Ladies and gentlemen, we’re finally here: the dutch oven vs roasting pan fight of the year.
On the one side we have our grannie’s favorite, and on the other, ours. Both of them have several characteristics that make them unique. They’re not interchangeable, that’s for sure. But many people want to exploit their capacities, so here we go.
In today’s article, I’m going to give an overview about the dutch oven and the roasting pan. I’m also going to tell you about their differences in matters of material, size, shape, uses and weight. In the last part, I’ll highlight some shared features and some things that are specific to each pot. To conclude the article, in a product review I’ll show you some essentials of both categories and we’ll choose the winner of this fight.
What is a Dutch Oven?
A dutch oven is a multi-functional pot, with a tight fitting lid. This will make it an excellent piece for braising some delicious food. It’s an anvil-like heavyweight and rather often, what we’d call an investment. It’ll also work out really well for doing some broth or soup, and browning veggies with shrooms.
What is a Roasting Pan?
The roasting pan is widely used across the States, and also represented in Thanksgiving movies. It’s a deep pan with tall-sides that will allow cooking multiple dishes. Even the complex or the very liquid ones. They usually come with a rack, and even if you can use them without it, they are important. A roasting pan with rack will improve the heat distribution, and will let the dripping gather on the pan.
What is the Difference Between a Dutch Oven and a Roasting Pan?
Well, I must speak of this before continuing with the dutch oven vs roasting pan competition. There are several differences beyond the intuitive ones. I’ll go shallowly over the most important characteristics for you to choose wisely your fighter. Let’s see…
The archetype of the Dutch oven is the cast iron one. It’s very heavy and uncomfortable to carry from the store to your home, and maybe the reason why many people look for a dutch oven substitute. But this is what gives it it’s specialness, I’ll talk about it in a bit. Nevertheless, you can find stainless steel and ceramic as well.
The roasting pan tends to be much more flexible. This is a good thing as it will allow you to focus on the use you’re going to give to it. The most common ones are stainless steel, cast iron with enamel surface and carbon steel. Each has its properties
For the Dutch ovens there’re for sure several sizes. The standard size, call it family-friendly, is the 5.5/6 qt. For couples without children, or without regular guests I’d advice to get something smaller.
On the other side, the roasting pans tend to be very different. The medium size is considered to be 16-inch. It will withstand a 16 pound turkey for Thanksgiving. The size of your future acquisition will depend strictly on your needs.
The Dutch oven pan can be found mainly in two shapes. They can come in a circle shape and an oval shape. Although they can both be found, the perfect-circle shape is the most popular. For the roasting pans, almost all shapes that can be normally found are rectangular. However, oval shaped roasting pans are fairly common.
This may hugely vary. Of course people with culinary creativity tend to find new uses to known cookware. But most people tend to bake, roast, brown, sear broil and deep-fry with the Dutch oven pan. As you can see, it’s quite versatile.
The roasting pan on the other side, has more restricted uses but they are still quite a few. Of course its main use is roasting meat in the oven (specially for Thanksgiving). But the roasting pan with lid opens a ton of opportunities that I’ll talk about in this article.
The Dutch oven will allow you to replace the gym with cooking. A standard Dutch oven (6 qt) will weigh about 15 lbs (6.80 kg). This is actually a lot. You should consider that you’ll probably be cooking something ‘big’, and you should take into consideration this extra weight. Its counterpart, a standard sized roasting pan will be around 4 lbs (1.80 kg).
Can You Use a Dutch Oven Instead of a Roasting Pan?
The Dutch oven can serve as a turkey roaster pan, that’s for sure. One of its amazing qualities is its versatility. Just by removing the lid, you’ll have some whole new options. Because of the non-stick enamel that it usually has, this shouldn’t be a problem.
How to Use a Dutch Oven for Roasting
The cast iron beast can roast nearly everything, you’ll easily get some crispy chicken and vegetables. For a start you should preheat your oven while you salt the meat. Add some olive oil or butter to the Dutch oven, and start heating.
To get good results, you should first brown the chicken on the sides, and then add the garlic, onion and other vegetables. Add the final species you’d like, cover with the lid and place the pot in the oven. Slow and low heat, be patient. After some hours, you should have a delicious plate for your family!
Can a Roaster Pan Be Used as a Dutch Oven?
Even if we’re talking about a roasting pan with lid, the sides would still be too low. The long-feature it has is normally its best attribute, but not it’s height. Just to put an example, you could never do some bones-broth in a roaster pan.
Cast iron dutch ovens tend to maintain high temperatures with almost no effort. That is what makes them so sensational for slow cooking. Imagine all of that with a roaster pan… it would be an arduous mission. So we should try to use the roasting tray, as it’s its most exploitable characteristic.
Top Kitchen Picks: Dutch Oven vs Roasting Pan
So, let’s be pragmatic. What’s out there for each of these?
