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HELP! Is it toooo big? 9-quart Le Creuset

Yipee! I received a 9-quart Le Creuset for my birthday! The one I asked for. Only one problem: Am I deranged to have asked for such a large pot!? There are just two of us! I want my Le Creuset to be a well-used piece. So, here's my question: Is it okay to use the 9-quart pot for a soup or stew or chicken that could just as easily have been cooked in a smaller pot, say a 6- or 7- quart pot. Pros and cons, please... Many thanks. -Molly

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  1. I think it's too big. I would have gone with the 7 quart which i think is more versatile.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jenhen2

      I agree. I cook generally for the two of us, and use my 7 quart for risotto, soups and stews. It's also big enough to make short ribs for six, etc. I think the 9 quart only makes sense if you are usually cooking for larger crowds, or freezing a lot of what you cook.

    2. I also think 7 quart might be the better size. Plus will it take the two of you to lift it when full???? I wouldn't go smaller than 7 however. I recently found a great deal (I thought) on a 5 qt. Staub but it's too small for the 5# pork shoulder roast I'm doing now. But, hey, congrats and happy birthday.

      1. Not if you are young, strong and regularly work out at the gym with weights :)

        It will be very heavy when you fill it with food. Just make sure what you are cooking can get scooped out and doesn't require you to lift and pour out.

        3 Replies
        1. re: RGC1982

          Okay, it will be HEAVY! But what about the cooking itself? Will it produce poor (less than optimal) results to cook in an over-sized pot when a smaller one would do the job? Is there a rule about how filled a pot should be - or whatever? And, what about the fact that the pot itself extends beyond the stove burner...? Thanks. - Molly

          1. re: lifespan

            I cook for two or three most times, and, my five quart LeCreuset or my six quart Staub can hold a whole chicken, or a two pound helping of veal, plus potatoes, carrots and gravy. I think the 9 quart size may cause evaporation to happen to more quickly because of the large surface area of the cooking liquid and the relatively small amount of food in it. You will need to keep the lid on tightly and turn your heat to lower than usual to get the same result -- but it will be the same result.

            It is never ideal to have a pot that extends too far beyond your burners, but that happens all the time with large pots and they are still used and loved, so it isn't all that bad. Do you cook on gas or electric? It is less of an issue with electric because the heat will spead through the cast iron if you heat it up slowly, while flames tend to stay in one area and burn in the middle unless you crank the thing up. I think most people would find their burners are smaller than the 9 quart pot, but if you go low and slow, or cook in the oven (which many recipes can adapt to), you will be okay. Me? I'd probably invest in a 3.4 or 4 quart for two people in addition to the big pot. It will be a little easier for you to deal with. I would save the 9 quarter for when you have to cook for more than the two of you, with the exception of a pot roast or chicken, when the extra room will be good to have. Good luck and thanks for having a sense of humor. If you read my posts, you will see that I am more concerned with heavy pots now that I have gotten a bit older, so I just smiled when I saw your post.

            1. re: lifespan

              It all depends on what you're cooking, but if you're doing a braised chuck roast or similar cuts, you want a fairly snug fit so the liquid comes at least halfway up the sides of the meat. The bigger the pot the lower the level of liquid, or the more braising liquid you'd need to add. And more liquid is not necessarily a good solution.

          2. We're a two person household. I use my 5.5qt most frequently of my round ovens for us at home(I have a 2.75, 5.5, and 8 qt round).

            I use the 8qt when I cook on Sundays for my family. There is typically 8 of us. The 8qt is more than big enough for me to feed everyone and have a couple days worth of leftovers to leave my parents to start the week.

            I think 9qt is definitely overkill for an everyday pot for a 2 person household. For that matter I think the 7 is too large for two people as well...but YMMV on that if you don't mind multiple days of leftovers or putting things in the freezer.

            1. I received the 9 qt LC as a gift as well last Christmas. One of the issues for me is that we have a double sink, rather than a single larger sink, and the 9 qt is a challenge to wash in this smaller area sink. Unless I really need the volume of the 9 qts, I opt for a smaller option. We also have a 6qt round Mario Batali. In retrospect, the 7 qt LC might have been the better way to go, rather than needing the space to store two large and heavy dutch ovens.

              Also for me, I find it really deceptive to look at the various sizes in stores. They never seem as large there as they do when they are actually in my kitchen.

              Good luck with your decision!

              2 Replies
              1. re: souvenir

                I've never used a LC that big, how heavy is it full?

                1. re: chuckl

                  I have never weighed it; I'll try to remember to do so next time I use it. For me, it's not the incremental weight difference of the 9 versus 7, as much as the incremental size difference of the 9 qt versus the size of our sink.

                  At the moment, it's a 2-stage process to wash it: initial rinse in our too small porcelain kitchen sink and then over to the laundry room sink to have the room to comfortably wash it.

