This article was last updated on October 30th, 2020
Confused about what Dutch oven you need to feed a family of 4? Want to make sure you get one large enough to feed your growing family?
Well, you are not the only one and the answer is simple:
The best size Dutch oven for a family of 4 is a 7-quart size Dutch oven. This oven is the right size to prepare any dish your family requires with leftovers if you use regular serving sizes. You will be able to prepare stews, casseroles, soups but also cook a pot roast large enough to feed your family of 4.
Let’s jump in and look at examples of sizes, weights of the Dutch ovens, how many will be fed as well as what foods you will prepare in your new Dutch oven.
Then look at some brands that have been very popular for a long time. As well as the different prices you can expect to pay for a cast-iron Dutch oven.
At the end of the article, you will have all the information you need to make a purchase and start making wonderful healthy, and hearty meals made with real food.
Top Pick For An Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
My top pick for a great quality American made 7.5-Quart Dutch oven at a very reasonable price would be the Lodge EC7D43 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 7.5-Quart.
Want to see it for yourself click here and head over to Amazon.
Top Pick for a Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven
My top pick for a great quality American made 7-Quart pre-seasoned cast-iron Dutch oven at a very reasonable price would be the Lodge L10DOL3 Dutch Oven with Dual Handles, Pre-Seasoned, 7-Quart.
Want to see it for yourself click here and head over to Amazon.
If you have landed on this page and know you already want to purchase a 7-quart cast-iron Dutch oven! Click here and you will be taken to Amazon to check out the large range of Dutch ovens available.
There are a number of things you will need to consider before you make up your mind about what Dutch oven size you will require for your family of 4.
What sort of food will you be preparing in the Dutch oven?
Food preparation needs to be considered if you will predominately be preparing one-pot meals like stews, beans, and casseroles for a family of 4 you would get away with a smaller oven.
If you like large roasts, turkeys, large chickens, cuts of ham, lamb shanks, or any other meat pieces with a bone you would need either an oval option or a larger round Dutch oven. If you want to cook vegetables in with the meat you need room to put these in.
Where will you be cooking?
Are you cooking outdoors or indoors? In an oven or stovetop? Gas or electric?
Do you have the cupboard space for a very large Dutch oven?
Storage is a very big issue as the large Dutch ovens can take up a lot of room, especially if they are enameled. You do not want to be stacking other cooking appliances on it as you will chip the Dutch oven.
What is the heaviest weight you can safely move around when the oven is fully laden?
The approximate weights of the Dutch ovens are laid out below. Cast iron Dutch ovens are hot and heavy when full of food. You need to consider what weight you are able to carry around the kitchen from the stovetop to the oven and reverse safely.
Are you after a traditional pre-seasoned cast-iron Dutch oven an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven?
The pre-seasoned cast-iron Dutch ovens can be used anywhere outdoors or indoors. Whereas an enameled cast iron Dutch oven should be used indoors as it would get damaged over hot coals.
Example of a Pre-Seasoned cast iron Dutch oven
The Lodge L10DOL3 Dutch Oven with Dual Handles is a 7 quart pre-seasoned which you should be able to pick up for under $70 from Amazon. Click here to check it out at Amazon
Alternatively, you can see my full review of the Lodge L10DOL3 Dutch Oven with Dual Handles 7 quart pre-seasoned by clicking here.
Example of a cast-iron Dutch oven Enamel
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 6.75 Quart Oval French Dutch Oven for around $350.00. Click here to see it on Amazon.
Or you can see my full review of the Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 6.75 Quart Oval French Dutch Oven by clicking here.
Dutch Oven Sizes
Quick Reference Dutch Oven Size Chart
Below are some of the sizes you might want to consider. You also need to bear in mind the weight of the Dutch oven, the number of serves required and some cooking suggestions…
2 quarts – 8 inches – 11 pounds
This small size oven is suitable for approximately 1 or 2 people 3 at most.
This size oven is really only large enough to prepare side dishes, vegetables to accompany the main dish, small desserts, or maybe homemade sauces.
This size is certainly handy to have in your cupboard, but I don’t believe it is large enough to cook a one-pot meal for a family of 4.
4 quarts – 10 inches – 15 pounds
Dutch oven size for 2? I believe this size Dutch oven is only just large enough for 2 people leftovers for a lunch depending on portion sizes. It is excellent for either side dishes, vegetables, beans, small roasts, desserts, and sauces.
I think a family of 2 or 3 should really consider a 6-quart Dutch oven as this would then not be too large but you would have plenty of room for roasts as well as room to stir stews and the like.
6 quarts – 12 inches – 20 pounds
Plenty of room in the 6-quart to prepare roasts, poultry, fish, stews, potatoes, beans, rolls, bread, and desserts. But the question is comfortably for a family of 4? I believe that it would be very tight… Too small to brown a pound of stew in one go or braise six chicken thighs.
If you are wanting reasonably sized pot roasts I do not think this size will be large enough. But if it is stews, casseroles, beans, desserts depending on portion sizes you may well have those all-important leftovers.
