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Size of Le Creuset French Oven to get?

letrell Feb 19, 2011 01:26 PM

I've been thinking about purchasing a Le Creuset French Oven and wonder which size to get.
I like to cook Soups and Stews for 4 people.

Is a 5 1/2, 7 1/4 or 9 quart the way to go? The poor
gal at Williams-Sonoma didn't have a clue; probably seasonal help. The best she could do was, "they come in yellow and are heavy."

I'm thinking of picking one on my next visit to the USA.

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  1. Kagemusha RE: letrell Feb 19, 2011 02:24 PM

    Do it, once you've figured out sizing. Hell's more likely to freeze over before GTA retailers realign pricing to reflect exchange reality. You'll get the size and colour you want plus reasonable assurance of "first" quality. Home Sense and Winners are limited in selection and don't always seem to sell anything but "seconds." Go shopping for size and colour at W-S or wherever and buy from the States.

    1. tanuki soup RE: letrell Feb 19, 2011 02:38 PM

      IMO, a 5 1/2 quart French oven will easily make enough soup or stew for four people. If you want to make extra for freezing, you might want to get a bigger one. It will also be heavier (and more expensive), though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tanuki soup
        knet RE: tanuki soup Feb 19, 2011 02:49 PM

        Agreed 5 1/5 quart is a good size. But why the US? Are you in Canada? There are lots of places to buy LC

      2. Mission RE: letrell Feb 19, 2011 02:43 PM

        I have heard they are now made in Asia (Vietnam)....no longer in France.

        Is that true?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Mission
          nofunlatte RE: Mission Feb 19, 2011 03:03 PM

          Last I checked, the enameled cast iron was still made in France. The stonewear that I bought is made in Thailand.

          1. re: Mission
            KansasKate RE: Mission Feb 19, 2011 03:12 PM

            AFAIK, the ceramic pieces (bakeware, crocks, etc) are made in VN but the enameled cast iron cookware is still made in FR. Other brands of ECI made in FR are Staub and Fontignac (owned by Staub but more like LC)

            1. re: Mission
              ProfessorBear RE: Mission Feb 24, 2011 01:45 PM

              Absolutely untrue. 100%, unequivocally false. The stoneware pieces are made in various Asian countries, but the enameled cast iron has always been - and continues to be made in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France.

            2. l
              letrell RE: letrell Feb 19, 2011 02:52 PM

              Thanks everyone. Looks like the 5.5 quart is a good size.
              I'm from the USA but currently live in Toronto.
              Any suggestions where to find a good price on a LC in Canada? I'm finding it is about 30% cheaper to buy it in the USA.

              1. o
                olympia RE: letrell Feb 19, 2011 03:00 PM

                I would definitely recommend the 7.25 at a minimum. I think you'll appreciate the larger capacity. It's also a great size for a whole chicken.

                1. Jay F RE: letrell Feb 19, 2011 03:21 PM

                  I use my 5.5 qt (#26) most often, but I like the 7.25 (#28), too. I use them most frequently to make Bolognese.

                  2 pounds of ground meat's worth of Bolognese fits easily in the #26 (though I can make 3 pounds' worth, too). The #28 is perfect for 4 pounds' worth, and since I have it, it's my first choice when I make 3 pounds' worth as well.

                  It's nice to have both when I make lasagne Bolognese. I can make the Bolognese in one and the besciamella in the other.

                  Is that clear?

                  These same weights and sizes probably work for chili. I haven't made any in a long time.

                  I don't have any desire to have one larger than the #28. That would be too much for me.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Jay F
                    Smachnoho RE: Jay F Feb 19, 2011 03:31 PM

                    In Toronto, you can buy le Creuset at discount prices at "Home Sense" which is a division of Winners. For example, before Christmas they had the 5.5 quart round in red, blue & yellow for $169 Canadian.

                    1. re: Jay F
                      mikie RE: Jay F Feb 21, 2011 11:45 AM

                      Yes, the #26 size is the one we use the most. If I could only get one, that would be the size I would get. We have a larger one (#30) and a smaller one (#20), but for 4 people #26 is ideal. This is typically serving for 4 to 6 people, if you had more people you would have to double up and then a larger size would be necessary. When the kids and their spouses are home the #30 comes in handy, but that's a lot of food. As Jay F mentioned, the #28 would be a good inbetween size if that better suits your needs.

                    2. paulj RE: letrell Feb 19, 2011 04:07 PM

                      What size pot do you currently use for these stews?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: paulj
                        letrell RE: paulj Feb 19, 2011 04:11 PM

                        I currently use a 5 quart Calphalon. It works but there isn't much extra room.

                        1. re: letrell
                          Jay F RE: letrell Feb 20, 2011 06:37 AM

                          I would definitely get the 7.25 qt. Maybe the 9 qt. You know a 5 qt. oven isn't big enough for you.

