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Dutch Oven - Round or oval?

  • j

Does it make a difference? Which do you prefer?

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  1. If I only had to have only one, it would be oval as it will fit a bird (duck, goose, small turkey) and you can still make stews, soups, etc in it.

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    1. re: polish_girl

      I know other people on CH have posted similar feelings on this subject - that for maximum versatility the oval makes the most sense. I only own one myself and I have a round. I've sometimes thought maybe I should have bought the oval one, because of the bird issue, etc, but so far I haven't had any trouble fitting anything in the pot that I wanted to. And I wonder how evenly the oval oven heats on a round burner? (I really don't know - just musing here.)

    2. I have both and it's very rare I reach for the oval. Yes, it fits fowl or a leg of lamb. But I nearly always roast those. And because the two ends of the oval are hanging over the burner when it's on the stovetop, I get a center hotspot so I use it mainly in the oven and not for long-cooking soups or stews.

      1. I have both (plus a braiser and a small round) and I almost exclusively use the round. Maybe it's because I never cook a goose, duck or leg of lamb, but I find that I use the round for almost everything.

        1. I have a few of each shape in different sizes, and I use the two shapes about equally. I think only you can answer the question of which would be best for you by considering what you plan to use the oven for. If you tend to mostly do soups, stews or pot roasts where the shape isn't important, then get the round, which does heat more evenly on the stovetop. On the other hand, if you find yourself wanting to mostly braise lamb shanks, fowl, or perhaps loin pork roasts, then the oval will serve your needs better, and can obviously also handle those jobs where shape isn't important, at the cost of somewhat diminished stovetop performance.

          1. I have both. I can't say that I've ever had problems with the ovals heating unevenly due to their shape, but I have oversized burners on my stove, so maybe this accounts for something.

            1. i have both and perhaps this is sacrilege but I use my oval one most often for boiling spaghetti. fits perfectly. I braise more in the round.

              those of you talking about whole birds, are you roasting them?

              1. I have a couple of round LC ovens and feel like a need a larger one than my 3 1/2 qt. I was trying to decide round or oval and found this post - decision made! Thanks for the help, guys and gals.

                1. Isn't the oval one technically a french oven?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jgg13

                    Le Creuset's web site talks about 'round French ovens'
                    French Oven appears to be that company's term for enameled cast iron pots.

                    The term 'dutch oven' is 300 yrs old, and has something to do with the method of casting pots like this that was developed in Holland. These pots, in various configurations were widely used in colonial America, and traveled west with the settlers.


                  2. When braising a single piece of meat (or bird etc), it is nice to have a pot that just slightly larger all the way around. That way you have room to turn it, and fit a vegetables around the side, but don't have to add an excessive amount of liquid. Thus oval shaped items will fit better in an oval oven.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: paulj

                      I love my Oval Staub oven (the coq qu vin model) but I really need the size of the 8 qt. Staub I have sometimes - so I guess both! If I had to choose one I'd go with the round though - less hot spots for stovetop use.