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What Size or Sizes for LC Dutch or French Oven

I know this question gets asked a ton, and consensus seems to be that if you want one oven the 5.5 Qt round, 7.25 Qt round, or 6.75 Qt oval are all good choices. But please allow me to nuance the question a bit:

Suppose the following: (1) you have a nice selection of sauce pans and/or sauciers up to 3 Qt and stock pots (narrow and tall) from 8 Qt and up (and a saute pan, fry pans, and a roaster); and (2) you cook for five people on a daily basis, but you like to make extra for leftovers.

What size, or sizes would you get?

I am thinking about a 5.5 and a 9 round, but I am very curious to know what you think. 5.5 is small enough for most small preps, yet large enough for a mid-sized soup prep, and it has a nice amount of size separation from the 3 Qt saucier. 9 is large enough to produce a substantial amount of food for several meals.

What would you do? What would you do if you already owned the 5.5, loved it, but would like it to be larger? Is the 7.25 too close to the 5.5?

Thanks!

Jeremy

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  1. How many people do you cook for? I am single, and find the 4.5 qt and 5.5 qt are the sizes I use most. I never used my 7.25 qt and, in fact, sold it, as I realized I probably would never use it. However, if I cooked for four, I probably would have gotten a lot of use out of the 7.25 qt.

    And then there's the fact that if I really needed something bigger that the 5.5 qt LC, I could use my 8 qt. All Clad stockpot (Dutch oven shape).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jay F

      5 people every day--more from time-to-time.

    2. We first purchased the 5.5 round, then we bought a 2.25 (great for baked beans and such) and an 8.75 round (for the larger quantities). For us the 5.5 round is the go to pot, but for really large recipes or making a double the 8.75 is a must. Just this past weekend we were using both pots, Italian sausage and bean stew in the 5.5 round (serves 4-6) and in the 8.75 round was Italian weding soup (serves 8-10), I could have made a double and had plenty of room. I made an Italian beef stew over the holidays that served 8 and it used all of the 8,75 quart pot. My daughter had a 6.75 oval and when I doubled the recipe, it woldn't all fit in hers so I had to use three to cook it all.

      If I were picking again and could pick two these would still be the two that I would pick. If I could only pick one then it likely would be the 7.25 quart.

      1. If I were in your shoes I'd definitely get the 9 qt. For the smaller I think 5.5 would probably be good. I've got a 5 qt braiser (have you considered one of these?), a 5.5 qt (Staub) and a 7.25 qt. I was making soup last weekend and pretty much filled the 5.5 to the rim. I got the 5.5 because I was in love with the color (SO silly, I know). I think for me - I cook for two with leftovers - the 7.25 is my favorite. I suppose at some point I might like a 9 qt but probably not for a while. I'm currently looking at a 2.25 for sides.

        4 Replies
        1. re: olympia

          Olympia: <<I got the 5.5 because I was in love with the color (SO silly, I know).>>

          What color?

          I did the same thing, buying more than I needed (7.25 round, 6.75 oval, 12" skillet) because it was all in Indigo.

          1. re: Jay F

            Are you so excited with SLT getting it? I think I recall you wanting a 4.5 (?)

            I was in love with the Staub teal and got the 5.5 for the holidays and just ordered the 2.5. It matches Fiesta turquoise. Have you ever been to the Fiesta factory? (aren't you in the Pittsburgh area?)

            1. re: olympia

              Question 1: I wish I could be more excited, but they don't have, and aren't going to have, a 4.5 qt., the only one I'd want. I'd also buy a small roaster, but again, no. It looks as if I'm not going to be buying anything. Maybe when it's no longer a SLT exclusive, they'll fire up a 24. That happened with Fennel, and perhaps with Cassis.

              But you know what? The outlet store near me called me to let me know about SLT and Indigo. I thought that was nice.

              Question 2: I've not been to the HL factory. Back in the late '70s, I chose Metlox Colorstax over (vintage, though I'm not sure it was called that yet) Fiesta.

              1. re: Jay F

                Somehow I thought you were a Fiesta man! Maybe just because it's come up before.

                That's too bad about the 4.5. What is the local outlet for you? I've not been outlet shopping in the area for a while but used to frequent Grove City (not even sure if there's a LC outlet there). Do indigo pieces ever show up on Amazon? It seems there are sometimes some random pieces on there.

