If You Have a Small Kitchen, You Need a Dutch Oven

No space for a bunch of pots and pans? A Dutch oven does the work of (almost) all of them.

Published Aug. 25, 2021.

Like many other city dwellers, I have minimal cabinet space in my kitchen. As much as I'd love a luxurious, roomy kitchen like the ones in a magazine, the reality is that I've had to pick and choose which pieces of kitchen equipment I can and can't fit—and it's not much. 

But I’ve found one piece of cookware that has replaced many of the skillets, saucepans, and other tools that I don’t have room for. Ironically, it's one of the largest, clunkiest things in my kitchen.

My humble Lodge Porcelain Enameled Dutch Oven has allowed me to keep my small kitchen clutter-free while still making it possible to cook beautiful meals. My Dutch oven is a 7.5-quart model; there are small and medium Dutch ovens if you want to scale down.

If you have a small kitchen but don't have a Dutch oven, here are a few simple reasons why you should consider buying one.

1. Superior Roasting

Few things rival the roasting skills of a good Dutch oven. They’re heavy and thick enough to conduct and retain heat and deep enough to handle large cuts of meat, all important considerations when producing mouth-wateringly tender roasts. I’ve made 5-pound pork shoulders and other large cuts of meat countless times in my Dutch oven and have never been disappointed. The best part: I don’t have to worry about lugging out a giant roasting pan and rack.

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2. Flawless Frying

Whether I’m shallow frying fritters or deep frying chicken, my Dutch oven is my best friend. Its tall sides prevent hot oil from splashing over the edge and its light-colored interior allows me to monitor foods while they’re cooking.

3. Sensational Sautéing and Sauce-Making

When I need to quickly sauté vegetables, I’m confident that my Dutch oven will produce even, consistent results. The pot is also perfect for whipping up a quick sauce after I’ve just seared meat or rendered pancetta. Dutch ovens can act as a skillet and saucepan in one.

4. Beautiful Baking

Dutch ovens are great for breads, cobblers, and pot pies. Good ones distribute heat evenly and produce well-baked crusts, which is ideal if you don’t have room to store a bunch of pie pans or large baking dishes.

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5. Impressive Serving

Many Dutch ovens can also double as beautiful statement pieces. I display mine on my top shelf and always receive compliments. They also make lovely serving dishes and can go right from your oven or stove to your table (which means fewer dishes at the end of your meal!).

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