Best Small Dutch Ovens [Reviews and Buying Guide]

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Shopping for a small Dutch oven? Consider the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron 3-Quart Dutch Oven. It comes at an affordable price for its size, allowing the everyday cook to enjoy a versatile and functional pot.

Of course, there are other great options to choose from, as you?ll see in this review. We?ve researched over 30 small Dutch ovens from different top brands and picked the very best models to make your buying decision a bit easier.

The Top Small Dutch Ovens Reviewed

 Product's nameMaterial / FeaturesCapacity / WeightBest ForMore Info
Lodge EC3D33 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 3-Quart, Caribbean BlueLodge EC3D33 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 3-Quart, Caribbean BlueEnameled cast-iron;
Loop handles,
oven-safe knob up to 500oF
2.8 liters (2 servings;
9.5 pounds
Best OverallSee on Amazon
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Oval Dutch Oven, 2.75 qt., MarseilleLe Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Oval Dutch Oven, 2.75 qt.,...Enameled cast-iron;
Loop handles,
stainless-steel oven-safe knob
2.6 liters (2 servings);
8.7 pounds
Best High-End OptionSee on Amazon
Crock-Pot Artisan Round Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 3-Quart, AquaCrock-Pot Artisan Round Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 3-Quart, AquaEnameled cast-iron;
Loop handles, stainless-steel oven-safe knob up to 500oF
2.8 liters (2 servings;
9.1 pounds
Best Budget OptionSee on Amazon
Emile Henry Flame Round Stewpot Dutch Oven, 4.2 Quart, BurgundyEmile Henry Flame Round Stewpot Dutch Oven, 4.2 Quart, BurgundyClay;
Flat handles, oven-safe clay knob
4 liters (3 servings);
7.4 pounds
Best ValueSee on Amazon
Le Creuset Shallow Dutch French Oven, 2.75 quart, OysterLe Creuset Shallow Dutch French Oven, 2.75 quart, OysterEnameled cast-iron;
Loop handles, oven-safe composite knob up to 500oF
2.6 liters (2 servings);
7.3 pounds
Best Shallow OptionSee on Amazon
STAUB Cast Iron Essential French Oven, 3.75-quart, CherrySTAUB Cast Iron Essential French Oven, 3.75-quart, CherryEnameled cast-iron;
Chistera spikes under lid, loop handles, stainless-steel knob
3.5 liters (3 servings);
10.5 pounds
Best Self-Basting DesignSee on Amazon
Mr Rudolf 3 Quart Dutch Oven with Lid,Stainless Steel Pot with 2 Handles,Dishwasher Safe Cooking Healthy CookwareMr Rudolf 3 Quart Dutch Oven with Lid,Stainless Steel Pot with 2...Stainless-steel;
Transparent tempered glass lid with wide loop handles on pot and lid
2.8 liters (2 servings;
3.3 pounds
Best Self-Basting DesignSee on Amazon
Emile Henry Delight Ceramic Braiser, 2.5 Quart, SlateEmile Henry Delight Ceramic Braiser, 2.5 Quart, SlateCeramic;
Domed lid with wide knob and cupped handles on pot and lid
2.46 liters (2 servings);
6.1 pounds
Best for BraisingSee on Amazon
Staub Cast Iron Petite French Oven, 1.5-quart, Matte BlackStaub Cast Iron Petite French Oven, 1.5-quart, Matte BlackEnameled cast-iron;
Flat handles, chistera spikes under lid, metal knob
1.4 liters (1 serving);
7.5 pounds
Best Mini Dutch OvenSee on Amazon
Emile Henry Delight Ceramic Round Dutch Oven 4L, SlateEmile Henry Delight Ceramic Round Dutch Oven 4L, SlateCeramic;
Domed lid with wide knob and cupped handles on pot and lid
4 liters (3 servings);
5.7 pounds
Best Ceramic OptionSee on Amazon

Find the Right Small Dutch Oven for You

Lodge EC3D33 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 3-Quart, Caribbean Blue

Best Overall

Lodge EC3D33 Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 3-Quart, Caribbean Blue

See on Amazon

The Lodge Enameled Cast Iron 3-Quart Dutch Oven ranks among the best selling small Dutch ovens in most online stores, and for good reason. The pot is highly versatile. You can count on it whether you are looking to marinate food in the freezer or you want to braise, bake, broil, or roast in the oven. It can withstand temperatures up to 500oF in the oven, and it can also go on any stovetop just in case you want to use it to simmer or saut? food.