                      2. sherrib RE: letrell Feb 20, 2011 05:46 PM

                        If possible, take a look at the 6 1/4 qt wide. I love that one. It's wider and lower than the 7 1/2 quart. The benefits are that its base is about as wide as the top of the pot which comes in handy when browning (fits more food). The base on the 7 1/2 quart tapers. If you're familiar with what a rondeau looks like, the 6 1/4 qt wide round is the Le Creuset version. You could easily roast a whole chicken (maybe even some vegetables with it) while still having the versatility of soups, stews, etc.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sherrib
                          Bada Bing RE: sherrib Feb 21, 2011 12:01 PM

                          I also have the wide French oven, and it's my favorite single pot. Much easier to do browning with the wider surface. Seldom do I find it too wide or large, but I do have a smaller enameled cast iron post which I prefer for risotto in smaller quantities and for certain soups.

                        2. Jay F RE: letrell Feb 21, 2011 12:17 PM

                          I've decided I want to make Osso Buco soon, and I'm a little perplexed. Most recipes call from anywhere from 4-6 veal shanks, and tell you to use a "large" Dutch oven. I have a 6.75 oval (not "wide round") and a 7.25 round, and the most that would fit in one layer are 3 shanks.

                          Does a "wide round" (also 6.75) have that much more surface room on the bottom?



                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Jay F
                            Bada Bing RE: Jay F Feb 21, 2011 12:36 PM

                            About osso bucco, I don't think it's necessary to have just one layer of shanks, but it's convenient for monitoring.

                            The wide round has at least 15 and perhaps up to 19 more square inches surface area. It has a 30cm (almost 12") lid, and the sides don't narrow much toward the base, unlike the 7.25 round with its 28cm lid. The difference of 28cm and 30cm amounts to about 15 more square inches (97 square cm) for the wide round than for the 7.25 qt pot, where the tapering would make it in reality even less.

                            Less abstractly, my wide pot might hold 6 rather small shanks, the ones that are more truly round than oblong. But with most beef shanks I've seen (I haven't used veal), I wouldn't figure on more than four.

                            1. re: Jay F
                              grant.cook RE: Jay F Feb 21, 2011 12:53 PM

                              Your pretty much not going to be able to fit 4 proper, nicely cut osso buco veal shanks into a dutch oven unless its a real monster - or it will be super tight at best. 6 would be impossible. And for a proper braise, I don't think you want them stacked up inside. And even if tied, these things are fall-apart fragile, so you don't want to have to handle them a whole lot either.

                              But you can do a couple of batches, and just reheat the first batch at serving time. Or, perhaps a large roasting pan would work - cover the top with foil to seal, maybe stick a baking sheet on top to give it a bit more thermal mass and weight on the foil.

                              1. re: Jay F
                                blondelle RE: Jay F Feb 21, 2011 01:47 PM

                                I think you will be fine with the 6 3/4 wide oven. After you brown them off they also get a bit smaller and you should be able to fit 4-6 shanks into that 12" diameter.

                                1. re: blondelle
                                  Jay F RE: blondelle Feb 21, 2011 06:22 PM

                                  Thanks, everyone.

                                  1. re: Jay F
                                    mikie RE: Jay F Feb 22, 2011 05:24 AM

                                    Let me know how that turns out, it's also on my list of things to cook.

                                    1. re: mikie
                                      Jay F RE: mikie Feb 22, 2011 06:23 AM

                                      It'll be a week or two. Next is some kind of fish in Saor, then some pasta making.

                              2. l
                                LovinSpoonful RE: letrell Feb 22, 2011 01:41 PM

                                I agree that 5.5 quart is the size to get if you're cooking for four. If you are cooking soups and stews, that size will get you to 8 people even, depending. I have three of these and the 5.5 size gets 95% of the use with the larger ones seeing use when I'm entertaining.

                                In addition to capacity, consider weight and storage. These things are super heavy and big and it's easier to sling the 5.5 quart size around than bigger ones. Also, the 5.5 qt will give you more even heat since it is smaller in diameter.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: LovinSpoonful
                                  knet RE: LovinSpoonful Feb 23, 2011 06:18 PM

                                  In Toronto, you can buy LC at Williams Sonoma, of course, also at The Bay and The Main Course at Yonge and Lawrence - with the advantage that they will order the specific size, shape and colour that you want. Unlike WS and the Bay, where you must content yourself with whatever is in stock. Also, you can order from kitchenniche.ca and I think citychef.ca as well. I've used both, happy with both. I am sure there are a couple of other places in Kensington Market and in some of the other specialty kitchen shops but honestly I can't recall the names right now.
                                  Personally I have to say I have NEVER seen LC at Home Sense/Winners but I have heard of success stories there too. I regularly drop in but just have not ever encountered any LC in those stores.

                                2. Delucacheesemonger RE: letrell Feb 24, 2011 01:12 PM

                                  Just to be the odd man out, l always get the largest sizes. Nothing splashes out, easier to stir if half full than if full, etc. Never rued the day when my pot was too big, only too small. If for example you get the doufeu, the amount of ice cubes you can put on the top assures you will not have to refill.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                    paulj RE: Delucacheesemonger Feb 24, 2011 01:27 PM

                                    This assumes you have plenty of storage space!

                                  2. kaleokahu RE: letrell Feb 24, 2011 02:40 PM

                                    Might as well go all the way and get the 15.5Q goose pot. You will be the envy of many here.

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