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3.5 Quart Braiser – Too Big for Single Portions?

I’m looking at buying my first piece of Le Creuset cast iron. The 3.5 quart brasier is on sale near me and I’m really tempted. I usually just cook for myself or 2 people. My question is are there any negatives/disadvantages cooking small portions in a 3.5 quart braiser? I’m ideally wanting to get this size so I can cook for friends when they come round and future proofing for if I have kids in the future.

Any help would really appreciated, thanks

12 comments

  1. lilceleryboys

    My fiance and I have a 3.5 sauteuse, which is basically what you’re looking at with higher sides vs. the braiser has lower sides and more cooking surface. The only reason we bought it was because it was super-dooper-clearanced and I didn’t need a 5.5, as it was only us cooking 90% of the time.

    So coming from the 3.5 qt angle, it’s perfect. It’s big enough where you’ll have left overs, but small enough to handle food for two people. My #1 gripe is sometimes it’s TOO small for roasts and I have to cram it in there, which means it doesn’t cook as well. We’ve adapted by just cutting down the roasts and doing them two seperate nights instead of one big one w/ left overs.

    Recently I looked into buying the braiser (so pretty) as an everyday pan for veggies, etc, but it’s basically what we have already- so I went with an omelette pan instead.

  2. BonnieMSM

    I have a 3.5 and love it. It’s just me and my husband, but I now use it nearly every time I cook a meal. I usually cook separate meals for me and my husband since I’m vegan and he isn’t. I cook enough for him to have leftovers for the next day’s lunch. My meal is usually enough for two leftover meals. I find that the 3.5 is large enough to cook a bunch of veggies, a good couple of portions of chicken/meat with room to spare, or a block of cubed up tofu, if that helps you. If I’m sautéing greens, there’s no way I could fit them in the smaller braiser. The same goes with stir fry meals or dishes with lots of mushrooms. I love the size so much I plan to buy a second one just like it so I don’t have to wait to cook my meal when I’m cooking for me and my husband on the same night.

  3. superjared

    This is hard to answer because everyone cooks so differently. Personally, I have the 3.5qt and 2.25qt braisers and find that the 3.5qt is used most often for just my wife and myself, but that’s also because I like creating leftovers for the next day’s lunch.

    On a more objective note, it’s like having a slighly deeper 12″ skillet. That might help inform your decision.

  4. mosquitomange

    I have the 3.5qt sauteuse and I also cook for two people. As another commenter said, it’s definitely big enough to make stews, braises, soups, etc. for two people with ample leftovers but cooking large cuts of meet is hard.

    I cook almost everything in my sauteuse and it works fine for small portions. The most annoying thing is that in order to properly care for it, you need to heat it up slowly which can feel like a waste if you’re just whipping something up for yourself. I also make homemade stock and homemade cheeses and I often wish for a 5.5qt when I’m doing that.

    Also, cast iron heats quite unevenly compared to stainless steel (but retains heat well once it’s hot), so smaller portions that don’t fully cover the bottom surface area will cook unevenly.

  5. sammichsogood

    I would get it. I have a decent collection of sizes and shapes from LC. While I love my 2.25 brasier, I wish I had the bigger one.

    The only truly negative I see here is just having a bigger pan to clean 😂

  6. mariah1311

    I generally cook for two and I have the 5.5. It cooks small portions as well as big ones, and I like to have the option. This way I can also batch cook or use it for holidays when I need or occasionally when you have to cook something long for dinner for two.

  7. OpossomMyPossom

    Just buy the 6.75qt wide Dutch oven and you’ll be able to all the things and then some

  8. OpossomMyPossom

    I’d say get the 6.75 round wide Dutch oven. It’s easily the best value, cuz it’ll fit the biggest cuts but it’s not so deep that it’s cumbersome and can easily be used to cook for 2. At $250 it’s their best value.

  9. supershinythings

    No downsides.

    However… We like to make cornbread in a braiser, so I prefer using a 1.5qt or 2.25 qt size for that.

    Every piece of LC has its sweet spot, so all I can really do is recommend that you collect them ALL, one at a time, over the years, until one day you look at your kitchen and realize how awesome it is to cook absolutely everything in enameled cast iron.

  10. chulzle

    Nope! I think it’s perfect! I don’t use it as much because I love the 5 qt size so much but I cook to save

  11. seruhndipity

    I have the 2.25 qt + 3.5 qt braisers, as well as the 3.5 sauteuse and 6.75qt round wide. It’s just me and my fiance 🙂 Here’s what I think:

    The 3.5 qt braiser (if you’re just wanting to pick one piece) is a really great option here, as is the 3.5 qt sauteuse (love love love it for soups, braises, boiling pasta, one-pot dishes, etc) A few people mentioned the 2.25 qt braiser and I think it’s an awesome size (I use it plenty for breakfast, small baking projects, as well as steaming whole fish, Asian style) and not too heavy but if you want leftovers, it’s going to be a little too small.

    The round wide 6.75qt, while is amazing because it is extremely versatile (largest surface area, capacity, and also very good value as it’s been on sale for $250 for a while now) BUT it is so effing heavy and trust me if it’s just the 2 of you you’re gonna be annoyed youre lugging it around all the time. Just my 2 cents!

    I say get the 3.5qt braiser or the sauteuse 🙂

  12. lordrichard_500

    Thanks for the feedback everyone, that’s a massive help. Think I’ve made my mind up and am gonna go for the brasier 🙂

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