Choosing a braiser can be a challenge; sure, there are many great ones out there, and you can’t go wrong with Lodge, Le Creuset, Staub, and All-Clad. But how, for instance, do you select from all those fabulous Le Creuset colors? And is the French pedigree of Le Creuset and Staub worth three times the price of a Lodge? What is the best braiser to buy?
I’ve written on those topics elsewhere (see links, below), and indeed, choosing a brand and a color takes a little thought. But a much, much simpler question to answer is: What is the best size of braiser to buy?
The answer only depends on how many people you usually cook for. Seriously—it’s as simple as that. Here are my guidelines.
• Buy a 3 1/2-quart braiser if you generally cook for four to six people.
• Buy a 5-quart braiser if you generally cook for six to eight people.
• Buy a 1 1/2-quart braiser just for the heck of it. Seriously. While this braiser is great for recipes that serve two people, how often are you really going to make a pot roast or a braise that just serves two? Even if you generally only cook for two, aren’t leftovers a major bonus of braising recipes? If you pare down the recipe to make it just for two, you won’t have leftovers. And that’s a crying shame!
However….I do own a 1 1/2 quart braiser that I use all the time! It’s so handy for cooking vegetables and sides, and also for reheating those two-portion sizes of leftovers. I love the thing. But I would definitely only buy one after I had the 3 1/2-quart and the 5-quart braiser already in hand, which I do.
So–there you have it: Easy question. Short answer.
PS: Here are links to my reviews of braisers:
• Review of Lodge/Le Creuset Braisers.
• Review of All-Clad Stainless Steel Braising Pan.
• What is a braiser? What is a French Oven? Should you invest?