                Do you have any small pieces? I'm hoping I come up with some good uses for the 2.5 qt Staub. I'm still very sad there's not a black LC doufeu in the 2.25 (or is it 2.5?) easily found here in the states. That small doufeu is just adorable. I wish I could live with more colors in my life!

        2. Hi, Jeremy:

          I did exactly what you're considering, the 5.5 round and the 9 round, and found the sizes and spread pretty ideal for a lot of years. Frankly, I can't remember ever needing or wishing I had another one in between those sizes.

          Here's another minor point: You might consider what LC lids fit your other pans--the 5.5 lid (labeled "D") fits my largest Bourgeat saucepan perfectly.

          Aloha,
          Kaleo

          9 Replies
          1. re: kaleokahu

            Glad to hear that folks think the 9 Qt would be a good size.

            That's a good thought about the lids. I have lids for all my pots, but for none of my fry pans or skillets. maybe the 5.5 and 9 Qt LC lids would fit my 10" and 12" CI or CS skillets.

            Thanks,

            Jeremy

            1. re: jljohn

              jeremy: <<maybe the 5.5 and 9 Qt LC lids would fit my 10" and 12" CI or CS skillets.>>

              5.5 qt = 26 cm

              9 qt = 30 cm

              1. re: jljohn

                I've got a 7.25qt Le Creuset Dutch Oven and I use it all the time. Perfect for roasting a 4.5 lb chicken, cassoulet, boeuf bourguignon, chili con carne, etc. I find the 9qt size much too heavy and cumbersome. Better to go with a lighter weight multi-clad type pot for anything larger IMO. Will be considerably heavier once it's full of food.

                1. re: Pedr0

                  I agree on the 9 qt. being heavy and cumbersome. I have a 5 1/2 qt. round and it is the workhorse of my kitchen. 2nd most used (but a distant 2nd) is the 6.75 qt. oval. Those might be too close in size for the OP, but I would suggest the 7.25 before the 9 qt.

                  I have a double wall oven so the top oven is sort of high and even though I am pretty strong (and tall) I can't imagine lifting a 9 qt. pot filled with food into the oven.

                  1. re: valerie

                    The 9qt. is a bit heavy and it's a chore to wash, although the new Blanco 70/30 sink makes it easier. However, it's a great size for large amounts of food and enough bigger than the 5.5 qt. to really make a difference. If it's too much to handle probably depends on your oven location, your age and physical condition, and if you are male or female.

                    1. re: mikie

                      Website listings will indicate the weight of the 9qt. To that add as much as 18 pounds of food, using the "pint's a pound" rule of thumb. Cancel the gym membership.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        I don't disagree that's it's heavy, the Staub cocotte I have is reported at 17 lbs 5 oz with lid, no contents, the same size Le Creuset is 16 lbs 8 oz with lid. But I haven't canceled my gym membership. I would never argue that this is an everyday kind of pot, it's not, it's too heavy and difficult to wash. My point is that if you're not trying to lift it to the top of a double oven, or a single oven at that height, if you're not physically challenged due to injury or age (thinking arthritis here), or if you are male (typically more upper body strength) the weight should not be a serious problem for the occasional times this size pot would be used. My wife has two of the above working against her, female and arthritis, so when this pot is in use, I who have none of those issues yet, do the heavy lifting. What it does offer is a substantial enough difference in capacity over the very useful and managable 5.5 qt cocotte that I can see the value in having two sizes. If you can only have one size, the 9 qt would probably not be the size I would choose unless you are always cooking for a large group and even then I would likely look for something other than cast iron for every day use. Mostly because of how difficult I think the size and weight is to wash and dry.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          It's only 2 pounds heavier than the 71/4 I use all the time. And it holds 2 quarts more of food. So depending on what is in it, filled it weighs 6 pounds more. I don't see that as a big deal.

                          1. re: rasputina

                            I guess for me it's not as much about the weight, but about quantity. Like I said above, I have a 5.5 round, 6.75 oval and I also have a 5 qt brasier (which gets used the least as I don't love the low sides).

                            When I need make a large amount of food (think 20 lbs. of brisket for Passover), I just use all 3 of those pots and cook in both my upper and lower ovens to cook. They are so easy to clean so I don't mind cleaning 3 of them.

                            It's very personal, but for me, I wouldn't get much use out of a 9 qt. vessel....it's very big.

              2. I'm surprised nobody recommends the 6.75 qt Wide French Oven.

                Edit: I've deleted a link I offered, because maybe my pot is not available anymore. Mine has a 30cm lid, 11 and 3/4" width, and 6.75 quart capacity. The Amazon links that I see all go to an "oval" oven. Mine is round.