1. Blue Enamel Dutch Oven from Lodge, 6 qt
This dutch oven from Lodge is a great pick. With lots of different sizes, I recommend this 6 qt standard one. The brand also provides several colors to choose from, and different cookware that you can pick to form a practical kitchen kit. It has a 5.6 lt capacity that will allow you to cook almost everything. The cast iron will keep temperatures up for a long time, and will help you achieve your cooking goals.
- Elegant cookware
- High quality cast iron
- Porcelain enamel for non-stick
- Uneven heat distribution
- Heavy pot
- Needs seasoning
2. Red Enamel Dutch Oven from Amazon Basics, 7.5 qt
A perfect circle-shaped dutch oven. This beautiful red piece with 7.5 quarts capacity is a little bit bigger than the previous one. Thus, it will fulfill bigger needs. With two handles and a perfect fitting lid it’s very comfortable for handling in small spaces. The material is cast iron, and will be excellent for heat retention
- Even heat distribution
- Big capacity
- Oven safe up to 400 degree Fahrenheit
- Handles get very hot
- Not non-stick enamel
3. Pre-Seasoned Dutch Oven from Lodge, 5 qt
Another good piece from Lodge. This 5 qt seasoned dutch oven is really versatile and arrives ready to use. With a classic design, comes with a fitted lid and two handles on the side. Oh, the lid has a handle as well so it’s perfect for moving around. It’s also made from cast iron that bears the aforesaid properties.
- Practical size
- May chip with improper care
- Starts to rust quite quickly
4. Granite Black Roasting Pan, 13 inch
This turkey roaster pan won’t serve as a dutch oven substitute. Even so, it will handle most foods exceptionally well. Done in steel material with ceramic finish type, it has a 4 liters capacity. Even if the lid might reduce interior capacity, it will speed up cooking times. Furthermore, it will give your food profound nuances.
- Dishwasher safe
- Roasting pan with lid
- Top-notch aesthetic
- No roasting tray
- Quickly loses the dutch oven vs roasting pan competition
5. Gray Steel Roasting Pan from Farberware, 15 inch
A roasting pan with rack with an elegant steel finish. This little guy can withstand high temperatures inside the oven. I mean 450-degrees-Fahrenheit high temperatures. Easy to clean, and lightweight to handle. Both its interior and exterior have excellent non-stick properties. It has two handles on the sides that makes things easier, and the rack is removable.
- Very lightweight
- Non-stick inside out
- Very slippery (specially for clumsy people)
- Broiler would probably destroy it
- Not the best handles
6. Non-Stick Roasting Pan from Circulon, 17 inch
Another roasting pan with rack. This gray roasting pan with the removable U-rack has a high quality finish that is really appealing. The rack can be easily lifted, and the handles are really comfy. It has excellent non-stick technology due to its high-low interior circle design. Additionally it can hold up to 24 lbs, ideal for family gatherings. Done in steel, it will handle quick and even heat distribution like no other.
- Big capacity
- Very comfy
- Non-stick high tech
- Quality material
- Not the best for space saving
- Kind of thin
- Might scratch easily
Final Thoughts – Which should I choose?
We’ve gone through a lot today, so let’s put our pieces back together. In this article I’ve written about this dutch oven vs roasting pan fight. I know you just wanted to see what’s best for you and your family, but I thought this would be funnier.
On the one hand, the dutch oven is this do-it-all pot with a tight fitting lid. Even if it’s heavy it will braise, saute, brown and roast perfectly well. It’s rather often found in cast iron, but there are also stainless steel and ceramic types. The most common size is 5.5/6 qt and perfect-circle shaped. You could use this beast as a roasting pan, but not the other way around. In this article I’ve also written a ‘Dutch Oven for Roasting 101’.
For the Dutch oven category we’ve seen the standard sized Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Blue Enamel Dutch Oven (Blue) and the Amazon Basics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven, 7.5-Quart, Red that has a passing mark. Even if both are very good buying options, I would highly recommend for you to get one of these Amazon Basics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven, 7.5-Quart, Red . Even if it’s big, it is very cost-effective and feels like top-notch cookware.
On the other hand, its counterpart. I must admit this dutch oven vs roasting pan dispute is really fun to write. Back to our thing, the roasting pan is our Thanksgiving hero. A deep pan with tall-sides that usually comes with a rack, and sometimes with a lid. The rack is important for heat distribution and will gather the dripping for some sauce. It’s mainly found in rectangular stainless steel pieces, with 16-inch size.
In the Roasing pan category, we’ve seen the lightweight Farberware Bakeware Nonstick Steel Roaster with Flat Rack, 11-Inch x 15-Inch, Gray and the aesthetic Granite Ware F Covered Oval Roaster, 13 inches, Black. For last but not least, the sensational Circulon Nonstick Roasting Pan / Roaster with Rack - 17 Inch x 13 Inch, Gray. This last piece is the one that I recommend wholeheartedly. Even if it doesn’t have a lid, it provides a high performance cooking experience with excellent results. Good luck!