Question of the Day
What Size Dutch Oven Should You Buy?
We think bigger is better.
09-05-2018
America's Test Kitchen

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.)

The Best Dutch Ovens

Expensive (But Worth It)

Expensive (But Worth It) Le Creuset 7¼ Quart Round Dutch Oven

This perfect, pricey pot bested the competition again. It was substantial enough to hold and distribute heat evenly without being unbearably heavy.

Highly Recommended

Highly Recommended Quart Round Dutch Oven

Though not our winner due to its weight, the Misen Dutch oven is a great option with a broad cooking surface, large handles, and light colored enameled interior.

Best Buy Alternative

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron Covered Casserole

With an exceptionally broad cooking surface and low, straight sides, this 7-quart pot had the same advantageous shape as the Le Creuset and was heavier, but not prohibitively so.