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Help Choosing New Staub Dutch Oven


I'm shopping around for a Staub DO for one of my wife's 40th birthday presents. She's a very knowledgable cook and we already own a no-name 7 qt. round enameled dutch oven as well as seasoned Lodge DO and Camp Oven. I know she's wanted a LC or a Staub for a long time, but she's been hinting pretty strongly about it recently.

We've primarily used the DO for ragu, chicken and dumplings, gumbo, coq au vin, short ribs (the usual) and stuck with our Crock Pot for slow cooking longer cuts of meat.

So, I know this is a primarily a personal decision and none of you know my wife, but here's what I'm thinking as far as size shapes:

- Just get a 7 qt. round and let her deep-six the cheapie (perfectly functional, a little banged up) - it's probably the most functional size and will be used the most.

- Get a 7 qt. or 8.5 qt. oval (not sure which) - she can still use the 7 qt. round, and this will allow us to cook the larger meat cuts. I'm not sure how academic the whole uneven heating on gas stove thing is. Braising meat has been a secondary use to date, but size may have been a factor.

- The curve ball: I noticed there's a steamer insert for the 5.5 qt. round. Less functional than the 7? Yes. But when the neighbor drops off a bushel of blue crabs (I think they'll fit) off during the summer, good times will be had. Anyone use a DO in this capacity?

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  1. Hi, wintermute:

    FWIW, I think the 5.5 round is the best and most versatile piece either LC or Staub makes.


    1 Reply
    1. re: kaleokahu


      I use the 5.5qt round more then the 7qt

    2. Personally I'd go with the 9 or 13 qt sizes. You can always cook smaller quantities in it. My largest is a 7 1/4 qt LC and I sometimes wish I had more room.

      1 Reply
      1. Hi Wintermute,

        Don't think I'd use a Staub pot for steaming crab. Just get a decent stock pot with steamer insert if you don't have one. There are no advantages I can think of to using cast iron for steaming.
        Pick the size based on your ragu, size of roasts, ribs, etc. Personally I'm not as fond of oval, due to the limited area for browning over a stove burner, the wings of the oval don't offer enough heat to brown sufficiently. If you are browning stew meat or chicken pieces you are forced to brown in batches. A nice round bottom that fits your hob well will do the best at that. She's a lucky gal!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Cam14

          <Don't think I'd use a Staub pot for steaming crab. ...There are no advantages I can think of to using cast iron for steaming.>

          Agree. For tasks like steaming crab, or boiling pasta .....etc, a typical stock pot is better.

        2. Wintermute,

          In my experience, the 5-6 quarts volume is the most useful size for a Dutch Oven. 7 is probably as large as I will go for a Dutch Oven.

          1. I am a big advocate of not buying LC brand because there is little difference between enameled cast iron pans and they are way overpriced. My advice would be to keep the 7 quart and add a nine or even 13.5 quart. That's what I have. The 5, 6,or 7 quart are close in size so you don't need more than one in this size range. If you entertain or cook in bulk & freeze the 13.5qt.. is useful. I make large batches of tomato sauce, Sunday sauce, Thanksgiving turkey stuffing and many other things in mine. Beware it weighs a ton, though.

            2 Replies
            1. re: zackly

              Very heavy when filled, but they do hold the heat for hours!

              1. re: Raffles

                Yep. My wife can handle the 9 qt that we have, but not with a smile on her face. That DO is usually my responsibility to move and wash. The difference in weight between the 9 and the 13.5 is considerable when empty, this could be a 50 pounder when full. I can get a double batch of just about anything I cook in the 9 qt. We like to cook and freeze as well.

                The biggest difference between enameled cast iron pieces is in the quality of the enamel IMO. LC and Staub are more robust than many of the less expensive brands. The Martha Stuart was so bad Macy's had to pull it.

            2. I've got to agree with posts so far, steaming is not the strong point for a Staub.

              We have 3 sizes, 2.75 qt, 5.5 qt. and 9 qt. The 5.5 gets the most use, the 9 is second. You can get a 5 lb pot roast in the 5.5. I think the Staub 7qt would be a good size, plenty big for just about any piece of meat short of a whole calf. The only downside I see to the 7 qt is it's redundent, but if the old DO is banged up that new 7 qt Staub may save the day.

              Not a big fan of the ovals for anything stovetop, they can be used, but the ends are cooler than the middle, I think the round is more versitle and the 7qt round is plenty big.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mikie

                I love my oval staub but agree it's not ideal for stovetop. My large batch of jambalaya came out with unevenly cooked rice. It does roasts in the oven like a dream though.

                1. re: charlesbois

                  Before I really knew what a difference there would be in the heating I bought the ovals for my adult children, thinking that they would be good for a roast or chicken, and they are, they're just not as good for something like your jambalaya. A double batch of shrimp creole fits nicely in the 9 qt. BTW.

              2. 5.5 is a good size for 2-4 people depending on how much you like to make at one time. I wouldn't really use a 7, ever. Even my 5.5 gets used less than the 2.5.

                1. I've got a 8.whatever qt (I think a lot of places just call it a 9 qt now) round Staub, the girlfriend bought a 4 qt round Staub, and I just bought a 4 qt braiser from Staub.

