What’s the Difference Between Cocottes and Dutch Ovens?

These two pieces of cookware may look similar, but have different uses.

  • Team Made In
  • Sep 12, 2022
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As you shop for cookware, you'll likely run into both cocottes and Dutch Ovens. These heirloom pieces of cookware have similar appearances, but they are actually quite different in a number of ways. By having a better idea of the differences between a cocotte and a Dutch Oven—as well as what each is used for—you can decide which will get more use in your own kitchen.

What Is a Cocotte?

With origins in France and Europe, the cocotte is essentially a large cast iron pot that has been enamel coated. It is a large, wide pot that is forged in either a round or oval shape. Specifically, the word "cocotte" is French for "casserole," so many people think of the cocotte as a casserole dish though it has many other uses. Oftentimes, cocottes are made from fireproof porcelain that is coated with an enamel to prevent sticking.

What's It Used For?

Cocottes are very versatile, and their large size allows them to hold a lot of ingredients at once. Most commonly, cocottes are used for baking, braising, stewing, and boiling. It is not uncommon to cook and braise an entire pot roast in a cocotte, though you can also prepare a large pasta dish for a crowd in one pot.

Cocotte Pros

There are many advantages to having a cocotte in your kitchen. For starters, the lids on these fit very tightly, which allows liquids to come to a quick boil. They also come in a wide range of sizes to suit your needs, and can stand up to a great deal of heat for extended periods of time.

Cocotte Considerations

With a cocotte, there are some other things to keep in mind. For starters, these can be very heavy, which can make them a little difficult to store and retrieve from cabinets or pantries. Likewise, because the lid on the cocotte fits tightly, it may need to be removed at the end of cooking to prevent excess liquid from forming (depending on your dish).

What Is a Dutch Oven?

Meanwhile, the Dutch Oven is a similar piece of cast iron cookware that features a large capacity and heavy-duty material. These pieces of cookware date back to the mid 1700s in parts of Europe, and are mainstays in U.S. kitchens.They are offered in both unfinished cast iron and enameled styles.

The Dutch Oven has a very similar design to cocottes, and as such they can be used for many of the same things—such as making roasts, stews, and soups. The Dutch Oven features handles on either side and a tight-fitting lid.

However, the main difference between these two pots is that the lid on a Dutch Oven is curved to make basting easier. Most cocottes, on the other hand, have flat lids.

What's It Used For?

Like the cocotte, the Dutch Oven has a lot of potential uses in the kitchen. These range from stewing and braising to boiling and baking. You can make any dish in a Dutch Oven that you would make in a standard cocotte, including pot roasts and stews.

Dutch Oven Pros

There's a lot to love about a Dutch oven, including the fact that these are made in a wide variety of sizes and shapes to suit your needs. Dutch ovens also allow for easier braising while cooking, which can lead to more flavorful meals.

Dutch Oven Considerations

The curved lid of a Dutch Oven can be a little challenging to clean properly, so be sure to keep this in mind while shopping.

Which One Should I Use?

Ultimately, the differences between a cocotte and a Dutch Oven are minimal. Still, if you want to decide between the two, there are some things you can keep in mind. For starters, consider how much basting you tend to do while cooking. If you follow a lot of recipes that require frequent basting, then a Dutch Oven with a curved lid may make things a little easier for you.

Ready to Shop?

If you’re looking to add quality pieces to your cookware collection that will last a lifetime, then our French-made Dutch Oven is for you. With a cloud cover lid that self-bastes your meals, classic shape, and hand-applied enamel, our Dutch Oven is as useful for cooking as it is beautiful for displaying.

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