                  And of course, the other key factor is the number of servings we cook at a time. Most days, we're a two person household, but usually when one of us is cooking in the larger pots, it's for 4-7 diners, although most recently it was soup for 11, and then an intention to have some leftovers (no leftovers with the 11 group).

              2. We're a 2-person household and use a 9-qt. oval cast aluminum pot regularly for slow cooking in the oven. . . (corned beef, stews, whole body ducks, etc.). Granted it's not used weekly, but that's not why I got. it. Sometimes I like to cook more food than one meal for the two of us; i love being able to freeze some of the leftovers for meals later on. For instance, if it's corned beef brisket, I'll get a 7 to 9-lb piece: good for a dinner or two plus a couple days of sandwiches and a corned beef hash breakfast on the weekend. Same thing goes for making carnitas.

                We have an ancient gas range with small burners very close together so using two at a time to bring the pot up to temperature isn't a problem. And once it's hot, it's great for getting a good carmelized sear of a larger quantity of meat without steaming it.

                Yes, the pot's heavy . . . but not as much as my original 7-qt enameled cast iron pot (which I accidentally burnt so badly the enamel cracked and lifted up . . . long story), which I also loved. My only problem with getting the larger pot was making easily accessible storage space for it.

                For the record: we've also have 3- and 5-qt. cast iron round pots, but for some reason they're not used as frequently.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Stephanie Wong

                  I cook for four (2 kids and 2 adults), and while I own the 7 Qt LC, I find that I most often use my 3.5 Qt. LC. Even cooking for four, I find that I have plenty plus a bit of leftovers of any stew or soup I cook in the 3.5 Qt. This isn't to say you should necessarily go for a 3.5 qt instead of a 9 Qt - I'm just saying that the 9 Qt for 2 people seems like major overkill to me. I'd think a 5 qt. would be plenty of room (you can fit a chicken or roast in there easily). Maybe a 7 qt if you are planning on eventually cooking for more people and don't want to ever buy another LC pot...

                  1. re: paraque

                    I also cook for a family of 4 and I have the 5.5 quart LC. Frankly I can't imagine needing one bigger than that. It holds a huge pot of soup, is good for a braise, etc. I have much bigger pots for making stock, but that's not really the purpose of LC in my opinion.

                2. I also have several pieces -- smallest is 2.75 qt. and largest is 6.75 qt oval. We are a family of 4 and by far the most used piece is my 5.5 qt. round. It is the workhorse of my kitchen. When I have company, I use the 6.75 qt.

                  There is time to get more pieces -- and you will want them! But for now, that 9 qt. is going to be monstrous.

                  1. Another vote that you might want a smaller one. I cook for two as well, and I find that I use my 5qt pot a lot, and my 7qt pot only occasionally. I think cooking smaller amounts in the large pot could be challenging - I'd expect you to have problems with hot spots, etc, due to the smaller volume.

                    1. Congrats, lifespan- I have been wanting the 9 qt. le creuset round for some time, but simply don't have the room for it. That said, I do think that if you intend to do everyday cooking for two with it, then you had better start planning to make a lot more than you need each time, and freeze or give away the rest. I wouldn't feel comfortable making, say, two or three quarts of soup in a large pot like that. I'd be afraid that it would damage the pot (could be an unfounded fear). For two people, I think the 5 or 7 quart pots would work just fine for generous portions of meats and soups. Have fun!

                      1. I bet that 9-quart monster is a thing to behold!

                        My issues with it would start on the stovetop -- most residential stoves don't handle something that is 14" diameter too well. Very difficult to get even heating for browning.

                        The next issue is capacity -- for a stew or soup, figure it should be at least half-full. That is like a gallon (8 pounds ) of whatever. If you make your own stock, this oven is a real keeper, otherwise it's a doorstop.

                        For most everything else it will depend on the size of dinners you are preparing -- this will handle a main dish serving 8-12. I grew up in an Irish-Catholic neighborhood, so that seems like an average family size. Down-sizing to the 5-quart would be a good move for the typical nuclear family.

                        If you are using for roasts, consider an oval, instead of a larger round.

                        1. we are also a 2 person household and i use my 4qt and 5.5qt almost daily. when i use the 5.5qt one to make soup, its enough for 2 meals and if i make pasta sauce, it can fit enough for 4-5 meals. i use mine also to bake the no-knead bread and roast a whole chicken. so my vote actually goes to exchanging it for a 5-6 qt size just because i think its the perfect size for us right now.

                          I think it would be awesome to own a 9qt one and i'd probably want one once we have kids or smthing...but it really depends on ur cooking/eating habits. do you cook in large batches and freeze your meal? do you eat a lot? do you entertain a lot? etc etc.