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Cast Iron 101

What Size Dutch Oven Do I Need?

By: / April 20, 2021

There are many factors that go into choosing the right dutch oven, so we broke it down for you. Use this guide to determine which size is right for you based on what you like to cook and how many people gather around your table.

What size dutch oven?

What’s that dutch oven for?

The possibilities are endless: use a dutch oven to broil, braise, bake, roast, simmer, sauté, and fry. Dutch ovens are also great for cooking up big meals for families and friends. When you cook for a crowd, plan to allot at least a one quart serving per person. What you’re cooking and the number of people you’re cooking for will inform what size skillet is best for you. Use the slider below to find out the best uses for each size dutch oven.

"But, cast iron or enamel?" you ask.

Dutch ovens are the ultimate kitchen tool due to their excellent heat retention and cook to serve nature. One of the major differences between cast iron dutch ovens and enameled dutch ovens is aesthetic. Some people prefer the rustic look of seasoned cast iron and others appreciate the variety of colors of our enameled cast iron. Either way, both are great for simmering soups and baking bread. You can use this side-by-side guide to compare other differences.

Cast Iron Dutch Ovens

Seasoned Cast Iron

  • Use any utensil—even metal
  • Use in the oven, on the stove, on the grill, or over a campfire
  • Enjoy the naturally seasoned, nonstick surface

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Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens

Enameled Cast Iron

  • Cook acidic foods like tomato sauce
  • Use on the stove or in the oven
  • Store leftovers in the fridge
  • Marinate food overnight

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Cast iron dutch oven sizing FAQs

The 1.5 quart dutch oven is perfect for side dishes and desserts, but we recommend a 3 quart or 4.5 quart for people living alone and cooking mostly for themselves. The larger size will fit most recipes for 1-2 people and can better accommodate one-pan meals.

We recommend the 6 quart dutch oven for families. The 6 quart dutch oven is our most popular and can fit everything from no-knead bread to your favorite risotto recipe. If you're looking for a piece that will churn out weeknight family meals, but can easily accommodate a couple of extra houseguests, look no further. This dutch oven will maximize your cooktop without crowding your cabinet.

Depending on your menu and number of guests, use a dutch oven 7 quarts or larger. These larger sized dutch ovens accommodate larger roasts with room for veggies. If you plan to cook foods like pork loin or beef tenderloin, you might want to consider an oval dutch oven.

1 or 2 quart dutch oven: none
3 or 4.5 quart dutch oven: a small chicken
5 or 6 quart dutch oven: up to a 4 pound chicken
7 or 7.5 quart dutch oven: up to a 6 pound chicken
9 quart dutch oven: up to a 9 pound chicken

The most common sizes are between 5 and 6 quarts. You’ll want to consider how you will use the dutch oven. Oval dutch ovens are less efficient on the stovetop, but they are better at accommodating roasts in the oven. Round dutch ovens work best for soups, stews, chicken, and bread, while oval dutch ovens provide some extra room, making them better for roasting and braising. Consider the types of foods you’ll cook most and size accordingly.