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What size round Le Creuset for whole chicken?

elbowcod Feb 10, 2012 12:32 PM

Going to buy my first piece of LC (yay) and I intend to use it primarily and often for roasting (whole) chicken. I'd prefer to get a round shape for additional versatility, and don't know if I should buy the 5.5 or 7.25. Weight is not an issue. Would a 4 to 5 lb chicken be crowded in a 5qt round? Would it get lost in a 7.25qt round with too much space on either side? Any opinions and experiences much appreciated - sorry if this has been covered before, but in my research I did not find these questions answered specifically... and as for color, I'm thinking mustard yellow!!

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  1. mcf RE: elbowcod Feb 10, 2012 12:37 PM

    Are you planning to try roasting a chicken in a Dutch oven? That's typically done in a shallow roasting pan, so the sides crisp up instead of steaming. If you mean you want to braise it, it depends on what else you want in the pot with it... a 5-5.5 qt Dutch oven will be fairly snug, but liquid and some veggies and herbs will fit. The larger one will give you more room. I recently bought my second DO, a Staub, that's 5 qt... I love it and I'm using it often, but for years I've only had an 8.75 qt Le Creuset, and that size is far more versatile for dishes large and less so. If this is your first purchase, I think you'll find 7.25 to be the most useful of the two, if it's your only such pan for a while.

    10 Replies
    1. re: mcf
      elbowcod RE: mcf Feb 10, 2012 12:50 PM

      Sorry, yes, braise, not roast! I've done a lot of roasting and I'm now interested in using a DO, lid on (!), to braise the whole chicken. I usually include vegetables, so it sounds like the 7.25 would be the best bet.... thanks for your reply.

      1. re: elbowcod
        rasputina RE: elbowcod Feb 11, 2012 05:38 PM

        I'd to with 7 quart if you want to add veggies. I've done it in mine.

      2. re: mcf
        mikie RE: mcf Feb 10, 2012 01:23 PM

        I would have to agree. I too have the 5qt Staub and that is the one that is used most often, but I've never put a whole chicken in it. We also have the 8.75 qt Staub and a flock of chickens would likely fit in that one. Hopefully someone will have direct whole chicken experience. I kow it will easily fit a 7.25 qt cocotte and I'd guess it will fit a 5-5.5 qt one as well, but could be a little tight. Overall I think the 5-5.5 qt size is the most usefull, but for your specific needs you may find the 7.25 to be a better fit. I know the Staub Coq au Vin is a 6.75 oval and a whole chicken fits in that very nicely.

        1. re: mikie
          mcf RE: mikie Feb 10, 2012 01:41 PM

          Actually, two good sized chickens is about it for the 8.75... I use it to make stock and soup, and that's kind of it, unless you cut them up, I suppose. To the OP, I think my Staub is much better made than my Le Creuset, I'm a convert since buying it.

          You can definitely braise one medium sized chicken in the 5 qt, unless you want a lot of stuff in there with it. I agree that I use the 5 qt a lot more, but for many years, the single, large LC met all my needs, where some things were too big for the 5 qut.

          1. re: mcf
            mikie RE: mcf Feb 10, 2012 01:54 PM

            I supose "flock" was a bit of an exageration to make a point. Two is I'm sure more accurate. ;) We're a 4 Staub house, 2.5 braiser, 2.5, 5, and 8.75 round cocottes.

            1. re: mikie
              mcf RE: mikie Feb 10, 2012 02:28 PM

              Green with Staub envy!

            2. re: mcf
              Sid Post RE: mcf Feb 10, 2012 05:48 PM

              I just got my first STAUB. So far it seems to be better then my LC but, I need to use it more before I reach a final decision.

              1. re: Sid Post
                mcf RE: Sid Post Feb 11, 2012 07:24 AM

                I've used mine a lot since getting it not long ago. Performance is the same as LC, so far. It just looks and feels better made, comparing the finish, the handles, the lids. Plus, the black interior frees me from obsessing over how discolored the inside is. :-)

          2. re: mcf
            blondelle RE: mcf Feb 10, 2012 05:57 PM

            This what I don't understand. I've seen videos where they take a whole chicken and rub it with olive oil and some herbs and place it in the oven covered for about an hour or so and it comes out with nicely browned skin. I've also seen so many photos of a chicken in an LC where the bird is browned. Do they roast it in there uncovered, or roast it part of the time covered and partly uncovered?

