Choosing the correct size braiser for your needs requires more thought than selecting a skillet or a Dutch Oven. Brasiers are multiple purpose vessels, and you can use them on the stovetop and oven. But this also makes choosing the best size more challenging.
So to get the full benefit of a braiser, there are a few factors to consider. Such as how you are going to use your braising pan. And how many people are in your household? In this article, I will cover the best size braisers for singles, couples, and families.
Table of contents
- The best overall range of sizes
- Perfect size braising pan singles
- Best size for couples
- Ideal sized braiser for families
- Why be choosy when selecting the best size?
- Why sizing down is the better choice
The best size braiser for most people will be between 3.5 to 4 quarts
Make mac and cheese, bake bread, fry steak, and of course braise some short ribs. Yes, the 3.5-quart braiser is an ideal choice for many cooking methods. It’s a good size for couples and small families. It is the most popular and safest choice.
Le Creuset and Staub also manufacture 3.5-quart braisers, and I’m sure they have done their research on ideal sizes.
The benefit of a size range rather than an exact size
However, other manufacturers make slightly larger pans. And are often more budget-friendly. Therefore I recommend a size range between 3.5 quarts and 4 quarts rather than the exact 3.5-quart size. Choosing a braiser between 3.5 to 4 quarts will give you a wide selection of premium and budget-friendly options.
Perfect size braising pan singles (2 to 2.5 quarts)
Sure, you can purchase a braiser between 3.5 to 4 quarts. After all, you don’t need to use the entire capacity of the pan. And only cook the amount of food you need.
However, a smaller size braiser is likely going to be more practical to lift and clean. If you’re single, I would consider braising pans between 2 to 2.5 quarts. It may sound small, but 2-quart capacity is the same size as a medium saucepan. And you can cook many dishes for up to 4 people, for the times you have friends and family over for dinner.
Best size braising pan for couples (2.5-3.5 quarts)
For couples and small families, It’s hard to look past the 3.5 braisers. These brasiers aren’t going to be overwhelming in weight but will be large enough for most meals.
However, if you find a pan between 2.5-3.5 quarts, go for it. It’s easy to get overexcited with the large pans. They look just so darn good. But 2.5 to 3.5-quart pans hold a lot of food and liquid.
You also need to factor in the weight of cast iron plus 2-3 quarts of food and liquid. Larger braising pans can be weighty, and I think you’ll be happy choosing a braiser between the 2.5 and 3.5-quart range.
Most appropriate size braiser for families (3.5-4 quarts)
With a family-size braiser, you want a vessel to accommodate enough food for the entire family without overwhelming weight. Look for braisers around the 3.5-quart mark. With this size, you’ll easily fit five good size chicken breasts. Or make enough pasta for leftovers the next day.
To put it in another perspective 3.5, to 4-quarts is equivalent to a large saucepan. So this size range will to suitable for most family needs, without the burdensome weight of a high-walled Dutch Oven.
If you’re unsure about the differences between Dutch Ovens and Braisers, I have an article explaining the pros and cons of each.
Why be choosy when selecting the best size?
It’s easy to choose a large pan within your budget, especially when the price differences between large and small pans are relatively small. But I recommend carefully selecting the size you need. These factors include:
- cooking method
- number in the household
Choose a pan that will be easy to lift
Weight cast iron pans are heavy enough, even when empty. Add food and liquid, and you’ll be thankful for selecting a smaller braising pan.
If you plan to use your braiser mostly on your oven stovetop, then choosing a pan with a large diameter is beneficial. However, if you do a lot of braising or frying, a deeper pan is better.
But what meals can you cook in your braiser? Click the link the find out.
Number of people in your household
Braisers tend to hold a lot of food. And if you’re cooking for a family, then a large pan is more aptly suited. Food will be easier to turn when searing. And washing up will be less time-consuming if you only use one pan.
However, if you’re cooking yourself or a loved one, make life easier with a small pan. Small braisers are easier to move around, and this will make washing up hassle-free. You’ll also be more inclined to use the lid because it will feel more balanced and controllable in your hand.
Are you going to use the braiser mostly for cooking on the stovetop? Then you might need to weigh up the pros and cons of using braisers and skillets.
Why choosing a smaller braiser is the better choice
When buying a cast-iron skillet, I recommend selecting a larger pan for an increased cooking surface. But when braising, it could be more beneficial to size down. As mentioned earlier cleaning, and moving a smaller cast iron vessel is much easier than a large one.
But when you think of the true purpose of braising, that is to use cheaper cuts of meat and make low-cost meals. Then a smaller braiser makes more sense. Imagine the cost of a meal if you need a liter of red wine for the braising liquid. Or how many strips of bacon will you need if you’re braising using a traditional mirepoix recipe.
It’s simply more cost beneficial to use a smaller braiser if you plan on braising meals. To learn if you need a braiser, click to link for an in-house article. But if you’re not sure what a braiser looks like, then this article is for you.
What is the best size braiser?
Braisers are all-purpose cooking vessels. And they are equally at home on the stovetop as well as the oven. And you can use them for multiple cooking methods such as frying, braising, and baking. But this also makes selecting the best size braiser more challenging. Purchasing a brasier around 3.5 quarts is a safe option for many situations.
However, I recommend not to buy braising pan too big for your needs. Often smaller pans are more practical because they are easier to move and clean. Choosing a smaller braiser can also reduce the overall cost of the meal by reducing the ingredients to braise your meal.
I hope this advice helps points you in the right direction. If you already have a braiser, I’d love to know what size you recommend, and you’re welcome to leave a comment below.