Also, this option is probably the best if you do not think you would be able to carry a fully laden 7-quart Dutch oven.
7 quarts – 12 inches – 21.5 pounds
This size Dutch oven is large enough for brisket, pot roasts, at least 7 stuffed peppers, and usually enough stew or casserole for a lunch the next day.
You can also prepare jams in this size without worrying about them boiling over.
8 quarts – deep – 12 inches – 23 pounds
An 8-quart deep Dutch oven will see you through those times when the children have friends over or guests pop in at short notice. If either of those two does not happen, guess what “LEFTOVERS” or meals for the freezer.
This Dutch oven will allow plenty of room for those unusual cuts of meat like standing rib roasts, hams, whole chickens, stews, potatoes, beans, rolls, and bread.
8 quarts – 14 inches – 26 pounds
An 8-quart Dutch oven such as this has a larger circumference but the sides are not as deep as the one above. You are able to prepare your larger roasts, chicken, stews, potatoes, rolls, bread, and desserts.
This Dutch oven will give you plenty of room to prepare any dishes you like. You will also have plenty of leftovers or meals for the freezer.
10 quarts – deep – 14 inches – 28 pounds
This 10-quart Dutch oven has the same circumference as the one above but has deeper sides. This then allows you to prepare your standing rib roasts, hams, chickens, whole rabbit, stews, potatoes, rolls, and bread.
This one may be too large for a family of 4.
12 quarts – 16 inches – 32 pounds
This is a large Dutch oven that will allow you to prepare large quantities of meat like pork on the bone, stews, potatoes, rolls, bread, and desserts.
It would suit a family of 4 if you want a lot of leftovers or prepare meals for the freezer. But remember the weight and the storage that this oven would require.
Dutch Ovens as with all other cooking appliances come in various Brands and Prices
If you are new to Dutch ovens and Dutch oven cooking why not consider purchasing a less expensive brand.
Like the Crock Pot Artisan Enameled Cast Iron 7-Quart Round Dutch Oven for around $50.00. Click here to check it out for a great price at Amazon.
If you are pretty confident you are going to utilize your new Dutch oven you could go for one in the mid-range.
An excellent quality Dutch oven like the Lodge EC7OD43 Enameled Cast Iron Oval Dutch Oven can be found for A GREAT PICE at Amazon. Click here to check it out.
The Lodge Company has been producing and is still casting its Dutch ovens in the United States for over 100 years. For an in-depth review click here and you will be taken to my full review of the Lodge EC7OD43 Enameled Cast Iron Oval Dutch Oven.
Why not experiment with a cheaper Dutch oven to see if this type of cooking is something you want to pursue. I guarantee once you are hooked you will be a lover of this one-pot way of preparing nutritious food for life.
You can then upgrade to a luxury Brand like say Le Creuset!
Final Thoughts – What Is the Best Dutch Oven Size for a Family of 4?
If I was purchasing and it was my first experience with a Dutch oven I would go for the mid-range start 7-quart size. I would pay around $50.00 or less if I was unsure whether I would utilize the Dutch oven regularly.
You may find that a 7-quart oven is too large and you haven’t spent too much money on your original outlay.
So if you do get hooked on Dutch oven cooking you can then purchase a smaller Dutch oven. At that point, you could even upgrade to a Le Creuset or something similar.
Then in the future, I would look at other sizes, brands and price ranges when I got the hang of the Dutch oven way of life.
Your original cheaper Dutch oven need not go to waste either. You could always introduce a friend to the Dutch oven way of life and give your original oven to a friend and get them hooked as well…
It is always so much more enjoyable to share and swap cooking ideas with others it keeps us motivated and inspired.
Or alternatively, use your original Dutch oven either outdoors or indoors for those messy cooking jobs. Like tomato-based sauces, jams, or caramel.
Here we are at the end of the article if you are here, thank you I have done my job. I have a lot more information on my site so please go and cruise around by clicking here…
What Size Dutch Oven Should I Buy for Camping?
The most popular size outdoor Dutch oven is a 12-inch camp oven. This size Dutch oven will feed approximately 5 to 6 easily.
You should also be aware that camp Dutch ovens are referred to in inches as opposed to quarts.
So a 12″ shallow oven holds 6 quarts and a 12″ deep ovens holds 8 quarts.
What Size Dutch Oven for Whole Chicken?
A chicken that weighs between 5 and 6 pounds would fit perfectly in a Dutch oven around 6 quarts.
Large Dutch Oven Size?
In Dutch oven circles, a large Dutch oven is 9 quarts or more.
Dutch Oven Size Guide?
There is a Dutch oven size guide above, and I also have a complete Lodge size guide just follow the link below.
Le Creuset Cookware Size Chart – Download
Check out this size chart for Le Creuset round and oval Dutch oven sizes as well as other Le Creuset cookware sizes…
PS come back again and visit my site as I am adding more helpful information all the time…
One-Pot Cooking Rocks