            1. re: blondelle
              dixiegal RE: blondelle Feb 13, 2012 04:40 PM

              . >I've also seen so many photos of a chicken in an LC where the bird is browned. Do they roast it in there uncovered, or roast it part of the time covered and partly uncovered?<

              I would think they would have to leave it uncovered to get brown and crispy. I roast chicken in my bare CI dutch oven in the oven. I just leave the top off and it browns realy nice and crispy. The only part that isn't crispy is toward the bottom in the drippings. I am thinking of getting a trivet to keep the chicken off the bottom and out of the drippings.
              I have not tried this in my LC dutch oven. I am afraid it will turn the inside brown. LOL So I just do it in my bare cast iron.

          3. Sid Post RE: elbowcod Feb 11, 2012 08:41 AM

            Another thought regarding round vs. oval. I find I use the oval a lot more because it fits cuts with a big bone in them better. Bone in roasts, legs of lamb, etc. won't fit in ~7 quart round LC.

            For your first purchase, I would suggest you consider the oval versus round issue. Also, look at the STAUB and LC to compare and contrast them. Turkey breasts and chickens will fit in a large oval oven just fine and you have the option of really loading it up with vegtables.

            1. e
              elbowcod RE: elbowcod Feb 11, 2012 06:40 PM

              Thanks everyone for this input.

              Sid Post, I had assumed round would be more versatile than oval, since I also like to make dishes like chili and jambalaya and wonder if an oval shape will work as well in terms of stovetop heat distribution. But maybe the difference is not significant?

              And I'll take a look at Staub.


              4 Replies
              1. re: elbowcod
                mcf RE: elbowcod Feb 12, 2012 08:13 AM

                I only use round, it's the most versatile and best heat distribution, IMO, but I guess it depends on how many long things you might be making.

                I don't know if they're still on sale there, but I got a good deal on mine at cutleryandmore.com, which I'd read about on another thread. Excellent customer service, too.

                1. re: elbowcod
                  Rick RE: elbowcod Feb 14, 2012 02:08 PM

                  Round vs. oval is all personal preference. I have three LC dutch ovens and all are round. My mom has two Staubs and both are oval!

                  1. re: elbowcod
                    ratgirlagogo RE: elbowcod Feb 16, 2012 10:10 AM

                    I have one oval and one round and I use both of them all the time. The good thing is that this a good time to be buying Le Creuset because it's on deep discount all over the place, because of the re-design. I have all I really need, but you might want to take advantage of the sales.

                    1. re: elbowcod
                      rasputina RE: elbowcod Mar 15, 2012 10:41 AM

                      I own both 6 3/4 qt oval and a variety of round sizes including the 7 1/4 ( most used size in my kitchen) and have no problems at all with heat distribution in my ovals ( I have a smaller sized one also).

                    2. r
                      RGC1982 RE: elbowcod Feb 11, 2012 06:42 PM

                      Since chickens now seem only to come in the 5 pound variety (3 pounders are nearly impossible to find), if you plan on adding other items to the chicken and cook for more than two or three, I would suggest the next size up from the 5.5 qt. LC that I have had for many years. Think about what else you might want to put in the pot and how much of it -- potatoes/carrots/onions, or rice, and you will see why a slightly bigger pot might be useful if you need to make more add-ins to feed a larger group. The chicken itself will have plenty of room in the 5.5. If you cook for three, it all will fit just fine with add-ins in the 5,5. My mom had the next bigger size, but she was always cooking for more people.

                      Now, I do use a Staub oval that is 6 quarts, and it seems to be sufficient for cooking for four or five. It might be that the shape is better suited to whole chickens or long roasts. Agree that round does better on most cooktops than oval.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: RGC1982
                        mcf RE: RGC1982 Feb 12, 2012 08:13 AM

                        If you're buying naturally raised chickens, it's not hard to get small ones. If you buy the bionic birds in the supermarket, they are quite large, often.

