Dutch Oven Oval vs Round


You want to get a new Dutch oven, but should you get an oval-shaped model or a round one? Many people often worry about the cooking effects that may be caused by the different shapes. However, the overall performance of Dutch oven oval vs round is actually similar. Still, there are a few other factors to consider.

In the following article, we will discuss further about
– The capacity difference of Dutch oven oval vs round,
– The cooking performance of oval models and round models
– Which Dutch oven is generally more recommended

Size and Capacity

The first difference that people usually mention when comparing oval Dutch ovens with round Dutch ovens is the capacity. Actually, an oval Dutch oven may have a similar capacity as a round model. However, an oval Dutch oven has an elongated shape, so the horizontal diameter is longer. The longer horizontal diameter means that it has more space in the lateral direction.

As the effect, an oval Dutch oven is typically able to accommodate a larger food item. For example, you can fit a whole chicken quite easily into an oval Dutch oven. You can’t do the same with a round Dutch oven, which is narrower horizontally albeit having more vertical space.

So, if you want to be able to cook large food items such as whole chicken or large cuts of meats, an oval Dutch oven generally makes a better choice. However, if you usually cut down those meats into smaller pieces, a round Dutch oven is just as good.

Cooking Performance

When someone wants to buy an oval Dutch oven, he or she often worries that the cooking performance won’t be as good as a round Dutch oven. The argument is logical. An oval Dutch oven has an elongated shape, so the furthermost spots on the left and right sides will receive less heat than the center area, which is directly above the heat source. On the other hand, a round Dutch oven seems to have more even heating.

However, this is not entirely true, at least for a cast-iron Dutch oven. If you compare the performance of oval and round cast-iron Dutch ovens, you will see similar results. They both can give even cooking and browning. The Spruce  has listed some of the best Dutch ovens that are worth the money.

The secret is the material. Cast-iron is actually not very efficient in conducting heat. As the effect, it takes longer to heat up, and the heat will be gradually distributed to the whole surface. Once it is thoroughly heated, it will retain heat very well. The end areas will be just as good as the center for browning and cooking. So, as long as you pre-heat an oval Dutch oven properly, you don’t need to make any adjustment on the cooking time or procedure to get great results.

Dutch Oven Oval vs Round

Dutch Oven OvalDutch Oven Round
- Wide, elongated shape; horizontal diameter is longer than vertical- Circular shape; similar horizontal and vertical diameters
- Can easily accommodate a whole chicken- Not suitable for large food items
- Even cooking if pre-heated properly- Even heating across the surface


In general, an oval Dutch oven is more recommended. The wide elongated shape is very beneficial for cooking larger food items. It can easily accommodate a whole chicken or large meat cuts. The performance is just as good as a round Dutch oven as long as you pre-heat it properly.

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