In this post, I will discuss the most popular Dutch oven size to buy, then move on discuss some of the factors that you may wish to consider before you buy your Dutch oven.
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So…what is the most popular Dutch oven size to buy?
Based on sales data, the most popular dutch oven size to buy is between 5 and 6 quarts. This is based on retailer information and sales data from manufacturers. This makes a lot of sense and I will come to those reasons why.
The 6-quart range offers the most flexibility as it is effectively the mid-range size.
Find out which are the best Dutch ovens here
It is large enough to cater for special event cooking but small enough to be used as everyday cookware. It will easily fit in the oven and comfortably sit on your stove without having to consider much.
It is large enough to be used for a variety of tasks such as baking bread and deep frying whilst still offering the largest flexibility for more conventional Dutch oven cooking.
Of course, this information is on the basis of it being a round Dutch oven. These offer the greatest flexibility whilst offering the greatest convenience. 6-quart sizes based on oval Dutch ovens obviously offer the same quart sizing but do not offer the same everyday usability. They are not as capable on the stovetop as their round counterparts.
Why do you need to consider the best Dutch oven size?
Buying the right Dutch oven size will ensure that it is used to its maximum potential. It is a wonderful piece of cookware that often changes people’s views of cooking, especially the new cooks among us. You can produce wonderful dishes without being the most experienced cook.
What do you need to consider to choose the best Dutch oven size?
Generally, there are a few recommendations that I make and factors that need to be considered. I will list these with a little explanation.
The conventional advice that is offered to people is the one quart is equivalent to one serving. However, this does not factor in the actual usage and purpose. What is it that you will actually be cooking? You can see why the 6-quart size is the most popular Dutch oven size to buy even though most people buying do not cook for 6 people.
What will your Dutch oven mainly be used for?
People want the flexibility to make different things. Although their main tasks may be cooking dinners such as stews and braising meats, they may also want to use their Dutch ovens to bake bread or even use it to deep fry fish. It is this flexibility that makes Dutch ovens wonderful pieces of cookware.
Let me give you an example…roasting a chicken. Obviously not an everyday task but you need your Dutch oven large enough to cater for it. Based on the average chicken size, the Dutch oven needs to be at least 6 quarts.
How many people do you cater for?
Although the conventional advice is 1 quart per person, this in reality does not reflect people’s usage. The official advice that is given is 1 quart per person then add on a couple of quarts for left overs. When you add this together, for the average family, this is almost equivalent to 6 quarts. It would therefore make more sense for the most popular Dutch oven size to buy.
The question you will have to answer is how many people you need to cook for followed by whether you want to cook ‘leftovers’. Obviously having leftovers allows you the flexibility of freezing cooked food that offers some convenience in the future.
It also perhaps offers some flexibility for the following days food or a little snack later that evening perhaps. Whatever the reason, leftovers can be a great thing…I’m a big fan as you can guess.
The general rule is that if you want flexibility and variation in your tasks completed in the Dutch oven, you should opt for the round Dutch oven.
This is where diameter size of Dutch ovens become relevant. If you are cooking large cuts of meat such as a leg of lamb, you may want a Dutch oven with a large diameter. In this case, an oval Dutch oven may be suitable for your needs.
However, the downside if you buy a Dutch oven specifically for this task is that the oval version is not great on a stove as the wider diameter means that it will not heat evenly.
This is why you need to think carefully about what diameter size you will actually need most and what other options you have in your kitchen cupboard. The ideal scenario is that you buy Dutch ovens to cover specific tasks but that is unrealistic for most people.
This is less of a consideration but nonetheless important to consider. In my experience, this only becomes particularly relevant when I want to bake bread. I need to give the bread enough room to rise.
Generally, most Dutch ovens have sufficient depth for most general tasks. Obviously, the larger the Dutch oven, the greater the depth…although it may just be an inch difference from the small to large versions.
For most cooking sizes, the average depth is more than sufficient for most cooking tasks. One point I should make though is that the tall sides of Dutch ovens make some tasks more ideal for some more than others.
For example, I use a Braiser when I am cooking a joint of meat as searing it is easier to handle and when it comes to braising, the lower sides actually help the steam cook the meat. Obviously, you can do this in a Dutch oven but the greater depth of it means that steam cooking (braising), takes longer than it would in my braiser.
It is also relevant when you are looking to reduce liquid in dish, it takes longer in pans with greater depths.