                        1. re: RGC1982
                          dixiegal RE: RGC1982 Feb 13, 2012 04:42 PM

                          >3 pounders are nearly impossible to find<

                          I know, why is that? I saw a guy roast 3 pounders in cast iron loaf pans and they looked so good and crispy. I want to try it. I have 2 cast iron loaf pans.

                        2. r
                          RGC1982 RE: elbowcod Feb 12, 2012 06:22 PM

                          Okay, this supercedes my post from yesterday. I put a five pound chicken in a 7 qt. stainless steel Dutch over today (round) and I think this is the right size for soup, or braises if you intend to add more than just two large potatoes. I still stand by my comment that the six quart oval is a good size too.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: RGC1982
                            mcf RE: RGC1982 Feb 13, 2012 06:58 AM

                            I think you're right that if a person is going to have just one for a while, 7 qt or up will serve the most purposes.

                          2. e
                            elbowcod RE: elbowcod Feb 13, 2012 07:06 PM

                            Well, I went ahead with the 7.25 round LC. I am in my kitchen looking at it now and it seems just right for a whole chicken plus additions. I'll post a report once I do a whole bird in there...

                            And on the aesthetic side of things, what an impressive pot!

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: elbowcod
                              mcf RE: elbowcod Feb 14, 2012 06:45 AM


                              1. re: elbowcod
                                Jay F RE: elbowcod Feb 14, 2012 07:49 AM

                                Please let us know what size chicken works best, and what else you cook with the chicken.

                                Also, what color did you buy?

                                1. re: Jay F
                                  elbowcod RE: Jay F Feb 14, 2012 01:00 PM

                                  Sure. I'm traveling in a few days so I'll try to cook a whole bird before I go. Otherwise, I'll get back with a report in a week or so.

                                  I decided on dijon yellow and am very happy with it. It's definitely a sunny, but to my eyes the mustard tinge also adds a touch of seriousness... in any case it's a welcome change from grey and stainless steel. My kids, 7 and 9, were wondering "what's up with Dad and that big yellow pot?" Funny.

                                  1. re: Jay F
                                    elbowcod RE: Jay F Mar 13, 2012 12:22 PM

                                    Hi, it's been a few weeks and I wanted to report that I did get around to doing a whole chicken in the 7.25 LC round, and it worked well. The chicken was 5lb and there was plenty of room for potatoes and onions. I followed (more or less) the Julia Child recipe "Poulet en Cocotte Bonne Femme." There wasn't a moment where I wished I'd had a smaller size although I probably could have pulled it off with a 5qt. Picture attached, just after browning (done in the LC) and about to go into the oven. In this picture the 7.25 somehow looks bigger than it actually is, maybe bc of the wide-angle cellphone camera lens... anyway, thanks everyone for your advice. I'm a happy guy.

                                    1. re: elbowcod
                                      mcf RE: elbowcod Mar 13, 2012 12:37 PM

                                      YUM! Glad you made the right purchase for you, and your chicken looks delicious.

                                      1. re: elbowcod
                                        justlearning RE: elbowcod Mar 13, 2012 05:30 PM

                                        I also use the 7.25 LC round, and for this very thing - chicken en cocotte! Love it. I love this size, I can double many recipes and it still all fits. Enjoy your wonderful new purchase! :)

                                        1. re: justlearning
                                          wendylouwho RE: justlearning Mar 14, 2012 07:46 PM

                                          I absolutely love Julia Child's Poulet en Cocotte Bonne Femme! I have made it in my 5.5 quart LC round, but just made sure to choose a chicken around 4 pounds, rather than a large one. Yum!

                                  2. c
                                    chefjc RE: elbowcod Jul 13, 2012 03:37 PM

                                    I recently purchased a Staub 7 quart round cocotte and I'm very happy with it. I made poulet en cocotte with a 5 lb bird and it turned out beautifully. The chicken was super juicy and everything cooked to perfection on the stovetop. I felt it was just the right size for the chicken plus potatoes and onions. I'm glad I went with this size and not the smaller 5.5 quart since I like to cook a whole chicken. I'm glad you're enjoying your 7.25 LC round!

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