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What’s the Difference Between Cocottes vs. Dutch Ovens?

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

By Emily Borst
Oct 19, 2023
dutch ovens on stove
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While the main difference between cocottes and Dutch ovens lies in their size, they are quite similar pieces of cast iron cookware that each have earned their place in any kitchen. Read on for an in-depth look at the differences between cocottes vs. Dutch ovens, and which—if not both—are better for your kitchen needs.

What Is a Cocotte?

A red enameled cast iron Dutch oven with a lid, set against a neutral background.

The cocotte is a small, heavy pot that typically comes in either an oval or circular shape, usually made of enameled cast iron. The cocotte (also called a "French oven") can be thought of as the French version of a Dutch oven, and is typically both much heavier and smaller in size than a standard size Dutch oven.

What Is a Cocotte Used For?

Most commonly, cocottes are used for baking, braising, stewing, and boiling. These are excellent vessels for one-pot meals, liquid-focused dishes like soup or stew, or low-and-slow braises and bakes.

What Is a Dutch Oven?

A red enameled cast iron pot on a wooden table alongside white bowls with red rims and a small bottle with a plant sprig.

Dating back to the early 1700s in parts of Europe, the Dutch oven is a cast iron pot that features a large capacity, tight-fitting lid, and handles on either side. These are offered in both unfinished cast iron and enameled styles, come in both round and oval varieties, and are typically considered essential pieces of cookware in most kitchens.

What Is a Dutch Oven Used For?

Like the cocotte, the Dutch Oven has a nearly unlimited number of potential uses in the kitchen, ranging from roasts to soups to braises.You can make any dish in a Dutch oven that you would make in a standard cocotte, including pot roasts and stews, though you will usually be able to make a larger serving in a Dutch oven.

Cocotte vs. Dutch Oven: Which One Should You Use?

nested dutch oven

Ultimately, the difference between cocottes and Dutch ovens lies in their size. Cocottes are typically smaller than a Dutch oven—often 3.5QTs or smaller—while a Dutch oven can be 7QTs or larger.

This means that ultimately, both a cocotte and Dutch oven have their place in your kitchen. A cocotte can handle smaller holiday sides, while a larger Dutch oven is perfect for the centerpiece.

Ready to Shop?

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

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