Dutch ovens can get pretty pricey — especially the ones from iconic brands like Le Creuset and Staub. While many people dream about having a complete set that'll rival a display at Williams Sonoma, it's just not practical without a bottomless bank account. And that's okay! Because you really can get by with just one — as long as you're smart when you shop for it.
If you're only going to have one Dutch oven, here's how big (and what shape) it should be.
The Best Dutch Oven Size
Dutch ovens can be teeny-tiny (think: just one quart) and monstrously big (think: 13.5 quarts). If you're looking for the Goldilocks suggestion, we recommend getting something that's at least 5.5 or 6 quarts. This way, you'll be able to make all those amazing stews, soups, and no-knead breads that you come across online. Something this big will be large enough to help you feed a crowd and you can absolutely still braise a chicken in there. Anything smaller, and it tends to be too small for most of the recipes out there.
Buy: Staub Cast-Iron 5.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven, $260
The Best Dutch Oven Shape
Torn between a round or an oval Dutch oven? While you might be tempted to get an oval one because it looks more likely to be able to accommodate a whole chicken and larger pieces of meat, get a round one. You can still fit meats inside a round Dutch oven (as long as you heed our advice and get something that's at least 5.5 quarts!) and it will sit better on a burner, which means better, more even heating. And if you have all the burners firing at once, the round one is smaller and leaves room for the other pots.
3 Dutch Ovens We Love
- Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5.5-Quart Round Dutch Oven, $340
- Staub 5.5 Quart Round Oven, $260 at Williams Sonoma
- Lodge Enameled Cast Iron 6-Quart Dutch Oven, $80
How many Dutch ovens do you have and what size/shape are they?