Picking the right Dutch Oven Size

So you want to start cooking in a dutch oven… but you don’t know which size you should purchase?  Well – let’s spend a few mins and go over the various dutch oven options and see which one makes the most sense.

Which Size Dutch Oven

Serving Size

The first thing you want to determine is how many people you want to cook for.  Will you be cooking for just a small group such as your immediate family?  If so then a dutch oven that serves around 4-6 people might be ideal.  If you go to a lot of group based campouts and often cook for multiple families or large groups, then you might want to look at one that serves 15-20 people.

Depth

Dutch ovens come in two different depths.  Standard and Deep.  The deep dutch ovens are taller and serve more people when compared to their standard depth counter parts.  In short, deeper ovens are better for cooking large stews and meats.  Shallower ovens are better for breads, doughs and desserts.  For more on dutch oven depth you can reference this article: Shallow or Deep Dutch Ovens.

Diameter

Once you have your target serving size and you have determined whether you want a deep or shallow dutch oven, determining your appropriate dutch oven size is just simple arithmetic.  Let’s example the following table:

Diameter / Depth Approx Quart Size Approx People Serving
6in Standard 1 qt 1-2
8in Standard 2 qt 2-3
10in Standard 4 qt 4-7
10in Deep 5 qt 7-11
12in Standard 6 qt 12-14
12in Deep 8 qt 16-20
14in Standard 8 qt 16-20
14in Deep 10 qt 22-28

* The quart sizes and serving size are approximate and rounded.

So which one?

Well to be honest the most commonly used sizes are the 10in Standard and the 12in Standard.  These seem to be the ones that cooks enjoy using the most and seem to be the most versatile.

As cooks get more an more familiar with dutch ovens you will often seem them purchase an 8in standard for doing small rolls and appetizer style dishes as well as a 14in dutch oven for when they are feeding very large groups.

Let us know in the comments which size Dutch Oven you prefer to cook with.

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