Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Apr 29, 2009 12:23 PM

Clay Pot or Dutch Oven?

What does a clay pot (e.g. Romertopf) have over a dutch oven (e.g. Le Creuset)? Why buy one versus the other? Do you really need both?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A clay pot absorbs moisture (you usually soak it prior to cooking) and is quite versatile for cooking everything from vegetables to stews or poaching. Clay pots have the advantage of holding the water in the pores of the clay to create steam to cook foods slowly in a moist enclosure. Because you don't use oil in a clay pot it produces healthier foods than a dutch oven where fat is often a component of the recipe. Your dutch oven will cook the same foods but the method of cooking is different with that vessel. I own both. I can sear in my Dutch Oven and sometimes I want a bit of oil in the dish.

    3 Replies
    1. re: todao

      Most meats that I braise contribute plenty of their own fat. In comparison, any oil used at the start is a relatively small amount.

      1. re: todao

        This is a reply to Todao's response:

        Thanks so much for your explanation; that is very helpful.

        So, I guess you wouldn't cook anything with a sauce in a clay pot? E.G. Vietnamese Caramel Fish or Coq au Vin???

        Thanks again.

        1. re: DMB

          Dishes like Vietnamese Caramel Fish are often made in clay pots that are glazed on the inside. Examples of this are the Chinese sand pots, so named because of the rough, sandy outside surface. They are come with a crude wire frame that's supposed add some strength. They are quite inexpensive.

          Spanish cazuelas are also glazed on the inside.

          As long as you take care not to heat or cool them too fast, these glazed clay pots can be used in much the same way as Dutch Ovens. Typically I use my sand pot on a table top butane burner, starting with medium heat, and then reducing the heat to a minimal steady flame when the contents start bubbling.