Dutch Oven vs Braiser – Do You Need Both?

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You will have seen both Dutch ovens and braiser pans in most cookware shops. Both of these tools are common cookware items that have great benefits over other types of cookware. Both Dutch ovens and braisers look very similar to one another as they are made of the same material and have a very similar design. But even though these two appear similar, they do have different uses. They are used for specific styles of cooking. If you are wanting to invest in one of these fantastic kitchen tools, knowing how Dutch oven vs braiser pan compare will massively help you in making your decision.

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In this article we will explore what Dutch ovens and braisers are useful for. We will also discuss how the two pans are different and which is the better out of the two.

braiser pot

Is A Dutch Oven The Same As A Braiser?

This is a bit of a tricky one. They are very similar, but technically no they are not the same pot.

So what is a Dutch oven?

A Dutch oven is a pot that is commonly made from a sturdy material like cast iron. A Dutch oven comes in many different sizes and is very thick and heavy in size. Dutch ovens are commonly used for dishes that need to be cooked for a long amount of time, like soups, stews and curries. Many people use Dutch oven pots as a way of slow cooking food. You can keep the pot at a steady heat for a long period of time, as the pot is good at retaining heat.

The Dutch oven typically has a very thick bottom base and high thick sides, making it a very sturdy pot. These features make the Dutch oven very good at keeping moisture, which can help when cooking ingredients that you would like to keep juicy. This ability to hold moisture in for a long period of time means great slow cooking of various kinds of meat.

Misen Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven - 7 QT Dutch Oven Pot with Grill Pan Lid - Cast Iron Pot with Handles, Green

What is a braiser?

Braisers are very similar to a Dutch oven pot but have slight differences that make them useful for different cooking methods.

Braiser pans tend to be made from the same material as Dutch ovens, which tends to be a very durable and tough material like cast iron. A Dutch oven pot can be bought in different sizes, whereas a braiser can be bought in all sorts of different shapes. A braiser pan is typically a lot shallower than a Dutch oven , but it will often have a wider base. It is common to find a lot of braisers that are longer in shape, this is to allow you to fit in large pieces of meat.

Braisers will get very hot and maintain that heat just like a Dutch oven. Although a brasier will sear the food rather than add moisture to the food due to the lack of height. As the height of a braiser is not as tall as a Dutch oven, the effects of the heat will be more intense in a braiser.

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Braiser, 3.5 qt., Cerise

Both are similar in the fact that they both have a lid that fits tightly to the pot, which is also made from cast iron. This allows the heat to not escape the pot.

Braiser vs Dutch Oven

We have talked through the key differences between a Dutch oven and a braiser. But sometimes it is still hard to decide which is the right one for you.

Both are very similar especially if you are comparing a cast iron braiser pan and a cast iron Dutch oven. But although these two pans are very similar, there are some key differences that really set the two pans apart.

Which is better: braiser vs Dutch oven?

Here is a list of what a Dutch oven is useful for:

  • Soups and stews
  • Cooking meats
  • Frying
  • Slow cooking

Here are some benefits of using a Dutch oven:

  • Can retain the heat of the dish and add moisture to the food
  • Large amount of room to be able to make a large dish
  • Allows the food to marinate and the flavors of the liquids to slowly cook into meat
  • Able to fit large meats and large vegetables at once
  • Can be a substitute for a braiser

Here is a list of what a braiser is useful for:

  • Browning meats and other ingredients
  • Steaming
  • Stir-frying
  • Simmering

And a few benefits of using a braiser pan:

  • Allows long pieces of meat and other ingredients
  • Available in different shapes to suit your dish

So, which pan is better?

Overall, we would have to say that if you could only invest in one type of cast iron pan, then we would recommend the Dutch oven. It is a lot larger than the braiser pan and therefore can be more versatile. The Dutch oven can also do the same style of cooking that a braiser can do. Though something to note is this type of cooking may take longer in a Dutch oven.

red and blue plastic pots on brown wooden table

Cast Iron Braiser Vs Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Cast iron is a very durable and reliable material to have your cookware made from. The material cast iron can withstand high temperatures and last a lifetime if taken care of properly. You can purchase a cast iron braiser as well as a Dutch oven in a cast iron material too.

Cast iron is works well for both pots. Cast iron cookware are great to invest in. If you are wanting to save on price and just splurge on only one cast iron pot, we would recommend that you choose to get a cast iron braiser over a cast iron Dutch oven.

But let us clarify.

Braisers are typically used for simmering foods, browning meats and searing ingredients. Therefore using a braiser that is made from cast iron will allow the braiser to remain at a high heat for a long period of time. This ability would be very useful if you cook many things like this.

Dutch ovens are typically used to cook soups and stews. These kinds of dishes need to remain at a steady temperature until they are ready to be served. So if you make many of these types of food, you may wanna take the plunge and get a Dutch oven instead.

Both make excellent dishes to display your food as well. As long as you get one that’s aesthetically pleasing to you, that is.

So all in all, the answer is that it all depends on what pot you use the most. If you are mostly making soups and stews then we would recommend investing in a cast iron Dutch oven as it will last you a lifetime. If you are more focused on cooking meats, then we would recommend purchasing a cast iron braiser.

What Is A Braiser Good For?

A braiser pan is fantastic for cooking meats and any ingredient that may need searing. Even though a braiser is very good at searing food, it also can retain the moisture. This means your ingredients will turn out to be cooked but still remain juicy, compared to a regular pan.

If you are cooking meat, it is best to use your braiser to slow cook the meat. This will allow the meat to retain moisture, while cooking evenly and also searing the outer layer of the meat.