In addition to being oven-safe, it is compatible with all cooktops, including induction, gas, and ceramic. However, you want to keep it away from open outdoor flames, such as grills.

Although it is a cast-iron Dutch oven, Lodge designed it with a porcelain surface so you don?t have to worry about frequent seasoning. This property makes the pot chip-resistant while also making cleanup pretty easy. The glossy porcelain does not react with food.

Keep in mind that Lodge seasoned cast iron Dutch ovens and pans are manufactured in the US. However, all Lodge enameled cast iron products are made in China under American supervision.

Pros

  • Great for cooking and serving
  • Versatile cooking performance
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Not compatible with microwave and outdoor flames
  • Might lose color over time if cleaned in dishwasher
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Oval Dutch Oven, 2.75 qt., Marseille

Best High-End Option

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Oval Dutch Oven, 2.75 qt., Marseille

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Some Dutch ovens are built to last for decades, and the Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature 2.75-Quart model is a perfect example. Despite its relatively small size, this pot can outlive many other large Dutch ovens from other brands. It is a great choice if you are looking to invest in a premium small Dutch oven.

Apart from longevity, this model combines the latest innovations in cookware comfort and functionality. Each piece is hand-inspected to make sure it meets the manufacturer?s high standards. While it is a cast-iron Dutch oven, you don?t have to season it, thanks to Le Creuset?s first-rate enamel coating process.

The beautifully designed pot comes with a tight-fitting, dome-shaped lid that locks in moisture and ensures continuous circulation of flavor. Wide ergonomic handles feature on each side for a secure grip and to balance the weight. The stainless-steel knob on the lid can withstand extreme temperatures up to 500oF, so you don?t have to unscrew it if you want to use it in your kitchen oven.

All of this doesn?t come cheap, though. But you are definitely getting value with this model, so consider buying it if you have the budget.

Pros

  • Can be used on all heat sources
  • Smooth interior finish resists stains and promotes caramelization (browning)
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Very expensive for its size
  • Might crack if exposed to excessive thermal shock
Crock-Pot Artisan Round Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 3-Quart, Aqua

Best Budget Option

Crock-Pot Artisan Round Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 3-Quart, Aqua

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The Crock-Pot Artisan Round Enameled Cast-Iron 3-Quart Dutch Oven should be on your radar if you are hoping to own a small Dutch oven without denting your wallet. It is a very affordable option considering it is made from high-quality cast-iron. The pot is coated in enamel to eliminate the need for constant seasoning.

Since it is cast-iron, it is not surprising that it has superb heat retention and distribution. The pot can go in the oven without taking off the lid. You don?t have to unscrew the stainless-steel knob on the lid because every part of the Dutch oven can withstand temperatures up to 500oF.

The tight-fitting lid is designed to create continuous self-basting, allowing you to create flavorful meals. Crock-Pot built this pot with oversized handles to ensure a secure grip when conveying it between surfaces. Besides conventional ovens, you can use this model on electric, ceramic, gas, and induction stovetops. It is also safe to use under a broiler and can go from stovetop to oven, and to table.

Cleaning is easy but hand washing with soap and water is recommended to make the product last longer.

Pros

  • Compatible with all stovetops
  • Pot and knob are oven-safe up to 500oF
  • Excellent heat retention

Cons

  • Enamel coating might chip off after a while
  • Not dishwasher-safe
Emile Henry Flame Round Stewpot Dutch Oven, 4.2 Quart, Burgundy

Best Value

Emile Henry Flame Round Stewpot Dutch Oven, 4.2 Quart, Burgundy

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Our best value pick goes to the Round Stewpot 4.2-Quart Dutch Oven by Emile Henry. The 4-liter pot comes at an incredibly affordable price and can last for a very long time. Unlike cast-iron options, this clay Dutch oven is lightweight, so you can easily move it between surfaces.

You can use this pot in just about any way imaginable. It can go directly from the microwave to the table or you can take it right out of your fridge or freezer to a hot oven. It is safe to use on BBQ grills, under a broiler, and on any stovetop, including induction tops (with a diffuser plate).

