Why the Most Affordable Le Creuset Is Also My Favorite

published Oct 21, 2022
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When I think of coveted kitchen gear, there’s one piece that stands out on many cooks’ wishlists: a huge, gorgeous Dutch oven from Le Creuset. As a cookbook author, longtime recipe developer, and, you know, Editor-in-Chief of Kitchn, I’ve amassed many Dutch ovens throughout my career and I love them all. But I wish more people knew that my most-used Le Creuset pot is actually one of the most affordable: The modest, hardworking 3.5-quart round wide Dutch oven. And guess what? It’s currently half off for $218 at QVC.

This excellent piece of cookware is a less expensive choice than the enormous 6- and 8-quart Dutch ovens and much more weeknight-friendly. You can lift it without breaking your back! It fits in a regular-sized cabinet! No, it can’t bathe a baby or feed an entire marching band, but other than that, it’s a workhorse for everyday weeknight cooking.

Why the Le Creuset 3.5-Quart Round Wide Dutch Oven Has Been My Favorite for More than 10 Years

I wrote about my love for this Dutch oven more than 10 years ago, so it’s time to circle back and say yes, I still swear by it. Here are a few reasons why I love this Dutch oven and why it’s by far the most-used of my Le Creuset pieces.

  • The size is perfect for cooking for two or three: Three-and-a-half quarts is big enough for a pot of beans, a modest batch of soup, two big pork chops, a roast chicken dinner, a frittata, or a batch of drop biscuits.
  • It’s the same volume as a 9×13-inch pan: Fun fact alert! This Dutch oven has about the same volume as a classic 9 x 13-inch pan, which means that it’s easy to adapt almost any sheet cake or casserole to bake in here.
  • It fits everywhere you need it to: It fits in standard sinks and dishwashers, as well as shallow rental kitchen cupboards. Unlike the behemoth Dutch ovens that many of us longed for before we knew better, this is the one that you’ll actually take out of your cupboard.

In 10+ years of cooking with this modestly sized Dutch oven, it’s still the one I pick out first when starting many weeknight dinners and side dishes. It’s light enough to whip out quickly and like all Le Creuset Dutch ovens, it’s oven-safe so I can start something on the stove and move it to the oven. If I was advising a home cook on their first Dutch oven investment, I’d recommend this size.

How to Care for a Le Creuset Dutch Oven

If you spring for one of these excellent pieces of cookware, be sure to read our recommendations for the 10 first things to do with your new Le Creuset. I clean my Dutch oven by hand or in the dishwasher. If stains build up, I follow these instructions for removing marks from the white enamel.

The Best Places to Buy a Le Creuset 3.5-Quart Round Wide Dutch Oven

QVC currently has three colors, including a Licorice black color — similar to my own beloved Onyx — about half off retail price for $218.

This size of Dutch oven tends to go on sale frequently, especially around the holidays, but it will depend on the color you’re looking for. New seasonal colors (like this gorgeous fall-inspired shade) are less likely to go on sale, but if you’re looking for one of the classics, Wayfair has a similar pan in a wide array of colors for $240. Our best rec? Shop around.

What’s your favorite Dutch oven? Tell us all about it in the comments!