Posted by Jen Mills, 24th August 2023
Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Camp Dutch Oven Size for Australian Outdoors
What Size Camp Dutch Oven Do I Need for Camping?
Dutch ovens are fantastic culinary gear and great when you need to add variety to your camping menu. Personally, I like Dutch ovens because I can make almost anything, from breakfast and lunch to dinner. Cleaning them up is also pretty easy.
But the biggest challenge many campers face when considering a Dutch oven is their size. You see, Dutch ovens are available in different sizes and for different purposes, making it difficult to settle for a specific size. Of course, you can always carry an assortment of cooking pots, but that's unnecessary baggage, especially when weight is a concern.
From hands-on experience, however, I would recommend the standard/deep 10”, 6-quart Dutch oven. It’s a functional size for most camp cooking needs, big enough for family use, and portable. On top of that, most camping recipes are sized for a 10”, 6-quart Dutch oven camping size.
While the 10", 6-quart Dutch oven is certainly among the most popular Dutch oven sizes, it might not necessarily be for you. In the guide below, we shall look at how to size a Dutch oven and highlight why you might want to consider the 10", 6-quart option.
The Ideal Camp Dutch Oven Size: Why 10” 6-Quart Stands Out
Generally, the sweet spot for Dutch oven sizes is between 5.5 and 7.5 quart. Anything larger than 7.5 quart is just too big to feasibly use for most things.
Of course, a larger size is better for soup, which can overflow on the smaller Dutch ovens. Bigger Dutch ovens also provide real estate for braising some larger cuts of meat. But, unless you're feeding a small army or have a large family, you'll find the bigger Dutch ovens bulky and cumbersome.
On the other hand, smaller Dutch ovens usually limit the amount of food you can prepare. They're great for baking bread and preparing side dishes, though, and ideal for single-person use, but other than that, I don't see a lot of their cooking applicability.
Meanwhile, if I were to choose one Dutch oven size, I would go with the 10" 6-quart Dutch oven. It's a perfect size for 4-6 servings, and you can cook almost anything. You won't be able to fit a whole chicken or large roast, but it's a versatile and practical size.
The six-quart Dutch oven works for just about everything and has enough room to prepare a meal for a family of four to six and leave some leftovers.
In fact, most 6-quart models are pretty close in volume to a standard crockpot or slow cooker and, therefore, pretty much utilitarian when camping
I would recommend the standard/deep 10”, 6-quart Dutch oven. It’s a functional size for most camp cooking needs, big enough for family use, and portable.
Different Dutch Oven Sizes
The 6-quart, 10" Dutch oven is a good size and with greater functionality, but the truth is that it can't be used for everything. You must look at what you cook, the number of servings, and whether it'll generally work for your camping cooking needs.
Small: 1, 2, and 3 Quart Dutch Ovens
These Dutch sizes are on the smaller side and are generally ideal for solo campers or two. They usually provide an average serving of 1 to 3, depending on the type of food you're preparing.
I would recommend these smaller-sized Dutch ovens to campers with a larger Dutch ovens and are looking to expand their collection. The smaller Dutch oven sizes are a great complement, especially when preparing side sides.
Medium: 5.5 and 6.0 Quart
This is the most popular Dutch oven size and probably the best all-around model. The size strikes a balance between functional use and ease of handling.
The medium-sized Dutch ovens are big enough to accommodate the cooking needs of most campers or a family yet small enough not to be cumbersome.
They can serve between 4-6 people and provide plenty of surface area for different cooking methods such as braising, sautéing, deep-frying, boiling, etc.
If you've not already invested in a camping Dutch oven and are unsure of the size to select, I'd recommend you start your collection with these medium-sized Dutch oven sizes.
Large: 7, 8, and 9+ Quart
Dutch ovens with a capacity of 7.5 quarts and above are in the big-size league and are perfect for those with big families or needing to attend to the cooking needs of parties.
Remember that these Dutch ovens are generally bulky and cumbersome and best suited for car camping.
1 -3 Quart
1 - 3 People
5.5 or 6 Quart
4 - 6 People
7 or 8 Quart
6 - 8 People
How To Choose a Dutch Oven Camping Size?
This section will highlight the important features to remember when selecting the right Dutch oven camping size.
Number of Campers
When selecting a Dutch oven size, the number of people you intend to serve will generally inspire the size you choose.
For example, the smaller Dutch oven sizes are perfect for solo campers while the bigger Dutch oven sizes makes sense if you have a larger group to handle.
Considering additional servings is also key, as it helps account for an extra guest when you need an additional plate or leftovers for the next meal.
Always remember that every quart translates to a single serving. So, if you’re a family of six, the minimum quart size for your Dutch oven should be 6 quart.
Style of Cooking/ Shape
The main draw to a Dutch oven is its versatility; it can prepare anything from soups, paste, and steaks to stews. Even then, a camp Dutch oven may work better for one type of food better than the other.
Different foods require different Dutch cooking techniques and cooking space.
For example, an oval 6.0 quart Ditch oven can hold a whole chicken, but a round one of a similar capacity may fail to fit. On top of that, oval-shaped Dutch ovens are great for preparing foods with weird shapes.
Campers wanting to prepare stews and soups may also be inclined to pick Dutch ovens with taller walls and less of a broader base. Meanwhile, those who want to braise may prefer a Dutch oven with a wider base than a taller wall.
The right Dutch-size oven generally depends on your camping cooking needs. However, if you're unsure what size to pick, I recommend the 6-quart Dutch oven size. It strikes a balance between functionality and ease of use/handling.
When picking a 6-quart Dutch oven, pick one with feet on the bottom of the pot. The feet keep it up off the coals so they don't get smothered. I really like the 10", 6-quart Deluxe Dutch Oven by Camp Chef.
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