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Is my new 9.5 qt Le Creuset oval dutch oven too big?

Yesterday I was a very lucky birthday girl and received a 9.5 qt oval Le Creuset dutch oven. I am currently using a vintage 4.5 round Le Creuset (marked with E for sizing, old school style) and it's just too small for my big batches of stew, roasts and other braises.

I'm a huge fan of Molly Steves All About Braising and she recommends using a dutch oven no bigger than necessary. Something about the air circulation. So I'm wondering if I should trade mine in for a 6.75 qt instead, but maybe I'm crazy and should count my blessings here.

I live in a 2 person household but often cook for parties of 8-10. Any experiences with these size people care to share?

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  1. Keep it! Better too big most of the time than too small sometimes. IMneverHO :) And maybe try to find a cheaper Lodge for somewhere in between.

    1. I'd keep it. My biggest LC is the 7.25 round and I wish I'd gotten the 9.

      1. Hi, rararachel:

        If you often cook for 8-10, this would be a good size. The 6.75 would be better for smaller parties or leftovers for 2. For 2, IMO the 5.5 is best.


        1. To be honest, you know the answer better than any one here because only you know how much you usually cook.

          For me 9.5 quart is way too big.

          1. If you can lift it comfortably, even when full, keep it. You can always lower the ceiling with a piece of parchment paper. You'll need it for those larger parties and can watch for a buy on a 6.75 later.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Cam14

              And you'll have another birthday next year ;)

            2. We have a 9 qt. round and it's amazing how often it gets used. We use the 5.5 the most and the 2.75 the least, but that 9 gets it's fare share of use. Probably going to see a double batch of french onion on Sunday.

              3 Replies
              1. re: mikie

                Yep. Even though there's just two of us, the portions we cook when using a DO are big. If I'm doing a pork shoulder it will be for a dinner party and then multiple leftovers. I don't think the size of the family has anything to do with it.

                1. re: c oliver

                  That double batch is cooling while two bowls are in the oven right now. There's two of us as well, but it takes about 2-3 hours to make the onion soup, although a good portion of that is just simmering, it still needs attention. I'm not going to make a fresh batch for just two bowls. It freezes and reheats very well. I'm always making double batches of things that serve 4, just because it's so easy to reheat. I think I made 80 little meat balls the last time I made Italian Weading soup. I think you are absolutely right, it's not the size of the family, but what and how you cook.

                  1. re: mikie

                    When I make Hazan's Bolognese sauce I make a 4X or 5X batch, freeze in two cup portions and I'm good for a number of months.