Here is a list of ways you can use a braiser:

  • Browning food including meat
  • Steaming
  • Sauteing 
  • Preparing bean and rice dishes 
  • Stir-frying noodles, meat and vegetables

Is A Braiser Worth It?

A braiser is a great investment if you do a lot of cooking that requires searing. It really depends on what kind of dishes you like to cook.

If you invest in a braiser that is made from cast iron, it can last you a lifetime. When you cook dishes that require hot temperatures, the amount of use you will get out of a quality braiser will be worth the investment. 

If you have a strict budget that can only settle on one, it may be better to purchase a Dutch oven instead. A Dutch oven pot can adapt better to recipes that would require a braiser. A braiser can not adapt as well to recipes that require a Dutch oven, so if you really must choose, you can get more use out of the Dutch oven.

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Braiser, 3.5 qt., Cerise

Do You Really Need A Dutch Oven?

A Dutch oven is a great cooking tool to have in your kitchen as it is very versatile. Once you invest in a Dutch oven, you will most likely find yourself using it all the time.

You can use this pot to cook stews, soups and a variety of other recipes. A Dutch oven is even useful for cooking various kinds of meat. The moisture in the pot helps to soften the meat. 

The way meat is cooked in a Dutch oven is slow. If you are looking to whip up a meal in 10 minutes, we would advise that a Dutch oven pot is not for you. It takes 5 to 10 minutes to heat up as the pot is so thick. Once the Dutch oven reaches the desired temperature it will retain the heat for a long time and can cook your dish at that temperature. 

A Dutch oven can produce very high quality food. Your dishes won’t turn out dry!

round orange dutch oven

Can You Braise In A Dutch Oven?

Yes! You can actually use a Dutch oven pan to braise food.

A Dutch oven can be used as a substitute for a braiser. But a braiser can not really be used as a substitute for a Dutch oven. You would commonly use a braiser to simmer your dish or to fry meat. But you can’t, for example, bake in it, the way you can in a Dutch oven.

Both of frying and simmering can easily be done in a Dutch oven, making it a more versatile.

Cast Iron Vs Non Stick

You may be wondering, how is a cast iron braiser different from any other braiser?

Many pots and frying pans use cast iron as their main material as it is a very durable and long lasting material. 

Cast iron is a material that can prevent any food from sticking to its surface. This makes it ideal for cooking, especially if you do not want to use a lot of oil in your dish. There is still a chance that food may stick to a cast iron braiser and therefore you should use a small amount of oil or liquid to help with this when preparing your dish. Check out our blog post on what oils you can use to season cast iron.

Cast iron is known to be a very durable material and can last you a lifetime if it is cared for properly. It is key to purchase a good brand that makes a quality cast iron braiser. These brands could include Le Creuset and Staub. Making sure that you purchase a good quality cast iron pot will also help your food from sticking to your pot or pan. 

Cast iron is a material that is very popular in cookware. A braiser pan that is made from cast iron can be very versatile, as well as long lasting. Cast iron made pots can hold high heat better than any other pot or pan made from other materials. As cast iron is such a tough material, it can withstand a lot of handling when used in the kitchen, making it a pot that will not break easily.

As a cast iron braiser can hold onto high heat for longer periods of time, this allows different flavors to come out when you are cooking. The high extended heat can help when either searing your food or browning your food.

What is the difference between cast iron and non-stick?

Well, if you are purchasing a braiser that is cast iron, then the whole pan is made from cast iron. Cast iron is a material that naturally is non-stick, especially when it comes to high temperatures. 

Non-stick braisers are standard braisers that are coated with a material called polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE for short. This material is also called Teflon. This material that coats the standard braiser is a synthetic chemical. This chemical is able to act like a cast iron braiser and allow the food not to stick to the surface. 

Many people prefer purchasing a cast iron braiser rather than a standard non stick braiser as they believe it is healthier. When cookware is created with chemicals, many people worry they may somehow have an effect on their food and health. So they choose the more natural option, which is a cast iron braiser, in this case.

A cast iron braiser will last longer than a standard non-stick braiser, but there is a big difference in price.

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Braiser, 3.5 qt., Cerise

FAQs

Can You Braise In A Dutch Oven?

You can definitely use a Dutch oven to braise food, but it might take longer than a braiser.

Is A Braiser Worth It?

Depending on your needs, a braiser is a great investment, especially a cast iron one that will last you a lifetime.

Do You Really Need A Dutch Oven?

A Dutch oven is worth it, but it depends on your needs. If you want slow-cooking with great moisture retention and a various selection of dishes that can be made in one pot, a Dutch oven is definitely worth it.

If We Were To Choose A Winner, The Dutch Oven Is The Better Cookware Compared To The Braiser Pan

This was a tricky one as both these cast iron pans are very similar to one another. Both pans have their own uses and are both very good at what they are designed to do.

If you are looking to only invest in the one cast iron pan, we would say that the Dutch oven pan is the better choice. Dutch ovens are overall a bigger style cookware and can therefore fit more inside. The Dutch style pot can also master the style of cooking that the braiser pan champions in. Though the Dutch oven will take longer to cook than a braiser pan does, but it will still meet the mark of quality.

Although we recommend that you choose the Dutch oven pan, it is really down to your own personal choice. If you are the type of cook to mainly focus on meat dishes, stir-fries and meals that need simmering, the braiser pan would be your best bet.

The best way to see what kind of cast iron pan is for you, is to look at what kind of dishes you cook the most at home. Then compare your list to what either pan specializes in. You may find that even though the Dutch oven is bigger and a more popular choice, you may be more suited to a braiser pan.

No matter which pan you go for out of the two options, we would recommend that you always get a cast iron rather than a non-stick one. A cast iron pan is more natural than a non-stick pan. It will last for a lifetime rather than a few years.

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By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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