Why You Probably Don't Need That Massive Dutch Oven

Orange Le Creuset dutch oven
Orange Le Creuset dutch oven - EGT-1/Shutterstock

In many kitchens, cabinet space and counter space are at a premium, particularly if you're an avid home cook with lots of specialty cookware and countertop appliances. Amid that crunch for space, it's fair to wonder whether you need all the latest kitchen gadgets and gizmos. That even applies to some of the classics, like a Dutch oven, an item many cooks would swear is necessary. Luckily, if you're short on storage, you probably don't need a mammoth Dutch oven and you may not even need a Dutch oven at all.

If you've been eyeing Le Creuset's classic, round Dutch ovens and considering splurging on one, carefully consider the size first. The average Dutch oven holds between 5 and 6 quarts and about a quart of Dutch oven space is equivalent to a serving size. Thus, a 6-quart Dutch oven can make six servings of food. It's important to consider whether you really need to cook six servings of food regularly. While the average Dutch oven can fit a roast or chicken, how often do you prepare either? It's quite possible that a smaller Dutch oven is more suited to your needs and will still work wonderfully for cooking favorites like a no-knead bread recipe, soups, stews, or dishes like coq au vin that require chicken pieces rather than a whole chicken. Not only will a smaller Dutch oven better fit your needs but it will be easier to use and take up less valuable space.

Read more: 41 Must Try Hot Sandwich Recipes

Do You Need A Dutch Oven At All?

Stew in a blue dutch oven
Stew in a blue dutch oven - Rudisill/Getty Images

Le Creuset's luxury cookware included, Dutch ovens can still be a little pricey, ranging into the hundreds of dollars. Even if you go with a smaller size, that doesn't mean you'll always still have room for one. Can you forgo a Dutch oven and use other cookware for a similar effect? In many instances, yes.

Depending on what you're cooking, you can substitute myriad items you likely already have on hand for a Dutch oven. Roasting a chicken or other large protein? Opt for a lightweight and stackable roasting pan. Want to simmer a soup or stew all day long? Go with a standard soup pot (or, if you already have one taking up space in your kitchen, an Instant Pot or slow cooker). Do you use your Dutch oven to fry chicken? A cast iron pot is a smaller, more compact option that works just as well. Do you like how you can take a Dutch oven from stovetop to oven? You can do this with many oven-safe pots and pans if you verify that they're truly oven-safe ahead of time. The point is that if you don't have space for a Dutch oven, don't feel like you need to buy one. In fact, there are even some items you shouldn't cook in a Dutch oven like fish, eggs, or anything that can damage the oven's coating.

Read the original article on Mashed.