How To Choose The Best Size Dutch Oven For You

If you’re considering buying a Cast-Iron Dutch Oven but you aren’t sure which size to choose, we’ve got you covered.

This article is about helping you choose the best size Dutch oven to suit your needs and your cooking style so that you can get the best use out of your cast-iron cookware for years to come. 


Cast-Iron Dutch Oven With Charcoals

Photography: Teddy Cosco

But first, some frequently-asked questions.

Is It Better To Buy A Round Or Oval Dutch Oven?

When you start shopping for a cast-iron Dutch oven, you’ll quickly realize that size isn’t the only thing to consider. Because they’re cast from a mold, Dutch ovens can be made in a whole range of shapes — some much more useful than others. 

If versatility is your goal, round is the best shape for a Dutch oven. Round Dutch ovens heat more evenly and can be used for your favorite stew recipe and even to bake breads, cakes and dessert. What’s more, the regular shape of a round Dutch oven means it sits perfectly on top of your Wolf and Grizzly Grill as much as your regular kitchen stovetop. 

The irregular shape of an oval Dutch oven, meanwhile, makes it hard to use on a smaller outdoor grill or kitchen cooktop and is less suited for day-to-day use than its circular counterpart. 


Cast-Iron Dutch Oven on Campfire Grill

Photography: Teddy Cosco

What’s The Most Popular Size Dutch Oven?

The most popular size for a Dutch oven is somewhere between five and seven quarts. If you’re cooking for family or friends fairly regularly, something like a 5.5 quart Dutch oven might be ideal for you. 

It makes sense why this size tends to be what people go for — it can hold plenty of food and still fit on both your Wolf and Grizzly Grill and your standard cooktop. Also, a 5.5 quart Dutch oven is in that sweet spot between having a generous capacity and still being a reasonable weight. If you’re camping slightly away from your vehicle, this is definitely something you will want to consider. 


Two People Cooking With Cast-Iron Dutch Oven on Outdoor Campfire

Photography: Teddy Cosco

How Do I Clean a Dutch Oven?

This is a great question that we get asked a lot. We have a whole article dedicated to explaining this process in detail. Click here to find out more.


Cast-Iron Dutch Oven and fresh vegetables on BBQ grill

Photography: Teddy Cosco

What Size Dutch Oven Should I Buy If…

I Usually Cook Meals For One Or Two People

While a 5.5 quart Dutch oven is certainly the most-popular size around, it’s not your only option if you’re going to be cooking for one or two people most of the time.

Just because it's more compact doesn’t mean it isn’t versatile. Smaller Dutch ovens can easily take on low-and-slow recipes, such as risotto or a hearty stew. They’re also a nice size for baking a quick bread recipe at camp, such as Cornbread.

Whether you’re cooking up a storm on your backyard BBQ grill or on your modern kitchen stovetop, you can easily cook a whole chicken in a 3.5 quart Dutch oven too. Look for “broiler” or “fryer” chickens that weigh around three pounds (or 1.5 kilograms). Of course, if you dream of cooking a large chicken sitting on a bed of tender roast vegetables, a 5.5 quart Dutch oven is going to be the better size.

I Like To Cook For A Crowd 

If you often find yourself cooking for more than two people, a 5.5 quart Dutch oven is the way to go. Its generous size means everyone can get their fill, plus you’ll get to enjoy the “wow” effect of putting a Dutch oven down in the middle of your dining table or picnic bench.

Some great recipes you can share straight from the pot include braised pork tacos, mac and cheese or vegetarian gumbo. 

I Love To Host Dinner Parties

For cooking your show-stopping main, nothing beats a 5.5 quart Dutch oven. Its size means it can accommodate larger or more awkward cuts of meat, like pot roast, ribs or brisket, while also being big enough to feed everyone.

Cooking dinner is not the only thing your Dutch oven is good for either. If you’re enjoying cooking in the great outdoors, a warm drink is often a welcome treat to combat the elements. Hot Apple Cider or Mexican Hot Chocolate is kept at the perfect temperature during the whole evening thanks to the superior heat retention of cast iron.

It bears repeating: a Dutch oven is one of the most versatile cooking tools you’ll ever own. Use it throughout the year on your outdoor grill, on your stovetop or in your oven - it can handle the heat. No matter which size you go for, your cast iron Dutch oven is about to become your new cooking companion.


Shop cast-iron Dutch oven for outdoor grilling

Shop the Milo Cast-Iron Dutch Oven in 5.5 quarts and 3.5 quarts.

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