Difference between a Stock Pot and a Dutch Oven

Updated on December 7, 2016

Stock pots and Dutch ovens are both must-haves in today’s kitchens. While they are similar in shape, they have different uses and are constructed differently as well. This article will discuss the differences between a stock pot and a Dutch oven.


Stock Pot
A stock pot made of stainless steel

stock pot is usually made from stainless steel, copper, aluminum, or enameled metal. It has straight, thin sides and a flat bottom, and often comes with a loose-fitting lid. As a result, heat spreads quickly throughout the pot. Stock pots come in handy when preparing large batches of soup or stock as their thin material helps heat the liquid evenly and quickly.

Dutch oven
A Dutch oven made of cast iron

In contrast, a Dutch oven is often made from cast iron and enameled metal. A typical Dutch oven has thick, tapering sides and an thick bottom. The lid that comes with a Dutch oven is also heavy and fits snugly on the opening. Common uses of Dutch ovens include braised meats, stews, and casseroles, which all benefit from the slow and steady distribution of heat through the thick metal.

Stock Pot vs Dutch Oven

What are the differences between a stock pot and a Dutch oven? While they are sometimes interchangeable in cooking, their characteristics and heating properties make each of them ideal for a different kind of dish. 

Construction and Material

Stock pots are usually available in metals such as thin stainless steel and aluminum. They have flat bottoms and straight sides. On the other hand, Dutch ovens usually come in thick cast iron and have flat bottoms and sloping sides. Stock pots are usually larger than Dutch ovens in terms of volume.

Heating Properties

Because of their thin construction, stock pots allow heat to spread very rapidly. Meanwhile, heat travels slowly in a Dutch oven, thanks to its thick sides and bottom.

Uses in Cooking

Stock pots are ideal for dishes that require quick and even heating, such as soups and stocks. Searing or braising meat or vegetables in a stock pot is not advisable as they have a tendency to char due to the high heat. Dutch ovens are perfect for dishes that need slow heating, such as thick stews, casseroles, and braised or roast meats.

Other Uses

Stock pots could be used for non-culinary purposes, such as boiling water for dyeing clothes or textiles. Their depth makes them ideal for canning and preserving food as well. Dutch ovens are also versatile outside of their usual applications. Campers commonly use Dutch ovens to bake biscuits or pies over an open fire. 

Comparison Chart

Stock PotDutch Oven
Made of stainless steel or aluminumMade of cast iron
Flat bottoms and straight sidesFlat bottoms and sloping sides
Thin, flimsy constructionThick, sturdy construction
Heats up fastTakes time to heat up
Ideal for soups and stocksIdeal for casseroles, stews, and braised meats
Could be used for dyeing clothesCould be used for baking


Click on the video below to watch an amusing discussion about different kinds of common kitchen pots.