What Size Dutch Oven Should I Buy?

What Size Dutch Oven Should I Buy? The dutch oven you should buy may well be different to the one you want to buy.

In this article we will show you aspects to consider and what should influence your decision making.

We know that Dutch ovens are versatile, but we recognize that different recipes will require different oven sizes and even impact on the shape that is best suited to the task.

Generally, high quality Dutch ovens are expensive. In an ideal world, we would have a set of them to each handle different cooking requirements. However, this is not a realistic scenario. Most people will have to put up with one Dutch oven to handle all their needs.

Assuming you are only getting one, consider the following.

Where do i find the lowest priced Dutch ovens?

What size Dutch oven should I buy

Traditionally, Dutch ovens are measured in quarts. This number will determine how much liquid, the cookware can hold. The accepted measure of food served is one quart per person.

Increasingly, manufacturers are moving towards dish sizes in centimeters (cm).

Without pointing out the obvious, they are available in many sizes. From the smallest which will serve 2 people to the largest, which serves 12 in Le Creuset’s case.

It is worth understanding the following. Smaller sizes are suitable for up to 3 people with single servings. They are suitable for the usual dishes, from braising smaller cuts of meat to making vegetables, baking breads to making splendid cakes.

Looking at the middle range size ovens, you have the capacity to serve between 4 and 8 people. The types of dishes you can create will increase as you can do more because of the size.  You can therefore braise larger meat cuts, poultry and cook whole fish.

In terms of the larger ovens, they give you the greatest flexibility. They also are the best option when it comes to roasting foods such as chicken. These dishes need room for circulation of the heat and moisture to deliver the best results.

In view of this, the first step is to determine how many people you cook for on average or alternatively, the maximum number of people you will cook for.

We would recommend something in the mid-range size.

This offers enough flexibility to vary the quantity of food for most Dutch oven dishes. It also gives you the flexibility to make breads or roast full chickens.

Related article

Most Popular Dutch Oven Size to Buy

The Best Dutch Oven Shape

There are two versions widely available, round and oval. They are essentially made the same way with the same materials. They however offer different strengths and weaknesses, offering different flexibility depending on the dishes.

Round Dutch ovens

By far and away the most popular choice for good reason. They offer the best performance if you want to move from stovetop to oven. The round shape means that on a stove, the heat is distributed evenly resulting in better performance. Perfect for most tasks including, stews, soups, baking, pot roasting, casseroles etc. What size Dutch oven should i buy? have a look at the graphic below…

best dutch oven size
Best Dutch oven size

Oval Dutch ovens

The oval version is popular mainly to those whose main use is oven cooking. This cocotte offers greater flexibility for larger roasts such as chicken, leg of lambs or even a turkey. There also offer more versatility when baking longer loafs of bread.

best size dutch oven
Best size Dutch oven

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How to buy the Best Dutch oven

My view – Best size Dutch oven

What size Dutch oven should i buy? Your first decision to make is whether your Dutch oven will be used in the oven and on the stove. If it is, the round version will be best. It offers the greatest versatility and buying a larger one will ensure you can also successfully cook chickens, legs of lamb etc. It will also sit better on the stove and offer a more consistent cooking experience.

If you are using it in the oven only, then stove top performance becomes irrelevant. The oval version is a viable option.

Dutch Oven Size Chart

Number Letter Liter size Quarts
16 A 1.3 1.5
18 B 1.8 2
20 C 2.4 2.5
22 D 3.3 3.5
24 E 4.2 4.5
26 F 5.3 5.5
28 G 6.7 7.25
30 H 8.4 9
34 I 12.4 13.25


Dutch ovens come in a variety of sizes to suit most situations. They can however be relatively expensive, especially for the higher end branded ones.

Therefore, What size Dutch oven should i buy? That is a decision for you but it is important that you consider the size you need before you buy.

Where do i find the lowest priced Dutch ovens?

Frequently asked questions

How many quarts is in a 10 inch Dutch oven?

It really depends on the brand and each will vary to a degree. However, there will be between 4 – 6 quarts in a 10 inch Dutch oven.

What is the best Dutch oven size for family of 4?

As I mentioned earlier, Dutch ovens are traditionally measured in quarts. This is typically the amount of liquid they can hold. The generally accepted standard is that you should equate 1 quart per person and then add a couple for extra servings. Therefore, based on this measurement, What size Dutch oven should i buy?..a family of 4 should typically be looking at a Dutch oven that is at least 6 quarts minimum.

What size dutch oven for whole chicken?

The obvious answer is…depends on the size of the chicken! But let’s see if I can add a little more detail.

Over the years I have owned several different sizes. Since most the chickens available in supermarkets tend to be around 1 – 1.3 kg, I have roasted chickens in a 5 quart oven with still enough room for some veggies.

However, if you are buying a new one, I would recommend the 7-quart version as it will give you more flexibility regarding the size of the bird and more vegetables. It also provides for a better cooking result as the air and moisture is allowed to circulate within a larger space.

Remember…if you want to brown the chicken and add a little crisp to the top, remove the lid at the end to let it brown.

What can be used in place of a Dutch oven?

We have to state from the outset that the Dutch oven gives the best results. Its design and ability to retain heat gives it that special quality.

I recognize that you may not own one or even have access to one. So, what can you do to achieve similar results?

Well, you may have to get creative to achieve similar results. One option is to place a metal pot over a ceramic one…then cover it with foil. This method can replicate a Dutch oven and produce a result that is satisfactory without being exceptional like a proper Dutch oven.

What size dutch oven should I buy for camping?

The ideal scenario for camping is having two outdoor Dutch ovens. Ideally for feeding 5 people, they should be a 12” Outdoor cast iron Dutch oven. It is preferable to have a 12” shallow and a 12” deep Dutch oven. This gives you the maximum flexibility when it comes to cooking and options you have. Catering for a smaller amount of people, the minimum size I would suggest is 10” diameter.

How to use a Dutch oven while camping

How to Buy Cast Iron Skillets and Dutch Ovens

dutch oven size chart
Dutch oven size chart

Since you are here…can i ask you a favor?

It would be really nice if you could pin this image on Pinterest…it’s just a couple of clicks for you but it means the world to me.

Thank you so much,

What should i read next?

What should I buy…6 qt vs 8 qt Dutch oven?



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