Dutch ovens are some of the hardest working equipment in the test kitchen; in fact, we call for them so often in our recipes that we stock dozens of them. But most home kitchens only have room for one. In that case, which size Dutch oven should you buy?
The short answer: the biggest you can afford. More space means more versatility in terms of Dutch oven sizes, so you can use it for everything from stews to bread. We recommend a Dutch oven that holds at least 7 quarts, though you can find models that exceed 13 quarts. It’s also important to note that the heavier the better. We’ve tested many large Dutch ovens and found that lighter ceramic varieties simply aren’t as sturdy and tend to scorch food.
Cook’s Illustrated deputy editor Becky Hays and editor in chief Dan Souza are here to weigh in. (And if you’re not on the Dutch oven train yet, here’s why you should own one.)