Designed with high-quality clay with properties meant to resist extreme heat, the small Dutch oven can handle temperatures up to 930oF. Even at such high temperatures, there is little to no chance of food sticking to the cooking surface or getting burned. That?s because the highly glazed cooking surface allows natural nonstick cooking.

With excellent heat distribution combined with a tight-fitting lid that seals in moisture and flavor, the pot is a great choice for making small quantities of stews, soups, and braised meat.

Pros

  • Very affordable small Dutch oven
  • Highly glazed cooking surface prevents sticking and burning
  • Highly versatile model

Cons

  • Side handles can be tricky to grasp, especially with oven mitts
  • Burgundy color might become darker with continuous heating
Le Creuset Shallow Dutch French Oven, 2.75 quart, Oyster

Best Shallow Option

Le Creuset Shallow Dutch French Oven, 2.75 quart, Oyster

See on Amazon

If you are in the market for a small but wide Dutch oven, perhaps the Le Creuset Shallow 2.75-Quart Dutch Oven might suit your purpose. First things first, this is an expensive product costing more than three times the price of our best overall pick. But with that steep price comes superior cooking performance, durability, and first-rate build quality that makes Le Creuset cookware products stand out from other brands.

As you probably expect, this small Dutch oven is reliable when it comes to spreading heat evenly and heat retention, making it an excellent choice for making a wide variety of dishes, whether that?s cooking a simple vegetable soup or baking a yeasty loaf of bread.

Unlike other Dutch ovens that turn a darker hue over time, this model is engineered to resist dulling so that the color remains the same. With a finely enameled interior, there is no chance of staining the cooking surface. The sand color of this model allows you to easily monitor your food to prevent burning.

The lid features built-in stabilizers that prevent it from sliding off. An ergonomic, oven-safe composite knob sits on the lid, allowing you to open easily open the pot.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality, highly durable with exquisite design
  • Long-lasting enamel does not chip or crack
  • Built-in lid stabilizers for a no-slide fit

Cons

  • Very expensive for its size
  • Short pot walls won?t catch splatters during stirring
STAUB Cast Iron Essential French Oven, 3.75-quart, Cherry

Best Self-Basting Design

STAUB Cast Iron Essential French Oven, 3.75-quart, Cherry

See on Amazon

Dutch ovens with convex lids typically let condensations to drip to the sides of the pot. The Cast Iron Essential 2.75-Quart French Oven from Staub solves that problem by designing an innovative chistera spike lid. It is essentially a drop-structure lid that allows moisture to cascade from the entire lid unto the pot?s content while it simmers. With this continuous self-basting, your food stays moist for a long time.

The domed chistera lid with a metal knob can both go in the oven. It also comes with wide loop handles that ensure a secure grip, and the enamel interior spreads heat evenly throughout the walls and cooking surface. Of course, it is a cast-iron pot so remarkable heat retention is a given.

This product is deeper than the typical 3-inch depth found in many small pots. It is slightly over 5-inches deep, meaning you have enough room to make your favorite roast chicken and braised short ribs.

Pros

  • Unique chistera spikes for continuous self-basting
  • Does not require seasoning
  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Slightly pricey
  • Not recommended for dishwasher cleaning
Mr Rudolf 3 Quart Dutch Oven with Lid,Stainless Steel Pot with 2 Handles,Dishwasher Safe Cooking Healthy Cookware

Best Lightweight Option

Mr Rudolf 3 Quart Dutch Oven with Lid,Stainless Steel Pot with 2 Handles,Dishwasher Safe Cooking...

See on Amazon

Even a small cast-iron Dutch oven can be a bit heavy, especially for those who have difficulty lifting heavy objects. If that?s you, the lightweight Mr Rudolf 3-Quart Dutch Oven might be a perfect small Dutch oven for you.

With triple-ply aluminum base construction, the pot heats up very quickly and heat is distributed evenly, eliminating the chances of any hot spots. The mirror-finish cooking surface does not alter the flavor of food, and the classic stainless-steel cookware blends nicely with most kitchen d?cors.

You can conveniently monitor what?s cooking without lifting the lid since it is a transparent tempered glass cover. But if you need to open the pot, the loop handle on the lid makes it very easy to do so.

