dutch oven sears, sautés, simmers, bakes, broils, braises, roasts, fries, and grills in the oven, on the stove, or over the campfire. Unparalleled in heat retention and even heating, this lightweight kitchen tool is a Southern staple. "This little gem is EXACTLY what I was looking for," reviewed a happy customer. "I was looking for exactly this size to bake smaller loaves of Artisan bread. It produces a perfect little loaf for two people or gifts to neighbors. I've already ordered a second one. Cutest little Dutch oven ever."

BUY IT: $109.99; amazon.com

Best 3 Quart Dutch Oven: Cuisinart Chef's Classic 3-Quart Dutch Oven

Constructed from cast iron for superior heat retention and even heat distribution, this 3-quart Cuisinart Dutch oven has a porcelain enameled interior. Wide handles ensure a comfortable and secure grip with an oven-safe knob for cooking on the stovetop or in the oven. Pop it into the dishwasher for easy cleanup. One of 192 5-star reviewers described it as an "Attractive, functional, sensible, old-fashioned, buy-it-once tool that feels a bit like a luxury item in use."

BUY IT: $64.40; amazon.com

Best 4 Quart Dutch Oven: Staub Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven, 4-Quart

Crafted in France, the Staub Dutch oven interior has a unique matte texture, resulting in exceptional browning. Its smooth enamel bottom is compatible with all stovetops and is oven safe up to 900°F with the lid. The heavyweight has a tight fit and retains moisture, complete with a nickel steel knob. While this Staub Dutch oven is dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended. "These are heirloom pieces," shared one loyal customer. "If anyone ever tells you that Le Creuset or Lodge is equivalent, hit 'em to the top of the head with just the lid of this pot. And when they emerge from the coma, you say…I told you so!"

BUY IT: $210.01; amazon.com

Best 5 Quart Dutch Oven: Le Creuset Dutch Oven, 5.5-Quart

Le Creuset Dutch ovens are known for their superior heat distribution and retention, coated in a long-lasting exterior enamel that resists chipping and cracking. Choose from 10 appealing colors, equipped with larger handles for easy gripping and a composite knob that withstands temperatures up to 500°F. "Everything cooks so well in it," said one of 968 5-star Amazon reviewers. "Even though I'm only cooking for two now, I use it for pretty much everything! I don't even remove it from the stove since it's also pretty to look at." Top of the line, this Le Creuset 5.5-Quart Dutch oven will last a lifetime.

BUY IT: $349.95; amazon.com

Best 6 Quart Dutch Oven: Lodge 6-Quart Dutch Oven

Available in 10 colors, the Lodge 6-Quart enameled Dutch oven is the best Dutch oven overall in terms of price and quality. 16,233 5-star Amazon reviewers agree. The cast iron is coated in a porcelain enamel, which is heat tolerant and leak-proof up to 500°F. Design features include easy-to-grip handles, a slightly curved base so food doesn't get trapped, and shorter sides and a wider base allowing steam to exit with ease. While this Dutch oven is dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended. "The enamel non-stick surface is so easy to clean, I don't know why I didn't buy this before," shared a satisfied customer.

BUY IT: $179.99; amazon.com

Best 7 Quart Dutch Oven: Crock Pot 7-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Oval Dutch Oven

Crock Pot's enameled cast iron Dutch oven is Amazon's #1 best-selling Dutch oven with 3,694 5-star ratings, available in 10 colors, three sizes, and two styles. The enameled cast iron coating eliminates the need to season and provides exceptional heat retention and distribution. Described as a true one pot wonder, it's compatible with any stovetop and oven-safe up to 450°F. Mobility is enhanced with oversized handles for a sturdy grip. "Beautiful and works perfectly," remarked a shopper who looks forward to using it for years to come. "I use it for making slow-rise artisan-style sourdough, as well as soups, stews, braises, etc. Cleans up fairly easily and retains heat the way it should."

BUY IT: $104.99; amazon.com

Best 8 Quart Dutch Oven: Calphalon 8.5-Quart Aluminum Nonstick Dutch Oven

Made with heavy-gauge aluminum, this Calphalon Dutch oven heats evenly and is hard-anodized for durability, preventing any chips, cracks, or peeling. Three interior layers of nonstick coating offer easy release. Stainless steel handles remain cool when cooking on the stovetop or in the oven. The nonstick surface allows healthier cooking using less fat. It gets better, this Dutch oven is dishwasher-safe with 647 5-star reviews and has a lifetime warranty. "This is the greatest pot ever forged by human hands and put forth for the betterment of mankind," according to a loyal customer. "I've never cared about cookware before this pot. I am so in love with it, I've begun collecting this line one piece at a time. I'll never use anything but Calphalon ever again. Superior product."

BUY IT: $149.98; amazon.com

Best 9 Quart Dutch Oven: Tramontina 9-Quart Stainless Steel Dutch Oven

Available in nine or 24 quarts at a mere $40, this Tramontina Dutch oven is constructed with a tri-ply base for quick and even heat distribution. Cook in the oven up to 500°F or on any stovetop. Complete with a stainless-steel lid and riveted cast stainless-steel handles, this 4.7-star Dutch oven is dishwasher-safe. An impressed reviewer shared, "I am an All-Clad girl with a bit of Le Creuset thrown in. It's what my mom used, and her mom before her. But, at the time of lockdown, I was in a home with a less than stellar collection of pans and paying up for those brands wasn't appealing. So, I went out on a limb and bought this. I love it."

BUY IT: $39.99; amazon.com

Best Size Dutch Oven for Bread: Lodge 5-Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven

A 5-quart to 7-quart Dutch oven with heavy, thick walls that can withstand 400°F is best for baking bread. This leaves ample room for the loaf to rise, form, and crust. Look for a solid lid with a heat-proof knob. "SO EXCITED about this Dutch oven!" exclaimed a 5-star reviewer. "We've had it about a month and used it several times to bake no-knead bread, which is my new favorite food. I am super happy with this choice (the 5-quart one). I've used other Dutch ovens in the past (this one is just as wonderful) and know that they're extremely versatile, though I've only used this one for bread so far. Even just for that purpose, it's a game-changer."

BUY IT: $64.86; amazon.com