                For my cooking, it's the absolute best. It has width that allows you to brown larger amounts prior to roasting or braising in the same pot, but it doesn't have all the extra height and weight that you'd have if you got a conventional Dutch Oven with higher sides. I'm ALWAYS happy to have the wideness of this oven and have only once found that I missed the extra capacity that one could get with a 7.5 qt or larger oven.

                1. I LOVE my lodge dutch oven. Granted mine is "merely 5 quarts" and for me this is adequate. You'll need to decide if your needs require a larger size and buy accordingly. They also have 7 and 9 quarts with the same design. It's been 3 years and so far even when I cook a large pot of my homemade sauce, this size has been good for me. IMO, it's a great deal at $35 including shipping:

                  http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Logic-5-Q...

                  I really like the handle on this model, as I can move it around the kitchen or to the table with only one hand and without a glove - NICE.

                  While it does come pre-seasoned, I'd recommend that you give it 2 more treatments before using it. This will really make it pretty much bulletproof. Before doing all of this, you may wish to first scrub all surfaces with steel wool and kosher salt. Here's what I do:

                  1. Place dutch oven into your oven, lid also but by the side, not covering the dutch oven. Set oven to 300. This is to completely dry it. When oven hits 300, you can move on.
                  2. Take it out and set it on a wood board for a second
                  3. Turn up your oven to 425
                  4. LIGHTLY coat dutch oven inside and out with oil. I use canola but peanut or lard are great.
                  5. Place dutch oven back into oven, open side down on cookie sheet to catch any dripping (should be little to none but this is just in case). Place lid inside also but next to dutch oven
                  6. When oven hits 425, give it 5 min at temperature, then turn the oven off and leave everything inside with the door shut.
                  7. Let the oven slowly cool down. This will take quite a while. The oil will be slowly sucked into the pores of the cast iron and you will really notice a distinct difference after one seasoning.
                  8. Season again one more time.

                  Now, it will be very well-protected. You'll be able to soak it with hot water, clean it with dish soap, let it drip dry and it will be fine. I never bother drying mine off or oiling it up - the seasoning protects it.

                  I hope this helps!

                  Jeff

                  1. In braising, if you take in to your formula adding veggies etc. the 6.75 oval would be very versitile.

                    1. I cook for 3 adults and we like leftovers. I use my 7 1/4 the most and it's my go to pot for soup, gumbo and baked beans ect. I prefer it to my 8 quart stock pot. If I need really big I can use my 12 quart stock pot. I have a variety of LC and stainless pots in various sizes and shapes.

                      If I was in your shoes, cooking for 5 plus wanting left overs I'd go for the 9 quart.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rasputina

                        I recently bought my first LC. The 9.5 quart oval. I stared at it for a week and thought it was too big. Then I made beef stock. Which I turned into French Onion Soup. Magic and sheer joy in the kitchen.

                        I am single. I freeze things. I am NOT sorry I bought the big one. [I do have friends who had meals out of all this, and they loved them.]

                        My point? Pick any piece! LC rocks. [But I am glad I got the most expensive piece out of the way. Now on craigslist and eBay looking for smaller pieces.]

                        1. re: SarahInMinneapolis

                          Sometimes I regret not getting the 9 for my first dutch/french oven. I think you're right that you are the best judge of your own cooking. I also like to make leftovers and the bigger sizes are great for that.

                      2. Besides deciding what size is best you need to worry about the weight. A larger 9 qt. pot might seem to be the best choice but if it's too heavy for you to lift when full, too hard to wash, and too hard to lift from the stovetop to oven and back, you aren't going to use it. The 9 qt. weighs 17 lbs. empty! Holding 8 qts of food that's 33 lbs. to lift. Can you lift that? Even taking the cover off first that's about 25 lbs. Now think of lifting a 25 lb. pot filled with burning hot food.

                        I would go with the 7.25 qt. round or 6.75 wide round. At 16 oz. of food per serving that's only 2.5 qts. used out of the 7.25.

                        1. Thanks for all the replies. I'll probably sit on the decision for a while, but I just might go for the 9 Qt Round. It will be heavy, but I am used to a 14 Qt copper stockpot that has to weigh 40 lbs when full (and I have to pour that one!) The dutch oven will almost always just be carried from place to place without the need to pour, so I should be ok.

                          Thanks again!

                          Jeremy