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Why You Need a 3.5 QT Dutch Oven

The 3.5 QT Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is ideal for meal prep, small batches, and small kitchens.

By Kara Elder
Oct 18, 2023
A red enameled cast iron Dutch oven with a lid, set against a neutral background.
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A Dutch oven can do it all: simmer soups, bake bread, and braise even the toughest cuts of meat to tender perfection. But you don’t always need a large Dutch oven, especially if you live in a small space or usually cook for one or two people.

Our 3.5 QT Dutch Oven is just as versatile as our 5.5 QT Dutch Oven, but in a tidier — some may even say cuter! — package.

The Perfect Size: Why a 3.5 Qt Dutch Oven Is Essential

A black cast iron Dutch oven with a lid on a light background.

Our 3.5 QT Dutch Oven includes all the best properties of our high-performance Enameled Cast Iron Collection. With its even heat distribution, your sauces, soups, and gravies will cook thoroughly without burning. A sturdy cast iron core retains heat exceptionally well, so food stays warm with the lid on without needing to keep the pot over direct heat. The enamel coating enables you to cook even acidic tomato sauces while ensuring a virtually nonstick cooking surface that cleans up easily.

With its smaller size, our 3.5 Quart Dutch Oven saves space when kitchen storage is tight. And it’s lighter – weighing just under 10 pounds with the lid — making it a better choice for those who find larger Dutch ovens unwieldy. Reach for our 3.5 QT Dutch Oven to make 2-4 servings of soups, stews, braises, and beans.

Two side handles let you easily carry the 3.5 QT Dutch Oven from kitchen to table. It holds the same amount — 14 cups — as your standard 9-by-13-inch pan, making it especially ideal for casseroles and baked goods. And, like our 5.5 QT Dutch Oven, the pot’s Cloud Cover lid prevents your food from drying out by trapping steam and returning moisture to the dish. Upgrade the lid to a brass knob for a striking heirloom that can be passed down for generations.

3.5 QT vs. Larger Sizes

A set of red cookware consisting of pots and a pan on a stainless steel stove in a modern kitchen.

A big pot of chili bubbling away on the stove may be picture-perfect, but you don’t always need to cook large batches. If you’re a single cook, couple, or small family, a 3.5 QT Dutch oven can be your go-to cookware.

A small pot is uniquely suited to make fewer servings, which is especially useful if you worry about wasting food. When prepping your meals for the week, use our small Dutch Oven to cook a pot of grains or sear and braise chicken thighs — liquids come to a boil faster in a smaller pot.

Our 3.5 QT Dutch Oven also makes reheating leftovers quick and easy. Making a soup to share with a friend? It’s easier to transport right in the small pot, too.

3.5 QT vs. 5.5 QT

You don’t necessarily have to choose between a small and medium Dutch oven. They serve different purposes, especially when hosting dinners or making your favorite holiday dishes. Roast a chicken in the medium pot and braise kale with white beans in the small. Bake a loaf of crusty sourdough in your 5.5 QT Dutch Oven while your 3.5 QT Dutch Oven holds a simmering pot of beans on the stove.

If you’re buying your first Dutch oven — congrats, by the way! — and deciding which size to buy, think of a few factors: Do you live alone? Do you usually prepare 2 to 4 servings of soups and stews? If so, a small 3.5 QT Dutch Oven would be a good fit for you.

3.5 QT vs. 7.5 QT

If you have a larger 7.5 QT Dutch oven, then you’ve probably encountered times when you wished you had something slightly smaller. While a large Dutch oven is ideal for making big batches of stews and chili, a 3.5 QT Dutch oven is better suited for a batch of mashed potatoes or an autumnal braise of sweet potatoes and beets.

When cooking for the holidays, a small pot supplements a large one well: make the main dish in the large pot, make the side in a small. The heat retention of each will keep your food hot and flavorful.

If you don’t frequently cook large quantities of food, then a 3.5 QT Dutch oven will be more versatile and a kitchen tool to use every day—ditto if you prefer not to have too many leftovers.

Ready to Shop?

Our Enameled 3.5 QT Dutch Oven is a kitchen essential, ideal for 2-4 servings of soups and stews or baking a warming casserole. Whether you’re cooking for one or supplementing your cast iron collection, the new 3.5 Dutch Oven collection is coming this Friday to elevate your cooking experience.