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Jan 10, 2008 03:31 PM

what size dutch oven?

I was planning on getting a 5.5 qt, but just found out that we are expecting twins, meaning we will shortly be a family of 5. I have no experience cooking for this many people- will 5.5 qts be large enough? Should I go for the 7 qt?

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  1. Your twins won't be eating your pot roast anytime soon, but personally I'd go for the 7 qt. I have a few; one 2 qt, one 5 qt and one 8.75 qt, and while I use all, I find the 8.75 qt more versatile. With that said, the size difference in my 2 large ones is almost 4 quarts; yours is simply 1.5 quarts which is not very noticeable.

    1. Thanks! I just don't want more than one- I have a very small kitchen, so I want to make sure that whatever size I get won't end up being too small in the long run.

      I also make a lot of soup, and this will probably get used for that as well.

      1. Get the big one. When my kids were babies and toddlers they loved my homemade applesauce - you can make a lot of applesauce in a 7 quart.

        1. Before you decide on getting the huge one, go pick one up - empty! - at a cookware store. They are heavy and when they're full and hot out of the oven, they can be difficult to handle.
          I did very well with 2.75 and 5.something LC Dutch ovens for my family, that included kids, guests and constant hangers-on. For larger pots, including huge soup pots, I have stainless and restaurant supply aluminum because of the weight.

          1. "Before you decide on getting the huge one, go pick one up - empty! - at a cookware store. "

            That's a good point. I was planning on checking out my local LC outlet, so I'll do some lifting and carrying first. There;s also a williams-sonoma outlet around the corner, so I can see what they have, too.

            2 Replies
            1. re: aekap

              Another point to consider is that the a lot of the weight of these is in the lid. If you remove the lid first it's easier to carry. Also, you will just be lifting it from the stovetop to the oven and back, and some dishes won't need the oven at all. A lot of the recipes on FoodTv and cookbooks are really made for a 5-6 qt. oven. Unless you like to make large batches for freezing, I think the 5.5 is fine for the two of you, although the 7 has more bottom area for meats they say not to layer.

              Also, be aware that these are addicting, and like potato chips I doubt if you will be able to stop with just one ;-). You might want to add the 3.5 buffet casserole, 7.25, or the 6.75 low and wide oven at some point. They also nest if round, so if you wanted to start with the 5.5 and latter get the 7, the 5.5 will fit inside so no extra storage really. You might find the 7.25 too large for a lot of recipes. Most that have a variety of sizes, say the 5.5 size is their go to pot!

              Williams Sonoma has a great sale on their Dijon (gorgeous rich shaded yellow) or their Sonoma blue right now. 25% off or more of their regular sale price for 1st quality.

              1. re: aekap

                Then remember that a gallon of water weighs just over 8 pounds. Of course, many things that you'll use in the pot weigh less than that, and the pot might not be full, but it's an easy to use rule of thumb. Add 2 pounds for every quart of the pot's volume to the weight of the pot. And then remember that you have to handle that pot when it's HOT, right out of the oven. Cast iron will be at the same temperature as the oven - maybe 300 to 400 degrees.
                I have some pots that I have to have help with and major stock pots that I have to scoop stuff out of before I can move them on my own. I never even try to move those when they're hot. Might be easy for a tall man with good upper body strength but I'm a 5'3" woman with small hands.