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Difference Between a Stockpot and a Dutch Oven

The essential difference between the stockpot and the Dutch oven lies in the material used to make these items of cookware.  The stockpot and the Dutch oven serve slightly different purposes in the kitchen, but they can be used for different types of cooking, making sauces, stock and stews.  The stockpot is a larger vessel and more suited to large quantities of sauce and stock, while the Dutch oven lends itself to the slow cooking of stews and casseroles.  The Dutch oven is popular for outdoor open fire cooking and camping expeditions.  It can be used to make bread.  Although both these pots are used for cooking, the Dutch oven would appear to be more versatile.


What is a stockpot?

A stockpot is a tall cooking pot with straight sides and a flat bottom.  It is made of light weight material useful for retaining the heat.  A stockpot has a lid and allows some steam to escape during the cooking process.  The cooking in the stockpot over time allows a reduction of liquid in the sauce.  This makes it  possible to bring out the essential flavors.  A stockpot is historically one of the original cooking utensils used for boiling up vegetables.  It is also useful for cooking pasta.  The stockpot allows the water to boil steadily in what is known as  a ‘running boil’ technique to cook the pasta successfully.  The stockpot is very useful for cooking up larger quantities of stock or sauce.  Restaurants and catering facilities would find a stockpot a valuable cooking item.  Home brewers enjoy a stock pot for the brewing of beer.

What is the value of a stock pot?

  • It retains the heat and makes a flavorsome stock reduction.
  • The stockpot makes large quantities of stock and sauces.
  • It is made of light weight materials and is easy to handle.
  • It uses the simple cooking method of boiling vegetables to make stock.


What is Dutch Oven? 

The Dutch oven is made of cast iron and is a heavy pot.  It has sloping sides and a heavy cast iron lid.  The Dutch oven is designed to retain moisture and act as a slow cooker for stews and casseroles.  The thicker sides of the Dutch oven allow for the even distribution of heat during the cooking process.  The Dutch oven can be used on an open fire as a camping pot.  The cast iron used to make the pot enables it to stand in hot coals and even have coals put on the lid to create an oven type of heat on a campfire.  Dutch ovens were used by cowboys along their riding trail and found in cowboy camps as early as the 1800’s.  The Dutch oven was the inspiration behind the crock-pot.  It is  an electrical version of the Dutch oven used for slow cooking. The glazed surface of the Dutch oven makes it suitable for marinading and using both wine or vinegar for the marinade.

What is the value of a Dutch oven?

  • The Dutch oven is hard wearing because it is made of cast iron.
  • It is designed for use outdoors as well as in an oven or on top of a stove.
  • The Dutch oven is a slow cooker and makes delicious tender stews from cheaper cuts of meat.
  • The Dutch oven can be used to make bread.
  • The thicker sloping sides of the Dutch oven allow it to retain heat for longer.  The cast iron sides keep an even distribution of heat during the cooking process.
  • Some Dutch ovens are suitable for oven to table ware as their design comes in bright colors and can be made of ceramics with a glass lid.


Differences between stockpot and Dutch oven

Design of stockpot and Dutch oven

One of the essential differences between the two pots is the materials used.  The stock pot is made from aluminum and the Dutch oven from cast iron.  The stock pot is a tall, sometimes square pot with a loose fitting lid and the Dutch oven is oval or round with sloping sides and a heavy tight fitting oven.  The dutch oven is designed to be more presentable on the table if necessary, but can also go rough and ready round the campfire.

Cooking style for stockpot verses Dutch oven:

The stock pot is primarily designed for making large quantities of stock for soups or sauces.  It can also be used for cooking pasta as it is capable of maintaining a ‘rolling boil’.  This tall deep pot is ideal for boiling crab or lobster and is even useful as a deep fryer if needed.  The Dutch oven is the slow cooker and works well to make tender stews.  However, a Dutch oven is able to boil, fry, braise and seer.  It can be turned into a steamer and will even fit in the fridge to cool down. The Dutch oven is a great ‘one pot’ meal cooker.

Variety of recipes: 

There are many recipes to be found using these special pots.  The stock pot is more likely to be used to create the stock for the recipe that follows ready to be cooked in the Dutch oven.  The stock pot is the ideal creator of sauces and holds in concentrated flavor using the reduction of water and the resulting stock.  Many recipes call for stock and therefore a stock pot is a useful addition to the kitchen utensils.  The Dutch oven is in a class of its own when it comes to recipes.  The variety of slow cooked dishes and breads to be made in the Dutch oven is impressive.  The added advantage of using cheap cuts of meat and adding vegetables to the dish enables the cook to produce a ‘one pot meal’. 

Commercial value in stockpot and Dutch oven:

 Restaurants and catering organizations would value the large quantities produced by a stock pot.  The Dutch oven lends itself more to domestic use and entertaining at home.

Stockpot vs. Dutch oven: Comparison Chart


Summary of Stockpot verses Dutch Oven:  

  • The stock pot and the Dutch oven are both useful cooking vessels.
  • At first one assumes that the stock pot is only used for making stock, but it is quite versatile and can be used for other cooking functions like boiling pasta and cooking some crustaceans.  The Dutch oven can be more creative  because the heavy cast iron creates the right environment for many more different types of cooking skills and recipes.  The Dutch oven can braise meat, slow cook stews, boil and bake, it is even used for baking bread on an open fire.
  • A large sized stock pot is likely to be found in a restaurant while the Dutch oven lends itself to domestic kitchens and home style cooking.
  • Although both these pots are useful in the home kitchen or for restaurants they are different in the end result of the nourishment they are designed to produce.  The stockpot giving the valuable and flavorsome stock or sauce and the Dutch oven making uses of the stock to create a one pot dish to feed the family.


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References :

[0]Kring Lorna.  February 24th 2018 how to choose the best stockpot. Wwwfoodal.com/kitchen/pots-review. Pub. Ask the Experts. LLC. Foodal.com    Reviewed 19/01/2019

[1]Stein Joshua. April 15th 2017 Best pots and pans for every meal. Www.nymag.com/strategist/best pots/pub. New York media reviewed 19/01/2019

[2]Klahre Ayn-moniqueten January 2nd 2018 ten things to know about your Dutch oven.www.thekitchen.com. Pub.apartment therapy. Reviewed 20/01/2019.

[3]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stock_Pot.jpg

[4]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dutch-ovens.jpg

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