A Dutch oven is a heavyweight cooking pot with a lid for slow simmering. The standard size is 5 quarts. Dutch ovens can be cast iron, aluminum alloy or stainless steel, and some have a nonstick finish. Choose a Dutch oven with a heavy bottom, a tight-fitting cover and, if possible, overproof handles. You'll find it's the pot you reach for when preparing stews, chilies, sauces and more.