                  If you're just buying one, I'd vote for the 9 qt. You can always place a piece of parchment paper in it to make it smaller for less large meals / filling it.

                  I personally like the Staub over LC for the handles, lids, colors, and interior.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sumrtym

                    I'm liking the idea of the 9 qt. Yes, it's more $ but the diameter is just a teeny bit shorter than the long axis on a 7 qt. oval, it's not redundant with our current 7 qt. round, and we can fit more sauce or soup in the thing. Thanks.

                  2. Lucky wife! Agree that 7qt is most useful size. CI found that LC oval is just as good on the stovetop if you heat it slowly. It can do everything a round can do, plus hold oblong pieces of meat. Agree with another poster that a cheap aluminum pot with insert is better for steaming. (And a bushel of crabs won't nearly fit in a 5qt.) Whatever your choice, good cooking ahead!

                    1. I have always wondered who would buy the 9 qt and 13 qt dutch ovens - I guess a couple people who replied in this post would.

                      Most of my cookware is really heavy so I am used to heavy, but my 7 qt, when it is filled up, is as heavy as I will go. Make sure that your wife can heft a 9 or 13 qt, filled, safely, before you go that size.

                      This is an instance when hot and heavy is not desirable.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: laraffinee

                        I resemble that remark ;) I have to be honest, I got the 9 qt Staub at such a deal, I just couldn't pass it up and they didn't have a 7 qt. This was one of those 60% off deals with another 40% off. (For the wise guys here, no that's not 100% off.) My wife was not in favor of this purchase, but at that price, who could come up with an argument against it. She wanted the smaller 2.75 qt. so I bought both. It was on the same sale. The 9 qt is as big as I would go. I figure the 13 qt is for some NFL lineman, full that could go over 50 lbs., the pot not the lineman. We're fortunate, we have a wall oven that sits up a bit higher than a regular stove oven, and it has a shelf with ball bering glides that fully extend, so it's relatively easy to get out of the oven. But you're right, I wondered if there was anyone but me that had a cocotte this big and I can't get my arms around who would want the 13 qt if you didn't own a restaurant.

                        1. re: mikie

                          Hi, mikie:

                          Once upon a time, I had the 9Q LC. At the time Wahine toasted the enamel, it was the largest thing I had for stocks and max-portion cooking, outside of the 21Q canner.

                          I was really bummed when it happened, because I *did* use it, but I replaced it with one pan a little smaller and then a couple that were larger. Now, I can't say I miss not having exactly that size.

                          This all points up important factors in these choices: how wide a "spread" one is happy with or willing to tolerate, what "holes" one has in their batterie, and how one prefers to triangulate to fill in the holes. There really isn't necessarily any right or wrong answer, at least until you run out of room or upper body strength.


                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            Hi Kaleo,

                            "There really isn't necessarily any right or wrong answer, at least until you run out of room or upper body strength."

                            Haha, good one. I think I've run out of both.

                            1. re: mikie

                              Hi, mikie:

                              The day is coming for all of us.

                              On the ridiculous end of things, I have an Elkington 10 Imperial Gallon copper stockpot I hardly ever use. I justified getting it because I wanted to make a lot of stock (and it was a steal), but that was just silly. It weighs about 40 pounds empty, and over 100 full, and it has no spigot. I can't even afford to buy veal bones to fill it! Some day the lag bolts of the shelf it sits on will pull out of the studs--I hope no one gets hurt.


                      2. Did you make a choice? I have the 2.75,two 4 qt (one is shallow and wider), the 5.5 and 9 qt oval. There are just two of us and the ones I use the most are the 4 and 5.5 qt ones. My favorite is the shallow 4 qt - it is the most versatile overall.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: freneew

                          I wound up getting the 9 qt. - has more capacity than our current 7 qt. (which she could choose to keep or get rid of if she felt it to be redundant), and its diameter is very close to the long axis of a 7qt. oval, but without the uneven heating.

                          She loves it. We broke it in with a chicken and dumplings recipe that took up over half the space in the 7 qt, but we feel we can double it in the 9. She's giving the 7 to one of our friends and now wants a 5.5 qt. to compliment. Curious to see how well the smooth enamel bottom handles being moved around on a stove.

                          1. re: wintermute2.0

                            Hi, wintermute: "Curious to see how well the smooth enamel bottom handles being moved around on a stove."

                            It'll eventually scuff, unless you're one of those pantywaists using paper towels on your induction hob. Who cares?


                            1. re: wintermute2.0

                              First congratulations on your choice, we use our 9 qt a lot.

                              I may have taken on a new montra when it comes to cookware. Bring it home and scratch it, get it over with now and don't worry about it from then on. It's just like a new car, sooner or latter it's going to get a stone chip or door ding, might as well happen on the way home from the lot.

                              How well the smooth bottom stays that way will depend on what type of stove you have. If it's gas with cast iron grates, it's going to scratch sooner rather than latter. However, this is totally cosmetic and the scratches should be minor, more like skuff marks. Stainless is the same way, it doesn't take much movement on the hob to leave it's mark. I'd assume copper is even worse since it's a softer metal.