There is little to no chance of making a mess when you pour the pot?s contents because the rim is smoothly tapered to prevent drips and spills. Cleaning is a breeze because of the premium stainless-steel construction material. But to make things even more convenient, this Mr Rudolf?s small Dutch oven is safe to go in a dishwasher.

The product comes with a 12-month guarantee, which can be extended to a limited lifetime warranty upon registration.

Pros

  • Incredibly lightweight and very affordable
  • See-through tempered glass lid
  • Wide stainless-steel handles

Cons

  • Handles can get very hot
  • Included handle protectors can slip off easily
Emile Henry Delight Ceramic Braiser, 2.5 Quart, Slate

Best for Braising

Emile Henry Delight Ceramic Braiser, 2.5 Quart, Slate

See on Amazon

Breaking down tough meat until it becomes tender requires slow cooking using low and steady heat. That?s where the Emile Henry Delight Ceramic Round 4.2-Quart Dutch Oven shines. The slate-colored pot is perfect for braising meat cuts very slowly, so you can set and forget it for a few hours and come back to delicious, tender meat.

Unlike many other Dutch ovens, this product features a unique dome-shaped lid that does a great job of trapping moisture inside the pot. This allows continuous circulation and absorption of flavors, resulting in savory aromas. A wide knob sits on the lid, making it easy to open to cover when you want to check what?s cooking.

Designed to go in the oven and microwave, this ceramic Dutch oven can withstand temperatures up to 500oF. Thanks to Emile Henry?s state-of-the-art manufacturing, this pot has properties that resist thermal shock. Meaning, you can use it to store food in the freezer and move the pot directly to a hot oven without preheating.

Delight Ceramic can go under the broiler and is compatible with induction tops. However, you want to keep it away from direct heat sources, such as grills and stovetops, to prevent cracking.

Pros

  • Excellent heat distribution and retention
  • Heats up quickly
  • Dishwasher-safe for convenient cleanup

Cons

  • Very expensive for its size
  • Cannot be used over direct heat sources
Staub Cast Iron Petite French Oven, 1.5-quart, Matte Black

Best Mini Dutch Oven

Staub Cast Iron Petite French Oven, 1.5-quart, Matte Black

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A mini Dutch oven is great for making side dishes for individuals. If that?s what you are looking for you might want to check out the Staub Cast iron Petite 1.5-Quart French Oven. Measuring a mere 1.4 litters, this cute little cocotte can go from oven or stovetop to table with no need for serving bowls.

Besides side dishes, this small Dutch oven is excellent for searing and browning. Food stays moist due to the chistera spikes underneath the lid that promotes continuous self-basting. The enamel coating means there is little to no need for seasoning.

If you have a small burner, this model will sit nicely on it. It is also compatible with induction tops. The French product might be tiny but it cooks well, whether you prefer fluffy rice, creamy oatmeal, or any other tender grains.

Pros

  • Handy, perfect fit for small burners, and durable
  • Spiked design under lid enhances self-basting
  • Can be used for cooking and serving

Cons

  • A bit heavy for its size
  • Flat handles might not provide secure grips like loop handles
Emile Henry Delight Ceramic Round Dutch Oven 4L, Slate

Best Ceramic Option

Emile Henry Delight Ceramic Round Dutch Oven 4L, Slate

See on Amazon

Our last entry is a surprisingly lightweight ceramic Dutch oven suitable for making savory traditional meals and simmering dishes for up to three persons. The Emile Henry Delight Ceramic 4.2-Quart Dutch Oven is manufactured from high-quality ceramic with superb heat distribution capabilities.

The Dutch oven can go in the microwave and is compatible with induction cooktops; plus, it gets hot pretty quickly to cut down warm-up time, thanks to its high responsiveness. Handcrafted with superior thermal shock resistance, the ceramic pot can store food in the freezer and also be used to cook food in a hot oven up to 500oF, giving you the best of both worlds.

The cooking surface has a natural non-stick property to prevent food from sticking and getting burned. It works great whether you are searing, browning, or saut?ing. You won?t have to worry about frequent seasoning and cleanup is easy and convenient since the pot is dishwasher-safe.

