Most Popular Dutch Oven Size to Buy

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.

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 amongst 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.

Diameter Size
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.

Depth Size
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.

Size comparisons
Le Creuset most popular dutch oven size. 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.

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”.

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.

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