A dutch oven and a braiser are essentially the same piece of cookware in two distinctly different shapes. Dutch ovens are tall and steep with thick sides, a heavy bottom, and a heavy lid. Most people would look at a dutch oven and simply call it a pot. Braisers are short and wide, though deep for a pan, and they also have thick sides, a heavy bottom, and heavy lid. Unlike dutch ovens, braisers typically have sloped sides instead straight ones. Both dutch ovens and braisers can be used on a stovetop or in an oven. Their heavy lids form a tight seal that makes them ideal for locking in moisture while slow-cooking or cooking at high temperatures.
Dutch Oven Uses
Dutch ovens are distinct from stockpots and saucepans in that their thick, heavy bottoms create a more evenly heated cooking surface that can both withstand high temperatures and retain more heat than other pots. In addition to cooking liquids, a dutch oven can also be used for searing and browning, as well as cooking casseroles. However, its tall, straight sides and tight fitting lid make it ideal for cooking stews and boiling.
A braiser can be used in all the same ways a dutch oven can, but its wide bottom and shallow, sloped sides make it better suited for searing, browning, and sauteing than a dutch oven. You can even do shallow frying in them. While braisers are best used for the same types of dishes you might prepare in a frying pan or skillet, they also work very well for curries, stews, and casseroles.
Costs and Where to Buy
There are only a handful of name brands that make dutch ovens and braisers, but you can also find generic ones that cost a bit less. Ours are Le Creuset, and we were fortunate enough to have them gifted to us. On the low end, dutch ovens and braisers start at about $40. On the high end, they can cost over $200. That being said, a high quality dutch oven/braiser can last a lifetime and then some if taken care of.
You can find dutch ovens and braisers at any home and kitchen store, like Williams Sonoma. You can also buy them on Amazon, and probably save a little bit of money.
We love our dutch oven and our braiser, and we use them constantly. I probably use at least one or the other daily because they are so versatile. Check out some of our recipes to see the meals we’ve made with them. You can also see them in action on our cooking channel.