With clean lines and a neat matte black base, the charcoal-colored Dutch oven can double as an elegant serving dish and will suit most modern kitchen d?cor. The pot comes with a 10-year warranty against manufacturing defects, so you can shop confidently.

Pros

  • Suitable for cooking and serving
  • Lightweight ceramic pot with outstanding heat distribution
  • Domed-lid design promotes moisture circulation

Cons

  • Very expensive for its size
  • Not safe for use on direct heat sources

Small Dutch Ovens Buying Guide

What to Look for When Buying Small Dutch Ovens

Here are essential elements to keep in mind while shopping for small Dutch ovens.

Material

Enamel cast-iron pots are usually more durable and are compatible with all heat sources. However, they tend to be heavier than other materials, such as clay, ceramic, and stainless steel.

Think about the appliance you want to use with the pot before settling for a type of material. Most clay, ceramic, and cast-iron can work both in the freezer and in the oven. However, if lightness is a major concern, a stainless-steel pot will be the best option.

Capacity

The word ?small? is a relative term, which makes the description ?small Dutch ovens? a bit vague. To be more specific, Dutch ovens between the sizes of 0.5- to 4-quart are generally considered small.

Usually, average to large-sized families will use small Dutch ovens for family-style dishes but individuals can use them to do more than that. But whether you are feeding a family or cooking for one person, it is best to allow 1-quart per person with another quart for leftovers (if possible).

Stovetop

Consider the size, number, and spacing of the burners on your stove before choosing a small Dutch oven. You want to go for a model that will sit well on your stovetop, especially if you plan to use the pot primarily on a stove.

Handle

While small Dutch ovens are usually not too heavy, you want to choose one with wide, ergonomic handles for a secure grip. This is crucial as you want to avoid the possibility of slipping when you lift a hot pot from a stove or out of an extremely hot oven. Loop handles are usually the preferred choice.

Lid Design and Knob / Handle

Convex lids are more common and they fit tightly on the pot. However, they only allow condensations to drip down the sides of the Dutch oven.

Dome lids are great if you want self-basting, especially if you plan to keep what you are cooking moist. Other models have dots or special designs underneath the lid to improve continuous self-basting.

A transparent glass lid should be on your radar if you prefer to easily monitor the pot?s content while it is on the stove. This will save you the hassles of opening the pot and letting steam and flavor escape.

Some lids designs feature knobs while others come with a loop handle in place of the knob. A few others (such as the Delight Ceramic products from Emile Henry) have side handles on the lid. Wide knobs and loop handles are usually more convenient to grasp and lift.

FAQs for Small Dutch Ovens

Is a 3.5 qt Dutch oven too small?

It depends on how many people you want to cook for and the type of recipe. A 3.5-quart Dutch oven is too small for four meals worth of food but is good for one to two meals without much leftover. While you can cook many recipes in the small Dutch oven, it won?t be sufficient to make 3 lbs roast, especially if you plan to add veggies.

What can I cook in a small Dutch oven?

A mini or small Dutch oven is not particularly useful for an average-sized family but couples and people who live alone can do a lot with it. For starters, small Dutch ovens are the perfect size for rice, soups, and small side dishes or desserts. They are also great for making risotto, a pot of baked beans, and any small roast, usually between 1 and 1.5 lbs.

Can I use a Crockpot instead of a Dutch oven?

The short answer is yes. A crockpot can take the place of a Dutch oven, especially if you don?t want to heat your oven before you cook a meal. Both cooking pots are designed for slow cooking, with crockpots having two heat settings ? high and low. If you plan to use a crockpot for a Dutch oven recipe, be sure to keep the temperature regulation in mind.

Why are Dutch ovens so expensive?

Not all Dutch ovens have steep prices but most cast-iron and ceramic models do fetch higher prices due to the construction material and solid build quality. Typically, the bases and walls of these pots are thick enough to resist extreme temperatures, distribute heat evenly, and retain the heat to keep food hot for longer periods. These and many other factors can make the cookware quite expensive.

Conclusion

The Lodge Enameled Cast Iron 3-Quart Dutch Oven is our top choice because it is versatile, highly functional, and comes at a great price. But if you want a small Dutch oven that combines functionality and design, we recommend the Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Oval 2.75-Quart Dutch Oven. Although it is expensive, it offers great value and will last for a considerably long time.