It is always better to look at the various size options to consider what you want. Obviously, most people buy online as this allows you to buy the best reviewed Dutch ovens rather than what your local stockist offers.
It is always better to look up the brand options when looking for size comparisons of Dutch ovens. The image on the right is there to give you a general indication of the size differences as you move up the quart scale.
I have also included the Le Creuset size table that also gives indication of the Quarts and the liters this is equivalent too.
Le Creuset Round Dutch oven sizes
Most popular Dutch oven size – Outdoor Dutch ovens
When it comes to outdoor Dutch oven sizes, it is slightly different. Although they too are measured in quarts, they are generally advertised in inches. So, for example an 8” or 12”.
For further information on how to buy a cast iron outdoor dutch oven, click here.
Ray Thomas who also writes some articles here has some specific recommendations when it comes to Outdoor Dutch ovens and it also reflects the most popular dutch oven size. Ray recommends that you buy a 12” oven as this gives the greater flexibility. He recommends the 12” shallow and 12” deep outdoor Dutch ovens. Obviously he is recommending that people have two but this is not unrealistic for those that do cook outdoors.
Generally, a 12” outdoor Dutch oven will cater for 5 -6 people and still have leftovers. If you need to cater for more people, then this is where the additional oven comes in handy rather than buying a larger oven. Obviously it goes without saying, the larger the oven, the greater the heating time and greater amount of charcoal or coal required to heat it.
What is the size of a large Dutch oven?
It is generally considered that Dutch ovens between 7 and 9 quarts is considered ‘Large’.
How many quarts is in a 10 inch Dutch oven?
A 10” Dutch oven normally has a capacity of 4 quarts. This does depend on the depth though so it is worth checking with the manufacturers dimensions.
How many quarts are in a 12 inch Dutch oven?
A 12 inch Dutch oven normally equates to 6 quarts.
What is the best size for a Dutch oven?
I have addressed this above and the best size is the one that you can accomplish your cooking style. The one that gives you the greatest versatility if you have a single oven. If you can get more than one, I would recommend it. Obviously, consider the factors above, a little thought now can help you make a more informed decision.
What is the biggest Le Creuset Dutch oven?
The largest Le Creuset Dutch oven is their Oval Dutch oven. This comes in at an impressive 15 quarts. The largest round Dutch oven by Le Creuset is 13.25 quarts.
What size dutch oven for whole chicken?
This depends entirely on the size of the chicken. However, is the US, chickens are usually in the range of 4.5 – 6 lbs. This will fit well in a standard 6-quart Dutch oven.
What size dutch oven should i buy for camping?
Please refer to the answer I gave above with a little help from Ray. Generally, he advises that you purchase a 12” deep oven but it is worth buying a second 12” shallow if funds allow. The flexibility this gives you will make your life easier. Lodge Cast iron do a fantastic range of Outdoor Dutch ovens.
Best Dutch oven to buy on a Budget
Lodge Color 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
This is the winner of our Dutch oven test and for good reason. It accomplished everything the more expensive versions did at a very good price…$50!
Read my in-depth review here
Best Dutch oven to buy when money is no object!
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5½-Quart Round French Oven
Now this really is the Rolls Royce of Dutch Ovens…perfect construction, perfect finish, great cooking performance and a brand that will hold it’s value.
If money is not an issue, this can actually be a great investment.
This Dutch oven is as good as it gets. Read the review here
Let us all know what you think is the most popular Dutch oven size. What do you own and why you think it is perfect for you. Leave a comment below, it would be great to hear from you.
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What to read next
How to Buy Cast Iron Skillets and Dutch Ovens
Hi Jayne, does the Le Creuset deep round dutch fit in standard oven sizes? Im looking to buy my first ever piece, and it’s on sale at the le creuset website, while the standard dutch is not. Thanks!
You should have no issues…it is not that much taller.
I was hoping you could you help me solve this problem (I’m not as dumb as this question sounds – I swear!!)
I’m confused at dutch oven sizes and I basically want to know which one is bigger, for baking bread mostly. I have found two at similar prices – As I’m writing this on COVID lockdown, I can’t go to the two different shops to see in person.
Both are circular
1). W 24cm, L 27cm and D 17cm.
2). H 13cm, W 28 cm and D 37cm
For 1: how does a circular pot have width and length? D must be Depth as D for Diameter would be too small (and W is diameter?)
For 2: how does it have Height and Depth as the D couldn’t stand for diameter as that would be way larger than the width (Diameter must be W in this case?)
Please help! I’ve been at this puzzle for hours!
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